I scored the coup of the century. Make that TWO centuries! Charles Dickens, author extraordinaire, just turned 200 this week, and in honor of the milestone, I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with him for a rare, one-on-one interview.
MTW: Mr. Dickens, everyone’s talking about your 200th birthday. What’s your secret to enduring for so long?
CD: Plenty of rest. For, it is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest, than I have ever known.
MTW: Ahem, okay. So, you’ve enjoyed your rest. Well, how does it feel to be revered, so long after your death?
CD: Any man may be in good spirits and good temper when he’s well dressed.
MTW: I’ll grant you that. I suppose it’s been uncomfortable, though, lying in a narrow wooden box all these years. I expect being on the outside must be like a breath of fresh air.
CD: Minds, like bodies, will often fall into a pimpled, ill-conditioned state from mere excess of comfort.
MTW: So, are you saying you’ve been comfortable in there or you’re glad to be out of it?
CD: Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
MTW: Mr. Dickens, you should know that, as lovely as it sounds, we no longer use such proper English. Mass media has gotten the better of us so, you may want to take it down a notch. Capiche?
CD: It pains me to hear that. For, I do not know the American gentleman, God forgive me for putting two such words together.
MTW: No worries. You’re forgiven. So, which of your books would you say is your favorite? Based on the number of remakes, I’d say A Christmas Carol is one of your more popular today.
CD: I despise that one. Too common. Besides, Tiny Tim was not easy to capture on paper. In real life, you know, the lad was a bit of a brat.
MTW: I don’t think that’s common knowledge.
CD: Nasty child, that one. Burped a lot and thought it was funny. Imagine. Who would see the humor in that? No, definitely not one of my best. Though I rather did enjoy Bill Murray’s cinematic version, Scrooged. Rather a brilliant take, wouldn’t you say?
MTW: Yes, but I didn’t think you had seen any of the film versions of your books, considering movies weren’t around in your day.
CD: I’ve seen them all. There’s the Muppet, Mister Magoo and Scrooge McDuck versions. George C. Scott and Reginald Owen, too. I spin in my grave every time a new one is released. Which reminds me, may I use your cell? I need to call my agent.
MTW: Is he still around? Frankly, I didn’t realize authors had agents back when you were writing.
CD: The movie deal he obtained for me was appalling. And, frankly, he did not foresee either the invention of television or the Internet. And the toy industry? Talk about a missed opportunity! Think how popular a Miss Havisham doll could have been with designer wedding dresses made by Vera Wang or Valentina.
MTW: Yes, I can see how such a doll would sell on eBay for quite a penny.
CD: And don’t get me started on Amazon. I hate that nearly all my books are free on Kindle. Copyright, be damned! I don’t care what the lawyers say, those stories are still mine! They’re priceless! David Copperfield alone ought to be worth two quid.
MTW: Ahem, Mr. Dickens, it’s euros now.
CD: Euros? What the damn devil is that?
MTW: Never mind. Let’s change the subject. Tell me what inspired you to write, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
CD: Funny how that happened. I couldn’t make up my mind is all, plain and simple. Was it the best of times? Probably not. Sheer luck is what it was. Sheer, unadulterated luck!
MTW: Well, I guess it’s true then. Some of the best lines happen quite by accident.
CD: And some of the best characters, too. You’re familiar with Jo March in Little Women? Well, she was based on me. Louisa May Alcott said I inspired her.
MTW: No, I did not know that.
CD: Indeed I did. Louisa always said I had spunk and I told her she should write a character with spunk and name it after me.
MTW: How is Jo March named after you?
CD: Well, I didn’t say she listened, did I? Nice woman, that Miss Alcott was. Though, stubborn as a mule and couldn’t sing to save her life.
MTW: Well, Mr. Dickens, it appears we’ve run out of time. Any parting thoughts?
CD: Yes. Where’s my birthday cake? After 200 years, don’t you think I deserve one? Preferably, chocolate, with ice cream, too.
MTW: I do apologize but I didn’t think to bring cake.
CD: Well, that’s just like an American, isn’t it? See if I return in 200 years!
Pingback: And I Quote: On Tributes & Loss « Monica's Tangled Web
That Dickens sure does have a way with words, doesn’t he?
Looks like we’ve both fallen for Dickens – though in different ways. I’m surprised you didn’t ask him about the women in his life. That could have taken on a whole new genre….just saying.
Unfortunately, I was about to ask about the women in his life, but I ran out of time. He had an appointment–with destiny. 😉
Very clever, Monica – you’ve outdone yourself!
Thanks, Nancy. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. 🙂
Great post! And I love that Christmas Carol cover! It would make a great print to hang up.
I know! It would make a great holiday card, too!
