Write Like Jane Austen

640px-Jane_Austen_coloured_versionWhile this blog is about maintaining non-electronic communications in a snail mail-bereft world, that doesn’t mean technology can’t add a little sparkle to the process.

Introducing the Jane Austen font!

I haven’t tried downloading this myself, but what a seductive prospect, to be able to type messages in Jane’s elegant hand — and perhaps channel a modicum of her wit?

Even a dearth of news was no deterrent to Jane when it came to correspondence, as this line from an 1801 letter to her sister Cassandra illustrates:

Expect a most agreeable letter, for not being overburdened with subject (having nothing at all to say), I shall have no check to my genius from beginning to end.”


Film Friday: The Lake House

Lake House 6For all its logical inconsistencies — and they are legion — The Lake House is an enjoyable romantic movie with an otherworldly flavor, and not just because the plot centers on time travel. The movie itself feels like it’s from another era, infused with old-fashioned charm that helps one overlook a storyline rife with paradoxes.

As in The Love Letter, the film’s main characters, played by Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, are grounded in their respective eras, but their letters find a portal through time. In The Love Letter it was a desk; The Lake House features a humble, rusty mailbox.

Lake House 3One of my favorite aspects of the movie was watching the red flag flip magically up and down as Reeves and Bullock exchanged mail across a two-year gap. As time travel goes, two years is a blip, a nothing, but it’s a chasm when waiting to meet a potential soulmate.

The time-challenged lovers of The Lake House live sequentially in the same glass-walled home that gives the film its name, and each owns in turn the same scruffy dog. They walk the same streets and eat in the same cafes, but always separated by that river of time.

Lake House 4What would you want someone to tell you in a letter from two years hence?  A set of winning lottery numbers? Warnings to pass on to others? A glimpse of what lies around your own corner? Or would you be content as they are to explore the thoughts, dreams and aspirations of another person, ignoring the larger implications?

The Lake House is definitely a love story firmly focused on two people’s intertwined journeys, but even with my soulmate at the other end of the mailbox, winning numbers would help renovate a lot of lake houses.

Film Friday: Do you give The Lake House your stamp of approval?

Lake House 5


unnamedIf I had a Star Trek transporter at my disposal, I would beam to England every other day. Barring that, I read the blog Spitalfields Life to immerse myself in London, old and new.

This photo, part of a recent post there called The Inescapable Melancholy Of Phone Boxes, struck me because both the red telephone booth (or “box”) and post box speak of another age. Just as people rarely sit down to write letters any more, they no longer need to anchor themselves in one place to contact their friends and families by phone.

People walk and text, shop and talk, answer emails on the fly, and wander oblivious through the world, eyes firmly fixed on the small screen in one hand.

I grew up in a era where it was common to communicate by both letters and phone. None of us wrote to anyone who lived nearby. We called. But calling long distance was expensive. However, technology evolves; email is faster than letters, and cell phone plans count minutes instead of miles, at least within the same country.

Will mailboxes start disappearing next? I mailed a card just three days ago, but I can’t remember the last time I opened the door of a phone booth — perhaps when I last visited London.

Happy Easter

Easter bunnies on lambsIn our color-labeled era, it’s easy to forget that pink and blue were not always gender specific. Thus, I can wish you Happy Easter on a Victorian card with a pink-attired boy bunny greeting a blue-gowned girl bunny, both riding sheep! (Note that the girl is sitting side saddle.)

For more on the history of gender-specific colors, check out this article in Smithsonian Magazine.

Happy Easter!