No Darcy, No Way

Darcy is Best Left to Others

Someone said to me that I should write some Pride and Prejudice fan fiction. In the past, it’s been suggested I write Colonel Brandon. My first response to both suggestions was a simple, “no way.”

While that response is harsh but accurate, I have thought about why I don’t want to even try my hand at writing Darcy or the Colonel. It comes down to having nothing new or interesting to say about the characters or their stories.

Refrain_from_writingThere are days I look at what I’m writing about Anne and Frederick and think the same thing, but at least I have a sort of visceral desire to work with them. About the casts of P&P and S&S, not so much.

Every month in the Austen fandom, there are scads of books published. The vast majority of them are using P&P as their base. I’m sure most are retelling the girl-meets-boy-boy-disdains-girl-boy-proposes-marriage-girl-rejects-boy-boy-saves-girl’s-family-and-reputation-girl-and-boy-admit-to-loving-one-another plot.

Unique stories, like Laura Hile’s Darcy by any Other Name, and Robin Helm’s various series have covered a lot of new ground that doesn’t need to be plowed again by me. There are other fine writers who absolutely love the characters and the story. That affection shows in every aspect of their writing.

At the very best, I would be day laborer working for paycheck. Not that writing for pay is bad. I firmly believe that some of the best writing (and music, visual art, etc) has been done by people putting food on the table, not looking to leave a legacy of amazing prose. The difference is that in fandom, the love of characters is baked into the foundation of the work. Without it, the foundation is wonky at best. And let’s face it, there have been times you’ve read a book that is merely a word count with a cover and a dedication. Did you think well of the author? Race to Amazon to see if they had more of the same? My point exactly.

Darcy is an icon and I have no desire to mess with him. Brandon is an interesting character I prefer to read rather than write. Long story shortened, I won’t be writing any P&P, or S&S fics anytime soon. No heart for the subjects, and no desire to bore you all to tears.

Sweetest in the gale…

Photo: A Drauglis (Creative Commons Flickr)

Photo: A Drauglis (Creative Commons Flickr)

I’ve been thinking a lot about hope this past week. Our own Robin Helm faced a number of medical challenges, including a cancer scare that looked like a done deal. The only question was the extent. We prayed; God gave His answer. No cancer. Robin is in the clear. We are rejoicing in His grace.

Do join us in praying for her sister, Gayle Mills. She will begin cancer treatments soon. We are trusting in God’s grace to see her safely through.

Photo: nature80020

Photo: nature80020 (Creative Commoons Flickr)

For Thursday’s post I shared a poem about little boats sailing downstream. In looking it up, I encountered the one below about hope.

Ah, hope, both delicate and tenacious. It is seen in full strength during the worst of times.

Owls are my second-favorite animal, after cats–and so because Dickenson mentions feathers, I had to have owls. Even though owls don’t properly sing …

 

Photo: Ralph Daily (Creative Commons Flickr)

Photo: Ralph Daily (Creative Commons Flickr)

“Hope” is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Photo: shankar s (Creative Commons Flickr)

Photo: shankar s (Creative Commons Flickr)

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Laura Hile (1)

Of little boats and books …

Photo: Toy Boats by Toby Oxborrow (Creative Commons Flickr)

Our books, like little boats, go sailing … Photo: by Toby Oxborrow (Creative Commons Flickr)

Rita's Beach Read

Rita took Darcy to a surfside resort

A writer releases a novel,
sending it out, alone,
to make its way in the wild world.

It’s like something out of a fairy tale.
Not the end of a fairy tale, the beginning.
The “cold, cruel world” part.

You know, like the three pigs?
Or Hansel and Gretel? Or Puss ‘N boots?
Leaving home on the toe of a boot?

Meredith added Darcy to her library

Meredith added Darcy to her library

Yeah, we writers pitch our books out there.

“Off you go, little book.”
“Make your fortune, live your life.”

And then the little book DOES.

I sit back, amazed. Oh the places books go! Who knew?

