- But, Mum...
- Mum, we need to talk.
- Mum, please don't tell Dad.
- Mum, I'm moving overseas for a couple of years.
- Did you burn dinner again Mum?
- You'll like him Mum, I met him last night.
- Mum, did you wash my lacy undies?
- Mum, I'd like you to meet my...
- You might want to sit down for this, Mum.
- Don't worry Mum, everything is fine... but...
- Mum, I just got brought home by the cops.
- I think I'm pregnant and you might be a grandma.
- Where's your wallet Mum?
- Mum, I lost my job and got kicked out of the house. Can I move back home?
- I hate you Mum!
Mother's response: "I can't believe I was so happy when you first said that word."
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen has been a heavy influence on our perception of romance. We all wish for a Mr Darcy to whisk us away to live happily ever after, we want a gentleman. This, I will refer to as an Austen Complex. Ever since the first novels were published people have been falling in love with the heroines and heroes. In the last two hundred years others have been recreating the magical time of manners with countless films, miniseries and novels. Then there are the modern adaptations, some that are cute and others that make you cringe.
Me and Mr Darcy by Alexandra Potter
Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
Lost in Austen
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Seducing Mr Darcy by Gwen Cready
Bride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
No matter the format we are always entertained by the love stories and wish for a little of it to permeate throughout our own lives. We are obsessed with a perfect storybook romance, with strong, honourable and intelligent gentlemen but we skip the fact that the love depicted by Austen is far from fairy tale. Things go wrong and the characters are flawed, they stumble into love, just as we all do in reality. Maybe we just want the adventure of a romance. In a way Austen is to be blamed for perhaps an unrealistic expectation, an Austen Complex.
What would Jane do? Well, Miss Austen waited all of her life for the right man and spent her days writing stories that gave hope to all girls. Maybe she was a victim of this complex as she never married...
What is more important? In order to live long, healthy and productive lives should the mind that allows intelligent thought and conversation or the body which contains that thought and puts it into action be the most important thing to maintain?
Should we focus on making the body tight and trim, treat it like a temple and not contaminate it with junk food, alcohol or drugs? Yes, the aesthetics is greatly appreciated and the health benefits can extend a life span, though what’s the point if you lose your mind and no one really wants you to speak (sorry muscle men)? Become a beautiful zombie and allow the mind to decay so you are unable to think or even behave civilly?
However, feeding the mind exclusively and instead neglecting the body can have terrible results; shorter life, health problems and a general physical discomfort.
To master one the other needs to be forsaken.
Or we could take the novel notion of moderation; keep both happy and healthy. Feed the mind, feed the body, feed the soul. Scientific evidence suggests that people think better with physical exertion and the onset of dementia can be prevented in some cases by keeping the mind active. Instead of going to an extreme to improve one over the other we should be happy to have a sound mind and body.
So if you’ve spent the last two hours in a gym, perhaps you should pick up a book or take a TAFE class. If you’ve spent all day staring at words then go for a walk or run the vacuum around, it all helps.
Everything in moderation keeps you sane.
A burning want or subtle need
all held in a moment, then
My body vibrates, twitches, reaches
all for the things
it knows by instinct.
Through it's bio history
a lover's touch
a screaming, ripping pain, followed
with a babe to nurse.
My mind wants what I know;
to see the world
a place of belonging.
No matter what I hold or how long
I still yearn.
This vicious loop of
Carrie, the horror film starring an amazing Chloe Grace Moretz and adapted from the Steven King novel, should be mandatory viewing for all teens. I'm not suggesting that all bully victims will have telekinesis powers and take gruesome revenge upon their peers and tormentors, though we should all remember the mass killings in schools, the suicides, the drop-outs and those left crying in the toilets. There are real long term effects.
Bullying from those at school or work or even from inside your home is not okay. It sucks when it happens to you, it sucks when you do it to another and it sucks when you stand back (even film it) and do nothing to stop it.
Yet another cultural change needed. So let me ask you one question; why bully?
(Concentrating on moving book with mind, concentrating, concentrating... I think I burst a blood vessel)