Jane Austen Meets Emily Dickinson

Great Novel, Great Novelist

Imagine, if you will, such a meeting of two incredible women whose writing have touched the hearts of the world.

Consider this.  Jane’s works have NEVER been out of print since they were published 200 years ago.  Since movies were invented, her stories are repeated at least every ten years.

Emily’s poetry has also NEVER been out of print.  She’s now credited with being the INVENTOR of modern poetry.  Not only do her words touch hearts of so many, but the very way she wrote continues to DEFINE the way we speak.

So what else do they have in common, for me?

If it wasn’t for Jane, I wouldn’t appreciate Emily.

In order to properly write a romantic comedy, I wanted to learn from the best.  So I took the approach familiar to most men.  I analysed her.  I took P&P apart, quantified it, organized it, and put almost every part under a microscope.

I didn’t make much progress.

Suddenly, one day, (truly!) it hit me.

Understanding P&P using logic, using numbers, using traditional masculine components was awesomely wrong.

Jane Austen was writing in a language I barely understood, but was willing to learn.

She wrote in EMOTIONS.

Once I understood that Jane used words to paint scenes in emotional terms, the book opened up in ways I never realized.  I finished my own pale imitation of P&P recently, so trust me, I’ve gotten to know Jane’s style pretty darn well.  And I have nothing but admiration for her.

Something funny happened to me along the way.

I have a new, deep appreciation for emotions in art.  And I have a new, deep appreciation for women who think in terms of emotions instead of masculine concepts.

I understand why men complain about women wanting to talk about emotions, because the men don’t comprehend the language of emotions.  Women do, largely by nature.

Emotions are HARD.  Getting them right is TRICKY.  No one did it better than Jane.  Learning how to read, and possibly even write using emotional language is what I learned.

But here’s the really funny part.

Now that I appreciate those emotions, now that I better understand the language, suddenly it’s like entering a whole new world that existed in parallel to my old one.

I picked up a poem by Emily Dickinson, and suddenly the emotions poured forth, entering my heart in ways they never would have before.  I looked at another, and another, and it was as if light was coming from her lines.

Two years ago, before I truly read P&P, this never would have happened.  Now it does.

So, my new girlfriend is Emily.  But I never would have appreciated her if it wasn’t for Jane.

Eventually they will have to meet.  After all, I love them both, along with my wife.

And we’re all going to get along famously.

I can feel it.

 

The Immortal Emily Dickinson

Rocking your World since 1884

How many of us want to live?  How many not only pursue longevity through exercise, diet, but also surgery and cosmetics?

Our society is obsessed with youth.  Extreme adventures, public approval, and ever-increasing risk-taking is the obvious trend.  The equally obvious conclusion can not be far distant.

Given that the richest among us also strive for immortality, it seems strange that their ability to observe the obvious has failed them in their greatest desire.  Who among them has not seen the richest of all humans, Rameses II, and his quest for immortality through a monument that we call Pyramid?  No tomb, no edifice, no building will ever equate to his tomb, yet many of today’s rich try and immortalize themselves in structure.  They will fail, even as Rameses II failed.  We know the Pyramid, but do we know him?

The richest also try to create a legacy of “good works.”  Even as they try to cure the world of hunger or disease, their complete efforts amount to a small fraction of what the world’s original richest man has done for the world.  Rockefeller helped the South rise above the hookworm, even curing the world.  He created an institute that has done more for the biological sciences than several major universities combined.  He also helped popularize the modern version of the medical school.  Yet, for all of this, who remembers his name?  Who truly equates the good that he has done to the man?  Do YOU know him?

And there is Emily.  Quiet, small, taking care of her sick mother, crying over the many friends she has buried, and doing her best to hide from the world.  Yet she wrote.  And wrote.  And wrote, breathing life into words.

In those words she expressed raw emotions of such power and purity than it’s likely her words, her feelings, her insights and her name will outlast any of the rich men the world has ever known… including Pharaoh, Rameses II.

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

Thank you, Emily.  I love you.

 

Emily Dickinson Had a Purpose

Rocking your World since 1884

Do you?

Dedicating yourself to a purpose is mostly unique to our species.  The lives we honor had some purpose involving helping others.

You already have several purposes in life.  Being a good neighbor or child, being a good parent, even taking care of yourself so that you can properly fulfill the others.

But for the ambitious, it’s possible to create an even higher calling for your life.  Something that not only brings deeper meaning for yourself, but for all those around you.

The idea of having a purpose is so powerful, that one of my life’s axioms is that no statement, no fact, no discipline can be properly evaluated without taking purpose into account.

On that note, what did Emily say about her purpose?

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Given that her words have probably lessened the pain of millions, she was a brilliant success as an artist, as a life coach, as an observer of human behavior.

Thank you, Emily.

 

Emily Dickinson is a cheap date

Rocking your World since 1884

As the oldest of five children, my upbringing differed considerably from the others.

Frugality is part of my earliest memories.  Conservation and efficiency were part of every lecture when I was old enough.  As a result, even to this day, I am not above eating everything on my plate and saving things that my younger siblings willingly throw away.

As you can imagine, frugality is not the easiest way to impress someone of the opposite sex.  Lucky for me, I met a wonderful woman, also the oldest, brought up similarly to me, and understanding of my ways.  In fact, to this day, she is even more frugal, so that I have to toss things when she’s not looking!  I’m sure she knows.

Which brings us to Emily.  Being a tough New England chick, she also would have eschewed anything having to do with frills and waste.  Which is why she was so happy taking long walks, tending her garden, or reading a book.

That’s why I can imagine walking with her, aimlessly, through the woods until we found a small glade, and then, sitting together, read to each other.  I wouldn’t choose anything too heady, no sermon or improving literature.  No, it would be something whimsical, even poetic.  We’d laugh, we’d talk, and then we’d walk home.

She sums all of this up right here.

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry—
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without opress of Toll—
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul

 

 

Emily Believes, Do You Believe, Too?

Rocking your World since 1884

In this day and age of political correctness and word games, the hottest topics are those revolving around:

FAKE NEWS

The amount of confusion as to whether or not any news is true or false would be amusing, if it weren’t for the serious implications involved.

Emily was probably thinking along the same lines, although in a different context.  After all, asking someone “to believe” without convincing them completely has been going on since before there was language.

Consider this scenario.  A cave dwelling, some thousand centuries ago.  A young family huddles together.  Perhaps even several families, a tribe.  They may even huddle around a newly found discovery, fire.

The fire burns bright, but a young lad is curiously drawn to the darkness outside.  The moon is full, the stars are burning bright.  Mother dear, can I go outside tonight?

Absolutely not, she insists in no uncertain terms.  She doesn’t have the language to describe sabre-toothed tigers, giant pythons, and many other horrors of the dark.  But she can tell her son that he must remain.

Why?  But Why?

Because, she says.  The ultimate answer for any parent, before, and since.  You must believe me.  You must trust me.  Accept this as fact, as truth.

And this is what Emily touches upon.  Whether it is a religion, something hiding in the night, or whether Russians want to undermine American democracy, there comes a time when you must accept what someone tells you.  Whether you go beyond that in order to make up your own mind, well, that’s another story.

I never saw a Moor–
I never saw the Sea–
Yet know I how the Heather looks
And what a Billow be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in Heaven–
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the Checks were given–