Inspired by a Lady: FTF Blog Event 8/17

August 17, 2011 · 40 comments

in Arts & Culture, Community

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.
- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (1814)

This month the members of Kristy Eléna’s FTFCommunity (an extension of her Full Time Fabulous readership) are focusing on inspirations. August represents a transition from summer to autumn – or, if you happen to be in another part of the world, possibly a transition from winter into spring – and it’s the perfect time to reacquaint ourselves with our goals by seeking new inspiration, or perhaps revisiting the old. For this event, I’m taking the latter avenue.

I’ve been inspired by the world of Jane Austen since I first turned the pages of Persuasion so many years ago, and my love for her Regency writings has only continued to grow. There’s a cozy familiarity to revisiting her novels and their countless adaptations; getting lost in Austen, as it were. I love Jane’s works for many reasons, it sometimes feels impossible to pinpoint just one. People are apt to say that her stories are like fairy tales, for the way good always triumphs over evil and nothing but the happiest endings exist. But the greatest source of my inspiration is simply in the characters themselves and the world they live in. I admire Jane’s heroines, all perfect in their imperfections, especially Anne Elliot, Elinor Dashwood and Fanny Price. Their triumphs and their determination inspired me from the first, and they’ve stayed with me since. Fanny spoke what is one of my favorite lines from any of Jane’s novels – and about the weather, yet! – when “all that was solemn, and soothing, and lovely, appeared in the brilliancy of an unclouded night”:

“Here’s harmony!” said she; “here’s repose! Here’s what may leave all painting and all music behind, and what poetry only can attempt to describe! Here’s what may tranquillise every care, and lift the heart to rapture! When I look out on such a night as this, I feel as if there could be neither wickedness nor sorrow in the world; and there certainly would be less of both if the sublimity of Nature were more attended to, and people were carried more out of themselves by contemplating such a scene.”
- Mansfield Park, Chapter XI

It means so much to me that Jane’s women were women of substance, intelligence and manners; they’ve proven all of those qualities to be the definition of timeless elegance. Their gentle propriety and that of the era, so wittily captured by Jane, inspires me with the importance and appreciation of simple etiquette. As to how Jane herself inspires me, well, there likely couldn’t be two personalities much farther apart, but in a way I think that’s the beauty of it all. It’s a special thing that a woman so different from me could understand the vast scope of human character enough to create heroines that I, all these years later, still feel utterly akin to. And that is one of the many ways she inspires me as a writer, while her Anne and Fanny and Elinor – and maybe even her Lizzy and Emma and Catherine – inspire me as a lady.

A peak at my little Jane Austen corner.

To see how all the other members of Kristy’s FTF Community are getting inspired lately be sure to check out all of the posts at Full Time Fabulous!


{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Kailey August 17, 2011 at 1:33 am

Absolutely lovely post – Austen’s stories have always really interested me, and I have loved to see their stories unfold in films. I’m afraid I haven’t *actually* read any of her books yet, but I will be reading Sense and Sensibility soon!


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 12:52 am

Aww, thank you, dear! So glad you liked the post. Sense and Sensibility is actually the only one of her novels I haven’t read yet! ;)


Gabrielle August 17, 2011 at 3:39 am

I love Jane Austen, so much! You know that. Haha. Lovely post! I always find inspiration in Jane and her heroines. I need to read more of her works though. I really want to get the leatherbound set from B&N!!


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 12:55 am

Thanks, Gabbie! I knew you’d appreciate this one! Jane’s girls are the perfect inspirations, really, all so different and well-rounded. I think I’ve seen the leatherbound set, it looks gorgeous! Most of my copies are the Barnes and Noble classics, but they’re a little mismatched. My Sense & Sensibility is hardcover while the rest are paperback. And my Pride & Prejudice is an old mass market unabridged version! Someday I’d like to have them all matching.


faye August 17, 2011 at 4:11 am

Beautiful post Casee! I kind of thought you’d be influenced by someone like Jane Austen. I too am a fan of hers – british tv has made so many adaptations of her books.


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 12:57 am

Thank you, Faye! I’m glad you liked it. The British adaptations of her books are definitely my favorites!


Juju at Tales of Whimsy... August 17, 2011 at 4:39 am

What a marvelous little corner. What is that the items are resting on that’s folded?


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:01 am

Thank you, dear! That folded bit is actually a scarf my dad brought me from a business trip to Turkey. I have my Jane Austen things on a little makeshift table so I added the scarf as a sort of DIY table skirt. Ha!


Kirstin Marie August 17, 2011 at 7:25 am

I know that when I say this, you are going to yell at me, but I have never read a Jane Austen book. I know, I know. I actually haven’t been reading in a really, really long time. I seem to go through reading phases. When I go through my next one, I’ll be sure to pick up one of her stories, just for you.


