Tag Archives: dickens

What real writing looks like

I have to admit that I’ve never been a great reader.   Despite making a living out of words, writing and stories, I’ve never been one for fiction.  Until recently.   For my new year’s resolution this year I set myself a challenge to read some classics, starting with Dickens.   What an idiot I’ve been.   This stuff is SO good.   It’s the same with Shakespeare, which I’ve also started to get into.   It’s like a period of enlightenment in me to be reading this fantastic, inspirational writing for the first time.    One passage from Great Expectations has really struck a chord with me.    It comes early on when Pip recalls the day he first meets Miss Havisham.   In one paragraph, Dickens writes with such power about how lives can be turned, for good or bad, by one memorable day.    I have to reproduce it here simply because it demonstrates what REAL writing looks like:

“That was a memorable day for me, for it made great changes in me.  But, it is the same with any life.   Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think of how different its course would have been.  Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”  

Now why don’t we see writing like that in the boss’s memo to staff?