Several months ago I started a feature on the blog called Drinks With... which as a way to highlight some of the characters that I love from literature. The idea is to choose characters I want to get a drink with and imagine our conversation. In a perfect world I would also be a great barista/mixologist and I would have paired each post with a specific drink, give the recipe and stage a beautiful picture of the drink . I do love this idea and will hopefully return to it, but I've been feeling lazy lately and so have wanted to write up a posts about characters I love without putting in the work of making a drink and staging a pretty picture. I'm sure a lot of my fellow-bloggers can relate to feeling fatigued from striving to produce not just original and interesting content but also content that comes with a gimmick and is visually stunning. It's fun sometimes to put in that extra effort, but sometimes you just want to sit down and chat without feeling like it's a cop-out or that it makes your blog sub-par. So today I'm taking that idea for the feature that I love - gabbing with my favourite ladies from literature over a cup of coffee/maybe something a little stronger - and presenting a post without any gimmick, no bells and whistles. It's just Girl Talk.
Today I want to spend some time with one of my all-time favourite literary ladies - Jo March. Little Women was one of my favourite books growing up. I remember getting my copy in fourth grade and immediately falling in love, even just from the picture of the four sisters on the cover. I was ten years old and just coming out of my horse-obsessed phase (I would continue loving horses and riding, but the all-consuming obsession was waning). Instead of horses, I fell in love with books and writing. And so when I met Jo March in the pages of Little Women I had an amazing revelation. She's a writer, committed to her craft even at a young age and despite circumstances that could be discouraging - her family is poor and finding a better paying job or a husband would be more sensible, during the time period women were expected to behave a certain way and she didn't often conform to those expectations. Jo March was exactly the young heroine I needed to meet in order to believe in my crazy dreams of writing. Of course she also taught me to be bold and passionate and not to apologise for being myself. Little Women is such a powerful book, especially for girls just beginning to grow out of girlhood and into 'little women'. I know a lot of women share my love for it and also look forward to passing on the story to our own daughters one day.
Enough gushing, I'm sure Jo would feel most uncomfortable if she overheard. I suspect that she shares her sister Amy's sentiment as when Amy said, 'I'd rather take coffee than compliments just now.' If I could sit down with Jo I would make sure we had a large supply of coffee to tide us over because there is so much I want to talk to her about.
Girl Talk with Jo March
Mainly I want to talk about family. Every day as I work at my desk there is a beloved quote looking down at me - 'I could never love anyone as I love my sisters.'
For me, the quote could be altered to say, 'I could never love anyone as I love my siblings'.
Of course chatting with Jo I would want to here all of the gossip from the March family and I would share my own family's dramas and exploits. I'm one of four as well and we are very close, just like the March sisters. One of the reasons I love Little Women so much is the importance it gives to sibling relationships. For many people with siblings, especially those of us who come from larger families, it is our siblings who help make us who we are, just as much as our parents do. I would love to see more modern YA novels exploring the importance of sibling relationships.
Sisters and siblings can be so annoying, but we love each other so fiercely. I have a feeling Jo and I could commiserate for hours over how to be a good sister - how to love our siblings despite our disagreements, how hard it is to grow distant from siblings as we grow older, how even into adulthood we are still so intertwined in our siblings lives and emotionally connected to them. Family is so important to Jo and I know she would give great advice and perspective on relationships.
I would also have to ask Jo a very strange question because of a request from a friend who shall remain nameless - What do you think of being likened to a sea gull? Maybe you don't remember, but Beth once described Jo with beautiful imagery: 'You are the gull, Jo, strong and wild, fond of the storm and the wind, flying far out to sea, and happy all alone.'
If you've never met Jo March, I can assure you that she is one of the most wonderful characters in all of literature. And I think it'd be great fun to share in some Girl Talk together.