Jane Austen has clearly had an enormous influence on my writing career. But beyond the obvious connections that Shades of Milk and Honey has, Jane Austen’s attention to detail has taught me more, as an author, about writing than pretty much anyone else. She recognized that often what is unsaid is more telling than what is said.
So for her birthday, allow me to share those with you by way of some of my favorite quotes. I think she still provides excellent advice that works well in the modern age.
- The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.
- My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.
- A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.
- Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.
- There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.
- Angry people are not always wise.
- Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another!
- …but for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.
- It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.
- There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.
- Nothing ever fatigues me, but doing what I do not like.