Jude’s Favourite Things

Pronouns and adverbs and adjectives glowing
Phrases and clauses and paragraphs flowing
Words about cabbages; words about kings…
These are a few of my favourite things.

Titles, quotations, and epigrams witty
Narratives gripping and verse patterns pretty
Thoughts that soar upwards on poetic wings…
These are a few of my favourite things.

I’m a writer
I’m a fighter
– though my hip is sore
I simply dive into a manuscript then—
I don’t feel a thing — no more.

Research on poisons and research on horses
Legal procedures for wills and divorces
Ballrooms and phaetons and swordfights and all
These are the things that keep me on the ball.

Girls who are daring and men who adore them
Who’ll wade into danger and sacrifice for them
There isn’t much of me, I’m really quite small…
But when I am writing I’m twenty feet tall.

I’m a writer
I’m a fighter
– though my hip is sore
I simply dive into a manuscript then—
I don’t feel a thing — no more.

(Twenty-five years ago I was in business with a dear friend, doing commercial writing, and we wrote the first half of this one quiet afternoon. I came across it in a clean-out and rewrote the second half this morning.)

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How to tell what novel you’re in

These beautiful images of characters being sucked back into their books is by Canadian photographer Lissy Larichhia.

These beautiful images of characters being sucked back into their books are by Canadian photographer Lissy Larichhia.

The Toast has been running a series of posts on how to tell what novel you’re in. The latest is how to tell whether you’re in a Regency novel. Here’s a sample:

4. You have a maiden aunt who despairs of you. You have a gaggle of sisters of marriageable age and they are all silly.

5. You are an incorrigible womanizer and you have lived in France. You are squandering your sizeable inheritance on loose women and card tables. You may very well be a pirate.

6. Your best friend is a notorious flirt and not as pretty as you. She weds a buffoon for convenience and immediately regrets her decision. Her sole ambition in life is to orchestrate a marriage for you that’s ever so slightly beneath hers.

7. A gentleman of your acquaintance once addressed you by your Christian name as he brushed his fingers against the lace filigree of your fichu. You still blush at the recollection.

And these four are just a few from how to tell you are in a Jane Austin novel:

You attempt to befriend someone slightly above or slightly below your social station and are soundly punished for it.

A girl you have only just met tells you a secret, and you despise her for it.

You have five hundred a year. From who? Five hundred what? No one knows. No one cares. You have it. It’s yours. Every year. All five hundred of it.

There are three men in your life: one true love, one tempting but rakish acquaintance, and a third distant possibility — he is courteous and attentive but only slightly interested in you. He is almost certainly the cousin or good friend of your true love, and nothing will ever happen between you two.

You can also find out how to tell if you’re in a novel by Noel Streatfield, Iris Murdoch, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, and a heap of others.

Thanks, Doreen Knight, for pointing me in this direction.

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