This is where I start getting a little teary and hysterical.
Pardon. Back from wiping eyes on hanky. Anyway. I read the blogs of up and coming authors, people who are standing exactly where I want to be, and they’re all nervous about their second book. Will it sell as well? I read the blogs of really famous authors and they worry about whether or not they’ll still be around ten years after their death. Will they be big names like Dickens or Austen?
Then I read a newspaper article about how Jane Austen has 89,000 facebook fans and the Bronte sisters collectively only have 9,000, and Elizabeth Gaskell, well, who’s heard of her anyway?
They’re dead and they’re still competing.
This is how I picture it going down in Heaven. Do not doubt that the dear ladies are in Heaven.
[the ladies are arrayed around a tea table]
Charlotte Bronte: I can’t believe you have 89,000 facebook fans. You! Your books have about as much passion as a dried haddock. You wouldn’t recognize a heaving bosom if it bit you on the nose.
Jane Austen: I’ve always found it strange that Charlotte is still in print. She writes half of her dialogue in French. Perhaps to disguise how overwrought it is?
Charlotte Bronte: Bitch! My dialogue is delicious and spicy like Caribbean chicken.
Elizabeth Gaskell: At least people know who you are. No one’s ever heard of me.
Bronte: [hugging Gaskell] It has nothing to do with your talent.
Austen: Cranford is a gem.
Bronte: I don’t know how you managed that considering the lack of plot.
Bronte: It’s a book about old ladies who sit around drinking tea.
Gaskell: I like old ladies.
Bronte: Yes darling, but most people prefer man hunks.
Austen: [Brightly] I enjoyed Wives and Daughters even though it’s 700 pages long. It such a shame that you um,
Austen: Expired, before you could tie up the plot.
Bronte: That was a serious marketing mistake.
[Awkward silence part deux. Gaskell dabs at her eyes with her handkerchief.]
Austen: North and South is doing quite well though. I quite enjoyed Mr. Thornton. He’s fetching.
Bronte: But vanilla.
Austen: Elizabeth, don’t mind her. Charlotte prefers it if her men are cross dressing bigamists.
Bronte: [dreamily] That passage about Mr. Thornton watching Margaret’s wrists is phenomenally sexy. I shivered when I read it. I had no idea wrists could be so delicious. [Examines her own wrists]. Eliza, do you think I have attractive wrists?
Austen: Charlotte. Control yourself. Keep the inside your head thoughts, inside your head.
Bronte: Your need a good—
Bronte: Sorry. I have trouble with the concept of inside my head thoughts.
[Austen takes several deep calming breathes.]
Austen: It’s really a work to be proud of, Eliza. The love story is spine tingling, and your examination of the industrial revolution’s impact on, let’s see… the aristocracy, the church gentry, the factory workers, the factory owners, the peasants… is, uh, through.
Bronte: The only person she left out was God.
Austen: It does get a wee bit long. The problem is—
Bronte: The industrial revolution is over. No one cares anymore. Ow. Don’t pinch me Jane.
Austen: Consider what I chose to write about—marrying for money, falling in love with unsuitable gentlemen, dreadful mothers. Timeless themes.
Bronte: [staring up at the ceiling] God, tell me she had no friends as a child. Please.
Austen: People will even read Charlotte because it’s like watching a carriage crash. Cross dressing bigamists. Lunatic wives. Arson. You can’t look away although it’s appalling.
Bronte: [under her breathe] She definitely had no friends.
[Gaskell looks like she’s been bludgeoned by a tea kettle.]
Bronte: Oh Eliza, don’t look like that. Come, let’s get some crumpets. My treat.
|Tea with the ladies|