Miriam and I are simple creatures. While we may have complex psyches, it doesn't take much to talk us down off the ledge. Bouquets of flowers, validating words, and Cheez-its come to mind. But the mood elixir of all elixir's for my sister and me is a dose of Jane Austen. After a chapter of her prose, we feel prettier. After watching a scene from Sense and Sensibility, we feel smarter. And somehow, after eating 3 dozen scones and clotted cream, we feel skinnier. It's magic. Now I admit that not that everything "Austen" is ideal. After all, empire waist dresses only look good on buxom trees, cravats are too hard to tie, and embroidering cushions as a past-time sounds about as fun as flossing.
But then there is everything else that makes Austenland so appealing. To me, Austenland is a place where guys are gentlemen, where eating is dining, where shuffling around the house is a "turn about the room," and where text messages are quill-written letters sealed with wax. I know I'm waxing delusional here by making Jane Austen's world sound like Disneyland without the loose morals, but I can't help but think that our female lives would be a measure better if we were a little more Jane and a little less jaded. "I hate to be hard on any of our sex, but there it is . . ."
So here is our challenge to you (but mostly to ourselves). We are starting "The 30-Day Austen Experiment." In honor of the beloved author, from now until the end of February we will be incorporating at least one Austenesque thing into our day. It might be . . .
placing fresh flowers on the table,
calling on a friend,
taking a walk,
or slipping words like "melancholy" or "benevolence" into our daily conversation.
Whatever it is we choose to do, we will be telling you about it here. By the end of 30 days, we are hoping that our lives and yours will be a little bit gentler, a little bit softer, and a little bit happier than they were before. What better way to honor our dear Miss Austen than to use our womanly wiles for good?
"If things are going untowardly one month, they are sure to mend the next . . ." (from Emma, chapter 36).