“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single writer in possession of a good book (in his mind), must be in want of a publisher.”
We all know the quote, Jane Austen, in her famous work, Pride and Prejudice stated “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Published, more than 200 years ago, the dashing Mr. Darcy and the spirited Ms. Eliza, continue to make hearts throb and give inspiration to filmmakers. Look at any Hindi movie, with a sour hero and a ‘bubbly’ heroine, and you will know what I mean. But, here we are talking about writers, and how the dialogues from this writer in her acclaimed book from the 19th century, holds true for writers of the 22nd. ‘
Let’s just have a look at 10 of the quotes from the book and how they apply to writers today.
1. “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
Writers are proud! They are forever in awe of what they have written, and woe the person who criticizes them. If their vanity is shattered, they succumb to deep, dark thoughts, losing the inspiration to put words to paper. Writers, take a lesson from Mr. Darcy, who gave up vanity, but never hope.
1. “Oh, Lizzy! do anything rather than marry without affection.”
“Oh Writers, do anything rather than write without falling in love with or hating your characters from the core.” Nothing needs to be explained, but a writer, who does not love, sympathize or fear the characters in their stories, should rather visit a coffee shop and meditate.
2. “To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love”
“In other words, to be fond of reading is a certain step towards the path of becoming a writer”. They may have the words, and the stories, but for a writer, reading, understanding, imbibing and then adding their own steps of a journey, and intuitiveness and imagination, leads to a happy finish – a completed story!
3. “Have a little compassion on my nerves. You tear them to pieces.”
The nerves of a writer are no match for Mrs. Bennet, seeking compassion from all. Ask a writer to read a piece in front of an audience, there will be hesitation, followed by the explanation, this is the first step, or the first draft, something written in a hurry. The hands holding the paper shake, the voice sometimes trembles, but unlike the silly, overbearing mother, writers, don’t need smelling salts, instead they wait for appreciation from peers and other writers to pour in.
4. “I have the highest respect for your nerves, they are my old friends.”
A writer’s nerves are a publisher’s old friends. They respect them, indulging them, pushing them, cradling them and sometimes just tearing into them. The nerves stretch, and jump, and make the eye’s water, these old friends do not deter a publisher from getting their way. They are akin to Mr. Bennet, indulging the Missus and the Misses, but, knowing deep down, without him, all would be penniless, homeless and hopeless.
5. “It sometimes is a disadvantage to be so very guarded. If a woman conceals her affection from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him.”
Well, this one is pretty obvious, a writer cannot be too guarded while writing. He cannot conceal his deepest desires, wants, fears and hopes. Words have to flow from the depths of the soul, if not, they lose the opportunity of creating something memorable, something talk and write about even after 200 years.
6. “Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility.”
But, for a writer, the appearance of humility is what keeps the wheels running. Go back to point 1, writers are proud, some are even vain, but they show humility to get people to like them, read them, admire them. Is it deceitful? In the language of the teens – Hell, Yeah! But, then that is the beauty of a writer, proud from inside and humble to the rest of the world.
7. “These are the kind of little things which please her ladyship, and it is a sort of attention which I conceive myself peculiarly bound to pay. They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such little elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible,”
The frivolous, breezy poem from a writing mastero, may have taken hours of talking to oneself, staring at a blank piece of paper, or simply rewriting every word till the desired result is achieved. Just like Mr. Collings, elegant compliments need to be neatly arranged, for the story at the time may be easy going, but the unstudied air is paramount for its success.
8. “Mr. Bingley, how do you like my ribbons for your ball?
Who invites the writer to write? First time – no one. And, yet, they will show off their letters and words to all. Some of the audience like Mr. Bingley will be polite, and others like his best friend, Mr. Darcy will be rude. Some ready to indulge and others, looking for an escape. And, yet writers remain oblivious, and continue to ask, “How do you like my book?” or “Why haven’t you commented on my poem yet?”
9. “I do not wish to avoid the walk. The distance is nothing when one has a motive.”
“I do not wish to avoid the writing. The pages are nothing when one has a story.” How easy to write these words, and ask the teeming thousands, how difficult to implement. But, Ms. Bennet walked the distance for a sister she loved. Writers will transverse to the deepest parts of their minds, and string words while marching towards their motive – a story.
10. “There is nothing so bad as parting with one’s friends. One seems so forlorn without them.”
In the end, no parting for a writer is as bad as parting with a book and characters which have awakened nightmares and dreams in equal measure. Though the writer has initiated the parting, the fact remains, it is but natural be forlorn without them, until some other words and characters, seek refuge in the heart, mind and soul.