CAN YOU CRAFT YOUR OWN GHOST STORY?
Born in 1812, Charlie was the second of eight children and attended school in Portsmouth until his world turned upside down when was still 12-years old. There was a loud knock on the door and he watched in disbelief as a squad of stern, unforgiving men placed handcuffs on his Navy clerk father before escorting him to prison for failing to pay a debt.
The rest of the family moved to live near the prison, leaving Charlie to live alone and fend for himself. Forced to take a job in a grimy shoe polish factory, Charlie and his fellow child laborers experienced treatment that fell somewhere between miserable and horrific.
Would it surprise you to know that the trauma of those hardships had a profound impact on that boy?
At the age of 15, he wound up getting a job as an office boy and by 1832, had learned so much about his craft as a stenographer at the law courts of London that he became a reporter for two prominent newspapers.
Charlie’s awe-inspiring work ethic and formidable talents produced a hefty income thanks to timeless works of art such as “Oliver Twist”. Channelling the haunted memories of a childhood cut way too short, Charles Dickens most enduring legacy came after an 1843 visit to Manchester. His idea for A “Christmas Carol” originated when he spoke before a philanthropic organization for the working poor—a largely uneductated population being exploited by factory bosses and shunned by proper society. Already popular and financially successful, this self-made man with a social conscience decided to take a stand against what he saw as a threat to England’s moral fibre being bred in the slums of the country’s newly industrialized cities.
It may seem shocking to us now, but in 1843, working on Christmas Day was just part of the normal routine.
Thanks to Charles Dickens, the tall tales he told his six children of the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future became the stuff legends are made of. He also happened to be between writing projects and could have used a few extra shillings to help put food on the table. Within six weeks, the characters of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim came tumbling out of his vivid imagination as the hastily conceived project was completed – just in time for Christmas.
The book was an instant smash.
Selling out one edition after another, the masses fell head over heels in love with this new vision of what Christmas could be. In rapid fashion, they started modeling their holidays after the one at the end of “A Christmas Carol”. And they embraced the values that Dickens advanced – that Christmas should be a time of charity, of giving and of celebrating family.
It’s how Christmas, as we know it, came to be.
An entire planet forever changed and inspired by one man with a mighty pen who singlehandedly created the magic we experienced during our holidays.
Not a corporation, doctor, scientist or politician.
Not a rock star, athlete or actor.
It took a determined writer armed with a lifetime of real-life ghost stories to pull this one off.
What would happen if you borrowed a chapter from the Dickens playbook and did the same thing?
What’s stopping you from reaching back to the events that defined you the most and find your own inspiration for the world you want to create in 2020 and beyond?
What if you could use the power of your own words to slay the demons and dragons from the past to re-shape and re-configure your present and future?
Who would benefit if you decide to use your status, influence and God-given ability to speak for those who have no voice?
As we wrap up our publishing schedule before the holidays, I can think of no better gift that you could give to yourself and the ones that you care about most. And the real magic begins once you start to write about the stuff that you really care about; raw truth that only you have lived and experienced.
The late Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying that he wanted to put a “ding in the universe”. The incredibly talented J.K. Rowling insists that, “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.” As we approach the end of this decade, each and every one of us has an opportunity to reflect on the art that we get to create at work and home and how we can use it make the world a better place.
Looking forward to connecting with you again in 2020 with new ideas on leaders, legends and what makes them tick.
"But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Falling, like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think".