As you get to know me, you will know I constantly have questions flowing about in my mind. I love asking for the opinions of others, asking people to think of how they feel and think about things. In doing so, I hope to help people think outside the box, and learn what others think and feel about topics. So today, here is what I have to make us think and feel.
If you could have one day to go back in time and spend it with Jane Austen, what would you like to do or say to her? Do you have questions you would love to have her answer?
Personally, I would like to thank her for so many things. Without her amazing stories, I do not think I would have read so much. I am dyslexic, though when I was a kid during the 70’s in central Illinois, no one knew what dyslexia was, so I didn’t read much. Other authors were difficult for me to read, though Jane Austen had a style which was easy for me to read.
Another thing I would thank her for is giving us characters that would span centuries, more loved all over the world. We can all see traits in the characters in our lives. Who hasn’t known a Wickham, a Mr Collins, a Caroline Bingley, a Lady Catherine? How many people in modern times behave in the same way as the upper circle of society, looking down on the common folks? Are the manners of superiority of those like Lady Catherine or Caroline Bingley only applicable to 1812, or do we see the same currently? In my opinion, they are timeless. There will always be someone who think they are deserving more than they have. There will always be those who suck up to the wealthy and powerful. And there will always be those who have work hard to take care of those wealthy and powerful, underpaid and treated poorly.
Jane Austen also deserves my thanks for all she has brought into my life. I have hundreds of friends who are in my life now due to Jane Austen. People all over the world who are important to me and have become family by heart to me, all because of a love for Jane Austen’s stories and characters. My dear sister by heart Kay Tanner, who is a retired school teacher in Oxfordshire, England. My daughter by heart Jeanna Burrill who lives 20 minutes from me and is as dear friend and family (she writes as Jeanna Ellsworth). So many others who have been there through my ups and downs over the last 11 years. If I had never fallen in love with Jane Austen’s stories, my life would be so much emptier. Between Jane Austen and JAFF, I have been able to cope with things far better than I would have previously.
There is also a need to thank her for helping me reach inside myself and allow my creative brain to flow. Her characters have given me a freedom in my mind which gave me a new purpose I never would have expected. If you had asked me 11 years ago if I would be writing, I would have laughed. My family was shocked as well, after I told them (kept it quiet for a while at first). It has allowed me to channel my emotions into the characters I have written in my stories. My favorite example of this would be when I was writing Magical, Mystical Lizzy. I had paid a man to remodel my kitchen. After the kitchen was torn out, the man disappeared, never to return. My retribution was taken out on Wickham’s character, when he falls through the boards, injuring his manhood, and dying from gangrene to said manhood. Talk about a fun way to take out frustration in a legal way and make money to boot.
Now, things I would like to ask her about would be a long list. First, I would ask her how she would feel about how she has inspired women (and men) for more than 200 years. Last year, I had to have cardiac ablation, after my heart rate was refusing to stay in a normal range (where it should be below 100 bpm, mine got up to over 200 bpm). When I was in the recovery room, I was talking to the male nurse. Told him that my service dog was named for Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. The nurse came back with the comment, at least, it wasn’t a Wickham. That is how far Jane Austen’s work has reached in our culture. It impressed me so much. My opinion is Jane would be shocked to see how far her work has reached, between movies, books, conventions, and more. The fact she has influenced people to be in groups like this, sharing ideas, sharing information, and sharing a love for what Jane gave us is incredible.
Another question I would like to ask is how she would feel about how far women have come since her era. She published as A Lady, as it was deemed improper for ladies to publish their writing. Now we have an huge number of women publishing under their own name or a pen name they choose, not a vague A Lady. Thanks to Amazon’s self publishing program, many of us have been able to write and publish, without having to go through a professional publisher. A friend author once told me that she had submitted her first book to a publisher company. They told her that they weren’t interested as they felt that it was just a small genre that was a passing craze. Forgive me if I laugh, as that was around 8 years ago and the number of JAFF books has risen so much since. It continues to grow each year. So far, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down at all, we all crave more stories with our darling Darcy and Elizabeth.
So what would you have to say or ask Jane Austen? Or would you just enjoy sharing a cup of tea and a biscuit or scone, and enjoy spending the day around her?
Much love everyone, and thanks for being part of such an amazing “family”. You are all fantastic and I am grateful to all who have been a part of my life through this chapter of my tale. Here’s to many more years and fun to come.