Tag Archive: Jane Austen


Wishing the Best

Dear Jane,

Dear Jane,

Jane AustenAnother year, another birthday. If I could I would grant you a wonderful birthday, as I would to all of my friends and family.

I wanted to write you a nice letter, I really did. But those darn children of mine have given me a cold. I am a bit wheezy and coughing and having plenty of drainage in the sinus.

I am weak and miserable so I apologize for the not so great letter you are reading at the moment.

I simply do not have the energy or wherewithal to make witty comments and stunning put downs.

Not that there have not been a few opportunities.

The Tea Party Republicans have been making silly demands such as one senatorial candidate in North Carolina who thinks public schools should be closed and that women do not need birth control. Then there are the idiots in the House of Representatives who finally admitted they did not think the government shutdown would really de-fund the ACA, only after the government had been shutdown for 16 days.

Image from Wikipdeia

Image from Wikipdeia

When your Republican Speaker of the house finally says “You’ve got to be kidding me?” I think the faction might have taken things too far. Those goofs are about to find out how much they are not needed to get laws passed that needed to be passed.

But enough on politics.

Life at my house has consisted of Christmas activities and sickness. Our 16 y.o. had bronchitis while the daughter and I are in the midst of colds. I watched way more TV than usual today because what energy I had was zapped up almost immediately. Imagine getting winded from sweeping up the kitchen.

Picture by Mensatic.

Picture by Mensatic.

Soon it will be my birthday. I hope that you can stop by as I am sure there will be some delightful bit of cake. Perhaps over a wonderfully hot cup of tea we can discuss the plot points of my book that need improvement. It is nearly done, I need only one or two more chapters.

Then comes the fun part – editing.

Until next year, wishing you the happiest and a healthy birthday.

Your devoted fan, etc…

Belated Birthday Wishes

Dear Jane,

Please accept my belated birthday wishes to you. I meant to get this letter out much sooner but you know how it goes with a busy family.

I hope you were able to celebrate in high style. A trip to London, high tea, a night at the theater, perhaps a stroll in the public gardens; these are great activities in my eyes. My birthday is in a few weeks, as you well know, and I have no idea how we will celebrate that event.

Jane AustenI have been thinking of you lately as I work on my first novel. I try to write 500 words a day and right now I am at Chapter 8 of 15. But recently, I looked back at Chapter 2 in order to present it to my writing group. I have not sent anything in for a while despite making real progress on the book. While going over the pages to take out any passive verbiage and tighten it all up, I realized that most of this chapter is terrible.

More truthfully, it sucks.

I am now considering re-writing it or ditching the chapter all together. It does not seem to fit or make sense with the rest of the novel that I have written. I think that I have not introduced the problem soon enough. Worse yet, I no longer love my heroine.

Did that ever happen to you? Elizabeth is so lively and charming that I would find it hard not to love her. Elinor, on the other hand, I can imagine getting a bit weary despite her wonderful qualities. Then again, she was a poor woman in Regency England who had known a better life. Her sadness at the loss of her father and potential husband must have been great.

Since working on this novel, I notice how I read a book has changed. I no longer simply enjoy the prose. I am paying attention to how characters are introduced. I listen to how different characters speak. I look at when the problem becomes a problem. The dead body does not always seem to show up by the end of Chapter One but one issue or another is presented that eventually leads us there.

I do no enjoy reading novels any less. I recently finished Kipling’s Captain Courageous and enjoyed the transformation of the rich boy saved by a fishing boat crew. Right now I am re-reading Jane Goes Batty by Michael Thomas Ford in which you are a vampire.  I am discovering little things I did not notice before and quite enjoying it, which is the whole reason why I re-read books. Sometimes in my rush to read a book, I miss details.

Book Cover Image from Amazon.com

Book Cover Image from Amazon.com

One book that has been quite difficult for me to get through is Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. I know her writing is wonderful and I enjoy the descriptions. I know the book was ground breaking for talking about mental illness – battle fatigue in particular – and making that character sympathetic as opposed to a maniacal fool.

It is the stream-of-consciousness style of writing that gives me a headache and I have to put the book down after a page or two. The jump between characters happens so quickly that I am not always so sure who is speaking. I hope that the book I am writing does not give others headaches should I ever finish writing it.

