I don’t hate Jane Austen. I only despise her literary work.
To prove I mean no malice for the woman, I’ve included a heart-felt apology at the bottom of this post, one that defines my page’s headline: I Hate Jane Austen Novels So Much by detaching the work from the person. To honour the lady (not the writer), I’ve included her name into the narrative of my next novel.
Here’s a snippet of the new book:
“So she’s said yes to staying?”
“Not yet. There’s a little boat ride to come next. That was a hoot and a half I’ll tell ya.”
“I told you the wind had died and the sun had almost set. The bay was a millpond with every sun-coloured cloud reflected in its waters. There were crimsons, yellows and patches of gold everywhere. It was one of the best evenings I’d ever seen out there. You can see the dinghy hanging from the davits behind me, right? It’s not that big. I have to face backwards to row it, see? She sat on the other seat facing forward. Our knees were virtually touching each other. She sees me looking at her and asks: Why am I smiling like that?”
“I told her that this could have been a scene from any Jane Austen novel, where two would-be lovers are gazing into each other’s eyes while rowing themselves into a fairytale love story.”
“Oh that’s ripe Mitchell. It’s good but very much on-the-nose.”
“Yeah, it cheesy alright but she just rolled her eyes. So then I said: It’s a very romantic scene, doncha think? And she replies in a sarcastic tone: Very.”
“Did she mean it?”
“No! The sarcasm says everything mate. Something about the scene isn’t right. It looks good but it’s probably not the way she’s dreamt it. I’m not a brooding, unobtainable Mister fucking Darcy and she’s not some hapless romantic. We aren’t crossing the pond and going to our respective homes afterwards.”
Mitchell takes a sip of his drink and continues. “So I smiled again and again she asked me: Why am I doing that?”
“You were playing her.”
“You betcha I was. She was in my world now. She’s in my dinghy about to get onto my boat. Her safety depended on me but that takes power away from her. If we were on the mainland, she would be the one playing me. Not out here mate. It was of no value for her to piss the skipper off.”
“I love it. So what did you tell her?”
“I told her I knew what she was thinking.”
“I told her she was thinking about what the sleeping arrangements on the boat would be and what was gonna happen… and if anyone would hear her screams.”
My Dearest Jane Austen,
I apologize. I don’t hate you. I truly don’t hate Jane Austen the human being. As it turns out, I don’t even hate Jane Austen novels either. I know you’re dead and can’t hear me but I think it still counts if I say so anyway. My blog post isn’t even about you… or your writing either. You’re just a headline so I can find readers who hate Jane Austen or hate Jane Austen novels. I figure that these could be the readers of my kind of book.
My genre is the opposite of yours. It’s Noir. Actually, that’s not entirely right. Noir was popular in the 50’s. I’m writing contemporary stories. That makes them Neo-noir. There’s quite a bit of sex involved in them too so that extends the descriptor to include: Neo-Noirotica. See I told you they weren’t like yours!
So Jane, please accept my deepest apology. I know there are people who are prepared to hate Jane Austen but I’m not one of them. I won’t be starting up an I hate Jane Austen Fanpage. I wouldn’t even accept being a moderator to one. -Michael Forman, Author
Homesite @ http://www.mfp.com.au/angelwanderer/