Please note: JASNA’s gift to us all today is the publication of volume 32 of Persuasions On-Line!
Today I welcome JASNA-Vermont member Michelle Singer, whose love of Jane Austen has inspired her to rally several of her literary neighbors to form our new co-ed literary / quizzing book group . Michelle originally wrote this letter for the newsletter of a Montpelier, Vermont parent group called Mama Says – in it she shares the sheer joy in her discovery of Jane Austen… and I wanted to share it with you today, in celebration of Jane Austen’s 236th birthday as part of the December 16th Soiree. Please see below for instructions on commenting and the prize drawing.
Dear Miss Austen,
I am tempted to begin this letter with “My Dearest Jane” because you
are dear to me although we don’t know each other and I suspect that if
we did, I would be your social inferior by quite a bit (what I wouldn’t
give for a couple of good servants)!
Today, your 236th birthday, I’m wearing a white t-shirt with Mrs. Darcy in glitter iron-on letters that I made myself complete with rhinestone embellishments. What?! Exactly. Skipping the necessary explanations—rhinestone, iron-on, and even t-shirt—and the complete wonder of the world as it is now, is the line I’ve crossed by making (and wearing) this shirt—not just a reader who loves your novels, but a fan. Maybe even an embarrassing fan. But I’m willing to risk it because of my love.
It’s the novels, yes. It’s the mastery of the language and structure, wit,
satire, characterizations—all those words we learned to describe the joy
of reading your work. But you know what it really is? It’s the hours
spent in your “company”: The pale mornings when I held a newborn
baby in my lap and read Emma, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park while
they slept; The way entering the world of your novels has lifted me up
as a mother and a woman, fanning tiny pieces of myself and my sanity
back to life when they were burning low.
Thank you for telling a story so well that I could get lost in it. For
showing the possibilities of language, beautifully wrought. Thank you
for the laughs! For Pride & Prejudice and Mr. Darcy (oh how I wish you
could see Colin Firth)! For Emma and Mr. Knightley andMiss. Bates!
Thank you for your “own darling children” which have grown up to
make me a better mother. Two hundred years after Sense & Sensibility
was published, for all the times you sat down, pen and ink, despite everything else that might have claimed you, I am eternally grateful.
Your friend and fan,
Michelle A. L. Singer
Thank you Michelle for that beautiful tribute to Austen!
As part of Austen’s birthday celebration, I entreat you all to cancel all other commitments today and visit these thirty other Austen-related blogs [see below for the list and links – it will take all day!] – there are prizes awaiting at each! – all you have to do is comment on any and all to be entered into the various random drawings.
At Jane Austen in Vermont, please comment with a few words on what you would say in a love letter to Jane Austen, thanking her for whatever her works have done to inspire you in your daily life, or what you would like to give her as a birthday gift. All comments will be entered into the drawing for the 2012 JASNA Calendar from the JASNA-Wisconsin group [I will be giving away two calendars – and the giveaway is worldwide]. Deadline is midnight December 23rd – I will announce the winners that morning of the 23rd!
This calendar is a must have addition to your Austen collection! – there is a tidbit for almost every day of the year as to some aspect of Austen’s life and fiction. Today’s entry in my 2011 calendar says:
1775 – Jane Austen is born
1810 – Charles Musgrove marries Mary Elliot
[one does wonder why she chose to have them marry on her birthday?! – any comments??]
The 2012 Jane Austen Wall Calendar is an updated edition with beautiful illustrations by C.E. and H.M. Brock, new quotations from Austen’s novels and letters, with an entry on each date. The calendar measures 11 inches by 17 inches and is printed in color. Each page features a Brock color tinted drawing from one of the six novels, suggested by an entry for that month. Based upon biographies, R.W. Chapman’s chronologies of the stories, and Jane Austen’s letters, the calendar is a year-long reminder of Austen’s life and novels.
And if you don’t win, you can purchase the calendar at the JASNA website here.
And finally – what would I give Jane Austen for her birthday? Last year I compiled a veritable treasure trove of gifts for Jane – I send you back to that link [please note that some of the links are no longer working – a tribute to the illusive nature of the blogsphere…] – you can also comment there to be entered into this drawing!
So for this year I would add the following: Jane Austen’s own very best love letter, that from Captain Wentworth to Anne:
[they also have on offer Mr. Darcy’s letter, all five pages of it in an envelope!
