Monday, August 23, 2010

NOT an Anne Freak

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

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.]


Lara Neves said...

So, you're a Lucy freak! :)

I recently re-read all of my Anne books, which are the only ones I own of LM Montgomerey's, and it just transported me back to Jr. High. I think I may start reading them aloud to my girls.

Rebecca Blevins said...

I read all of LMM's books I could get hold of when I was fifteen. I loved them, but like you, was more intrigued by her other books than the Anne ones.

I should read them again.

LisAway said...

Come ON Lara! She's a MAUD freak! :) Thanks for reposting this, as I hadn't read it and found it to be veeeery interesting! I also spent a lot of bbsitting money on LMM books (my older sister only had the Anne series). I have always wished for violet eyes like Kilmeny's and have rejoiced when my boys' have seemed very periwinkle when they are babies. :)

Kristina P. said...

If you aren't, I wonder what a true freak would look like?

Krista said...

I LOVE that you were pretending to be the CREATOR, not the character. You are SUCH a talented FREAK!

Christy said...

Annette! I can't wait to meet you in person. You and I will be such kindred spirits! I so totally am on the same wavelength as you. I love AofGG and would have tea parties with my mom and aunt. I had my mother sew me dresses like hers, even in high school. And I, like you, wished that I had been the one to create her. Even now, I find my characters flouting a bit of Anne here and there. In speech I performed AnneofGG in drama and The Lady of Shallot for poetry. And for my 16th b-day my mother gave me a porcelain doll of Anne that sits on my dresser. Okay, I think I've pointed out how much of a geek I am now.

Cheryl said...

Oh how I love this post. I am an Anne freak but I am also a Rilla and Emily one as well. I love the Emily books the very most.
I love all of them!
I have gone to PEI twice now and we visited pretty much everywhere. Park Corner was one of my favorite places!
I am so with you on the last Anne movie. I bought it because I hadn't seen it on tv and it quickly went straight into the trash can. How could the same people that made the first Anne movies and the Avonlea series have made that?

Susan Anderson said...

Guess who's going to be reading Rilla of Ingleside, pronto?! Thanks for making me aware of the REST of the stories.


wendy said...

Anne of Green Gables is one of my ALL TIME FAV's
maybe I need to leanr more of the author
and read more of HER books


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