I tried very hard to come up with one thing very clever, be it prose or verse, original or repeated–or two things moderately clever–or three things very dull indeed to say about Jane Austen on her birthday, but all I could think about was all the things she has given me. Not only her wonderful stories, which have impacted my life significantly in many ways, but Jane’s writing has really shaped my worldview. I truly do think, as I go through life: What Would Jane Austen Do? I want her to approve of me. 🙂
So then I thought, “What would I give Jane Austen for her birthday?” Well, what wouldn’t I give her? But I am just a poor blogger, and have just set up my own carriage, and after all Jane wouldn’t approve of unwonted extravagance, would she? Of course not. So applying my Janeite thinking cap, and using my skills and existing yarn stash, I would crochet her some fingerless mitts out of soft, warm (but washable!) wool to help keep off the chill in those non-central-heated houses. She can wear them and still write, but the mitts would, one hopes, stave off the arthritic chill and the repetitive stress issues for a bit. Definitely superwash wool, so that the ink can be rinsed out.
I wouldn’t give Jane fame, as she didn’t want it; but I would give her a long life and career as what would today be called a midlist author, quietly producing a new book every eighteen months or so–rather as some women in her day produced babies–to be rapturously received by her wide, quiet, cultish readership. Her backlist would continue to be reprinted and keep selling, year after year, and she might collect a weirdo stalker fan or two *cough*, but in general she would be left alone in Hampshire to write and make lots and lots of money from it. That’s what I would give her. And, you know, the mitts.
Gentle Readers, what would you give Jane Austen for her birthday?
P.S. Jane got the Google Doodle today in the UK: http://www.google.co.uk/