I have been enjoying a greyer morning, going through emails, then checking the various news sites I visit daily. My cup of tea lasted long enough for it to go a little beyond the temperature I enjoy, but that is alright as it was all part of the lingering. I am currently reading a book titled Jane Austen Made Me Do It, short stories inspired by the books and life of Jane Austen and I am very much enjoying it. Many of the writers write historical fiction, some romance, some mysteries and thrillers. The different ways of thinking about Jane the individual are imaginative, playful and, sometimes poignant. Some stories explore characters from Austen books, and others, such as Love And Best Wishes, Aunt Jane, imagine Jane in the 21st century. I definitely recommend it to any lovers of Jane Austen, or readers who enjoy short story collections.
My sister sent me some photos she and her family had taken by a friend who is a photographer. They are gorgeous. Her children are, of course, growing up too fast for my liking! They are in a garden, surrounded by lush greenery and starry blue flowers; these are portraits. I am already trying to decide which ones I shall order, which will look best where in my home. I have one spot in one room for photos, so this is a somewhat futile exercise, however, it did expand onto a bookcase recently, so maybe it is not so futile? The expansion is a reflection of not just a growing family but of a family growing older. There are wedding anniversary pictures celebrating 40 years of marriage beside wedding day pictures. New baby pictures have gradually been elbowed out of the way by carefully posed school photos.
As I thought about this, I thought about one of the stories in Jane Austen Made Me Do It. The story is Intolerable Stupidity by Laurie Viera Rigler, and the setting is a courtroom in hell. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is the judge, that terrifying snob from Pride and Prejudice so the likelihood of an impartial trial is minute! On trial are many authors who have “written stories inspired by the work of one of the most beloved authors of all time…” however, the issue brought to the court is the effect it has had on the characters of Austen’s books. Mr. Darcy is the first witness, a handsome man who is wearing a white shirt that is constantly wet. This is as a result of the famous film, where he emerges from a lake after a swim. He tells the court, “No matter what I wear, no matter what I do…I end up wet and shivering.” The discussion moves on and reflects on how the lives of the characters in the books are forever altered by each retelling or new version of the original stories. The characters have, they come to realize, become more human with each new addition to their biography, and thus we are more drawn to them and Austen’s original books than ever.
This is true for us too, this is how we go through our lives. We review, adapt and move forward from those first baby pictures to graduations, vacations, weddings, and the next generation of baby pictures. These are our stories, and we do not remain in place on a page or in an album on the drive of a computer, one person, one form. I need more room for the photos of my family, as I am not willing to put all the previous ones away. It is imortant to see the faces and places as lives change and stories continue…