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:12 am

YOU HAVEN’T?! Just kidding, I wouldn’t yell at you. I used to read a lot in my youth and early teens, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I got back into it fully. I read forty books one year, I think that’s my record. (This year, thanks to blogging, that number is much smaller.) Anyway, Jane was a big part of my renewed love of books. If you do decide to pick one up I really recommend Persuasion! It was the first of her novels that I read and it’s still my favorite. (:


Kirstin August 17, 2011 at 8:43 am

Oh how I love this post! While I love Austen for the fairy tale-like quality she maintains in her novels, I love her more for the wit and satire she uses to portray a world she often saw as frivolous. I love her dearly and I love this post, very inspiring!


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:14 am

Thank you so much, sweets! I completely agree, the way she counters the fairy-tale elements with her gratuitous snark is one of my favorite things about Austen. She was never fluffy to me, always substantial!


Kimberlee August 17, 2011 at 9:05 am

Wow you make me want to read one of her novels! I’m not a sappy romantic person so I always thought I wouldn’t like them but if they are as strong and intelligent as you say they are then I’ll probably like them. P.S. Love Billie Piper from her Dr. Who days!


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:33 am

Oh, thank you! I’ve definitely heard mixed opinions on Austen’s novels, some people don’t think she had enough substance to counter the frothiness of the love stories. I think she did, but had different opinions. She took opportunities to mock her society through her novels, which I find amusing, but they also revel her own fiery spirit!


Genny August 17, 2011 at 9:38 am

Ahh, I have that same Jane Austen book! I’m absolutely jealous of your mug.

I actually squealed a little bit when I saw that they used the 2008 version of S&S in the graphic.


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:35 am

Hee, thank you! The mug is from Barnes and Noble – I saw it and just couldn’t leave without it, you know. And I’m glad you like the graphic! The 2008 S&S is my favorite (Alan Rickmanless though it is). The cinematography is just gorgeous!


Any Second Now August 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

Love your inspiration post! Something I completely expected from you because of everything that you post about.

My favorite Austin woman is Elizabeth Bennet because I feel that she settled for nothing less than what she wanted, and that was to be happy on her terms. She was also close to her father, like I was. So many strong women to relate to, which is why I am also a fan.



Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:38 am

Ha, I figured it would be slightly expected! I’m glad you liked it, and thanks for your sweet comment!

Elizabeth is definitely an admirable character, her strength and determination are incredibly inspiring. I find I’m probably a lot more like Jane of all the Bennets (in the way that she’s reserved and passive) but Lizzy presents such a bold sort of motivation. I think that’s why Austen made them both so close, such special characters!


FASHION TALES August 17, 2011 at 11:23 am

I’d expect nothing less from you, such a lovely inspired post Casee. hhmm, have you read or seen the film adaptation of 39 Steps, has the guy from MI5 as well, one of my favourites. Of course, I’m also an Austen fan- I loved Persuasion and can read that one forever… :-)


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:40 am

Thank you so much, Madison! Persuasion is such a favorite. I haven’t seen/read 39 Steps but I am familiar with that version starring Rupert Penry-Jones; I’ve been meaning to see it for ages! I’ve heard it’s quite good, and I loved him on MI5 (and of course Persuasion). He was great in a miniseries called Cambridge Spies as well!


Heidi August 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Jane Austin created some lovely books! I have never read them personally but I have seen the Pride and Prejudice movie. I loved it! :)


Lesley August 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I love the way Jane writes her heroines. They’re all so much more complicated than the typically one dimensional ladies we usually see.


Stephanie August 17, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I must say that I have never read any of Jane Austens books…but if they are half as good as her movies, then I am going to have to change that asap. Her heroines are absolutely inspiring. This is a beautiful post, and I loved reading it :D I’m actually going to forward it to my cousin (I’m 1 day older than her & her name is Stephanie too haha) she loves anything that has to do with Jane Austen. Great work twin!


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:43 am

Oh, the books are definitely as good as the movies. Better, in some cases, I think! Persuasion is especially good, I find all of the scenes to be very easy to visualize.

And thanks for forwarding it to your cousin (another awesome Steph, clearly)! Haha.


Jamillah August 18, 2011 at 10:31 am

I really do love how you describe Austen’s characters, and dear friend really I can totally feel that inspiration in you and the way you write and your character. Truly elegant and very much a lady. Lovely inspiration, Casee.


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:44 am

Thank you so much, Jamillah! You always give me a smile with your comments, I can’t tell you that enough. You’re so full of the most amazing compliments, you leave me blushing. ;)


Lori's Wardrobe August 18, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Hi Casee Marie
Thanks for stopping by my blog and ypur lovely comments.
What a lovely post about Jane Austen. I too am a big fan and love her heroines and I must have watched the BBC tv serial of P&P with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy a dozen times.
I also love the Brontes when I am looking for something a bit darker!
Lori xo


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:46 am

Thank you very much for stopping by, Lori! I’m so glad you liked the post. That version of P&P with Colin Firth is classic, it has such a way of leaving me wrapped in perfect happiness. Oh, and I adore the Brontes as well. Charlotte was my favorite, I absolutely love Jane Eyre!


Jenmarie August 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I’ve never read any of the Jane Austen books but I’ve seen many of the movies, as I’m sure you know. The characters always astound me and make me wish that men and women behaved like gentleman and ladies more often. I really love the beautiful collage you created and your JA corner is just darling!


