Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett
“Marley was dead to begin with . . . ”
These chillingly familiar words begin the classic Christmas tale of remorse and redemption in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
But, what about Jacob Marley? And why hadn’t he been given the same final chance of redemption as Ebenezer Scrooge?
Or had he?
R. William (Bill) Bennett is the author of Jacob T. Marley, The Christmas Gift, and a new Christmas novel being published by a major publisher for Christmas, 2019
Q&A With R. William Bennett:
1. Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
I love stories that move the human spirit, that wake us up to realizing our gifts and reaching out to do something for others. I love hearing them, I love sharing them.
2. What do you love most in the world?
After my family and my faith, being on the water. Or in the mountains. Or the forest. Or in the yard with the dog.
3. What inspired you to become an Author?
I have always loved telling stories of all kinds. When I was in sixth grade, an author came to our class (Lester Del Rey) and I found out someone would actually pay you to tell stories!
4. What is your favorite Winter / Holiday tradition?
Cuddling with the growing family, watching “Its A Wonderful Life.”
5. What is your trick for getting past writer’s block? And what advice do you have for other authors who are struggling to tell their story?
For writer’s block, my only solution, but it works every time, is get away from your desk and do something physical that will occupy your mind. Not just push-ups or toe-touches. Go for a half hour run, or a long hike, or walk the dog for an hour, and while you are doing it, think about anything but your story. As far as advice, its trite, but its true: Tell the story that’s in you. That does not mean that you shouldn’t have someone else edit and consider their suggestions. But if you feel it, write it.
6. Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it’s yours. What’s your story?
Recently, my nephew died a tragic death. Beset with drug and other problems, his short life ended after only twenty-six years. I was asked to speak at his funeral and while I accepted, I was completely perplexed about anything to say other then ‘don’t be like him.’ In preparing, I read a story of man who had a sister with a host of life problems. In sitting with her in her final hours, he said he could only see her in terms of her trials. At that moment, he received a divine rebuke, allowing him to see what she had accomplished in spite of her trials. His appreciation for who she was starting changing immediately. He said he felt he was being asked by Deity, “Can’t you see that everyone around you is a sacred being?”
I started making a list of my nephew’s qualities, which started slow, but began to grow. I went from feeling his life had no redeeming value, to acknowledging that he had some qualities, to realizing his list of positive character traits was long, and stronger in many ways than mine, to eventually seeing him as a magnificent human being. One who struggled terribly and eventually lost the battle to human frailties, but at the same time, exemplified some of the most important human characteristics – love, forgiveness, patience, imagination, and more. It then struck me how it might change my life to try to see the magnificence in everyone, and let them know I do before I lose the chance.
We miss my nephew terribly, but he was, in the end, successful in leaving a positive legacy, something all of us would hope for at end of our own lives, long or short.