Words cannot express my gratitude for you and your work. You have inspired millions of people all over the world yet you wrote because you loved it. You gave your characters happy endings in a time when some did not received the same endings. Though we are centuries apart, I feel as if we are kindred spirits.
Reading your work over the years has inspired me to write more as well as in my theatre life. You wrote characters that were real. It’s an author’s job and an actor’s job to portray real life. You grounded your characters and allowed them to live. Oh, what would I would give to pick your brain for hours upon end! I would love to sit with you as you discuss characters and plots, watching your genius at work. You inspired me to be an English major and a writer.
Pride and Prejudice was the first novel of yours that I read and it’s also my favorite. From the moment I enter the Bennet house, I felt at home. Having no sibling of my own, I quickly inserted myself into Lizzy’s life. I felt her closeness with Jane, her irritation with Lydia, and her distain and love for Darcy. At first, she was who I aspired to be with her confidence, wit, and humor. She was an elder sister whom I could look up to. As I grew, the book transitioned with me. It taught me how to deal with relationships. It taught me that I would have to lower my pride in order to gain vulnerability. I quickly learned that even though I thought I knew everything, there would always be things that I wouldn’t know. Lizzy grew to become a dear friend and someone that I could relate to. This book gave me hope, even when I didn’t believe in it, that love is out there and it prevails against all odds.
My friends often joke that I wish I lived in one of your novels and while I agree with them, I also know that this is my time. It’s my time to be a storyteller for my era just as you were for yours. Times may have changed, but people haven’t. There are still stories to be told and I thank you for the wisdom that you’ve imparted on me. Thank you for teaching me to enjoy life and nature. Thank you for teaching me that you cannot change your family that you have to accept them. Most importantly, thank you for teaching me how important it is to love and be loved in return.
Thank you, Jane.