CHARLOTTE AND I – PRECOCIOUS AUTHORS (Chapter 1 of 3)

One of these books is worth $1.1 million... Guess which.

Charlotte Brontë and I have a lot in common – we each had a mother, she was born in April and I was born in September (both of which months come after March), and the greatest commonality of all, we both write.

Well, actually, I write; she’s past her prime now, ever since that Jane Eyre thing.  Another thing: each of us published a magazine before we were actually recognized as authors.

In fact, Charlotte’s magazine came up for auction recently.  It was her second publication under the title Young Men’s Magazine.  Like me, she self-published and, like me, she had self-published several magazines before the one that sold at Sotheby’s, in London, England, on December 15th last, for $1.1 million.  American.

Another coincidence: when Charlotte published Issue No. 2 of Young Men’s Magazine, she was 14 years old.  When I published Brew No. 1 of The Squatchberry Journal, I was 34 years old.  The exact same maturity level.

However, there are some differences

Imagine this as 1.4 by 2.4 inches . . .

between us, besides the obvious: I am male, she is female; I am Canadian, she’s British . . .  And, my magazine was bigger, ENORMOUS, compared to Charlotte’s.  Young Men’s Magazine measures 35 by 61 mm, closed, which is, to you metrically challenged, 1.4 by 2.4 inches.  Mine measures 152 by 228 mm, which is 6 by 9 inches, chapbook size.  Enormous, as I said.  Hers has 20 pages; mine has 36.  Hers has some 4,000 words (in 19 pages, page 20 being blank); mine has about 9,200, including photos and illustrations. 

Which works out for her to 210 words per page to my 255 words per page.  Now, your question is, how did I manage to pack 255 words into such a small page?  Easy.  I typed.  Charlotte, on the other hand, wrote by hand.  So she managed to squeeze in only 210 words per 1.4 by 2.4-inch page.

Charlotte was, obviously, typographically challenged, for the Remington company, famous for its rifles and revolvers, would not mass produce its writing machine for another 43 years.

Okay.  I know.  Size doesn’t matter.  Content matters.  Well, we don’t actually know much about the content of Charlotte’s Issue No. 2, the previous owner and the current owner being reluctant to divulge said content when it is valued at $275 per word.  American.

But, in the Sotheby catalogue, the description states the magazine “comprises the title page (p.1), half-title and contents (p.2), ‘a letter from Lord Charles Wellesley’ (pp. 3-10), ‘The Midnight Song’ (pp. 11-14), ‘Journal of a Frenchman (continued)’ (pp.14-18), ‘Advertisements’ (…Six young men wish to let themselves all a hire for the purpose of cleaning out pockets they are in reduced CIRCUMSTANCES . . .) (p. 19), blank except for ‘Em R’ in a different hand (p.20)”. 

Tantalizing stuff, I know.  But compare that to titles in The Squatchberry Journal, Brew No. 1: “Flanigan Foiled Again”, “The Great Sanitary Landfill Debate”,  and “1971 Pays Plat Trip”.

But we do know a lot about the contents of Charlotte’s other magazines.  So we can guess at some of the content of Issue No. 2.

Yep, this is 4,000 words in hand . . .

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About EJ Lavoie

Writer and independent publisher with website www.WhiskyJackPublishing.ca
This entry was posted in BOOK/FILM REVIEWS, SQUATCHBERRY FILES, WRITING and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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