The bottom is where the living roots of the psyche are. It is there that a woman’s wild underpinnings are. At bottom is the best soil to sow and grow something new again.”
–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, from Women Who Run with the Wolves
I have a thing for typewriters. I love the way they clack and ding. The way the paper tangibly fills up right before my eyes. I scour the shelves of second hand stores for them. I let my daughters pound their keys on lazy weekend afternoons. Typewriters are awesome. I recently watched Woody Allen: A Documentary, which was such a fascinating survey of his life and work. He introduced his own typewriter–a beauty he’s owned over 40 years–with which he has written and continues to write out all his screenplays.
The other day, a radio news story made mention of the beautiful nostalgic hybrid manufacturers USB Typewriters. Seriously. Hook my typewriter up to my computer screen?!? How is this not the most brilliant idea ever? But to tide me over until my husband surprises me with one for Christmas, I went ahead and downloaded an awesome vintage typewriting font. Second-place awesome. And free.
Because we live in a great age, there is such a thing as iTunesU, where—right from my phone during breakfast—I can sit in on filmed lectures and pretend like I’m attending university in Oxford or Cambridge. My recent favorite is a podcast on Jane Austen’s early and unfinished manuscript “The Watsons.” I sat through it absolutely giddy. Like tween girls sit through a Justin Beiber concert: bopping in my seat.
Back in the late 90s, when I was a junior in high school, the BBCs epic 5-hr version of Pride and Prejudice came out. Somehow my non-cable family obtained a VHS tape of this and I spent innumerable hours watching the film, reciting favorite lines with my cousins (also die-hard fans), and, not long afterward, reading the actual book. Sad to say, as a 16 year old, I wasn’t much of a reader. Pride and Prejudice changed that. Because I was so familiar with the story, the language was easier to follow. And I was predisposed to love what I read. I was finally led to understand that great truism: books are better than their movie counterparts! Who knew??
I read the rest of her works, which then led to a 19th-century British lit jag: Alexander Dumas, Baroness Orczy, Thomas Hardy, the Brontes. I read other stuff, too. Fluffier stuff. But Jane steered me down a classical path. Gave birth to me as a reader. Is that too dramatic? I don’t care. It feels true, which is why I adore her so unabashedly.
Tomorrow’s breakfast lecture: Plato’s Philosophy of Art.