Tag Archives: Jane Eyre

Writing Under the Influence

I’ve blogged about Jane before, and I’m doing it again. Jane Eyre, that is.  I’ve been thinking about her because I’ve just finished The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Margot Livesey’s take on  Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel.  (Livesey herself calls it a “continued conversation.”) Beginning with the first sentence, Livesey sprinkles similarities to the original throughout her novel, weaving in her own autobiographical details.  In both, we have an orphaned girl, a cruel aunt, a book on birds, a mysterious landowner, a sickly boarding school friend who dies in Jane’s/Gemma’s arms, etc.  In Brontë, of course, what comes between Jane & … Continue reading

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Playtime

I read with interest Gina Gionfriddo’s article in last Sunday’s New York Times about her new play’s “inadvertent homage” to Wendy Wasserstein’s Heidi Chronicles.  Gionfriddo’s play Rapture, Blister, Burn—which opened this week at Playwrights Horizons, the same theater where Heidi had its premiere in 1988—features a 40-something female academic with a successful writing career and second thoughts about her personal life. I saw Heidi Chronicles in New York when I was in my late twenties and, like many women, felt it could have been written just for me.  Like Gina Gionfriddo, I too share Wasserstein’s “certain temperament…that makes you feel … Continue reading

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Sick Day

Sickly characters hold a certain romanticized (sickly) appeal.  Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden.  Mary Ingalls (once she went blind) in the Little House books.  Jane Eyre’s pious childhood friend Helen Burns.  Beth in Little Women.  Joan Didion in her essay about migraine, “In Bed.” I thought of them all this morning, as I lay propped up with an ice pack on my forehead.  Husband slept solidly next to me, dawn light edged the curtains, and I had to throw up.  Yes, a migraine—though not nearly as severe as Didion’s.  Mine was banished with a pill, a trip down the … Continue reading

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Vacation Reading

Read anything good on vacation? We haven’t even decided where we’re going this year—Grand Tetons? Hawaii? Yosemite?  Stinson Beach?—and already I’m answering  the question. You see, as soon as I start thinking about where, I start considering what books to bring.  I go away for a weekend and I bring a bag full of novels and a few months’ backlog of New Yorkers.  It’s not just a question of overestimating my time; it’s a question of what I’ll be in the mood for.  An Adam Gopnik essay?  A Donna Leon mystery?  Time to read up on the situation in Syria, … Continue reading

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Read Anything Good Lately?

I own many books. I have piles of magazines going back I don’t want to say how many months. Reading material covers every surface in every room I live in.  I belong to the Mechanics’ Institute, whose wonderful library has a terrific Fiction selection, and every time I visit the second floor, I pick up a hardcover or two. So why, when asked who my favorite authors are or what I’ve enjoyed reading lately, do I draw a blank? Oh, I can come up the usual suspects.  I wrote my senior thesis on Nathaniel Hawthorne and – yes, it’s true … Continue reading

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