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:52 am

Thank you, Jen! I definitely know what you mean, I just love getting lost in the propriety of the era (even though Jane tended to mock it a lot in her novels with characters like Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine de Bourgh). But the simple little mannerisms were beautiful!


Arash Mazinani August 20, 2011 at 11:33 am

I’m not a big fan of Jane Austin I think it maybe a bit ‘too’ girly for me but I can certainly see how it would inspire you, considering your love for literature.


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 1:58 am

I definitely know what you mean! I thought it fascinating, I saw a book once written by a man about how Jane Austen changed his life. It presented an interesting, albeit unexpected, perspective. I would definitely classify her as women’s literature, though sometimes I wonder if it’s the era that pushed her into that category. She offered a lot of biting social criticism, I think, but it sort of gets lost beneath all the…oh, petticoats and cravats and such.


Anna August 22, 2011 at 10:53 am

I love your inspiration! I am a fan of Jane Austen since reading Pride and Prejudice 15 years ago. It remains my favorite among her novels and the BBC series based on the book was very good. For me Colin Firth will always be Mr Darcy! I think the only book I haven’t read is Persuasion…I have to, someday!


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 2:02 am

Thanks, Anna! You definitely have to read Persuasion sometime (and let me know when you do)! It’s sometimes considered her lesser work because it’s a bit more straightforward. It’s said that she rushed to finish it before she died, so it’s much shorter as well. But it has a very simple charm that I love, and the scenes appeal to me more than the ones in her other novels. She drew on her love for the sea and you can really feel her inspiration there.

Oh, and I couldn’t agree more on Colin Firth! I love Matthew Macfadyen and I think he did a commendable job in 2005, but nobody will ever replace Colin!


THE-LOUDMOUTH August 23, 2011 at 12:59 am

Okay, seriously… I’m gonna employ you to do graphic design for me sometime. That collage you made is amazing!

I love your little corner. This is such a wonderful tribute! I’ve never read any of her books… I need to get on that, right?


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 2:04 am

Hee! Thank you so much, doll. (: And I’m glad you liked the tribute! You should definitely get on that Austen business, I think you’d love her books. The first time I read Pride & Prejudice it was a little slow, but I found that the ones I read before seeing any of the film and television adaptations were the ones I enjoyed the most. (That was Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey). I think I found it easier to get into the setting because I wasn’t trying to imagine scenes and faces from another visual. If that makes any sense…


kristy August 23, 2011 at 1:01 am

wow! that collage is gorgeous. did you make it? and i love your little jane austen corner as well. great inspiration. =) i’ve only read pride & prejudice and sense & sensibility many many years ago, but loved them both. i kind of want to reread them now! thanks for participating in the event and i apologize for the belated comment. it’s been a busy few days since i returned from mexico! hugs!!


Casee Marie August 27, 2011 at 2:08 am

Thank you, Kristy! I did make the collage; so glad you like it! I wasn’t sure if it was clear that all the characters make up Jane’s silhouette – for people who don’t really know the image of Jane it might not have been as cool looking. Haha. Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility are definitely her most revered works; the others get a little lost in the popularity of those, I think. Especially Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey, but they’re all gems.

And thanks for your comment! The event was a fantastic time! x


Laura S January 16, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I know this comment is seriously late, but…you have a Jane Austen corner?!!! I’m SO jealous! The only kind of Jane Austen corner I have is the corner of my bookshelf with books written by and about Jane Austen, as well as a few “sequels”, all placed together. (Oh, and Jane Austen for Dummies, aka the best book ever. It’s funny!) Anyways, I just wanted to say that I completely identify with your love of Jane Austen, she’s my favourite!
Although Mansfield Park isn’t my favourite, it’s SO underrated, seriously! Fanny isn’t just some kind of prudish weak woman, she’s a genuinely good and interesting person, and the writing in MP was beautiful, you could tell Jane Austen’s writing had really matured!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that graphic of her heroines! Did you make it? If you did, did you use some kind of blending effect on photoshop, or something like that? It’s beautiful! :)
- Laura S


Casee Marie January 17, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Eee! Thanks so much, Laura. I always love geeking out with other Janeites. I’ve moved to a new place since I did this post and my Jane corner sort of migrated to a bookshelf, but I’m really missing this particular set-up! Maybe I’ll try to rework it. ;) I think all the Jane things I have were acquired from Barnes & Noble; the mug and notebook are both from there, anyway! And I totally want to snatch up a copy of Jane Austen for Dummies, how fun!

I completely agree about Fanny, I can’t really understand why she (and the book) are quite so underrated. At the same time, I feel like Northanger Abbey is relatively forgotten anymore (with a little extra life thanks to the 2007 adaptation!). I think a lot of times she’s represented only through Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Sense and Sensibility, you know?

And I did make the graphic! I’m so glad you like it! I used Photoshop, pretty much just the eraser tool, I think, for blending the pictures together. Then I altered color and brightness balances to make them a little dreamier, and I set it all over her silhouette. Then I added the parchment and other text for character. It’s pretty much just a big old mess of different Photoshop tricks, I think!


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