Wednesday, October 01, 2008

100% Real Juice: Becoming Jane

Okay, one more quote and then I’ll get back to the real world of writing, promise.

Becoming Jane, starring the ethereally gorgeous, my-eyes-are-freakishly-large Anne Hathaway and that delish piece of Scots man candy James McAvoy, is a historically inaccurate tale of the beginnings of Jane Austen as a writer, and of her first, apparently only, real love.

I’d just started watching the flick and was only a few minutes in when this bit caught me; I had to grab the remote to rewind and pause in all the appropriate places, letting me write it down word for word so I could put it up here for you. Thank you, Video On Demand.

Jane’s father, a pastor, is giving his sermon at Sunday mass, and forms this ditty around his daughter’s unmentionable behaviour; fits of written talent and some brackish piano playing all too early in that 1800s morning.

“The utmost of a woman’s character is expressed in the duties of daughter, sister, and eventually, wife and mother. It is secured by soft attraction, virtuous love, and quiet in the early morning. If a woman happens to have a particular superiority, for example, a profound mind, it is best kept a profound secret. Humour is liked more, but wit; No. It is the most treacherous talent of them all.”

Interesting. Debasing and discriminatory, but still interesting. And, yuck. Wit is the hallmark of a sharp mind, and a sharp mind the key to a universe of knowledge. Sometimes we take for granted that these keys only became available to us women just a couple of generations back.

It’s hard enough to be a woman nowadays; I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like back then. Imagine such an existence, rules rules RULES until you went absolutely insane, or got married, or both. For some it was a good deal, but what if you were smart? Knowing what More is, wanting it, and only in very few cases, having the balls to take it. It was a stiff price for those who dared.

This topic might be seemingly unrelated to anything I ever have to say, but I’m writing about it for two reasons. One: It’s important to pay respects. This woman was one of many who dared and made it possible for all women, to go to work every day, own real estate, drive ourselves wherever the hell we want to just because we can, tell dirty jokes and have lascivious affairs with men of our choosing. It’s because of women like this that I can come here to the internet, to this quirky little planet of mine, and shoot my mouth off all I like, and you can read it.

Two: Thank you, all, for reading my shootings off. It amazed me, after being gone for so very long, that there were still people checking this site often enough to get almost right back to me with a comment, or even call me, to those of you who know me personally. I can’t even begin to tell you what this means to me, or how happy I was that so many of you still believe in me. Through the thick and the thin (especially the thick), you have always been there, and I’m so, so grateful for that.