“Euros? What the damn devil is that?” haaaaaaHa
Monica, Loved this post. Great Dialougue w/ the Master.
btw, did you know that Dickens was quite well known around most of the pubs in London?
Thanks, Kim! It was such a hoot writing it. We’ll see who inspires me next.
No I didn’t know about Dickens and the London pubs. Well, sounds like he would’ve been real cool to hang out with. 😉
Monica, I hope Sir Henry the Brave did not take affront for not being the one to conduct the interview! hee hee! Mr. Dickens seems like a merry chap or perhaps your charming style made him appear so. Thanks for the chuckle, lady! 🙂
Bella, I suppose he should have conducted this interview, considering their mutual kinship with the merry old land of England. But maybe, next time I’ll have him interview Lassie or someone of that stature. That would be just as fitting. 😉
Really clever stuff. Dickens, no we don’t get paid ny the word anymore! Just friended you back on facebook, BTW.
Thanks for friending me! 😉
It wasn’t easy scoring this interview, but when he finally agreed, I couldn’t get the man to stop talking! You should see what ended up on the cutting room floor! Maybe I should have made this a two-part series.
I know ever-so-much more about Mr. Dickens now and would love to know only one more thing: How does he feel about his name as part of a catch-all, catchy phrase (‘what the dickens’) that has nothing to do with him? 😉
Deborah, that’s one question I forgot to ask him. Sheesh. I should have consulted with you before the interview. I would have loved to know the answer, too. 😉
Smashing interview! Popped over here from the Good Greatsby’s site, by the way.
(Any cake left?)
Thanks for stopping by! I love the Good Greatsby! No, no cake left. Mr. Dickens was famished and ate most, then took the rest back with him. Said he might get hungry later. Tee hee!
So funny!.Immediately after reading, I imagined Henry interviewing Mr Dickens.
Well, Henry was around during the interview. You’re right, I should have had him ask Mr. Dickens some questions. Who knows what could have come of it?
What a wonderful imagination… ummm, interview. Happy Birthday Mr. Dickens! (I assume he reads your blog.)
Oh, he reads it now. I made sure he subscribed to it. After all, he doesn’t have much else to do these days. 😉
How much fun interviewing Mr. Dickens. I wonder if I could find some really old dogs to talk to. My person laughed a lot when she read this.
Bongo, I think you should interview Lassie, or Asta (an amazing dog from the Thin Man films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy; tell your person to check out the films so you can see).
Or how about interviewing Bo, the President’s dog? He’s cute, just like you!
I enjoy your blog!!
I have an award for you, check it out here
Oh my! Misty, you are absolutely fabulous to bestow the Hug Award upon me! I’m blushing. Thank you so much. I love that you enjoy my blog! 🙂
You’ve made my day!
What a wonderful interview… ha! ha! loved that Dickens was appalled at Kindle because his books were now free – and I really loved the bit about Jo March – she will forever be one of my favorite characters in literature. Also love interviews and letters – um, as you know 😉
so this was just delicious. If only you could interview the perfect Ms. Austen for me – I would have so many things to ask her. Next to Austen, I think Dickens is my next perfect author.
Thank you, MM! I got such a kick out of this interview so I’m really glad you enjoyed it. Maybe, one day I’ll interview Austen, and oh I’d love to interview Zelda Fitzgerald, too. After all, when it comes to these interviews, the sky’s the limit!
Cute, Monica. Tell Mr. Dickens hi from me!
He’s rather proper, you know, so he says, “Good Afternoon” back. 😉
where do I sign up to be first in line for the Miss Havisham doll? Ha Ha! Great post 🙂
No, I’m going to be the first for the Miss Havisham doll! I can’t wait to collect all the gowns!
Very funny! 🙂 After reading this “we are so very ‘umble”. 🙂
Very ‘umble indeed. I hope the tall person reads to you from Dickens’ works. They’re marvelous!
I agree with Jody. I love this. I am a huge fan of letters and interviews (all of which I make up up ..) Every time I ponder writers from the past I wonder what they would think of blogs, the computer, the ease at which we can research, and the sheer numbers of people writing books. I dare say they’d be shocked.. I would love to read an Emily Dickinson blog.. I do hope you made Mr. Dickens a pot of strong tea, or maybe poured him some port.
Mr. Dickens and I had spent a fine afternoon together. He was most agreeable about answering my questions. And I even took the time to bake him a cake–from a mix, which he rather liked, particularly the convenience of it. 😉
Funny, funny stuff! Thanks for a good chuckle to kick off my weekend!
Your welcome! And, thanks so much, Debbie, for always stopping by! I so appreciate you!
You are very silly! The best line don’t happen by accident! Takes hard ass work!
Thank you! I enjoy silly so I take that as a compliment! 😉