In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert says, “I believe that inspiration will always try its best to work with you– but if you are not ready or available, it make indeed choose to leave you…”
The other morning while out for a walk the day was magical. As we lazily made our way down the path, the birds were singing, the crickets were chirping, then suddenly -I had a Big Magic moment. What if authors that I enjoy were to write letters for their fans to get to know them -but Regency style? I don’t know about you, but I was (and still am) pretty excited about this idea.
This month, Heather Moll is sharing with us a Regency style letter -quarantine edition. Heather is a Jane Austen fan fiction author. She has written two books and is currently working on a third. I hope her letter tickles your fancy like it did mine!
My dear friend,
I have just received your last, and shall devote this whole morning to answering it, as I foresee that only a little writing will not comprise all I must tell you about the past months here in upstate New York. I have been caring for my family while attempting to further my profession as a writer, and both have proven a challenge.
All children were sent home in March, and I was therefore forced to instruct my son myself as my dear husband continued to work. I was given lessons to help instruct the feral creature that took the place of my son, but he proved incapable of applying himself. The mere mention of a math game or reading an article sent him into paroxysms. However, he assiduously applied himself to Nintendo. The threat of having to attend school during the summer holiday should he not do his lessons provided minimal motivation.
Attempting to first educate and now entertain my son this summer leaves me weary. And I am now down to my last tin of tea! What a travesty. Thankfully, my local tea store has waived the parcel fee, and I shall no longer need to reuse the tea leaves. As one who takes tea brewing seriously, you know how this pains me.
We no longer have to close all of our businesses. However, masks are required when in public, so I save considerable money on lip paint. This week, I rode into town for supplies, but in my haste I neglected to consider the amount of snacking one does while confined at home. While regular meals are made without any trouble, there are no longer any popped corn, fried potato slices, or chocolate of any kind.
The circulating library has acted in the interest of public good, much to my annoyance. I have books on request that cannot be filled because the local libraries cannot exchange materials with one another nor are they processing new ones. A biography and several historical mysteries with a romantic angle await me. My child fairs little better. Little does he know that I bought him a book with pictures where the hero is a military man dressed only in his underwear and a cape, and I am awaiting the right moment to reveal this coveted item.
You may perhaps remember that I had aided in my son’s school library and was involved in a group of admirers of the author Jane Austen? I was once a librarian before I became a mother who remained in the home, and then a writer. But neither the JASNA group nor the library has a need for my time and talents since gatherings are an impediment to public health. Between the loss of these rewarding activities and the need to devote myself to my son’s care during a summer with no camps or activities to fill his days, I find my feelings sometimes despondent. Perhaps this is worsened by a lack of chocolate and tea?
You might suggest that I exercise for my health and happiness, and this would be a reasonable suggestion, given my enjoyment of walking on the belt that turns like a mill’s wheel in which I exert myself but—in fact—travel nowhere. However, months ago I fell while chasing my son, during a game, I must add, not in an attempt to flay him for inattention to his studies. I tripped and then crashed in an unladylike manner onto a concrete path. The result was terrible pain in my arms from bracing myself and, far worse, an impact to my knee and wrist that troubles me still. I am recovered, but to walk briskly or type at length strains me. I am now in my 39th year, and we all know this means I am now an old and feeble creature.
I often wonder how I can find the time for what I wish to do most: write. How can anyone be creative in these trying times in addition to the care of the house, and my family, too? I have a short story to be published in September, but that is all I have accomplished in five months. Writing my next manuscript is out of the question when I cannot find enough time alone—how can one write a romantic embrace when a little boy might run in at any moment? Efforts to edit and prepare for publication my third novel, to be released in January, are on hold until school resumes in the autumn. My creative talents, as you may surmise, are in need of an outlet.
I long to hear from you and know how you are faring. Send my love to your family, and save the best of that love for yourself.
I remain your affectionate friend,
You can follow Heather Moll on her website where I would highly recommend signing up for her newsletter. She is also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Below are her two books that are currently available.
Heather Moll is an avid reader of mysteries and biographies with a masters in information science. She found Jane Austen later than she should have and made up for lost time by devouring her letters and unpublished works, joining JASNA, and spending too much time researching the Regency era. She is the author of His Choice of a Wife, Two More Days at Netherfield, and the short story The Gentlemen Are Detained. She lives with her husband and son and struggles to balance all of the important things, like whether or not to buy groceries or stay home and write. Follow her on social media and subscribe to her newsletter for a freebie and monthly updates.
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