Thursday, December 10, 2009

Scrooge and Denial (not the river)

"You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"

Can you imagine how Dickens chuckled when he wrote that line? You don't have to be a writer to know the feeling of having plucked the exactly perfect thing from the universe. I can just see Dickens reading the line over and over to himself. Maybe then reciting it to his wife or one of his children. I know I love repeating the line, "More of gravy than of grave about you," and I didn't write it.
Old Ebenezer Scrooge explains his seeing the ghost of his partner, Jacob Marley, as a bit of indigestion. Scrooge is so set in this world and so lacking in imagination that something wrong in his stomach is the only possible explanation. "More of gravy than of grave about you." I love that (say it out loud and see if it doesn't come out with an English accent and in a lower octave than you regularly speak.)
We are in the season of Wonder, but most times we're not nearly as creative in explaining away the unexplainable as Mr. Dickens. "I'm just so tired." "We've done that so many times." "It's too much trouble." "Do you know how awful the traffic will be?" "I hate crowds." "I'm just so tired." "It's too cold." "No spare change, today."
As an author, Mr. Dickens, had a place to take his readers and so he couldn't allow Scrooge to persuade the ghosts to leave him alone. But I've often wondered why Jacob Marley didn't get visited and told to change his ways before he died?
But maybe he did.
Maybe we all do. Maybe we're all given chances to reach across our indigestion, tiredness, boredom, cynicism and hold Wonder in our hands. But we dismiss it and struggle on.
We struggle on, wondering all the time why God doesn't answer our prayers.


John Fincher said...

Kay, I too appreciate that line, and I give credence your description of HIS view as well. I'm sure he liked it. Perhaps the whole book grew from that seed.

I, too, appreciate creativity. Though certainly not a wordsmith, I can value great writing as well even though I would not be able to produce it. It’s in the same vein of enjoying ballet and knowing genius when I see it even though I would never be able to do it.

From one connoisseur to another – great insight.

Kay Dew Shostak said...

So true, John. I remember the first time I saw a kid playing basketball and it looked so beautiful, I knew he was gifted. So awesome to have those moments, isn't it? And I LOVE being a connoisseur!
Thanks -