Friday, February 13, 2009

Jo vs. Amy




Here's the central dilemma of my publishing life. Am I Jo or am I Amy? Meg I'm not, as I have never put up jam or borne twins. Beth -- well, anyone who thinks she's Beth makes me worried. (I do know that at least one extremely powerful woman in publishing claims she's a Beth, but I have never seen her take a stitch, much less embroider slippers.)

But I am on the horns of the Jo vs. Amy dilemma. Which horn I'm gored by will determine much of my future.

Like most readers of literary press blogs, I thought I was Jo. For years. I wrote romances (The Adventures of Charles and Caroline). I used a fountain pen. I was earnest and bookish. I dated men with foreign accents who drank strong coffee and dosed strong medicine to anemic prose. Argumentative and proud with a strong, even crippling, mutinous streak. That's me.

Other times, I Amy'd it right up. Trips to London and Paris. Impeccable manners, fine conversation. Kid gloves, button-up boots, high moral standards. I'm sure I would have loved pickled limes, too. Amy wanted the manor house and the large staff and the oh-so-good-looking boy who adored her. Lunches at Union Square Cafe and the Hotel Baglioni in Bologna. That's me too.

So who's it to be? Can one person be Amy (employee incentive plans) and Jo (McSweeney's) at the same time?

11 comments:

Sarah Miller said...

If I can be four Russian grand duchesses at once, I figure you can be two March sisters simultaneously.

Jean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jean said...

Brenda,
Whether you're Jo or Amy I'm just glad my Google Reader found you at your new blog name. Next question: Are you a Paul girl or a John girl? Or are you even old enough to know what that means?
Have a nice weekend.
Jean

Brenda Bowen said...

I have to confess to having been a Paul girl. If I had been a John girl it would have been clear that I was a Jo, too. My sister was a George girl -- very special.

Eliza Osborn said...

Yes, yes you can.

beth said...

I'm so Jo. Couldn't stand Amy.

(Interesting side note: my name is Beth, and for a long time, I identified with her. I played the piano, too, and had a couple of childhood illnesses. BUT--when I was a kid, my aunt gave me an "abridged children's version" of Little Women...one where Beth doesn't...you know. She grows up in this version of the book and becomes a pianist living by the sea. So I thought that was cool and wanted to be like her. Later, I found a real "adult" version of the book and was shocked! by how the story actually treated Beth!)

Kiki Hamilton said...

Yes, well, isn't that the power of being a woman? Multi-faceted, multi-dimensional, with an innate ability to slip into the role that is needed, wanted or required with the ease of a chameleon. Who wants to just be one personality anyway? Not me. :) Kiki / Karen

ps and I was a Paul girl when I was younger, but I have to profess to being a John girl now...

Lizelaw said...

Remember the article that Caryn James wrote for the book review with the headline "Amy had blond curls. Jo had a rat. Which would you rather be?" That article got me thinking--my favorite Alcott heroine was always Rose from Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom. She had 7 male cousins who adored her AND was the ward of an uncle (a premise that never fails to please). I don't know what this might mean for you, Brenda, but what it says about me is I like a lot of attention. Also, I liked George, not John or Paul. Am I deliberately making life hard for myself?

Well, thanks for this free therapy session on your blog.

polycotte said...

Why not pretend you're from the South and be Amy-Jo -- tempestuous and headstrong (and usually right, until you realize you're not, at which point you become penitant as any Pilgrim) but with a charming dose of Amy's manners and expensive tastes. I think you are by nature the type to keep your gloves clean and your skirts unscorched, but maybe you've been fooling us all these years -- do you have an illicit store of gloves stashed in your desk, and is that why you sometimes keep your back to the wall?

Amy, Jo, or Amy-Jo -- Marmie would have loved them all.

Lauren

[a Jo but, I like to think, with better manners; John is the one for me.]

Nandini said...

Shock, horror!! Amy was a book burner, plain and simple, fine manners my left foot!

Only kidding ... :) Yes, getting the guy, the manor, the employee incentive plans can all be very tempting ... (but, reconsider!)

Deborah Beale said...

I'm Jo. And I'm John. Anything to do with the life of the mind whispered to me from the radio, from the ole b/w TV, from every bookshelf I ever walked past. I can remember learning to read and deciphering the headline in the paper: P-R-O-F-U-M-O. No one but me figured it out!!

(Amy was so pretty though. Sigh. And she did get that rich young man. Still, Jo could have had him if she wanted...)