My Meet Cute with Jane

My Meet Cute with Jane

I remember when Jane and I first met.  I was in high school; she was a regular at Winchester Cathedral.  We were introduced by a mutual acquaintance, my senior English teacher.  I thought it would be awkward at first, neither of us knowing what to say, but we had so much in common that we instantly bonded.  We both loved tea!  And Mr. Darcy!  And we’re both repressed—her by Regency society, and me by, huh.  I’m not sure what my problem is, actually.

I remember devouring Pride and Prejudice that first time in my parents’ jacuzzi.  (Oh, geez.  I probably returned the book totally waterlogged.  Sorry, Mr. R.)  It was the first time I’ve ever read a book and turned around and read the whole thing a second time.

And then!  As if life couldn’t get any better, my English teacher showed us the entire 1995 BBC miniseries.  That was the first time I met Colin Firth, too.  Needless to say, we also hit it off immediately.

I had a crush on a boy in my English class, and I gushed to him about how AMAZING class had been lately, with the combination of reading AND watching Pride and Prejudice.  (Was this what I used to talk to boys about?  Hm.  Certain things are becoming uncomfortably clearer.)  My classmate said he hadn’t read the book—Wait.  Is that a thing?  Don’t you have to read the book the teacher assigns?—and he fell asleep during the miniseries every day.  So.  That ended that crush.

Full disclosure: my husband also doesn’t get my Jane Austen love.  But he’s watched the miniseries with me without falling asleep, and he forgives me for sometimes referring to Star Wars as Star Trek, which is apparently a worse gaff than that time Mr. Collins introduced himself to Mr. Darcy.

There’s nothing like the first reading of your favorite Austen novel, is there?  While I’ve enjoyed all my rereadings and the fun and witty adaptations, I’d love to transport myself back to that first time I read Mr. Darcy’s proposal and subsequent letter.  And the first time I watched that Colin Firth lake scene.  Well.

After my Jane discovery, I did what I assume most newly converted Austenites do—I read the rest of her novels multiple times.  I tried to spread the gospel of Jane and got mostly glazed looks and lackluster responses.

I heard this response a lot:

“Jane Austen!  Yes!  I loved Jane Eyre!”

I don’t like to correct people.  But I didn’t really like that book.  Since I’m good at being honest in these types of situations, I said, “Yes!  Me too!”

Fast forward to years later when I was just discovering that I loved writing.  I hopped out of bed one morning lit with inspiration.  “I just had the best idea!” I told my husband.  “I’m going to write Pride and Prejudice as a modern day novel, set with teenagers.”

“That was my idea,” he said.  “I told you to do that years ago.”

Did he?  I don’t remember this.  So I gave him a Catherine de Bourgh hand flick of dismissal and basked in my brilliant idea.

As I worked on my book, I slowly realized there was a world of people who love to write Jane Austen fan fiction, and a world of people who love to read it.  I’m still learning about it, and this blog is my first official toe dip into that world.  So, hello!  Nice to meet you!  Can you tell me more about your favorite corners of the internet to get involved with other lovers of Austen fan fiction?

So that’s it: my Jane and Kirstin Meet Cute story.  It’s how I went from being a Jane virgin to a, well.  I already said I’m repressed.  I have no idea how to finish that sentence.

Finish it for me!  Tell me your first time.  How did you go from being a Jane virgin to a, hm.  You write the rest.

 

Click the banner to visit Kirstin Odegaard’s website.

 

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28 COMMENTS
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Virginia Fontaine
Virginia Fontaine
November 13, 2021 11:33 AM

Loved your column in Friday’s Benicia Herald! I am such a fan of Colin Firth; he was the perfect Mr. Darcy. i truly enjoy reading all your posts and especially your life with children!

Caryl Kane
Caryl Kane
November 12, 2021 9:45 AM

Fabulous post, Kirstin!

Bonnie Ozel
Bonnie Ozel
November 10, 2021 12:06 AM

You are amazing. I love reading your words. Thank you for sharing your “Meet Cute” with the world! I loved watching the miniseries while soaking our feet and drinking tea!! What a wonderful time we had! Soaking in tubs and enjoying Austen! Life is good! I also loved reading your adaptation. Definitely recommend it to others!

Last edited 18 days ago by Bonnie Ozel
Bonnie Ozel
Bonnie Ozel
November 11, 2021 10:44 AM

Right?!?! I am in!

DarcyBennett
DarcyBennett
November 9, 2021 7:46 AM

This was so funny. Loved it and could relate so much. Spouse who doesn’t understand my love for JA and loves Star Trek and Star Wars and is unamused when people get them confused — check! A hatred of the novel Jane Eyre — check! Kudos to your spouse for watching the miniseries with you, I could only talk my spouse into watching the 2005 movie as that was short enough for him.

Riana Everly
AuAu
Riana Everly (@rianaeverly)
November 8, 2021 1:24 PM

Hello!

