Donna Fletcher Crow has 14 grandchildren, all of whom she endeavors to encourage in their varied interests. She has authored 2 contemporary mystery novels with Jane Austen backgrounds: A Jane Austen Encounter which visits all of Jane Austen's homes and A Most Singular Venture, murder in Jane Austen's London. She looks forward to passing these on to her granddaughter as well.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Passing it On
“I am an author,” my 10-year-old granddaughter declares with a conviction many published adults would envy. And, indeed, she is. She will read the cereal box if she has forgotten to take a book to the table. She spends hours alone in her room writing stories. She has sleepovers with a friend, and they spend the night writing. And, like a young Jane Austen, she delights in reading her stories aloud to her family.
Of course, her writer nana is thrilled to encourage her. I pass on writing tips and ask her questions about her plot when she is stuck. I listen to her reading and congratulate her—as she truly deserves. I buy books for her and gave her a pink leather journal to write her stories in—although she has recently moved up to writing them on her brother’s computer.
And, dear to my heart, she is well on her way to becoming a devout Janeite. She reads the Little Miss Austenbooks (supplied by Nana) to her little sisters, and has read an unabridged Pride and Prejudice herself. I followed up her reading with a “book discussion group” between the two of us.
I have also give her Eva Marie Hamilton’s delightful Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility colouring and puzzle books, which we do together when I visit.
The crowning touch came on my latest visit when I was able to take her and her mother to the Pride andPrejudice Ball in Calgary. We began the day with English Country Dance lessons.
Then fashioned a Regency hairstyle for her.
Earlier in the week we had remodeled a Disney princess gown a friend had given her and used the cut-off sleeves to make a reticule. The perfect cloak was waiting on a cupboard—another hand-me-down from a friend. She was very concerned that everything we do be “period correct” which made the entire event a teaching moment—even to her lacing nana into her stays.
The ball was a true Cinderella dream. This was not a children’s event. Many an adult male registered surprise, then grinned, when he turned to “set” to his new corner and found she was four feet tall. Our princess danced every dance and never missed a step.
Will my budding author become a professional? I believe the odds are high. But if not, by encouraging her current interests I have helped give her a foundation for a lifetime of pleasure in books. That may well be the greatest contribution I can make to literature.
Indeed, passing on our knowledge and enthusiasms and encouraging the next generation is so much of what life is all about. Those of us who love books can support libraries, volunteer with children in schools, Sunday school and other community programs. Picking up on a child’s interests and encouraging them may well be the greatest contribution any of us can make.