I have been thinking about Charles Dickens. And why not? It is Christmas and all that Dickensian bonhomie and good cheer is depicted on cards adorning my walls. It’s not that though. Nor is it a tendency towards Scroogeiness (that’s not actually a word is it?) I like Christmas and all it brings. Mr Scrooge is not welcome at my house.
No. My thought pattern is much more convoluted than that and I suspect will take quite some time to develop. I was thinking about my blog. It is still very much in its infancy but I started it as a way to string words together which is something I have always enjoyed doing. As a child I was always at it and as a lawyer choosing the right words often made the difference between whether a dispute was settled timeously or marched indignantly all the way to the House of Lords. However, whilst my legal training taught me the importance of the careful selection of words it also had another, less desirable consequence – the almost total obliteration of my imagination.
Creativity is important in a legal mind and is one of the qualities that distinguishes a talented lawyer from a pen pusher. Creativity can help you think round a problem and devise a cunning plan to solve it. It can help you find a way through the stranglehold that legislation and red tape can have on your client and has got me out of a pickle of my own making more than once. Creativity is not imagination though and that part of my brain which provided imaginative ideas, though fully formed in earlier life, is now well and truly frozen.
And so I decided to blog. It is still very much in its infancy and I am making very tentative progress. I have kept its existence a secret, telling only a handful of close friends carefully selected because I believe that they will be honest with me about its contents. Obviously, its not that big a secret. It’s on the world wide web for a start but it is quite a personal process and so I am guarding it and consequently myself closely. So far I have used it to write about thoughts or experiences that I have had, allowing me to practise putting words together but obviously requiring no imagination at all.
And this is where Mr Dickens comes in. I was thinking about my blog’s long term future. I can’t expect anyone to be interested in anecdotes and musings of my own making indefinitely, highly diverting though they may be for me. What if it became a vehicle for something more imaginative, something entirely fictional? As I understand it, Mr Dickens and other great writers of his ilk wrote some of their major works as a serial, publishing on a weekly basis in newspapers. The bloggers of their day perhaps and how scary to make it up as you go along. If your audience already know that your character likes pheasant and has a limp you cannot suddenly make him a pole vaulting vegetarian for the purpose of your plot and go back to cover your tracks in the edit. I exaggerate for effect but the point is well made I think. How would that test my imaginative skills? Anyway, I shall continue to muse on this and see where it takes me. I wouldn’t expect much change to content any time soon however.