Courtship and Marriage: Visiting JASNA NY

One thing about natural disasters, they are very ill-mannered guests. They show up to your place uninvited, sometimes with other unexpected guests in tow. They overstay their welcome, leave everything a mess–and all that is after they have shown up at the worst possible time.

As we were coping with all Harvey brought our way, in the moments I had two extra brain cells to rub together (which I confess were few and far between) I wondered whether or not I’d be able to keep my commitment to the JASNA NY to speak at their September meeting. As the waters rose and all the Houston airports closed, it started looking really doubtful. But when the waters stopped rising before they reached my front door, I knew I’d be able to do it, and I’m so very glad I did.

The meeting took place  in the library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen,an organization founded when Jane Austen was just ten years old! The library was a fabulous place complete with a grand piano.  Take a look at this balcony, it was simply amazing!

Claudine and her cohorts of JASNA NY made me feel right at home as they ushered in 110 of their closest friends–opps I should say, JASNA members and their guests–for one of their largest meetings of the year. Seriously, what a way to make a gal feel welcome!

It is hard to top that, but they managed to. They had invited me to speak on Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World. Since it is a HUGE topic, we started with the question, “What do you want to make sure we talk about today.” As often as not when I ask that question, I’ll get one timid answer and a room full of terrified looks silently pleading ‘Please, don’t call on me!’ But not this group! They were raring to go with a host of great questions from the starting gate.

And it got better. Two slides into the program, they started asking so many fantastic questions that we just ditched the slides and did an hour and a half of Q&A. Finally at the end, poor Claudine threatened to turn off the mike and tie down hands to stop the questions. (Ok, no she didn’t really do that, but I’m sure she considered it. But she far too much of a lady to really do such a thing!) It was hard to stop, though, with such a fabulous group, so we adjourned for snacks and resumed the conversation for another half hour or so. I had such a wonderful time with this group. I’d love to see them again. (No, that wasn’t anything like a subtle hint. No not at all…)

On the heels of something like Harvey, it was really wonderful to share Jane Austen’s world with this awesome group. Thanks so much for having me!


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    • Glynis on September 19, 2017 at 3:04 am
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    What a wonderful experience that must have been. Especially after the trauma of being evacuated. (so glad your home missed out on the floods). I can think of nothing worse than having to stand up and speak before a roomful of people (except perhaps losing my kindle!) so I am totally in awe of people who can I’m glad it went so well and that Claudine didn’t have to resort to gagging anyone.

    1. Thanks, Glynis, it was really great to be able to get there. Despite public speaking being like the #1 fear in adults, I find I’d rather speak to a large group than make small talk with one stranger on the grocery store line. I know, I’m weird!

    • J. W. Garrett on September 19, 2017 at 7:19 am
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    First, I just want to say… I am so glad the waters didn’t get to your front door. Oh my goodness… your poor nerves. How marvelous that you were able to make the meeting, in spite of Harvey. I am so glad you were able to take just a moment and escape into the world of Austen and those lucky people that were able to be in that gathering. What fun. Glad you and yours are well. Keep us posted on your work. Oh, and one more thing… just a question… I wonder how many authors, traumatized by the storm, will name their villain Harvey in future stories and do nefarious things to him. Just wondering. Karma is a b…. well, enough said about that.

    1. Harvey would make an excellent villain’s name at this point. Though I have a feeling that Irma and Maria may be showing up as villainesses as well. It’s be a crazy, storm year for sure!

      I admit to feeling a bit like Mrs. Bennet recently. This week we’ve had normal afternoon thunderstorms and the animals and I are all quite rattled by them!

    • Sheila L. Majczan on September 19, 2017 at 9:08 am
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    I, too, am glad you escaped hurricane damage and were able to make that meeting. I had it marked on my calendar but then with my operation and long recovery found myself unable to attend. I am so sorry to have missed it. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    1. I’m so sorry that you were not able to be with us Sheila. I’d have loved to meet you! Hope your recovery is going well.

  1. What a lovely way to celebrate your family’s safety from Harvey than to fly to NY and lead such a lively discussion!! What fun!! 😀

    If you ever come to San Diego, please let me know! 😀

    Susanne 🙂

    1. Not quite San Diego, but I’ll be in Huntington Beach for the JASNA-AGM in October. Maybe we can arrange to meet for coffee near the hotel?

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