Saturday, December 5, 2009

King Dickens

There's no secret in the fact that I enjoy reading Stephen King novels. Actually, I'll correct that…until Misery came out, I considered myself his "number one fan". But once I read his masterful account of the pitfalls of being a "number one fan", I gladly slipped back into being his "number two fan". Over the years, I have been fortunate to amass quite a collection of King's works, both in written format, audio, and screenplays. His latest work titled "Under the Dome" has me transfixed thus far, to the point that my odd jobs are on hold while I slip off to a descriptive imaginary location as only King can transport flawlessly.

    One of my hobbies is working on the family tree, and as such I have the pleasure of corresponding with relatives from London, England to various locations in the West Indies, and across the Americas. It was through this, that my Uncle Bill (my mother's brother) had sent me an updated email address. It was one of the most unusual email addresses that I had seen. It lacked the familiar tone that one would expect from owners of email who have past their earlier years of life, and yet one could tell by the address that it contained something of reference for my Uncle. As it turns out, Uncle Bill is an avid Charles Dickens reader.

    Of course most of us are familiar with his more popular pieces, especially at this time of the year with the classic A Christmas Carol. I don't think I have met anyone who hasn't seen a version of the movie, (and if you get the chance, the latest animated film with Jim Carrey will most certainly be a classic). The bigger challenge would be: how many have read A Christmas Carol? If you thought King wrote books with such intent detail, that you were convinced he was paid by the word…Dickens most certainly would make King pale by comparison. In an eerie sense, both King and Dickens share the panache for ensuring the reader understand the minute detail of each part along the story. And as such they both were able to enjoy success at the theatres when their writings are transformed into a video production.

    While I'm not looking for a debate on who the greatest writers are, as each writer offers their own style and genre into their stories, it is impressive when an authour of fiction can cause change in the non-fiction world. Dickens certainly steps forward in this account, and not to take anything away from King, but really…anyone who doesn't enjoy this time of year is most certainly tagged as "Scrooge". Probably one of the most interesting explanatory terms originated by Dickens, and now used in the medical field, is Pickwickian Syndrome. Aptly named to describe overly obese individuals who contract sleep apnea as well as a host of other symptoms. The phrase was coined as a descriptive term of one of Dickens characters in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Fat Joe, as he was dubbed, carried traits known today as sleep apnea, and because Dickens was able to describe his character with such detail, the term is now applied to individuals who present with similar symptoms.

    While the debates will continue on whether the written word will still be as successful as it was prior to on-line technology, I for one will forge ahead with a good King novel…for those times when carting a laptop or e-reader around doesn't seem to cut it, and know that Charles Dickens carries the standard of which all good stories should be told.

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