More Austen Please

“Know your own happiness. Want for nothing but patience — or give it a more fascinating name: Call it hope.” ~Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)

My son recently asked me, “Why do you take breaks from writing (work) to write more (for personal pleasure)?”

“Because I must and I love to.”

He looked strangely at me because the required realities of essays, papers (and such for school) etc. do not light him on fire. He is a great writer (he might disagree) but he doesn’t like to do so.

I remember (during the growing up years) dreading the 4-6 page plot level compositions (yawn) and (even recently in college) being overwhelmed by the challenges to compose lengthy papers which critique and analyze a few sentences. Overall, I love to write and have since I was a child.

Jane Austen has been an inspiration to me (and thousands of other female writers). She died on my birthdate and I have always felt a kind of kindred connection with her.  In more recent years, she has developed somewhat of a cult following to the degree that other writers compose novels in the Austen style. Not only do I enjoy her texts, I have watched probably every Austen film that has been created. The following are some of my favorites!

Emma

Sense and Sensibility

Pride and Prejudice

Becoming Jane

Bradbury’s Brainy Bites

Work is done for the day so time to ponder.  I was thinking about Ray Bradbury tonight.  He’s the author of two of my favorite texts: Fahrenheit 451 and Dandelion Wine.  He has penned so many inspiring words I have trouble choosing only some quotes (a few are taped to the shelf above my desk).  Long story shorter (I can never guarantee short), here’s a few of my faves:

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” ~Bradbury

“He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often–he searched for a simile, found one in his work–torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?” ~ Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” ~ Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

“You’ll find out it’s little savors and little things that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it’s full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing. You’ve time to seek and find.”~Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)

“Are you happy?” she [Clarisse] said. “Am I what?” he [Montag] cried. But she was gone- running in the moonlight. Her front door shut gently.” ~ Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. “ ~ Bradbury

“If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: “It’s gonna go wrong.” Or “She’s going to hurt me.” Or,”I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . .” Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” ~Bradbury
 
“You’re either in love with what you do, or you’re not in love.” ~Bradbury 
 

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~Bradbury

“A”

I owe it all to my ex. I had no idea when he left that I would end up sharing my bed with so many men. Granted, it’s a king size bed (everyone should have a king size bed) so there’s plenty of room. Furthermore, it’s a cloud of pillow top softness so all the more comfy. Hence, numerous visitors, day and night.

The night-time visitors are usually the most memorable. Samuel Clemens has been camped out for weeks now and it’s been a struggle to make room for others. For the last three years or so, I’ve had a string of intimate affairs:  Langston Hughes, Bradbury (a frequent guest), Frost, Longfellow, Sherman Alexie, George Orwell, Browning, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hawthorne, Shakespeare, Frederick Douglass, Junot Diaz, Frank Abate, William Blake, M. L. King Jr., C. L. R. James, José Martí and, yes, even Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman. Some controversial characters have surfaced as well such as Karl Marx, Nietzsche, Freud and Rousseau.

I don’t discriminate much. In fact, I am passionately opposed to censorship. Therefore, I will continue to have an open door policy. If some people judge me because of my taste in men authors and slap a scarlet “A” on my forehead, so what.

Like Twain’s famous protagonist states, “You’ll say it’s dirty low-down business; but what if it is?” And I’ll continue to enjoy every second of it.