Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Perspectives of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility: Understanding Marianne Dashwood

***Post was amended 04/18/2011 To include the Austen Hero I forgot to mention. Shame on me!***

I owe my dear readers a post. :D

As I sit here reflectively, at my new antique writing desk, with Sarah Evans ‘A Little Bit Stronger’ in the background, I realize that it has been almost a year since my ex and I parted ways. Well, he parted for an 18 year old who wasn’t even out of high school yet, but my point with this post comes out of my recent rereading of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

The first time I read Sense and Sensibility I was a teenager in high school. I immediately liked Elinor. She was the strong one who when the need arose was the rock that supported those around her while she struggled on the inside. I identified with her because I saw myself in her. I hardly wear my heart on my sleeve as I would not rather portray my weaknesses. It’s been known to create some problems in my relationships, but I can’t change who I am.

I never identified with Marianne and her heartbreak with Willoughby until now. I always thought Marianne was ruled too much by emotion and gave her heart too freely. Perhaps, she still does give her heart too freely, but having been through two devastating heartbreaks I can honestly say that I see Marianne differently now. She is ruled by emotion, which hurts her---making her ill to the point of death even---but she doesn’t sit on the sidelines waiting for life to come to her. She takes life by the hand and runs with it.

It is amazing how your perspective of Jane Austen changes with life’s circumstances. So, how has that changed me? Well my first heartbreak was over five years ago. He is married now and I remember him fondly, for our good times, as a first love. Just like Marianne will never truly forget Willoughby, I will not truly forget who first held my heart.

My second heartbreak is much more recent. Do I regret my choices? I suppose I regret giving my affection to a man who did not feel the same about me. When I found out his new choice of woman---much like Marianne felt about Willoughby’s Miss Grey----I was hurt, but then I realized I have the better end of the bargain. I am independent, I have two college degrees, I have a budding career, a loving family, fantastic friends and a whole lot of dreams which I wish to pursue. I deserve better than a man who treated me as a passing fancy and I am at peace with it.

So, do I know what I want should the next gentleman (because I will accept nothing but a gentleman) come to call? Yes I do! I want someone with the Tilney wit, Colonel Brandon’s steadfastness, Darcy’s strength, Wentworth’s passion, Knightly's acceptance of a persons faluts and Bertram’s friendship. It’s quite a list, but one should never settle.

I am proud to say in my family we have only ever had two divorces. Pretty astounding for this day in age, but for me personally when I get married I want it to be a onetime deal. My list of criteria isn’t so bad. If I ask too much then someone will point it out eventually.

In the meantime I have a book to write. Saving Grace will be appearing in the self-publish realm sometime next year…. I hope. Although, I have to say compared to other Jane Austen Fan Fiction it is far off the beaten track. I love the current offering of Jane Austen Sequels/variations and I have many favorite authors, but I had to be different. It’s a sickness. LOL.

What makes my book different? Well you will have to read it, but I will say the following: It is dark and it confronts difficult issues. Colonel Fitzwilliam has what we today would call PTSD. He is tortured and in a very dark place. His story is not for the weak at heart.

My heroine, Lady Grace, had her heartbroken and doesn’t want to go through it again. She is also suffocating within the constraints put on women during the Regency era.

This is no light historical romance. I don’t like easy. Have I struggled as I write this? With some of my darkest scenes, for the Colonel and Grace, I find myself feeling horrible after I finish them. I have to put on music to set the mood and to get me to that place and coming back from those places can be hard. I wanted this to be a realistic story, with real problems and a romance which slowly builds until it just has to happen. I hope I achieve that.

You will have to let me know how I succeed when I finally set a release date and you are able to purchase this book. Speaking of which, I have to get back to chapter 9 and work out the next piece of the story.

Until next time friends.


Jessica said...

Well, your ex sounds like a real winner! Glad you're rid of him! I like your list! Don't settle!

And YAY for self-publishing!

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

Ugh, lovely ex. Guys like that make me wonder ... Meanwhile, I LOVE your list! I might adopt it too, since that's so neatly packaged :o) I'm also waiting - waiting for *forever* ... I don't wanna settle for something that'll shatter me, I'd rather hang around a little longer and have my fairy tale. :o)

Love that Sara Evans song, and this one too, which I'm sure you prolly know, but hey: :o)

Nancy Kelley said...

I'd say you're well quit of your ex! Somehow, most women have a Willoughby or two in their past. I know I do. I love your list, and to it I will add that I want a man with Knightley's faith in me, and his patience with my shortcomings.