Mr. Darcy didn’t come into my life until the end of high school, but Emma taunted me for a while during my early teen years. I could not understand what everyone saw in her. I tried to avoid that sort of person, just because, well… who needs to be made to feel inferior all the time, especially when one is just 11?

Of all my new Austen-born friends, I think my favourite is Anne Eliot. I think we would get along well, if weren’t soo shy or insecure to speak to each other, that is.

Peggy I.
Peggy I.
November 8, 2021 11:50 AM

What a fun blog post!

I don’t often do audiobooks, but recently listened to the audiobook P&P and loved the experience. Maybe over the holidays I’ll do another one of her books on audio. Would happily take suggestions from this comment section on which title I should listen to next!

Riana Everly
AuAu
Riana Everly (@rianaeverly)
November 8, 2021 1:26 PM
Reply to  Peggy I.

I’m not Kirstin, but my recommendation would be Persuasion. I love Anne and Frederick’s second-chance romance.

Peggy I.
Peggy I.
November 8, 2021 4:54 PM

Oooh, ok, Emma also going on the list!

Peggy I.
Peggy I.
November 8, 2021 1:52 PM
Reply to  Riana Everly

Thanks Riana!! I’ll add that one to my list 🙂

Regina Jeffers
Admin
Regina Jeffers (@reginajeffers)
November 7, 2021 9:03 AM

Welcome to Austen Authors, Kirstin. Glad to have you among us.
I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was 12. Afterwards, I read Emma, becoming quite obsessed with both Darcy and Knightley for a bit. Those were my two introductions to Austen.
I must admit as I devoured books, at that time, I left Austen behind for a few years, until I was in college. I was a “Language Arts” major for my Bachelor’s degree, meaning English, speech, theatre and journalism. No minor. A comprehensive major.
I started college at 15, so it was not so many years until Austen and I encountered each other once more. I had a favorite professor who brought me back to Austen when I took a course on English Lit. 1800-1850.
After graduating and heading off to grad school and later my Ph.D., I left her behind again until I started teaching AP English.
Toward the end of my teaching career, I was describing a book to my AP class, telling them there were more than a half dozen historical errors within. I said, “I was so mad I threw it against the wall.”
Now, one must understand, my classroom had shelf after shelf loaded with books. One young man said, “If you know how to write, do it yourself.”
Like any good teacher, I took up the challenge, for how do we have our students answer our challenges if we cannot respond to theirs? I wrote Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. I brought chapters to class, and we “corrected” them together for grammar and style. I self-published the book when self-publishing was not so popular. I never thought of becoming an author, although I had multiple “academic” papers published. I asked one of my students to draw the cover, for she could put “published artist” on her resume for art school.
Never thought more about the book. Went on with my life. One day, my son called to tell me how my book was #8 on the Amazon. Shortly afterwards, a traditional publisher in California contacted me to offer me a contract for my book and any future books. I was only a couple of years away from retirement at the time, so I accepted the offer. Thus, “Darcy’s Passions” came to life. That was in 2009. My 28th JAFF book will be released later this month. It will be my 57th book.

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
November 6, 2021 9:08 PM

I watched the P+P movie with Keira and Matthew in it and loved it so I picked up a copy of P+P and the rest as they say is history!lol I got hooked on Jane!

Linda A.
Linda A.
November 6, 2021 3:05 PM

Welcome! To answer your question… I found P&P in early 2008 when the Colin Firth version was on PBS. I was hooked! I bought the DVD, then the book, and re-read it multiple times in that first year. My mom watched one of the episodes on PBS with me and wondered what was up with the “grumpy” guy. >-(

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
November 6, 2021 2:05 PM

Welcome to our chaos… um… party. I’m Team Darcy and P&P all the way with Colin Firth as my favorite Darcy. Not to snub the others as each actor has their good parts. It’s just that Firth has more good parts. LOL! I have watched that movie a dozen times, not kidding. I have several versions and have even listened to the commentary as well as extended features. I even have the Anniversary editions. Heavy sigh. I just can’t get enough of that mini-series. I think there is plenty of room for variations, alternate universe, and teen stories to satisfy everyone. You may incite a whole generation of Austenites through your books. Wouldn’t that be cool? I wish you all manner of success in your writing. Welcome to AuAu and I look forward to seeing what you have for us. Blessings.

Tom Odegaard
Tom Odegaard
November 6, 2021 12:30 PM

Very cool introduction! My link to Austen is Sally and a former colleague who assigned Pride and Prejudice to an Economics Honors session-focus was on the economic issues facing women in 19th century England. (Don’t know if this is what turns most people on to Austen, but there ya go.) Uncle Tom

Cinnamon Worth
AuAu
Cinnamon Worth (@cinnamonworth)
November 6, 2021 10:06 AM

Hi! What a great introduction. I can see why you became a writer. Welcome to Austen Authors. My mother had a long standing relationship with Jane by the time I was born, so I can’t actually recall the first moment I was introduced to her work.

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