Top 24 – Part 1

This Friday is my birthday, and I thought I would commemorate it with some profound, some sentimental, and some plain joys of life from my first 23 years of existence. I’ll be breaking in into four parts, so check back Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

1.) Jane Austen books and most of their other incarnations – I love the heroines who stand up for themselves, the heroes who are willing to bend, the fact that Jane Austen gave a voice to what has turned out to be several generations of women and the search for romance. From Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries to the Darcy-PoV Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman novels, Jane Austen has contributed to a lot of my art/media happiness. Matthew Macfadyen’s Darcy choking on his “I love you” to Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth is one of my favourite line readings ever. Happy 200th Birthday, Pride & Prejudice!

2.) Being proposed to in Hyde Park in London. Chris certainly stacked the deck in his favour when he planned that one. For a transcript of the proposal, see from 2:03 in the video above.

3.) Kate Rusby music – Finding Kate Rusby, I’m now convinced, was completely an act of fate. Skulking around on Youtube one day, I found a tribute video to Tess and Angel from the 2008 miniseries Tess of the D’Urbervilles set to Kate Rusby’s “I am Stretched on Your Grave.” With a song title like that, you know a heartbreaking-love-story addict like me is instantly attracted. I instantly downloaded some of her songs from iTunes and since then most of her song collection has become the score to my book. Her minstrel quality has made her the perfect voice for my mostly-instrumental writing playlist.

4.) Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and their respective films – I recently wrote a blog post about how fundamental Lord of the Rings has been to, basically, my life as I know it. I am convinced that without it, I would be a completely different person. It sparked my most meaningful friendships, my love and interest in fantasy, and my interest in writing. Tolkien is as much responsible for my writerly education as my real-life teachers and mentors.

5.) My tartan bookmark. Since my friend Melissa brought it home for me from a trip a few years ago, I have never used any other bookmark.

6.) Solitaire – I wish I could say all the time I spend staring down at my iPhone is in texting all of the important people. But 90% of the time I’m playing solitaire. The rest of the time I spend having conversations like this:

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