Monday, October 3, 2011

Kindred Seasons

It's October. When did that happen?

Saturday. That's when.

October always makes me long for Prince Edward Island and the works of L.M. Montgomery. Montgomery does such a fantastic job of describing scenery and capturing the mood of the seasons and the Sullivan adaptations have such beautiful cinematography at work, satisfying all the sunset vistas you could hope for. There's a scene in Anne of Green Gables, a montage showing the changing seasons during Anne's girlhood, and she's walking home from school on an Autumn avenue decked in golden and orange leaves. Gorgeous. If you have never seen Kevin Sullivan's Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, you need to, now. Megan Follows will always be Anne Shirley for me. Don't bother with Anne the Continuing Story, which might also be known as Anne: the Threequel Where We Made Stuff Up; it includes such delights as WWI, which in the books does not appear until Rilla of Ingleside, espionage, nun disguises, and Dominic the orphan boy who never existed. Also, if you've never read the original Anne Series, you need to, now. All eight of them; though Anne of Windy Poplars gets a bit tough, stick with it! I find the Anne series continues to speak to me as I've grown up. As I grew, Anne grew, and each book, in turn, has been progressively a kindred spirit. The uncomfortable growing pains of early teens, using too many words, getting into scrapes and being mortified almost all the time. The struggles into adulthood, wanting to be taken seriously, steadying out and finding that niche. Studying, college, the thrill of achievement. The mixed emotions of early love, the distance and longing of engagement, marriage (actually, I should go read House of Dreams, that fits about now). Someday I expect Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside will draw me deeper from a mother's point of view.

Strangely, Anne isn't my favorite of Montgomery's works, despite being her most popular. In fact, even Maud's secondary, Emily of New Moon, is not my favorite. No, my favorite is a single story, not widely popular I believe, known as The Blue Castle; though I struggle with some of the tidying up at the end of the tale. I also love Jane of Lantern Hill. I need to read Montgomery's short story collections.

What I find interesting about dear Maud is her biography, which I ought to see if someone has written hers because I'm going off Wikipedia here. She doesn't seem to have been particularly happy in life and yet she wrote such beautiful stories. Perhaps they were her escape. I wonder that about other writers, if great hardship and trying circumstances drive your words. George Sand, whose works I have not read, I understand, spent her day caring for her mother, her children, and often her needy lovers (or in Chopin's case, her lovers with TB). She did her writing at night and hardly slept. I like to think of myself as a writer but do I have that kind of passion? Sure there are nights where I have to get up and write but I don't make it a habit and I don't carve time from my day to make sure I'm putting words to page. There's a difference between an author and a writer, after all. An author is someone who is published but a writer is someone who writes, no matter what. Not for work or recognition or anything other than the fact that the words are inside them and have to come out. Emily of New Moon was a writer (which is why I like her more than Anne in many ways) but I'm not sure I am. I want to be. I'm trying.

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