Dear reader, if Jane Austen lived today, she'd be an avid blogger, she'd be on Facebook, and of course she'd also be tweeting away -- but mostly about other people, not herself.The book sounds great - I immediately put it on my wish list - but I think if Jane Austen were a blogger, she'd be an anonymous one. Her whole style is based on watching people while they don't realize it. When she was alive - actually alive, as opposed to an imaginary version of her - she would hide her writing when anyone came in the room.
That's because Austen had a passionate fascination with people and what made them who they were, an interest that keeps the modern world fascinated by the woman who wrote novels set in small villages nearly 200 years ago, said Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of an anthology of Austen-inspired stories.
"She would definitely be on Twitter, out there having fun. Blogging, connecting with people. Facebook," said Nattress in a phone interview about her book, "Jane Austen Made Me Do It."
It's interesting to see how different authors manage blogging. I just recently started reading Meg Wolitzer's blog and I've read lots of author blogs for a long time (see sidebar). Some authors post a lot, and others hardly ever do. One author blog I read went into lurid detail about the woman's private life, and then she stopped writing on it because she said it messed up her "real" writing - it didn't allow her the privacy she needed to ruminate over ideas and digest them.
I am terribly impressed with Jane Yolen as a blogger. She is such a generous online writer in general, often sharing her amazing poems as comments on other people's posts. She has really inspired me to wonder what I was saving my writing for. While I'm not in her league as a writer, and I'm not nearly as open as she is, yet, I'm going for more freedom as an online writer and less self-protection.
Back to Jane Austen. I agree with Laurel Ann Nattress (here's her blog, which has some other amazing amazing news, that P.D. James just wrote an Austen-themed novel), that if Austen were alive today she'd be a journalist or a psychologist if she weren't a novelist, because she was very interested in human beings. Her characters are some of the best anyone ever wrote. My family and I are in the middle of watching the latest BBC version of Sense and Sensibility, and it is seriously wonderful.
So would Jane Austen have been a blogger? I don't know. She was a novelist, and I am very glad she was.