Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Writer Celebrates Jane Austen's 234th Birthday

Do forgive, I have been remiss in celebrating a holdiay of the utmost importance!  Well, we shall have a little evening celebration in a bonus blog post.

Today, my friends, is the birthday of one of the most "universally acknowledged" and admired female writers of all time, our dear Jane Austen. Today she is thirty-four and two hundred.  Please do not tell her that I mentioned her age, it is not at all polite.

Miss Austen's accomplishments were remarkable in her brief life. This humble writer is one of the reasons that so many women today are inspired to write and even seek publication themselves.  Her pseudomym was originally "a lady" as it was not readily acceptable to write under one's own name.  Yet, she earned the respect and admiration of her peers and the readers of her six published works.

Jane Austen wrote about the world in which she lived by quiet observation. It is interesting to note that today we consider her work historical fiction, but at the time of her writing it was contemporary fiction.  As a historical fiction writer it is interesting to note how many others, like myself, try to capture the same period of time in our own writings, though we are writing about the past.  It's rather ironic that we try to emulate her spirit in this way, though more so just by putting pen to hand. 

Oh dear, where are my manners?  May I offer you a cup of tea?

In celebration of this marvelous occasion I'd like to share with you some thoughts on writing, in Jane's own words. 

“I do not know what is the matter with me t day, but I cannot write quietly; I am always wandering away into some exclamation or other.—Fortunately I have nothing very particular to say."

 "I begin already to weigh my words and sentences more than I did, and am looking about for a sentiment, an illustration or a metaphor in every corner of the room. Could my Ideas flow as fast as the rain in the Store closet it would be charming."

"I am fully sensible that an historical romance, founded on the House of Saxe Cobourg, might be much more to the purpose of profit or popularity than such pictures of domestic life in country villages as I deal in. But I could no more write a romance than an epic poem. I could not sit down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life; and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter. No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way."

"There are a few Typical errors -- a 'said he' or a 'said she' would sometimes make the Dialogue more immediately clear--but 'I do not write for such dull Elves as have not a great deal of Ingenuity themselves.'"

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."  

"I . . . am always half afraid of finding a clever novel too clever--& of finding my own story & my own people all forestalled."

"It encourages me to depend on the same share of general good opinion which Emma's Predecessors have experienced, & to believe that I have not yet--as almost every Writer of Fancy does sooner or later--overwritten myself."

"I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on till I am."

" . . . there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labor of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them."

I am doing a little reminiscing about a wonderful time I had with my husband a portraying regency period lady and gentleman at A Jane Austen Gala that we attended a few years ago.  It was one of the highlights of my life, which may sound rather pathetic to you, but oh, how I enjoyed it!  So here we are in costume, myself and my handsome husband Bradford. If you would like to reminisce with me, I have a series of blog posts on my personal blog beginning with Recalling the Ball on Jane Austen’s 234th Birthday! 

To learn more about Jane Austen's writing I have a brief biography here with some resource links. 

Later, if you are in the mood to do some regency period reading, which I absolutely love, you may wish to peek at my  Regency Romance Reading Recommendations.  

And now, I shall wish you all a delightful evening!


  1. Carla, Am wondering if there's a Regency WIP in your future!? Love the pics of you both at the gala. Things like that make life so sweet and interesting. I like a man who does that!
    I've always been a fan of Jane. The book by Nancy Moser called Just Jane just arrived from my pub and I can't wait to read it. Will have to check out your links. Thanks!

  2. Oh, I think there just may be. Actually, Resurrection in the Cotswolds is one I have in the works, it's in my own slushpile! Most of the others are Victorians. I haven't decided on the period for The Silence of Verity Crewe, that might make an interesting Regency.

    I always wanted to read Nancy Moser's historicals, especially Just Jane.

    We had so much fun at the gala. I couldn't believe Brad said yes. He's such a macho guy, but he actually enjoyed himself and was quite a dashing date.

  3. "I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on till I am."

    Amen sister.

    Carla, that's a keeper quote. That was delightful to read her thoughts on writing. A first for me.

  4. What a fun and interesting post! I always enjoy my visits here:) Thanks too, for the contest. It was a nice surprise! Blessings to you and your readers,

  5. Amen, indeed, Lori! "...I must write on until I am." Let us remember those good words!

    I'm glad you enjoy your visits here, Karen!

  6. Thanks for inviting me to the birthday bash! :-)I wonder what poor Jane would think of the latest hit with teens -- Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies? And they're actually making it into a movie! Oy.

  7. Kav, ew, I know! What would Jane think? Thanks for coming to the party!


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