The December 16 Birthday Soiree Participants:
1. Sharon Lathan – Blog: Sharon Lathan
Giveaway : Miss Darcy Falls in Love
2. Emily Snyder – Blog: O! Beauty Unattempted
Giveaway: Letters of Love & Deception
3. Laurel Ann Nattress – Blog: Austenprose
Giveaway: signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It
4. C. Allyn Pierson – Blog: SemiTrue Stories
Giveaway: Mr Darcy Little Sister (open worldwide)
5. Cindy Jones – Blog: First Draft
Giveaway: a signed copy of My Jane Austen Summer”and a package of Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea by Bingley’s, Ltd.
6. Farida Mestek – Blog: Regency stories set against the backdrop of Regency England
Giveaway: I was Jane Austen Best Friend by Cora Harrison
7. Marilyn Brant – Blog: Brant Flakes
Giveaway : A canvas ACCORDING TO JANE tote bag and a pair of A SUMMER IN EUROPE luggage tags.
8. Prue Batten – Blog: Mesmered’s Blog
Giveaway : Anna Elliot’s Georgiana Darcy (Kindle book)
9. Erin Blakemore – Blog: The Heroine’s Bookshelf
Giveaway : a set of Potter-Style Pride and Prejudice notecards
10. Velvet – Blog: vvb32 reads
Giveaway: Jane Austen’s Little Instruction Book (Charming Petites)
11. Karen Doornebos – Blog: The Fiction vs. Reality Smackdown
Giveaway: 2 Jane Austen Candles and 2 signed DNMD books plus drink coasters and tea!
12. ReginaJeffers – ReginaJeffers’s Blog
Giveaway: An autographed copy of “Christmas at Pemberley
13. Alyssa Goodnight – Blog: Alyssa Goodnight
Giveaway: Jane Austen Action figure
14. Deb Barnum – Blog: Jane Austen in Vermont
Giveaway [open worldwide]: JASNA 2012 calendar from the Wisconsin JASNA Region
15. Laura Hile, Susan Kaye, Pamela Aidan, and Barbara Cornthwaite – Blog: Jane Started It!
Giveaway: One copy of Young Master Darcy: A Lesson in Honour by Pamela Aidan;
One set of Frederick Wentworth, Captain (Books 1 and 2) by Susan Kaye;
Two copies of Mercy’s Embrace: So Rough a Course (Book 1) by Laura Hile;
George Kinghtley, Gentleman (Books 1 and 2) by Barbara Cornthwaite.
16. Juliet Archer – Blog: Choc Lit Authors’ Corner
Giveaway: a copy of “Persuade Me” and one of “The Importance of Being Emma”
18. Jenny Allworthy – Blog : The Jane Austen Film Club
Giveaway: a copy of Northanger Abbey DVD starring Felicity Jones and JJ Feild (The winner will choose region 1 or 2 DVD)
19. Sitio Jane Austen – Blog: El Salón de Té de Jane
Giveaway: – Spanish edition of Sense and Sensibility for the 200th Anniversary + A DVD package with adaptations of Jane Austen
(It’s only zone 2, but it’s in Spanish and English ) + blu-ray of the BBC’s Emma with Romola Garai
20. Kaitlin Saunders – Blog : Kaitlin Saunders
Giveaway: “A Modern Day Persuasion”
21. Becky Rhodehouse – Blog: One Literature Nut
Giveaway: selection of Austenesque Reads
22. Patrice Sarath – Blog: Patrice Sarath
Giveaway: A copy of The Unexpected Miss Bennet
23. Adriana Zardini – Site: Jane Austen Brasil
Giveaway: DVD – Sense and Sensibility (1995) – English / Portuguese subtitles
24. Jane Odiwe – Blog: Jane Austen Sequels
Giveaway: a mug with one of Jane Odiwe’s illustrations and a copy of her “Mr Darcy’s Secret”
25. Courtney Webb – Stiletto Storytime
Giveaway: Noble Satyr by Lucinda Brant (Regency Romance)
26. Jennifer Becton – Blog: Jennifer W. Becton
Giveaway: An ebook of the Personages of Pride and Prejudice Collection, which contains all of my Austenesque works: Charlotte Collins, “Maria Lucas,” and Caroline Bingley. The giveaway will be open internationally.
28. Abigail Reynolds – Blog: Pemberley Variations
Giveaway: a signed copy of “Mr. Darcy’s Undoing”
29. Blog: AustenAuthors
Giveaway: Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester
30. Katherine Cox – Blog: November’s Autumn
Giveaway :$10 B&N Gift-card (US only)
31. Maria Grazia – Blog: My Jane Austen Book Club
Giveaway : A selection of Austenesque reads
I welcome your comments! Please do so by midnight December 23rd. May everyone win something!
Happy Birthday Jane!