Fan of Dickens but not so much with the word count? An article I just read, “Rambling Man,” by Rosemarie Bodenheimer, gives some interesting insight as it draws some parallels between Dickens the walker — who apparently liked to go for a lengthy stroll on a regular basis — and Dickens the writer:
Charles Dickens counted miles as well as pages. His sense of the intimate relation between walking and writing can best be glimpsed through his correspondence, which attests to a strenuous interplay between the two.
But it also gives a glimpse as to why the man was so darned grim:
Weeks later, in February 1865, he reported being laid up with a wound that he explained to friends as “a frost-bitten foot, from much walking in deep Kentish snow.” Forster got a full-blown explanation: Dickens had had perpetually wet feet in boots that swelled and shrank; he’d repeatedly forced his boot onto a swollen left foot, and continued his rituals of work and walks, until he found himself lame in the snow, three miles from home. The dogs, he reported, were terrified. The pain, causing “sleepless agony,” went on for two months. Then he returned to his 10 miles a day, but he could not wear shoes or boots in the evenings, and he ordered the first of several extra-large boots for his left foot.
He sounds like an absolute peach, don’t he? I bet what he really needed was a comfy pair of Crocs.
Read more about the Rambling Man . . . if you can stomach it.