Here are a few Darcy By Any Other Name “book selfies” readers have shared. I love them.
 

Anita showed him a perfect wave

Anita showed Darcy a perfect wave

 
Where Go the Boats?
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Dark brown is the river,
Golden is the sand,
It flows along forever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating –
Where will all come home?

Mark won the CIR a giveaway

Mark won the CIR giveaway

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill;

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more;
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.

Sue's Darcy lives in the country

Sue’s Darcy lives in the country

Kelly took him along to the pool

Kelly took him along to the pool

Laura Hile (1)

 

My books are like those little boats.

And “Book Selfies” show me where they come ashore.

Safe harbor, home at last.

The Exact Science of Life

14569835359_7ba44ed3b3_z

There were problems with everything swimming at the Rio Olympics. Swimmers aside, after a week of green water, spokesman Mario Andrada said: “We have learnt that chemistry is not an exact science.”

Now that’s funny.

Apparently, telling the truth is a bit mercurial as well.

Blame_it_on_rio

.

.

I guess this is now a full-fledged life choice.

The Call of the Classroom …

Photo: Ian Burt (Creative Commons Flicker)

Just keep moving forward, kid. One step at a time. You’ve got this. And so do I. Photo: Ian Burt (Creative Commons Flicker)

Photo: b k (Creative Commons Flickr)

Autumn rambles are the best. Photo: b k (Creative Commons Flickr)

The leaves of our trees, they are a-turning.  Our summer days are noticeably shorter; Canada geese honk overhead; the Queen Anne’s Lace is blooming along the highways. And if we can quit having heat waves around here, our mornings will take on that delicious autumn tang.

The leaves of our schoolbooks will soon be turning too. This is my last full week at home–and although I have a scary amount of writing work to finish up, I’m ready for a change. Okay, almost ready…

The ‘Call of the Classroom’ is real. Funny how that works. At the beginning of a holiday, I never want it to end. But by the final afternoon, I’m ready to head home. It’s the same with school. Then too, it’s almost autumn, my favorite season of the year.

Photo: Gary Leavens (Creative Commons Flickr)

When these guys fly overhead, autumn is on the way. (Or summer, depending…) Photo: Gary Leavens (Creative Commons Flickr)

Don’t you love New York in the fall?
It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address…

~ Joe Fox  to Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail

It’s the time of new beginnings, autumn is.  A fresh school year, a clean start.  While the weary teacher in me mourns the loss of summer freedom, the rested teacher is eager for the crackling energy of the classroom. And the lovely scent of new-sharpened pencils.

What’s with the new pencil thing? It gets me every time. Along with a just-opened packet of crayons, lined up and ready to use.

Quote Series ChalkboardSweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, and a fire on the hearth. Rain-washed sidewalks and cloud-shrouded skies–I welcome these. Along with the buzz of laughter in the now-silent school halls.

Yes, it’s almost time to get that classroom up and running. Unlock the doors and welcome in a new set of lively minds. That’s the best thing about a fresh school year: the undiscovered potential.

In the meantime, there is much to be done around here. So, to quote Patrick McGillvary — it’s been a kick to interact with him as I retool Mercy’s Embrace! — I’d “best be cracking on.”
Laura Hile (1)

Southern Fried Austen

Don’t worry.

Lizzy kept on trying on clothes, and Darcy kept on encouraging her by talking about how good she looked. While she was in the dressing room, he called his sister Georgia to come help him. Georgia had been hoping he would call, and she was at CW’s within a few minutes.

Lizzy: What do you think about this evening gown? I’m not sure about the neckline.

Darcy: It’s perfect for you.

Georgia: (walking in) I agree.

Lizzy: Georgia! I’m happy as a pig in slop that you’re here. Your brother likes everything I put on. I can’t tell if he’s just sayin’ it to be nice or if the outfits really look good.

Georgia: I picked out every piece of clothing you have with you specifically in mind. Of course it’s all wonderful.  How could you doubt me? Why are you worried?

