Currently listening to: The Crane Wife 3 by The Decemberists
Best lines I read this week: "They are not fit to associate with me." - from Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Back in college, when I traipsed about London totally lost for a month, I often ended up in Covent Garden looking at used books. After staring at words for awhile, I walked past the paper lanterns, sat down on a sidewalk, and listened to a string quartet play.* The sky was usually grey. The rain usually fell. I don't remember many hard rains (those only happened when I was out in a park a billion miles from my flat with no umbrella). Usually random little raindrops would just plunk down into the puddles on the street, or onto my face (like the sky was reminding me that, sometimes, it's okay to cry just because). When I listened to the music in Covent Garden, I wasn't homesick, insecure, or all that concerned about what happened when the summer ended. The music made me feel like I was somewhere else for a bit. Sometimes summer nights feel like that too. Even without paper lanterns or Londoners with beautiful accents, summer feels magic. Summer nights make me rainy-day-happy, lost-in-the-music-happy. Once June rolls around, I gripe incessantly about the heat (I would take cold over hot any day), but nights like this change my mind. Today melted into something beautiful tonight, and now I'm watching it all fade into starlight from the back porch. I wish you could see it too. I hope you get a chance to sneak away and watch (and listen :) to the sunset this summer. (The only thing disenchanting about this experience is the vast amount of bug smash all over my screen. What gives, bugs? Go away!)
I have an interview up at the blog of awesome belonging to Jenny B. Jones, so hello to you if you're dropping by over here from over there :) Jenny's blog is as hilarious and fun as her books. You will adore it. And you will note that, very often, I swipe her You Tube clips and take credit for finding them. Jenny is in Ireland kissing some bloke named Blarney, but the posts are still coming, still fun as ever. If you would like to know who I think should play me in a movie, or what smell grosses me out (and who wouldn't want to know those things?!), you can find that info over there (and you can win a book. Free = ♥). Part two of the interview comes on Monday. On that day, Jenny and I discuss the advice I wish I'd given my high school self and a person, dead or alive, I would meet given the chance.** One of the hardest questions to answer was my favorite line in a book. It's rare I have a favorite anything. I'm horrible at making decisions. My family has been known to drive in endless circles on Sundays because no one will pick a place to eat. We aren't even arguing about it ... we just can't decide. I can't pick a favorite artist, song, perfume, you name it. I do lists and columns and all that stuff you're supposed to do. And I still can't pick favorites.
The line that popped into my mind first was, "Aslan is on the move." So I went with it. That's an odd choice I guess, because it isn't a line packed with swanky prose. The win is solely based on impact. As a kid, and as an adult, that line made me shiver. When it was said in the movie***, I felt my throat start to burn like I was about to cry. It's not like you always need a reason to love whatever art you love. In fact, I think you should pay particularly close attention to art that seems to resonate with you for no reason. I guess, for me, the line used to make me feel kinda brave. It still kinda does. Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen in Narnia ;)
I thought my car might blow away last week. A storm came and I happened to drive right into it. The wind made the rain blow sideways and, with it, my car. My poor little car,it does not do so well in wind. Spike (my car) is having an identity crisis anyway.I believe this began when the "Civic" sign fell off a few months ago. Apparently, yesterday my car believed itself to be a helicopter. Or a kite. A Frisbee. Something airborne. I made it home with my car in tact but there were branches and leaves all over the driveway. The wind also blew through the roses. Sad for the roses, which look a bit flimsy now, but there are red shards of petals all over the white porch. It looks quite pretty:
(Kind of like sheet music? :)
I'm re-reading Jane Eyre. I haven't read this book since High School (a mom recommendation - thank you, mom! :), but I remember some of the passages I liked the most. I get kind of excited when I re-read a book, and know I'm approaching my favorite scenes. *flies nerd flag* One of my favorite parts in Jane Eyre comes in chapter four. Actually, I like all of chapter four. The line I wanted to share with you, however, comes just after Jane's jerktastic family has wrongfully accused her of something, slapped her around, locked her in a haunted room, and told her how ugly and worthless she she is compared to her beautiful cousins. Jane is a nine year old orphan, you'll remember, staying with her only living relatives (relatives who make those dufus Dursleys look like parents of the year). Her cousin, John, is the most vile of the bunch. Twirp of a kid who throws things at her and gets her in trouble all the time. So. After they've done all these horrible things to this little girl, tried hard to stomp away any shred of confidence (she overheard an older cousin say he might have more sympathy for her if she were pretty), she hears John start cranking out another lie:
I heard him in a blubbering tone commence the tale of how "that nasty Jane Eyre" had flown at him like a wild cat; he was stopped rather harshly --
"Don't talk to me about her, John: I told you not to go near her: she is not worthy of notice. I do not choose that either you or your sisters should associate with her."
