old scribblings

I was cleaning out my nightstand/bookshelf last night, and I found a few scraps of paper that I want to be able to throw out, but not before first recording their contents.

    A quote from Charlotte Brontë:  A Passionate Life, p. 145:”Jane Eyre is, above all, a pilgrimge.  It follows child and woman through pitfalls en route to her new Eden:  a love which unites goodness with the dream of sustained passion.  In this new map for the soul, the Fall is not disobedience; it is obedience – unthinking obedience.  Mrs. Reed, Jane’s guardian aunt, complains that she has never seen a child like her.  What sets Jane apart is that she is incapable of not thinking for herself.”

This quote well encapsulates what I loved about Jane Eyre, what made it such a vibrant and revolutionary novel.  If I weren’t in the middle of something else right now, I’d want to go back and re-read it.  Charlotte Brontë:  A Passionate Life is an excellent biography of all three Brontë siblings, with an emphasis on Charlotte, who outlived Emily and Austin.  I remember thinking how familiar a lot of their life story sounded, and how similar their childhood was to mine in some respects.  I could see how the emotional stresses of early life affected the way each of their lives unfolded, for better or for worse.  All three were incredibly creative, but only Charlotte and Emily seemed able to find relief by this route; Austin unfortunately channelled his energies into addiction and anger.  The unsettling possibility that that difference is attributable to gender has not escaped my notice.

I also remember the horror of realizing that Emily, Austin, and their father all died within about a year and a half of each other.  I can’t even imagine living through that.  But of course, we are a lot more removed from death than our forebears were, even a century or two ago.  So perhaps everyone developed stronger skills for dealing with loss back then.

    Additionally, I found a scrap of paper with an old to-do/wish list:

  • finish Anne [a novel I started writing some years ago; it remains unfinished]
  • rebuild the Rideau Queen [a rather fanciful idea that sometimes haunts me.  The Rideau Queen was a steam ship that transported passengers up and down the Rideau Canal in south eastern Ontario around the turn of the 20th century.]
  • Ghosts Along the Rideau [an idea for a novel that I toss around in my head sometimes.  I’m unclear regarding the plot, theme(s), and characters, but other than that I think it’s a good idea.]
  • buy house [done]
  • teach yoga [done, or in process anyway]

    Another scrap of paper entitled “Phases of Rideau History” (probably preliminary notes for Ghosts Along the Ridea):

  • Pre-Euro residence
  • Trapping?
  • Surveying
  • Construction
  • Military
  • Commerce – logging [I remember hearing on CBC radio that at the turn of the 20th century, 1/3-1/2 of the men in eastern Ontario were engaged in logging.]
  • Tourism – Rideau King & Queen
  • Tourism – Fishing
  • Tourism – Cottaging
  • (Anyone who sees any overarching themes in these phases of history, speak up!  I’m kind of stumped (ha-ha, a logging joke.).)

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2 Responses

  1. Sometime can we just sit down for a few hours so you can talk to me about Canada? That would be good.

  2. Absolutely. I'd like to pick your brain a bit more about your own travels as well.

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