It is the third-to-last day of September.
I am sunburnt from hiking for hours around the National Mall/Tidal Basin. Other statistics from this trek: 18,000 steps. 5 blisters. 1 scratched watch face. 1 newly developed monument rating system (aesthetic rating, that is. I’ve learned that I tend to give points for water features).
I’m trying desperately to finish two more books before the month is over (my odds aren’t looking good unless I choose Goodnight Moon and Martha Speaks. But that would be cheating. Right?).
Finishing two more books would put me at 42 read since April 1st. A little behind my goal, but not terribly. “A little behind my goal, but not terribly.” Hopefully this does not become my personal motto.
My succulent (Pugsley) and I have reached an impasse. One side of the pot (Pugsley Major) is tall and green and plump. The other side (Pugsley Minor) has tiny baby sprouts. When I face Pugsley Major toward the sun, it flourishes. Pugsley Minor withers. When I turn the pot to give Pugsley Minor some sun, it flourishes. Pugsley Major turns brown and begins to crumble. Do I choose to favor the already-strong Pugsley Major, or do I give the baby Pugsley Minor a chance to realize its potential?
This keeps me up at night. For in the morning, I must decide who dies.
I recently read the novel Longbourn, about the servants working for the Bennet household while the plot of Pride and Prejudice plays out. I didn’t care much for the novel itself, but it has inadvertently challenged everything I ever thought I loved about Pride and Prejudice. I don’t pretend that it will surprise any of you to hear that the early 19th century was a terrible time for women. Few rights, little respect, short lists of “acceptable” pastimes and interests. I’ve always celebrated the happy ending of Pride and Prejudice, but having read a blunt account of the story, I no longer view it as entirely happy. I now pity Elizabeth and Jane because even though they got to rattle off into the sunset with the men they loved, bigger houses didn’t afford greater opportunities for their sex. Instead of being confined to a middle class household with little to do, they end the story in mansions with little to do and attractive men at their sides.
I know: Pride and Prejudice is a product of its time. Jane Austen was a product of hers, and even quite forward-thinking in some regards.
Still, I’m left wondering what happens to our dear Lizzy Bennet at the end of the day. Is she happy? Long-term happy? Intellectually fulfilled? Living up to her potential?
I worry about her.
Plants and Austen heroines: why I’m having a sleep study done later this week.
It’s good to be back, Internet. Let’s keep in touch.