I love the fresh opportunities afforded by the New Year, but I don’t always have the commitment to make my resolutions turn into a reality; therefore, I don’t always write New Year’s Resolutions. This year, I am wise enough to make one very simple resolution for 2017 that I know I will keep; remember Jane Austen.
As we enter the bicentennial anniversary of Jane Austen’s passing, I wanted to share my first post in a series that I am writing here throughout 2017 named, Remembering Jane. Today, I will begin by sharing my own Austen-inspired list of New Year’s Resolutions for 2017, in the hopes that you’ll join me and create your own meaningful ways to remember Jane Austen in 2017.
Plant a garden
It’s no secret that Jane loved gardening! What better way to remember her than with an Austen-inspired garden of your own? You can see Jane’s garden at Chawton to learn more about her gardens and Kim Wilson’s book, In the Garden with Jane Austen, which has lots of great information to help readers bring Jane’s gardens into their lives today.
Support literacy efforts in your community
Jane was an avid reader and in efforts to continue her legacy, many others have joined together to support literacy efforts across the world. Why not consider supporting local efforts in your area or support The Jane Austen Literacy Foundation, who works to support girls and women throughout the globe? “With 125 million children not in school, there is a literacy crisis and I could not ignore the opportunity to harness the worldwide passion for Jane Austen to raise money to improve global literacy rates. Jane herself was an advocate for education and I am sure she would approve of her legacy being used to help teach children to read and write,” says Caroline Jane Knight, Jane’s fifth great-niece, who heads this foundation.
Join your local JASNA
One of the best decisions that I made last year was to join my local JASNA group, JASNA NY Metro. It has allowed me to connect with many other ardent Austen admirers and participate in activities that also allow me to connect with Austen scholars in various fields. This year, as the Regional Coordinator for my JASNA group, JASNA NY Metro, I plan to become an active participant in helping others learn more about Austen’s work and life as we look back on her legacy and celebrate the ways that she continues to inspire us over 200 years later.
Take the road less traveled
When I think of Jane Austen, I am often reminded how singular she was in her pursuit to become a published author. Through access to her father’s library and her own early education, she was provided with the tools she needed to embark on her journey as a writer. Scholars today believe she was an astute business woman who gave the business of selling her books as much attention as the writing of her books. In my own life, I feel empowered by her courage and I hope that I am always able to pursue the opportunities in my life that speak to my heart and that subsequently, broaden my mind. Perhaps in 2017, I will be able to take the road less traveled when it feels like the right thing for me to do.
Spend time engaged in your favorite pursuits
Jane had the good fortune to pursue many of the activities that she loved; reading, writing, gardening, playing the piano, and spending time with her family and friends, just to name a few pursuits. Sometimes, our lives get so busy that we forget to enjoy the activities that we ourselves cherish so dearly. I hope in 2017 you find time to enjoy your favorite pursuits and maybe discover some new ones as well.
Take an Austen-inspired vacation
Once you discover the world of Jane Austen, you also discover there are endless opportunities for spending time with other Janeites who also enjoy similar activities. I recently booked a room for the JASNA AGM in California later this year. If you want to attend an event on the East Coast, consider joining JASNA NY Metro for their Spas & Spies Weekend Conference in April. There are so many ways to find some Austenesque inspiration in your travels, I hope you get to indulge in a getaway this year!
Reread your favorite Austen books
Today there are so many versions of Austen’s books, it’s hard not to find one that will appeal to you. I have enjoyed David M. Shapard’s Pride and Prejudice and the Harvard University Press releases of The Jane Austen Annotated Editions. Do you have any annotated versions that you can recommend to us? I’d love to hear your suggestions too below this post.
Find Jane in your local haunts
I love to explore places near me that make me feel closer to Jane Austen. On winter afternoons, I love to take my daughter to high tea at a local tea shop and I also love to visit historic homes on Long Island or when I am on vacation. I had great fun this year seeing Bedlam perform Kate Hamill’s adaptation of “Sense & Sensibility” three times this year. This year, Kate Hamill, will bring Pride and Prejudice to her audiences in Pride, her latest adaptation, which has previews starting on June 10, 2017 and will be running shows from June 24 – September 4, 2017. Tickets go on sale in March. I’ll also use it as an excuse to visit my favorite restaurant, Harvest on Hudson. The internet and your local JASNA are great places to find out about local Austenesque events in your area.
Celebrate Austen’s stories
This year, as a new JASNA RC, I hope to work with my steering committee to celebrate each of Jane’s books this year, including her unfinished work, Sanditon, as a way to honor her legacy. We met this weekend to discuss some ideas and we have some really neat ideas brewing for us. I definitely hope to reread Persuasion, since it’s celebrating its 200th anniversary and I never felt the passion for this story that so many other readers describe in regards to this story. Perhaps I was too young to appreciate the chilling heartbreak that causes such life-altering lessons to be learned by Anne and Captain Wentworth in this story?
Do you have any suggestions for celebrating Austen’s stories this year? I’d love to hear your resolutions for 2017 and learn any ideas that you may have for your own resolutions this year!
I have a couple of giveaways to help you get your final plans in place to organize yourself for the New Year, and I want to do them quickly to get these treats into your hands ASAP!
One is Janet Taylor’s gorgeous 2017 Men in Film Plus Two wall calendar. I received my copies the other day and they are simply stunning. Well done, Janet!
The other giveaway is the planner I use to organize my blogging and reading all year long.
I have tried other planners because I am obsessed with organization, but these planners by Orange Circle are my absolute favorites for three reasons; they are beautiful, durable, and lay flat open when you write on them. The bad news is I paid almost $20.00 for mine. The good news is I found the two I am giving away at my local Marshalls for $5.00 each, so I had to buy them for my readers!!
To enter these giveaways, leave a comment on this blog telling us one of your New Year’s resolutions or additional ways to remember Jane this year, no later than January 15th. I will announce the winners on January 16, 2017. The giveaways are open to international winners too!
I hope in 2017 you’ll join me for my monthly posts to remember Jane in 2017 and get to work on some resolutions that you know you’ll want to spend some time working on this year! These posts will be found under the JJ 1813 Living tab on the bar above.