The Page a Day Writers Group

Are You Listening, Jane?

Posted on: February 9, 2010

credit: Jane Austen Society of Australia

Jane Austen died at 41, the same age I am. Though I haven’t read all of her novels, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility rank as two of my all-time favorite books. I admit, Mansfield Park had a slower burn for me; I wasn’t as eager to flip to the next page. But I don’t throw the word genius around lightly and I have no qualms calling Austen a literary genius. Her characters resonate 200 years after their creation. We live in a different age now but she had a gift for capturing the pulse of relationships and setting an exquisite pace in her novels.

In the six years before Austen’s death, four of her major novels were published (the ones mentioned above plus Emma). But she was not after fame; she published anonymously. Her works’ acclaim evolved well after her death. Her work was the cornerstone of her life, though; she wrote stories and poems from an early age and read her work aloud to her family, a practice she continued into adulthood. Her family offered their unwavering encouragement.

Aside from Austen’s genius, what a master of time management she was; she must have wrung every possible drop of writing time out of her 41 years. She did allow herself diversions, though- she was reported to be an accomplished seamstress.

I console myself: even if I don’t have genius on my side, I can excercise time management and work ethic.  Thanks for the inspiration and cheers to you, Jane.

Ondine Brooks Kuraoka

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3 Responses to "Are You Listening, Jane?"

Writers we admire are a great source of inspiration. It’s tough, though, not to compare ourselves and our writing accomplishments to theirs. Austen achieved a lot in her 41 years (and without the help of computers, too). Some of us are taking a bit longer. The important thing is to stay on the path Austen and so many other great women writers have cleared for us.

Jane used her time wisely, indeed. However, she lived at home with her family, did not have to work to support herself and had no husband or children to care for. Her days were her own. How much work would each of us modern moms do if we were in her position with so many unclaimed days to fill? So I raise my glass to those who persevere, writing a page a day, when time time and circumstance allows.

Thank you, ladies. Yes, Jane blazed a trail for us, but our own perseverance -even at the pace of a page a day- is an accomplishment given all the competing responsibilities one day holds.

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Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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