Tag Archives: wilkie collins

Journal Writing Tuesday

24 Jan

Who writes letters anymore? A quick email, a text or a phone call is more the way to go these days.

There are two things going on in my life right now that have caused me to think about the slower pace of life in years that have passed not so long ago.

The first is that I have begun corresponding with some older relatives who do not “do email.” A cousin of my dad’s (that would make her my first cousin once removed) has written letters to me several times after she found out that I had written a book. And another cousin on my mom’s side has helped me with a writing project I am working on. She remembers my mom in the years of World War II when my dad was overseas, and my mom wrote to him nearly everyday for three years.

The second factor is the book I finished last night — The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. This novel was written and set in the mid-nineteenth century. I found myself frustrated at the slow pace, and sometimes at the slowness of the characters to move on and solve the crime! Without telephones, even the police had to write notes to be hand delivered, make a special trip by horse-drawn carriage or train, or rely on the mail. However, mail delivery seemed to be much quicker and more reliable than it is today!

As a journal activity, try writing a letter. You can write the first draft in your journal first, and then rewrite on stationery. Remember stationery? Most everyone has an elderly relative or friend who would love receiving a letter. Or send it to a child. Everyone loves opening mail! Who knows? We could start a new trend, and keep the Postal Service in business as well.

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Reading Classics

20 Jan

Instead of a traditional book review, I want to write about the book I am reading right now — The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Collins was a good friend of Charles Dickens, and I detect something of Dickens’ style inĀ The Moonstone. Or maybe it is just the dense, complex, descriptive writing that was in vogue in the nineteenth century.

I have progressed about half way through this novel, considered to be one of the first and finest detective novels ever written. The action moves much slower than we twenty-first century readers are accustomed to. But it gives an insight into the class system of Victorian England that can’t be done even the the best historical detective novel written today, but set in that period.

I find it particularly interesting that the detective, Sergeant Cuff, disappears about a third of the way through the story, after he is paid and dismissed by the Lady Verinder. Time passes, Lady Verinder dies, and various other events occur to people who were present when the Moonstone was purportedly stolen from Lady Verinder’s daughter Rachel. But nothing more has happened in locating this gem.

The Moonstone belongs to a slower time, when people did not expect to find answers immediately, and they had time to wait and do move at a slow pace, in their reading and in their life.

How often do you go back and read classics? Have you left them behind with your school books? Is it still valuable to read books written more than a hundred years ago?