Celebrating Literary Inspiration in General, Jane Austen in Particular!
What writer has inspired more of us than Jane Austen? Through reading groups — or teas and dances and conferences — or sequels and adaptations and modernizations (and monsterizations) — Austen keeps finding new life, thanks to devoted fans.
So, All Roads is a place for sharing things that writers like Austen inspire us to do, whether it’s form fan clubs, throw parties, rewrite classic tales, take a tour in an author’s footsteps, or any other forms of homage — on the page, on the stage, and beyond. The three tabs above (Author’s Blog, Students Speak, and Austen Callers) feature on-going posts about Austen, about writing, about travel — and a bit of random fun.
Who the Heck Am I?
I’m an Austen lover (and avid traveler) who teaches creative writing and literature at a small university in California. Students in my Jane Austen class get a choice: do a research paper or a project that somehow takes Austen beyond the classroom. As you can imagine, I don’t get too many takers on the research paper . . .
Over the years my students have outdone themselves coming up with exciting Austen projects (featured in the Austen Night Event tab, above). In fact, my students, inspired by Austen, inspired me — and I did my own Austen project. I decided to learn Spanish and take Austen on the road in Latin America, to Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, and Argentina.
Do All Roads Really Lead to Austen?
Inspiration leads us many ways. In my case, taking my Austen project on the road showed me — beyond the walls of my classroom — how all roads did lead back to Austen. Meeting new people and navigating new cultures in Latin America helped me understand the importance of really listening, of not judging too quickly. But Austen was there ahead of me — isn’t that the point of all her novels, in one way or another? And functioning in Spanish revealed just how easy it is to get tangled up trying to communicate with others, sometimes with comic, sometimes not-so-comic results. But Austen’s already taught us that lesson, too!
There’s a lot to be said for letting yourself become a student, no matter what your age — and for seeing where Austen and other writers can lead us.
fun and inspiring here at