Banished from Pemberley

I have banished myself from Pemberley.

I thought long and hard about what to give up for Lent, but all along I knew I needed to give up the thing that I most crave in the world: reading Jane Austen fan fiction.

It sounds silly, I am sure. It is silly, in fact, but I can’t help it. Reading about Darcy and Elizabeth is escapism at its best for me; it takes my mind off everything else in the world, and does it in such an easy fashion that it takes very little effort on my part. (I always say that I don’t read much fantasy because I don’t like being introduced to new worlds and having to learn about them. With my Darcy stories, I don’t have to learn anything at all; the characters and locations are already familiar.)

I have been going crazy for the past 24 hours, though. I have built some powerful habits around this addiction, so every time I sit down to eat a snack, for instance, I find myself reaching for my phone. It’s going to take some time to reach for something else — or nothing else, really. It would be much better for me to live in the present and heighten my awareness of the world around me.

This world, however, is much more difficult for me than the world of Regency England, of entails and suitors and Lady Catherine deBourgh, of balls and fine eyes and ten thousand a year. This world is challenging and messy and stressful, and for whatever reason I find myself less and less able to handle that stress.

My hope is that the time I would have spent reading on my phone will now be spent in doing healthier things. Perhaps that will go a long way toward enabling me to live in the here and now, and no longer in days of yore (and yesteryear.)

Lyme Park Snowdrops IMG_0083aBR by Brian Rogers / CC BY

Plan #11 – Corral my favorite books

Books

As part of my ongoing guest room update, I moved a couple of bookcases back into the room from other points in the house. One is serving as a nightstand/shelf for books that guest people might be interested in (such as random fiction, anthologies of trivia, and all our old high school yearbooks). The other is my stash of Books of Yore.

You see, I am obsessed with the past. Growing up, my two favorite authors were Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House books, and Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women. You may have heard that Quinland’s middle name, Rose, was chosen because of ties to both of them. As I got older, I became interested in their lives and their journeys as writers, and I started collecting books about them as well as adding to my collection of books by them. (Don’t ask how many editions of Little Women I have. Each one is different in some way!)

In the last ten years or so, I began my love affair with Jane Austen. Inspired by the 2005 Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice, I read all of Austen’s books and fell in love. Again, I have begun to collect books about her as well as books by her. I have a few fan-fiction sequels, as well, though thankfully I can get my fill of those online. (I stumbled upon the ones I have at a garage sale. Can you imagine? I simply had to buy them all.)

Around the same time, I started to read L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. I enjoyed them tremendously, but when I read her Emily of New Moon series, Emily replaced Anne in a heartbeat. I love those books. Something about Emily and her quest to become a writer just resonates with something inside me, though I fully admit I haven’t shown anywhere near the passion – the need to write stories – that she did. Someday… someday.

All these old books about young people got me interested in old educational materials, and I’ve started to pick those up when I find them. I have a set of McGuffy’s Readers (a reproduction set, of course), but I’ve also found some really interesting textbooks on specific subjects at antique shops and estate sales. It’s fascinating to see how straightforward they are. No bells and whistles and games and illustrations for those kids! Just stuff to memorize and questions to answer, the way God intended. (Just kidding. In case there was any confusion on that point.)

Historical fiction; biographies; old school books… hooray! I love that bookshelf. Every time I see those books, they make me happy. They spark joy. I purge my books on a regular basis, but those ones are definite keepers.

 

Mr. Darcy Hates My Blog

Oh! Mr DARCY!

I have dragged myself out of bed to write this post.

Honestly, I had completely forgotten that I’d wanted to post something tonight. For that matter, I hadn’t even remembered that I had a blog. I’d gone peacefully to bed – a mere two hours after I had intended to – without a blogging thought in my mind.

I blame Mr. Darcy.

Yes, that Mr. Darcy. Fitzwilliam Darcy, master of Pemberley, love of Elizabeth Bennet’s life. If it weren’t for him and his fan fiction, I would have happily blogged the evening away.

But no… Jane Austen had to create him, women everywhere had to fall in love with him, and those evil fans over at Meryton.com had to go and write their fan fiction about him.  Fan fiction in which he and Elizabeth anticipate their wedding vows! In which he challenges Wickham to a duel! In which Lydia is banished to Ireland after losing her virtue and becoming with child! In which Bingley jilts Jane!

Yeah, it’s been a busy night over at my house (and at Longbourn as well, apparently). I probably shouldn’t get too down on Darcy; he has distracted me admirably from the fact that I return to work tomorrow after six months off. (He’s also a fine, upstanding partner to me on my phone’s Tichu app. That dastardly Bingley, on the other hand…)

xo – Lori

Daily Check-In:

I’m grateful to Deb and Trav for a lovely barbecue today! We had such a good time. (And to all the Jane Austen fan fiction writers out there: You have my undying gratitude. I am thoroughly diverted.)

I’m also grateful, of course, for the photo by BinaryApe.