Lizzy: I’ve just never had so much attention focused on how I look. I’ve always just done the best I could do and let the rough end drag.

Let the rough end drag

Georgia: Huh?

Darcy: She’s never worried about her appearance before. This is all new for her.

Georgia: Well, I’m just goin’ to have to teach you then, Lizzy.

Lizzy: Can’t you just pick stuff out for me? I’m worried I won’t get it right.

Georgia: My mama says that worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

Lizzy: Mine says that if you fill your head with worries, there won’t be room for anything else. That’s one of the reasons I never worried about what I wore. If I liked it, that was good enough. I was more interested in keepin’ my grades high and workin’ after school. I had to have scholarship money.

Darcy: We don’t really want to change you into something you’re not. Georgie and I hope you’ll like what we choose for you, and you’ll see the pattern. She can talk to you about colors, shapes, and fabrics. This is her thing. She’s good at it.

Georgia: Ha! I don’t expect you to be as good at fashion as I am. I love it. You don’t. But you’re smart. You can learn to recognize what looks good on you and what doesn’t.

Worrying

Lizzy: I’ve always had to shop on a budget. I bet these clothes cost a fortune. I’d never have looked at them because of the price tag.

Darcy: In CW’s, you are not to look at price tags. Whatever looks good on you is yours, if you like it. We’ll never insist that you wear something you don’t like.

Georgia: Well, I might push just a little. It’s my thing, you know.

Lizzy: Easy for you to say. You’re rich as homemade butter.

Darcy: The only thing money gives me is the freedom from worrying about money. It’s not the answer to every problem.

Lizzy: But won’t people get the wrong idea about me if I wear something cut this low?

Darcy: That’s not low. Nothing is showin’ that wouldn’t show in a modest swimsuit. You’re walkin’ around with an umbrella, just waitin’ for it to rain, sugar. Hang those worries out to dry.

Lizzy: You promise I don’t look like a hoochie mama?

Darcy: You’re my girl. I don’t want anyone lookin’ at you that way. Trust me?

Lizzy: I trust you more than anyone not named “Bennet,” and more than most people who are.

Georgia: Worry is a misuse of imagination. I’m going to teach you to think of clothes in a new way. Imagine yourself in this swimsuit, for instance.

Lizzy: I thought you liked me, Georgie. You know I can’t wear that. My thunder thighs will be on speakin’ terms with each other.

Darcy: I’ve seen your legs in shorts and skirts. You’re beautiful. No, you’re not a toothpick, but you’re not heavy either. All this worrying is pointless. A day of worry is more tiring than a week of work. It’s like worrying about a spider. He’s smaller than you.

Lizzy: Yeah. So is a hand grenade.

Georgia: The gown is a yes. Go try on the swimsuit.

Lizzy: Is Caroline gone?

Darcy: No, she isn’t, but it doesn’t matter. Stop worryin’ about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey. Caroline will be in all the same pageants you’re in. She’ll see all these clothes eventually.

Lizzy: I think I can do that if I use my imagination.

Georgia: Now, you’re talkin’. What are you imaginin’?

Lizzy: That Caroline is a pothole.

Darcy: Good job. Worryin’ is about as effective as tryin’ to solve an algebraic equation with bubble gum. If Caroline is a pothole, what are you?

Lizzy: I’m asphalt.

Darcy: You crack me up. Why are you asphalt?

Lizzy: Asphalt is stronger than potholes. It’s used to build roads and fill in the potholes and cracks.

Darcy: If Caroline’s a pothole and you’re asphalt, what am I?

Lizzy: That’s easy. You’re the lines down the middle of the road and on the sides.

Darcy: I’ll bite. Why am I the lines?

Lizzy: Because you keep me centered and stop me from running off in the wrong direction.

Darcy: I like it. Without the road, there’d be no lines. Without the asphalt, I’d just be paint with nowhere to go.

Georgia: Too deep for me. Go put on the swimsuit, Lizzy.

