I'll be back with my regular schedule soon. For today, here's a favorite post of mine from waaaay back, from March 12, 2007.
NOT an Anne Freak
I know this may come as a shock to many people. To many of my close friends, in fact.
But I am not an Anne of Green Gables freak.
Sure, I have every single one of the Anne books. They're all dog-eared and nearly memorized. I own all the movies except for the last one, which is a vile thing that should never have been made. (Any self-respecting fan knows what I'm talking about, and I could go on a rampage about the timeline, the characters, the technology, and the sheer adulteration of all things Montgomery, but I'll spare you.)
I was introduced to Anne in the eighth grade. It was the year when L.M. Montgomery's books were being republished after a long time of being out of print, and I scooped them up as quickly as they were being reprinted (and as quickly as my allowance and babysitting money let me). I remember the excitement of buying Rilla of Ingleside at the Farrer Middle School book fair.
My closest friends were doing the same, and we were all living the Anne life. We took long walks through nature and watched sunsets and ate cookies and had tea parties the way we imagined Anne and Diana might have. We started (okay, I started) a creative writing club based on Anne's.
But there was a big difference in how the rest of them viewed our activities. While they imagined themselves as being Anne, I imagined myself as her creator.
Forget Anne; I was Lucy Maud Montgomery!
Oh, I liked Anne. I still do. But I wanted to be the writer who made her up. I wanted to create a character and stories. I wanted the paper and pencil in my hands (or the keys of the typewriter under my fingers).
To this day, I have an entire shelf in my office that carries my LMM books. And it has a lot more than Anne; it has all of her books that I began collecting in eighth grade. At some point (when I really, really trust them) I'll let my daughters borrow them.
In addition to Anne, there's Pat and Emily and Marigold and Kilmeny and The Story Girl and Jane and Valancy and The Tangled Web and a slew of short stories. There's an autobiography. There's five volumes of journals. There's a CD of photographs and information about LMM's life. There's a first edition Windy Poplars. There's a volume that includes poetry and other writings that pre-date Anne.
If I'm being perfectly truthful, Anne doesn't even make the top three of my favorite LMM heroines. [2010 note: Those would be Rilla, Emily, and Valancy.]
To me, Anne is only a slice of who Maud really was. (No, she didn't go by Lucy. She hated that name.) For that matter, she only wrote eight books about Anne because the public demanded it. Even she got tired of Anne. Ever wonder why she started writing about Anne's KIDS?
I love learning about who she really was, what her life was like. How it differed from her books. (VERY MUCH.)
Some day I'd love to go to Canada and visit places that are special to her.
And no, it wouldn't necessarily be the Green Gables house, although that might be fun. I'd prefer the manses where she spent her married life and did the majority of her writing, and that might mean not visiting Prince Edward Island at all. Instead I'd go to Leaskdale and Norval, both not too far from Toronto, on the mainland. I'd visit her final house, which she aptly named Journey's End.
If I ever do go to PEI, I'll be sure to go to Park Corner and check out the little nail by the stairs that she used to measure herself on each time she visited her cousins. Those are the little human elements that make her real to me.
LMM has had such an impact on me that I've noticed phrases, characters, and even plot lines in my own work that hearken to hers--unintentionally. My computer is even named after her. (Maud, of course, not Lucy.)
As a nod, I try to read one of her books each year.
[2010 Note: Up next is Rilla of Ingleside, to me, the best of the Anne series.]
A lot of writers, other creative types, and even parents worried about their children have asked me about my experience with ADD/ADHD/ADHD-I. It's past time that I put more of my coping strategies in one place.
I first blogged about my ADD experience about two and a half years ago. (That's where I also explained the difference between ADHD and ADHD-I, and how what most people call ADD is actually classified as ADHD-I.)
More than a year after that, I posted a follow-up about one of my favorite tools for getting work done in spite of my ADD: my DIY tread desk.
If you haven't read those posts but are interested in coping strategies, symptoms, and so on, I definitely recommend reading them. I won't go over all of the information in them here.
Rather, I'm assuming you or someone who know has ADHD or a variant, and you know those terms.
For those who have asked, I've compiled a list of things that have helped me and my children in our ongoing battle with ADHD-I:
My older sister and I are similar in a lot of ways. We're both writers. We're both readers. We both majored in English. We both adore good chocolate. And on and on.
We're dissimilar in a lot of ways, but it turns out that one thing I thought was a difference actually isn't.
As an adult, Mel was diagnosed with ADD. The diagnosis made so much sense for her, at least with my limited understanding of the condition. She can jump topics in a conversation like hummingbird flitting from flower to flower, only faster. I can keep up, but I assumed that it was because I grew up around her.
The thing is that Mel's ADD has a bit of the hyperactive ADHD in it, although I wouldn't classify her as hyperactive in the typical sense. She's high energy, for sure. When I've mentioned to close friends that ADD runs in the family, they always follow that up with, "Mel, right?"
And then I have to say that well, yes. She's the one who is buzzing around all the tim…
People joke that I'm the Grammar Nazi.
My critique group says that I know exactly how to use commas (and then they go comatose, and tweet about it, if I try to explain why a semicolon is correct on page 5).
For that matter, rumor has it that when they speak about our group and mention members' strengths, they bring up punctuation as my strength. While I do know my fair share of punctuation rules, I do like to hope that in the 12 years I've been there I've been worth more than fixing comma splices. :)
But yes, I do care about punctuation more than the average reader or writer. Why? Because it adds nuance and meaning that nothing else can. The same words can have a totally different meaning with a few different punctuation marks.
This is true with big issues like pacing, tone, and mood.
But to make my point, I'll go a bit over the top for today's Word Nerd Wednesday.
First off, read Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots, and Leaves (the title of which is a punctuati…