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A Dickens Day

By , Franklin Lakes, NJ

I have just arose on the day that I fear will be my last. I suffered a stroke just over a year ago while trying to distribute my masterpieces of creativity. I regained my strength since then, but I fear another shall come on soon and I shall not awake from it. I still have much to do. My authoring life, although it has included enough works to establish myself as a legend of the lexicon, is not complete. I plan on spending today working on my newest novel, a mystery, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I have created an enthralling mystery so far, and just need to add the finishing touches before I begin the ending and the big reveal. I hope to God I finish it before I am too weak to continue writing, for my audience deserves an ending. I have delivered quite a few good endings since I began my authoring career after my upbringing in my small village in Kent. Although I had 7 siblings, I turned out to be the most successful. I assumed that after the wealth my parents earned off of the wealth I had shared with them in my early years, I too would have many children and hope one could be nearly as successful as me. I have 10 children who I adore, especially my first child, Charles Dickens Junior. My loving wife, Catherine Thomson Hogarth, is mother to all 10. Or most of the ten, I hope. I remember quite a few of my better books. I doubt The Mystery of Edwin Drood can ever sell as much as my greatest hits like Oliver Twist and Great Expectations. I remember the days when people clawed at each other over getting the next week’s edition. Those were the good days. And I remember the crazy things I have done to continue sharing my work and genius with the world. I remember the Staplehurst rail crash. If I’m correct, almost five years ago to the day that I narrowly cheated death. All 7 of the carriages in front of mine plunged off a bridge, but my carriage was the only first-class carriage that stayed on the tracks. I was in the middle of writing Our Mutual Friend, and had to return to one of the scariest places I have ever been to retrieve the uncompleted manuscript. I was told that my helping of the injured with water and brandy saved lives. I used this harrowing train crash to write another one of my countless stories “The Signal-Man.”
My stories have been the way I live and survive for so long. It is strange to not need to continue writing for a begging audience. I figure I have just lost my popularity a bit, or my best writing days are already behind me. I never dreamt I would reach such fame. I began as just a newspaper editor and will die one of the most fabled authors of all time. I have traveled around the world. Across England, to Paris, even to the United States. I have seen my work admired by all. It is quite remarkable how a small boy from Kent can have such an impact on so many lives. I hope my work is read for ages to come. I never thought I was being as revolutionary as I have found I was. I just wrote what came to mind and how it came to mind. I wrote stories of love, death, and wealth. Most of them were just inspired by my own life or others around me. I still stand shocked today at the critical acclaim my work has received, but stand forever grateful that I have been one of the few to find great success in this field of writing.
I suppose my time will come soon. Just a few years ago I began my farewell readings across England. I was contracted to do 100 readings of my works before my death. I managed to deliver 75 around England and 12 in London, 87 total. However, about 14 months ago, in my last farewell reading to the masses, I suffered my first stroke. I collapsed to the floor, the doctors say because of all of the stress the readings had put my body under. I knew I had to take it easy from then, but still had sponsors who deserved to hear me read! I regained my strength and finished another 12 readings earlier this year. Although I was in very poor health for the last one, I read A Christmas Carol and The Trial from Pickwick to my devoted sponsors. Of all of the stories I wrote and read, I think my favorite was the story of unrequited love and coming of age in the young boy, Pip, in Great Expectations. He found himself like me, a poor boy growing up in Kent who wanted nothing more than to become a wealthy gentlemen. He and I both had an important person to us locked away in those cruel hulk prison boats by the cruel government. I learned personally from his mistakes and never blew my wealth like he had, which is why I am a gentleman today. I hope that others learn from him too in the future, as there is much I put there that any reader can take away. Well, after all of the stories I have written about death, I feel I am not prepared to face it myself. My health is declining, but I must finish my last novel before I go. Without a resolution, the mystery will be left forever unsolved. Off to writing I go.
I have returned, feeling even worse than before. My novel is not complete, and my greatest fear of all has hit me. I may never finish my final novel. My fans may read it in my memory without an ending. Hopefully, they will dissect the clues to find out the true ending, which can never be revealed if I do not get up again tomorrow. I pray that my work is not forgotten when I fail to rise again, and I pray that I still touch the hearts and minds of the world population as long as people can still read my work. My sister-in law, Georgina, has called to me to stop writing, as if I haven’t done it enough, and to lie down.
“On the ground?” I respond.






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