Lizzy: Yes, ma’am. (leaves)

Georgia: Are you two always like that?

Darcy: Pretty much.

Georgia: Adorable. Oh, no. Here comes Caroline.

Lizzy: Well, what do you think?

Caroline: You can’t seriously be considering walking in front of people in that swimsuit. Your hiney looks like two gophers fightin’ in a gunny sack.

Lizzy: Well, it will take a while to lose that mental picture. You’re probably right, Caroline. I’ll just mosey on back into the dressin’ room now and change into some jeans.

Georgia: Caroline, you are evil, and you must be destroyed.

Evil

Caroline: Why? I was just tellin’ the gospel truth.

Darcy: Now, Georgie. You can’t blame Caroline for pickin’ at Lizzy. It’s been my experience that some girls always cut down the girl they’re the most jealous of.

Caroline: That’s not true. I’m not jealous of her. I’m just in a bad mood because you and Charlie didn’t let me have first choice of the clothes.

Darcy: You’ve been in a bad mood since the day you were born. You’ve done enough damage today. I think you need to go now.

Caroline: Fine. I don’t like this store anyway, and I’ll tell all my friends. (flounces off and slams door)

Georgia: Both of them?

Darcy: No big loss. I doubt her buds would shop at a consignment store.

Lizzy: Is she gone?

Georgia: Yep. Why?

Lizzy: I’m going to show you my swimsuit walk.

Darcy: Really? I thought you’d want to quit.

Lizzy: My courage rises with every attempt to intimidate me. I’m sick to death of her jabs. The best revenge will be to beat her, and I intend to do it. She just got my back up.

Courage

Darcy: That’s my Lizzy. Caroline didn’t know who she was messin’ with.

Lizzy: Like my mama says, “Smile. It increases your face value.”

Georgia: Mine says, “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”

Lizzy: Yep. You can’t make chicken salad without some chicken poo.

Darcy: Very pithy. Now let’s see that walk.

smile

Lizzy: Because you’re mine, I’ll walk the line.

Darcy: I love that you make me laugh.

Lizzy: Then I’ll never stop doing it.

 

What Happens When Two Bad Habits Collide

Courtesy Avenue G, Flickrr, Creative Commons

Courtesy Avenue G, Flickr, Creative Commons

I am sitting around waiting for a new debit card. By the title of this post, you might think I had a great calamity befall me. Nah, nothing that exciting. Come to think, my problem came about not by way of two bad habits. I think it was more What Happens When a Character Flaw and a Bad Memory Join Forces. That doesn’t trip off the tongue so I went in another direction.

Here’s what happened: in May, I ordered a mattress cover. A puffy mattress cover that would change my life according to the host of the HSN show. It was on sale for a good price, but since I am loathe to spend more than ten dollars at a time, I ordered it using their free Flex Pay option.  I could have paid the full price but the full cost gave me the willies. I got the cover immediately, put it on the bed and forgot about the arrangement.

Until last Wednesday. I saw the charge for $20 and just KNEW i hadn’t ordered anything from HSN recently. I called my credit union. The customer service agent looked through my account and found ANOTHER charge from HSN in July. Quelle suprise! Our conclusion was that my account had been  COMPROMISED. (Yes, I felt unclean.) The CU decided to issue me a new card.

I went to HSN and found that Wednesdays’ payment, I had paid off my mattress cover and was encouraged to buy more stuff.

In my defense, starting in June, I coordinated the move of my mother from North Idaho, and have been getting used to another adult in the house. My ability to keep track of even the most mundane chores and obligations has been compromised.

No, I didn’t call the credit union and fess up. I am waiting for the new card and dreading trying to remember a new PIN while forgetting the old one–the one I’ve had for nearly six years.

Resolved: No Flex Pays. From now on, I will be writing down everything.

Thanks for listening. Now I’m off to change Mom’s auto-pay accounts for Direct TV and Verizon. Those people play rough and will do more than make me learn a new PIN.