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You'll never believe what I found

sitting in the front row of my Jane Austen talk last week. In fact, the entire night was sort of a series of unexpected moments.

But before I give the real shock away, let me tell you, I am so relieved those chats are over. While I’m usually pretty confident I know more about the era than the average bear, I always get nervous before I do a talk on Jane Austen. Because she is so beloved, so studied, so written about. So I did my talk by skirting Jane and just talking about her era. That is fun. Sharing those tidbits–like Jane losing her writing desk while she was traveling because it looked like everyone else’s traveling desk–sort of the ubiquitous black suitcase you see today going round and round on the baggage carousel. Or how people then overspent, run up debts and built houses and lives they couldn’t afford.

Ah, the world and mores and times may change, but people, God bless them, never really do.

For me, going to the talk out at the Snoqualmie Library was like taking a step into my past. I used to live out there, in the woods, near the river. When it was really the sticks and no one lived so far off the beaten track. But these days, civilization has discovered what my parents knew all those years ago when they moved out there. The place is gorgeous. Look at this million dollar view from one of the housing developments I passed on the way there:

And then there is the view from Starbucks. (If you grew up out there, you’d chuckle as I did when I saw it. I mean, Starbucks in Snoqualmie? ) This is the hometown of the Mar-T Cafe, of Twin Peaks fame, for goodness sakes, hardly the suburban/urban homeland for a skinny grande with a raw sugar.
So if that wasn’t surprising enough, imagine as I began my talk with this:
Yes, no need to check your monitor resolution. That is four high school guys sitting in the front row of my talk on Jane Austen’s England. And if that wasn’t enough to rattle me, it was snowing when I walked to my car. Yes, snowing. The last week in April. In Western Washington. But come on, I’d seen enough that night not to be shocked. I was even on the lookout for Bigfoot hitchhiking as I drove home. I bet he’s a caramel macchiato sort of guy, don’t ya think?

So, hey, what’s surprised you lately?

5 comments to “You'll never believe what I found”

  1. Margaret Garland
    April 28th, 2008 at 11:41 am · Link

    Love those pictures, Elizabeth. It’s many a year since I’ve been in the PNW. I kept meaning to the past 4 years because my daughter & her family were living in Maple Valley. The time/money was never in synch for me. Now, my son-in-law has taken a better job in NJ and they have moved back east to live in Delaware. Oh well.

    Now tell us why those boys were front & center at the Jane Austen chat. I do hope you asked them. Their smiles make me laugh.

  2. Kelli Estes
    April 28th, 2008 at 3:29 pm · Link

    I agree with Margaret…you’ve got to tell us why those boys were interested in Jane Austen! Were they doing research for a school report? Hoping to pick up some hot chicks? What? 🙂

    The Snoqualmie/North Bend area is gorgeous. I love the way Mt. Si hunkers over the valley like it was plopped down there by mistake. Thanks for sharing your pics!

  3. therese
    April 28th, 2008 at 6:48 pm · Link

    Love the pictures. Snoqualmie is beautiful but I’ve only passed through, never lived there. I wonder what someone who grew up surrounded by such beauty would become. Hmm? Jane Austen historian?

    Give us the scoop on those boys. Now that I’m studying writing and publishing in college I’ve learned that it’s mainly a “Mans” industry. Local female editors, writers and publishers have formed a group specifically to support each other in this male dominated field. I had no idea, but I’ve always been in romance.

    So what did the boys say? Are they history buffs or really want to read/write romance?

  4. Ciara Stewart
    April 30th, 2008 at 5:38 pm · Link

    I REALLY wanted to attend your talk and am so sad I missed it. Will you be giving it again any time soon? Or any others?

  5. Keira Soleore
    May 6th, 2008 at 5:26 pm · Link

    I had a huge laugh over those mischievous smiles. Boning up for finals looks like.


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