The most important characteristic of a good heroine for me has always been a positive outlook. Sure, they might have moments of distress, but overall, they will not allow it to take them down. I have mentioned before that I grew up on classics. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jo March of Little Women, Jane Eyre, and Scarlett O’Hara of Gone with the Wind were some of my first role models. Each had moments in their lives where they wanted to lay down and cry, but for the most part, they kept moving forward and focused on the happiness of a moment. After all, tomorrow is another day, right?
That is probably why Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility annoyed me at times and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice earned my respect, even if she made unwise decisions. The phrase Jane Austen used to explain this is perfect in my mind. “Elizabeth was not formed for ill-humour; and though every prospect of her own was destroyed for the evening, it could not dwell long on her spirits …” I like to think that I handle disappointments in a similar manner, but only those closest to me could say for certain. I do have a friend who once told me, “That’s what I love about you. You always see a positive in the situation.” So maybe I do succeed in this.
We can all agree that this past year has been challenging. For the most part, I have not felt all the restrictions that others have as my place of employment is small enough and spread out enough that we were not forced to shut down; but I am heavily involved in many groups that meet on a monthly basis which all came to a screeching halt in March of this year. Once again, I looked at the good in this. My husband has been telling me for months (alright years) that I do too much, but I didn’t see it. Suddenly not having to go somewhere almost weekly became a novel idea. However, that does not mean I stopped; it just all moved online.
This is where my positive outlook has become a bit strained. My husband and I have bowed out of a few couples activities with our church because “I am just Zoomed out,” I told the organizers. Your brain can only take so much of staring at a screen for hours on end – and I do that for a living so why would I want to do it on a weekend? Well, the first weekend in November I was reminded of the positives of our new manner of “gathering together.”
In 2019, we had the first JAFF Writer/Reader Get Together in Tysons Corner, Virginia. It was amazing! The picture here is from that event and several of the authors who attended blogged about the event at that time. I believe there were 35 of us last year. Because of the pandemic, this year’s event went virtual and can I say that it was AMAZING! Picture it (because I completely forgot to take a screen shot) about 75 writers and readers of JAFF from all over the world (Australia, Finland, Sweden, Austria, England, Portugal, Canada, USA, etc.) discussing what we love about Jane Austen and how she has affected our lives. It was magical!
I’m sure the event will take place once more in 2021, and maybe we will be able to be in person once more, but it will be lacking if I can’t look at a screen and see the windows behind the individuals at different phases of the day. Though even then, I will be pleased to once more see my friends face to face and share a cup of tea while we fan-girl over our dear Jane.
Stay safe and well!