Here, leaning over the banister, I cried out suddenly, and without at all deliberating on my words --
"They are not fit to associate with me." (from Jane Eyre, Chapter 4)
Wah! How stinking fabulous is Jane Eyre? I love it when heroines, real or fiction, get a little bit brave and sassy. The chapter gets better from there too. Her "aunt" brings in a mean old preacher who tells this nine year old girl she's going to hell if she doesn't stop "misbehaving". She quickly proves she knows more about the Bible than he does and, through the course of the novel, she manages to live out a kind of grace and love she was never shown as a child. I've read different commentaries on what Jane Eyre has to say in regards to "religion": pro, anti, somewhere in the middle. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I think interpretation of any novel is up to you, the reader, and not what a commentary tells you. I don't even think an author's interpretation changes how you interpret it. That said, I think Jane Eyre does an incredible job of pointing out how hypocritical some "religious" people were during the Victorian era (the more things change ...). Even if the novel is "anti-religion", it still has something lovely to say about true faith, and unconditional love (particularly in regards to appearances of kindness vs. actually being kind). Just interesting stuff to think about. I don't really care so much about that aspect anyway. It's mostly the love story that wins me over. This is beauty and the beast in reverse here; Jane chooses Rochester even after he's blind, burned, and maimed. It will melt your heart completely. I am a chronic fangirl when it comes to the Brontes.
FYI: There's a scene in the end of Jane Eyre that makes me laugh pretty hard. It's always fun to find a piece of vernacular that's pretty and old fashioned. But, more fun, because I am immature, is when you find a turn of phrase that is currently used, only in a funny way. Such is the case here. Jane has just been reunited with Rochester. She's trying to make him a little jealous because she's been gone for awhile. This is what goes down. Jane says:
"Yet I have been with good people; far better than you: a hundred times better people; possessed of ideas and views you never entertained in your life: quite more refined and exalted."
Then Rochester says:
"Who the deuce have you been with?"
Rochester, who was bringing sexy back in the late 1800's, who remains one of the most ironic and romantic men of Victorian literature, said "who the deuce have you been with". Day = made.****
So here's my question for you guys this week: if you could pick an actress to play you in a movie, who would it be? And/or ... what's your favorite line in a book? Talk amongst yourselves. (Regarding last week's comments: Anne Shirley is my pick :) I loved reading your comments too. Jo March is fabulous. Even if I'll never understand why she didn't choose Laurie...)
Have a happy week :)
* This is not the quartet I heard, but they were that fabulous. Isn't it crazy how you can hear music like that on the street?!
** Hint: I picked two. One was a feisty humanitarian. The other is a flashy country music singer.
*** I have both movies. I have the BBC version where the Beavers look like they're wearing cheap Big Foot costumes. And I have the new pretty Disney version. Weirdly, I'm still drawn to the goofy BBC one. Why is that? (Also heart the cartoon.)
**** This is not my favorite line from Jane Eyre. I do have a favorite line in this novel. But I'll give it a rest for today. :)