Aug. 16th, 2011

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I'm currently working my way through volume one of Lucy Maud Montgomery's journals. Most of you will know her as the author of the Anne books, some of my most beloved childhood reads.

Maud herself is a delight - full of the passion for life and stories that shine through in Anne. Here she is on 4 April 1899, talking about stories:

"I have no doubt that it is a wise ordinance of date - or Providence? - that I cannot get all the books I want or I should certainly never accomplish much. I am simply a "book drunkard"...the first new story I read in '99 was "Phroso" by Anthony Hope. I...sat up in bed until two o'clock, shivering and freezing but quite indifferent to it, and finished the book before I could sleep. It was a glorious yarn - full of life and "go". It was romance pure and simple, without any alloy of realism or philosophy. I like realistic and philosophical novels in spells,but for pure, joyous, undiluted delight give me romance. I always revelled in fairytales."

Sound familiar to anyone? :)

It's also fascinating to see how she takes her own experiences and remodels them for her stories. A description of her thoughts on hearing of the death of a would-be lover (dated 24 July 1899) could come straight from the end of Anne of the Island:

"There would be no answering smile on his pale cold lips, no tender light in the dark blue eyes whose flash used to stir my heart into stinging life. Oh,kneeling there I thought it all over - that winter in Bedeque with its passion and suffering, all its hours of happiness and sorrow. I lived again in thought every incident of my acquaintance with Herman Leard from first to last - all those mad sweet hours and those sad bitter hours."

For me, the Anne books were as much about Prince Edward Island as they were about Anne. Here is LM Montgomery letting the words flow in another entry from 1899, describing what would become Lover's Lane in the Anne books:

The old spring, deep and clear and icy cold, is on our path. The brook purls softly by and the old firs whisper over it as of yore.... )

Highly recommended!

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