Not Formed for Ill-Humour, by Bronwen Chisholm

Not Formed for Ill-Humour, by Bronwen Chisholm

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!

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10 Responses to Not Formed for Ill-Humour, by Bronwen Chisholm

  1. I’ve never Zoomed and have no idea if my technology would even do such a thing. I know you are SO glad you were able to get together with that fabulous group and will never forget that experience. Hopefully, you will be able to do it again. I hope our lives have not changed forever. I know the future is very different than what we thought it would be.

    2019 ~ 2020 has been difficult for my house but in a different way. My husband had chemo for cancer and is now in remission. A neurological diagnosis has us learning to do things in a different way. He has just returned home from being under medical care for over a month due to surgery and rehab. Now, several sections of Home Health [nurse, OT, & PT] visit us throughout the week. Through it all, I’ve had to be the strong person. I hope I have been worthy of an Elizabeth Bennet. Those traits might include… being strong when I was actually weak. Smiling when I wanted to cry, Standing when I wanted to fall down, and taking on jobs I’m not qualified to do. You just hold your head up high and continue on… one step in front of the other. God is good. Blessings, stay safe and healthy.

    • I got an old laptop for Christmas last year because I just needed Word and basic internet access. Needless to say, it ended up in the shop around the middle of summer to have all the “guts” upgraded as meeting online was slowly killing it.

      God bless you and uplift you as you be everything that your husband needs you to be in this time. I will keep you both in my prayers. We all have a bit of Elizabeth in us, we just need to call it up when we feel at our weakest. I hope and pray that you have a source of release and refreshment as it does no one any good if you wear yourself out. Stay safe, stay well, and stay strong.

  2. I agree with you that attitude makes so much difference. I know there are a lot of people with real challenges, but a good attitude can make any challenge easier for so many people. The conference was a case in point. Yes, it was such a pity it couldn’t be in person, but how amazing that we were able to get together with people from all over the world! I thought that international aspect was just terrific.

    And yes – Marianne Dashwood is a bit of a drama queen, isn’t she? I recently wrote an S&S-based piece, and it was very hard to treat her sympathetically. I’ve got a bit of a suck-it-up-buttercup attitude towards life, so her weeping and wailing sent me into Mom Mode: “Go to your room until you’re ready to act like a grown-up.”

    • lol I totally agree! When I read S&S the first time, I was new to Austen and I believe my daughter was still in pre-school. Marianne’s behavior did not draw any extreme reaction from me. She was what she was. Having a teenager girl in the house now has definitely hardened my sympathy towards the character. That said, I feel I must clarify – my daughter, even though she is theatrical, is not a drama queen (other than her social outburst after being quarantined for less than 2 weeks). Her friends on the other hand . . . She and I enjoy a good laugh at their outbursts on a regular basis.

    • Indeed, but in my daughter’s words, “I’m a social being! I need people!” Well sometimes, but not as much as she does, or as frequently. ;D

      Aren’t they the best? Strong but flawed. Same as I like my heroes, I suppose.

    • Thank you! Once the weather warms up again, I’m sure a small group of us will be sitting together at an outdoor café having tea and discussing everything our families are tired of hearing. 😉

    • I am so impressed by my daughter and all our students who are spending five or more hours a day in online school. It would drive me mad. I caught myself correcting a reporter on tv the other night because she was not allowing the time delay for a guest to respond before she moved on to the next topic. Just enough! 😉

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