Writing, Reading, and Listening

It was a long winter.  For everyone.

But today — as I was hiking under a clear blue sky — I felt the weight of winter (finally) lifting.

Oh, the joy!

Nature has the incredible power to change our mood and also open doors of inspiration that allow words to flow easily and naturally.  She also helps us to notice beauty (if we listen).

During my hike, halfway up the hill, I sat down on a bench and took out my paperback copy of The Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay to a most appropriate page:

***

I will be the gladdest thing

   Under the sun!

I will touch a hundred flowers

   And not pick one.

 

I will look at cliffs and clouds

   With quiet eyes,

Watch the wind bow down the grass,

   And the grass rise.

 

And when lights begin to show

   Up from the town,

I will mark which must be mine,

And then start down.

— Afternoon on a Hill, Edna St. Vincent Millay

I’m hoping that the coming (warmer) months will bring more days “under the sun” and will fulfill us all in such a way that the simple touch of a flower will bring us joy, gladness, and inspiration.

To be outdoors — experiencing nature in her full glory — just feels “right,” doesn’t it?

Going forward, I will be spending less time on the computer and more time just “listening.”  

I will not miss my computer.

I don’t think anyone on their deathbed has every uttered, “Oh, how I wish I’d spent more time on my laptop.”

So, enjoy the weekend,

breathe some fresh air,

and spend an afternoon, outdoors,

perhaps on a hill,

and listen.

 

 

 

Exposition, Development, Recapitulation and Austen

Today, over at What Jane Austen Didn’t Tell Us, we are revisiting a post on the similarities between the sonata form and Austen’s writing.  

I found it interesting and compelling, when listening to Pleyel’s Sonatina in D Major in its sonata form (exposition, development, and recapitulation), to imagine Jane Austen, the musician.  Did she, I wonder, internalize the sonata three-part formula for her stories?  Her novels, as we know, are in three-part volumes.  There are some that speculate that, in fact, she did.  

Continue reading…

pianokeys1

Jane Austen and the Accomplished Woman

Today, over at What Jane Austen Didn’t Tell Us, Meg Levin discusses what Austen meant by an “accomplished woman.”

One of the most interesting scenes in Pride and Prejudice is the three-way conversation among Elizabeth Bennet, Caroline Bingley and Mr. Darcy on the subject of accomplished women. Along with skill at needlework and various crafts, Miss Bingley declares that “a woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.” Darcy adds, “…and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

accomplishedMiss Bingley‘s views were commonly held by upper class women who wanted to catch an eligible bachelor. But many of Jane Austen’s readers would have known that the proper education of women was a controversial subject at the turn of the nineteenth century.

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Dear writers…

Once there was a little document who lived all alone in a WIP folder.  After several years, the folder grew and housed several other little documents.

“One day I will become an ebook,” said the youngest document who was smart, brave, and fell within in a specific genre.  “No!” shouted the others.  “Stay here on the computer, where it is safe and warm, for it is ugly and mean out there in the world.  People will judge you and rate you.”

But the young document persisted, replying, “Although I am safe and secure on the computer, I am not happy here.  I must get out into the world, for I believe in constructive criticism.”

And so, the Master of the keyboard, acknowledging the little document’s frustration, turned it into an ebook.

“I’m alive!” shouted the ebook, who felt very much satisfied with the ultimate decision.  “I’m being read.”

Be brave, dear writers, be brave.

Or at least let your document be brave for you.

Pride and Prejudice and Coffee (my doc-turned-ebook is now alive on amazon.

2018 03 19 pale cover for EbookIt

Wedgwood, Austen, and Staffordshire

Today, over at What Jane Austen Didn’t Tell Us, we’re discussing the genius of Josiah Wedgwood and the special ground that both he and Jane Austen walked upon.

wedgwoodteasetJane Austen didn’t tell us what brand of china the Bennets used, but the Austens ate off Wedgwood plates. She refers to her family’s own Wedgwood collection in a letter to Cassandra in which she writes to her sister about “the pleasure of receiving, unpacking & approving our Wedgwood ware.”

Staffordshire’s soil, in the Midlands of west central England, offered miners rich deposits of clay unlike any other region in England. It was Nature herself who provided this rich clay for potters such as Josiah Wedgwood.

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“Pride and Prejudice and Coffee” – Review & Giveaway — Just Jane 1813

I’m delighted to share JustJane1813’s review and giveaway of Pride and Prejudice and Coffee!  

by Mary C.M. Phillips Buy on Amazon Goodreads “If he does not come to me, then,” said she, “I shall give him up for ever.” 1,383 more words

Click here to read and enter giveaway “Pride and Prejudice and Coffee,” By Mary C.M. Phillips/ A Review, Excerpt & Giveaway — Just Jane 1813

Pride and Prejudice and Coffee

Yesterday I released my first ebook and am wondering what took me so long!  It’s a great high, this experience, and although caffeine might be playing a part in all of this, I cannot express the feeling of satisfaction when a friend (or acquaintance) grasps the “message” of the story; the message that we writers spend time crafting and scrutinizing over. Not to mention the editing (Oh, the editing).

Even better is when we actually inspire the reader…in some small way.

So…

Say it.  Write it.  Publish it.

And, if you’re so inclined, sip on a cup of coffee while you’re at it.

Pride and Prejudice and Coffee – Available on amazon