Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Arrives

Okay, so it's that time of year again.

I adore spring, enjoy fall, tolerate summer, but winter?  

The dim daylight, the incessant rain, and snow. Yes, snow.

This past week we jumped into winter with plunging below average temperatures.

After lamenting the sudden, severe frost death of my garden (I still had roses ready to bloom), I prepared myself for the inevitable falling of snow.

I enjoy the snow--truly. I like the transformation of the landscape, the white blanket of newness. I love the silence and the sound of crunching the white layers underfoot.

Driving in snow? I can think of many things I would rather endure than trying to negotiate a car on icy, snow packed roads without guardrails.

At our house, we all decided the ideal snow day happens when we have nowhere to go and have ample provisions.

On Thanksgiving this year, we had such a day. 

I hope you find moments of beauty in your winter landscape.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Another Reason to Love Jane

This past week I read a story about some recent literary analysis done on the work of Jane Austen. Specifically, Kathryn Sutherland, a professor at Oxford University revealed that Austen's original manuscripts contained many misspellings and creative grammar. In other words, Austen's editors cleaned up her work before publication.

Some people are upset about this. Austen is no longer a perfect grammar goddess. She has tumbled from her throne of literary genius to a mere writer of tales.

Some people were even mad at Kathryn Sutherland for exposing this scandalous information.

Personally, this bit of news makes me love Jane even more.

You see, spelling has never been a strength of mine. I think I might even have some sort of undiagnosed learning disorder. I learned grammar intuitively. I only learned the rules after I started teaching grammar to others. Perhaps a writer should not disclose these kinds of deficiencies, but I like to think it makes me more like Jane.

Jane lived in the era before spell check and grammar guides. Editors could take the time to fix the errors. Of course now, we know we could never submit an unedited manuscript to an editor or agent. They simply do not have the time.

But why hate Jane for not being perfect?

When I delight in the pages of a good Austen story, I am not thinking of period placement or spelling.

I love her wonderful humor. I love her biting critique of the class system and marriage.  I love knowing Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy will end up together in the end, but it's how they reach the much anticipated proposal scene that makes the story worthwhile.

Jane rocks!