I appreciate any words of wisdom you can send me in this matter. And please let me know about your birthday celebration; I want all of the juicy details.

As always, your devoted friend, etc.

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Wishing the Happiest of Birthdays

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Jane,

 

Image by Melodi2

I wanted to take a few minutes out of this holiday season to wish you a happy birthday on the 16th. If it is possible, I would love to share tea time with you but when is always the question. With all of the events flying around our family, I scarcely get a moment to breathe and think.

 

Last night, our daughter and her Girl Scout troop sang carols at a senior living facility. Later in the evening, our second oldest played in a band concert. I had to run youth group at church and missed out on the concert. Tonight, half of the family will take part in the 4H Christmas party while I attend my daughter’s band concert. Friday night is my office party.

 

My house is getting quite messy. Toys or pieces of toys are strewn about and the dog insists on shedding. Dust is everywhere. I am hoping to spend some time cleaning on Saturday morning before heading to the stores to buy a birthday gift and a grab bag gift suitable for a boy or girl. My daughter is voting for candy although one of her classmates is diabetic.

 

Saturday afternoon my daughter heads to the birthday party while I am off to a Christmas party for children at my church. Then there is a singing time at my church from 5 p.m. till 7 p.m. Our church choir will sing four songs and our youngest member will do a solo of “Emmanuel.” Then I plan to go home, eat some soup and go to bed. I am hoping to stay there till New Year’s but you and I know that is not practical.

 

Book Cover image from barnesandnoble.com

I am being quite rude as I have not asked how you are doing or if you are working on anything new. I look in the stores and hope some forgotten manuscripts have been found but I am always disappointed. I am hoping to begin work on the series by Rebecca Ann Collins which looks at the lives of various characters after “Pride and Prejudice.” Perhaps that will be my goal for the new year.

 

Please let me know when we could have tea together. If it cannot be in December, perhaps we could get together in January. Life slows down considerably and my biggest concern will be cleaning out the ‘closet of doom.’

 

Your devoted fan wishing you the best on your birthday,

etc….

 

Related Posts:

Notes From Rumbly Cottage: Curling Up with a Good Book
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Notes From Rumbly Cottage: My Dream Casting Wishes for Jane Bites Back 

Notes From Rumbly Cottage: Austenland – My Dream Cast

Curling Up With a Good Book

Product Thursday

For those of you who have been long time fans of my blog, you know of my love affair with Jane Austen.

I have read her works, even the unfinished novels and her juvenilia. I tried a few of the copycat books but had a hard time getting into those that tried too hard to get her tone.

Picture by Karyn Bowman

The Austen rip-off I find I love more than anything are the ones that take a distant aspect of a book or fandom. I would like to believe I am a fan and not a fanatic although I did buy a tea cup and saucer set last year because it looked like one from the Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds version of Persuasion.  

Last year I became enamored with Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford.

What a delicious book.

We find out that Jane Austen is alive (sort of) in upstate New York and running her own bookstore. She has a novel that has been rejected by several publishers and wonders if she had only those six or seven novels (if you include Lady Susan which I do) in her to write.

But then an Austen ripoff artist finds out the truth about the bookshop owner. she doesn’t remember a thing but we do. And so starts our journey with Jane Austen, vampire. It was a jolly good romp and I was eager for the second book.

Image from Barnesandnoble.com

Last week I finally picked up my copy of Jane Goes Batty that I ordered it through a local book store (Paperback Reader in Kankakee). A second book in a series can suffer because it has to live up to the liveliness of the first, the freshness of the new world we are seeing and characters we grow to love.

The problem is becomes how to enlarge the space you have created without breaking consistency. How do you broaden the worldview of the characters without destroying everything your readers loved about the original world.

So I started reading the book and I had the book finished within a day. I loved just about every moment. We learn new things about vampires – new skills and new members. Jane, Brian and Walter remain true to their characters although new details are added to Jane’s history that I am not sure matches what we already know.

And then there is the addition of Walter’s mother, Miriam. She is a Jewish mother who knows when her child is lying just by looking at him. Oh, and Walter forgot to mention to Jane that she is converting. Luckily, she finds an understanding rabbi who tries to help Jane help herself.

