Thursday, July 24, 2008

What is an imagination for if not to enable you to peep at life through other people's eyes? -L.M. Montgomery

I was adding some links over on the side, and realized that most of my favourite websites have to do with Lucy Maud Montgomery. I knows (and yes, the "s" on the end is there on purpose) I am a little LMM obsessed, but it's an entirely different kind of obsession than I have with other authors. I love Charlotte Bronte, I have a girl-crush on Jane Austen, Gregory Maguire makes me smile, and Evelyn Waugh makes my laugh (cynically). But Maud, oh Maud, now SHE has my heart. So this little entry-0-good-times will be all about Maud (right after I mention that I only have about 50 pages left to go of The English Patient, more tomorrow when I'm done).

This year marks 100 years since the publication of Anne of Green Gables, and as such there are tons of celebrations, lectures, and conferences going on. This was the first of Maud's books that I read. When I was about 11, my Grandmother let me go through a box of books she had bought. Inside I found this book, this portal to happiness unknown, I had never heard of it before. I was a little leery at first, because I had never read any books marketed towards my age group (I was reading Jeffrey Archer at 7, oh Mum!), but when I began to read something inside of me clicked and I was hooked forever.

Over the next few years, I gobbled up any of Maud's books that I could get my hands on. We were poor, and buying new books was considered a luxury. I often took them out of the library, or managed to find them at a used bookstore. This is where most of my small allowance went, and I still have those old, beaten-up copies to this day. When I was 15 I got my first "real" job at a bookstore, and with the discount I received, I managed to get all of the novels, the short story collections, and few other Maud-related items (such as The Alpine Path). Now, when I have the money, I'm amassing Maud's journals, biographies,and anything else I can. I've even got a few early editions, such as a first edition of A Tangled Web, a 1917 edition of Anne of Avonlea, and the first American edition of Anne of Ingleside. I have multiple editions of almost every book. I even have my Mum's copy of Pat of Silverbush from the 1960's, which I'm almost 10o% sure she never read, but she kept it for sentimental reasons.

There is something about all of those books that feels like home. Something in the pages that sparks imagination, and hope, and love, and something I can't even describe. A feeling of peace, a feeling that I belong. Maud knew. Maud still knows, and always has the answers.

It was dangerously exciting for me when I found out we were related (albeit distantly) through two lines of my family. It's hurts me when someone criticizes her books (although I know everyone can't feel the way I do), or calls them juvenile. I'm trying to make the-Jen read them all, I gave her a bunch of extra copies I had (sometimes I get a little over-zealous) and bought her a bunch for her birthday. I want to share them with her, to see if she is of "the race who knows Joseph", to see if she understands. I don't think she'll feel just the way I do, but I know she'll get it.

People have asked me who I think I'm most like. I don't think I'm an Anne, definitely not a Sara or a Marigold. I think I'm most like Emily with a dash of Valancy thrown in, spiced up with a bit of Pat and Jane. Maud was an Emily too. It would be too hard to pick a favourite book, impossible actually, but I don't think my favourites are the most common either. I faithfully love The Blue Castle, Kilmeny of the Orchard makes me believe, the Pat books feel homey and comfortable, the Anne books are always there as a beacon, and Emily will always be there as a reflection. They are who I am.

"He stuck his head in on purpose but the rest of him fell in zacksidentally." -Davy, Anne of Avonlea

"Almost all of the evil in the world has it's origins in the fact that some one is afraid of something." -John Foster, The Blue Castle

"I don't crochet, woman! Is one contemptible doily going to blast a man's reputation forever?" -Cyrus Taylor, Anne of Windy Poplars

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