A Browning Kind of Love

brownings love letters

You will only expect a few words–what will those be? When the heart is full it may run over, but the real fulness stays within…Words can never tell you, however,—form them, transform them anyway,—how perfectly dear you are to me—perfectly dear to my heart and soul. I look back, and in every one point, every word and gesture, every letter, every silence—you have been entirely perfect to me—I would not change one word, one look. My hope and aim are to preserve this love, not to fall from it—for which I trust to God who procured it for me, and doubtlessly can preserve it. Enough now, my dearest, dearest own—You have given me the highest, completest proof of love that ever one human being gave another. I am all gratitude-and all pride (under the proper feeling which ascribes pride to the right source) all pride that my life has been so crowned by you. God bless you prays your very own R.—I will write tomorrow of course. Take every care of my life which is in that dearest little hand; try and be composed, my beloved. -Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“Love” sometimes is inspired by words. For Robert Browning, he fell in love with Elizabeth’s writing without ever seeing or knowing her. Through mutual respect and admiration for one another’s minds, Robert and Elizabeth Browning had a very successful marriage, within which spawned some of the most beautiful love language of all time. Modern love puts a lot of emphasis on physical attraction, sexual gratification, and personal reward. But the most beautiful portraits of love I think are the selfless ones where it is obvious that regardless of how lovely you are, your mate is filled with “all gratitude and all pride” that their “life has been so crowned,” simply, by knowing you. Happy Friday everyone, hope this week gave you a little Valentines inspiration. There’s more to come next week so stay tuned and get busy over the weekend!

– <3 A.

Valentine Inspiration: 

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Plain Jane

jane austen sketchPlain Jane: “I must confess that his affection originated in nothing better than gratitude…a persuasion of her partiality for him had been the only excuse of giving her a serious thought.”

-Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey 

There is always much debate over whether the romance in Northanger Abbey is one of “true love.” For, Jane says herself that gratitude on the hero’s side, and partiality on the heroine’s side was the only basis of their romance. The novel in its entirety though is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek poke at the Gothic style that was becoming so popular during Jane’s time, a style marked by overblown emotion, dark, exaggerated family histories, possessive ‘love,’ and intrigue. Perhaps Jane was illustrating to her readership that for some, love can begin simply: as mutual respect, partiality, or even gratitude, but can become something quite special without the aid of Gothic traits.

Loft Love

Happy Friday! This week has been a whirlwind with Halloween and birthday festivities. Baking, present wrapping, carving, and decorating has occupied the majority of my free hours so this weekend I am definitely looking forward to relaxing and watching my go-to-movie for this month: “Sweet November.”

If you had the unfortunate experience of watching the 2001 remake with Keanu Reeves, please don’t give up yet because the original 1968 film is so, so, so much better.

It’s a pretty obscure film and combines romance, drama, comedy, and a little bit of nonsense with the perfect proportions. Sara, (Sandy Dennis) is a single woman who owns and maintains rental properties. In her free time though, she assists bachelors in overcoming some sort of emotional flaw. Each month, Sara takes a different man under her wing—each man, with a different problem. In November, she meets Charlie (Anthony Newley). Charlie, who once had poetic aspirations, has lost his ability to see beauty and enjoy life because of his busy-ness and constant worry about being on time. His life, as Sara describes it, has become all “hurry, hurry, ding, ding.”

I think Charlie’s issue is one that modern audiences can identify with most. Caught up with his career, obsessed with getting ahead, or, at least keeping up, he forgets to look up from his watch and everyday tasks to see the little things that Sara finds such joy in. What I so adore about Sara and this film is that the way she makes Charlie fall back into love with life is merely doing the simplest things: They sit outside and paint and write, feed pigeons in the park, and drink tea by Sara’s fireplace; in small, thoughtful ways, Sara shows Charlie how to care for other people and not always himself and his wristwatch.

Like I said, the movie has a little dose of absurdity that makes it so endearing. Sara’s loft is a prime example of this, mixing together the most nonsensical of items to create the most charming space. I don’t normally like lofts. I don’t really care to see all the exposed framework and things of houses, but Sara’s looks so warm and lived-in.

An open fireplace, an Edwardian-looking chair, twinkle-lights on a tree and exposed, industrial-looking shelves next to an ornate cabinet. Its so ridiculous but makes me want to spend an evening with her. 

Her bedroom, I think, is my favorite. tucked under an entire wall and half-ceiling of window-panes, the cozy upstairs room looks like it would be divine to sleep-in on a rainy morning. It does actually rain during the film as Sara lies in bed and I’m always so very jealous.

The space is so unique and personal. From her loft, it’s obvious that Sara cares nothing for normal “styling.” Instead, as in her life, Sara only surrounds herself with the things she loves most. Her love for life is almost childish. She is often silly, irrational, and has the strangest notions and obsessions. Despite all of this though, she is also completely independent, able to nurture her excitement for living into everyone she meets, and finds humor in the everyday. For Charlie, just spending a month with Sara gave him a very sweet November.

Hopefully this weekend you can do a few silly things. Maybe add a vintage lamp in with your modern drapes, jump off a park bench, or compose poems on your porch….Sara did, and she had so much fun.

– <3 A. 

Plain Jane

Plain Jane: “Women fancy admiration means more than it does. And men take care that they should.”

-Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice

Jane understands so much of the human character I am always shaking my head in agreement at the way she has captured it. This quote could pretty much sum up the dramatic tales of high school “romance.” Let’s hope we all can determine the difference now- channeling a little bit of just plain Jane.