If that isn’t enough, they are making a movie out of her bestselling book  in her hometown and a rival writer is working on the screenplay. Then there is the evil new editor trying to get Jane to write a book as great as Valley of the Dolls.

What I love is still there: the sarcasm; the wit; the constant drama. Byron remains a lover of any bit of fun and willingness to hog the spotlight but he also displays how he has managed to stay around so long. Walter is the consummate antique home restorer and good-guy boyfriend.

It makes me hungry for the third book, Jane Vows Vengeance, as we get to know Miriam better. I have a feeling there is a little more to Sherman than meets the eye. And Jane has a lot on her plate as she and Walter finally tie the knot. But I am really curious if she will ever tell Walter the truth.

I will probably read the book at least one more time. I am running the church rummage sale this weekend and I will need something to escape to afterwards.

I am soooo looking forward to it.

Getting Stirred Up

This past week I have felt myself get hot and bothered over a number of things that just piss me off royally. I can feel compassion for the people who have been hit by a tornado or other natural disaster. These things happen and there is no control over them.

Picture by Cohdra

People purposefully acting stupid, cruel and plain evil get to me. Some I want to spit at, others I want to slap and some, some I wish could find out what waterboarding is all about because I think they deserve that kind of torture to even out what they gave to their victims. I might want to be a pacifist but I am not very good at it, still.

So let me share a few.

I learned that the First Responders Bill, the legislation forcing our government to help out those people who came to ground zero to help clean-up after 911, has been hi-jacked by idiotic politicians who sought to tack all sorts of amendments on to this bill. If you apply for the health care relief you might need because you are dying of cancer and do not want to leave your family in debt, first you have to prove you are not a terrorist.

While that is a long term plan at best – living in this country, helping with a terror plot and then applying for medical aid to the government you sought to destroy ten years earlier – I bet there are some terrorists jumping for joy at being able to destroy our country by getting money from it. Thanks for that goes to Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida.

Picture by Grafixer

Then there was the whole Donald Trump congratulating himself for getting the truth about Obama’s birth certificate out of the way. Now let’s look at his academic records, Trump says. Really?

You want to investigate the college records of a Harvard Law School graduate? A man who was the editor of the Havard Law Review which only goes to a top student? A man who worked as a professor at a law school? You want to pick a fight with a man who is that much smarter than you?

Hey, Donald? Can we look at the books for your businesses? I hear stories about you losing money for your investors. Perhaps we need to check that out. You know where there is smoke, there is sometimes a blazing hot inferno.

Which leads me to the Birthers and Tea Party members. Where were you guys when we wanted to know if President Bush had really served in the National Guard as he stated? Few pictures or records tell the story on this one. Your dogged determination should have set the record straight on that mystery.

Hey, where were you guys as this war with Iraq went on and on, long after President Bush declared “Mission Accomplished?” Billions have gone from the treasury to pay for this war. We even learned we were lied to about there being weapons of mass destruction. Not a peep out of you people about that or the first round of stimulus money given to the banking industry with no way to track it during the final days of President Bush’s term.

I am not even sure I have heard you people complain about the bombing of Libya all that much. Just the bombs alone covered  NPR ‘s annual budget at least three times. So let’s be honest – do you really want responsible spending OR do you just want to get President Obama out of office?

Now the next thing had me going all day yesterday. Really hot and angry. The news on Sunday reported that a man raped a six-year-old little girl while her brother watched, terrified. This man was a friend of their father’s. He comes into the room and rapes a six-year-old girl.

There are a few choice words for a person who does such a thing. SCUM comes to mind. I could go off on a torrent of swearing. But the one I hope describes him best is DEAD MAN WALKING. It won’t be me who does it. But I hope his life is living hell from now until the moment he does meet our maker. I know Jesus saves but this is going to be tough.

I haven’t told the saddest part of the story yet. This “shitbird,” as one blogger called him, had been turning his life around, making things better. Now he is in jail and his five children are in protective service. All seven of these children need our prayers.

Jane Austen, enhanced portrait by Cassandra Austin, source unknown

Now, remind me again why I prefer to work in my garden and read Jane Austen novels? Why I would rather spend my days quilting or making a fabulous meal or having fun with the kids? Why I would rather stick my head in the sand than listen to this stuff on any given day?

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