jane eyre love

unnamedI recently reread my absolute favorite classic, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. While I never claim to have a favorite book, this is one that I consistently go back to. I confess it has actually been a few years since I reread this treasure. Now, I hope that never happens again.

There is so much to learn from Jane. I first met her in high school, freshman year. I had never read the book before, and only knew it as the slow, dreadful movie that I once attempted to watch with my mom. But once I got to know her, and Mr. Rochester, and Mary, and Diana, and all the others through the written word… there was no going back.

This time I tried to pay attention, to find a way to write in words just what it is that I love about this story so much.

In truth, so many parts of it are terribly sad. The way Jane has been treated by her family, when all she wants is family. The love Mr. Rochester truly did have for Bertha, and then the decay of their relationship. The love Jane has for Mr. Rochester, and how long it takes for them to finally end up together– and the circumstances that make it possible.

I mean, the list can go on, and on, and on.

But what I love most, is that despite all the sadness, Jane ends up with what she truly, deeply, wanted at the end:

Respect, love, and family.

I have two favorite quotes from this book. And while I’m pretty sure these two quotes are the two that are out there the most, I will share them with you anyway.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

I love this one because it is the best concept. Because although Jane wants love, and family, and respect– she is not willing to have her wings clipped for it… because that would defeat the purpose. She would be sacrificing so much, in fact she would be sacrificing self-respect, in order to gain the three things she wants more.

Jane is so self-sufficient, learning from hardships and using them to determine what she will not lose. She is not some frilly girl, as many female characters from that era of literature could seem to be.

She is a strong woman. We can all learn from her.

“Wherever you are is my home. My only home.”

This takes the saying, “Home is where the heart is,” or “There’s no place like home,” to a new level. The proverbial sayings have nothing on this phrase because it brings out the essence of home.

Home is a YOU.

It may not necessarily be a Mr. Rochester, or parents, or siblings… but it is someone, something that sticks out that makes up that feeling where your very core belongs.

Home is not TRULY a place, but a YOU. A feeling, a person, a group of people, a beauty, a faith, a hope, a story…

Jane’s story is one of my homes.

 

If you haven’t read the book, I beg you to do so.

Also, the best film rendition (in my humble opinion) is the one done by BBC/Masterpiece Theatre.

 

Advertisements

control freak confession

Truth: I am a control freak.

Myth: This is subdued when I’m writing.emilyherringdunn

I am a control freak. There’s no tip-toeing around the subject.

I like to do things a certain way. In fact, with some things I’m so specific that I don’t even let others attempt to help me.   It’s that bad.

In a world where so much is out of my control, I will admit that I suffer from some unprescribed anxiety. While I am learning to let things go and face fears, a place where my control kicks in to gear is with my writing.

But it’s a GOOD kind of control.

You see, there’s a sort of freedom to this control.

As my characters come to life, they help me realize that I can’t control everything. Somehow they take on minds of their own, and I have to sometimes go away from my original plan and follow their lead. But at the same time, I AM in control… because it’s my story.

(I promise I’m not crazy. Well… maybe a little.)

So why is this a GOOD type of control?

It’s a control that doesn’t cause anxiety. It’s a control that allows me to be creative, to get lost in the beauty, to forget the cares and uncontrollable problems that the real world offers.

And that’s also the beauty of reading.

I may not be able to control someone else’s actions, or make days go exactly as I planned, or understand the thrill of the unknown… but I can see the beauty of it all in a story.

There’s beauty in someone’s car not starting. There’s beauty in being lost at sea. There’s beauty in the secrets of a dusty old mansion. There’s beauty in the unknown future.

Andit helps my control-freak nature.

Truly.

 

I don’t use the phrase or label “control freak” lightly. I use it because I know what I am, and I know reading and my writing helps.

 

Does your love of reading or writing help relieve any problems you suffer from?

 

Are you in LOVE with my notebook? It was a Christmas gift. Check out The Journal Studio. (I am not on commission or a brand rep– I just love their products!)

snobby [young adult] reader

snobby ya readerAs a young adult I didn’t read young adult fiction. I looked at people reading “modern books” and wondered how they thought they could call it reading. After all, you haven’t READ until you’ve read the classics.

In college I had to take an adolescent literature class, and it wasn’t until then that it dawned on me that I was being hypocritical. I thought less of those who actually ENJOYED contemporary literature when I, me, myself wanted to write contemporary literature.

Are you seeing the problem?

The truth is, I used to hate reading just about anything that wasn’t historical fiction or close to it. I still love period pieces the most–it’s why I write them. Being transported to another time with different style and ideals and challenges intrigues me the most.

What would it have been like to live as a governess, or cross America in a covered wagon, or sailed the seas on a tall ship, or lived in the middle of nowhere when technology was a glint of the future?

Books take me to these times, reveal the impossible, and give me a sense of character, through characters, of the time. That’s the beauty of books.

I have since learned, that is the beauty of ALL books. Not just historical fiction.

While I’m probably shooting myself in the foot with this post, I’m sharing to be honest. I didn’t start off reading contemporaries– I started as a literature snob.

It started in first grade when I wrote my first true story: “The REAL story of Pocahontas, not the Disney one.”

It continued to fourth grade when I started reading Shakespeare. And in seventh grade when I read Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.

I don’t know if these facts come across as bragging, but they’re not meant to. On the contrary, it’s to show that I couldn’t see past the classics stand at Barnes and Noble to open my eyes to so many other opportunities.

But now I have. And it’s exciting. And I’m ashamed of nothing that I read. Because I’m reading, and learning, and growing. And Stephen King really did say it best:

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

I would add: Read a variety of things. Your writing (and knowledge and growth and creativity) depend on it.

the beauty of scrubbing toilets

scrubbing toiletsI hate scrubbing toilets.

There’s something about cleaning a toilet after knowing who used it last that makes it even worse. And that’s what I’ve been doing lately. Scrubbing toilets.

It doesn’t matter if you have to clean up a shared bathroom where someone pees on the seat, or you have to clean up after someone who tossed their cookies. It doesn’t matter if you’re forced to clean before you have a visitor, or after a visitor, or even if you have to clean your own bathroom. When it comes down to it, there’s a reason we all dread cleaning bathrooms. Because it’s gross.

And if you don’t agree with me, well, good for you?

But today I’ve been scrubbing toilets thinking about how much I HATE scrubbing toilets. And I think life in itself is just like that. You have to do things you don’t like over and over again because, well, that’s just how it goes.

If I was bitter about having to clean bathrooms, then every time I went to put cleaner in the bowl or sanitize the handle– I’d really get into a funk.

And if I’m being honest, sometimes that DOES happen.

But that’s not how I should be going through life. Always in a funk over the next worst thing.

What does this have to do with anything?

Attitude.

Life is hard, and there are many parts of it that suck. But if we focus on the hard things and what we hate about them, we miss the beauty.

Like the beauty of meeting new people. The beauty of helping someone who needs it.

Like the beauty of getting to sit down and write something. The beauty of discovering a new story, or the beauty of reading a story that never gets old.

Life is made up of beauty and bitterness alike. Today I’m choosing not to be bitter, or resentful. What about you?

 

To answer the question I know you’re dying to ask:

I still haven’t found what’s beautiful about scrubbing toilets.

But when I do, I’ll make sure to let you know.

 

Looking for something sweet? Head over to The Newfangled Housewife for a Red Velvet Donuts recipe!

red velvet donut