I’ve been pegging away at mundane tasks preparing my book for the next phase of its journey, but it’s not the stuff of which blogs are made. What, I pondered, could I write about that would be a little more interesting than the nuts and bolts of editing? Then it occurred to me that this week is somewhat of an anniversary. Two years ago it marked the beginning of a very special journey.
All writers draw their inspiration from the reading they’ve done throughout their lives. For me, a formative influence was the work of LM Montgomery (LMM), author of Anne of Green Gables and a dozen other perennial favourites. Fans of the Anne books are a somewhat special breed, as I first discovered when my primary school bestie, Rachel, revealed her own Anne passion.
Rachel and I bonded over our shared devotion to these books, frequently reading and re-reading them, and I was agog for each Christmas, birthday and Easter when my Nana would give me the next book in the series.
When we turned sixteen, Rachel and I solemnised the moment with a scared vow and promise. If we lived to be fifty years old (which then seemed extreme decrepit old age) we would go on a pilgrimage to Prince Edward Island in Canada, worship at the shrine of our literary idol and visit all of the scenes immortalised in the books.
We began planning immediately but preparations really cranked up as our half centuries approached. We decided that we would have to be suitably attired and we out-did each other in creating, sourcing and sharing Anne-themed hats, scarves, shirts, bags and gloves. We pored endlessly over our itinerary, ensuring that we could cram in as many Anne experiences as possible during out visit.
Finally the long-awaited moment arrived and we landed on the isle of our imaginings, donned our regalia and set off on our adventure.
The first port of call, of course, had to be the resting place of our beloved author. We reverently laid two single white rose buds upon LMM’s tomb and paused in a moment in thankfulness for the many years of reading pleasure she had bequeathed to us.
Then it was off to Green Gables itself. Only a true Anne devotee can imagine the quivering excitement with which we approached this long-awaited moment. The reality didn’t disappoint.
The home that is modern day ‘Green Gables’ is of course an imagined reconstruction, but it was perfect in every point, down to the brown gloria dress with puffed sleeves hanging in Anne’s bedroom, a purple amethyst brooch on Marilla’s dressing table and the red geramium adorning the kitchen windowsill (all finer points which would only be appreciated by the true Anne aficionado).
We reveled in every detail, tiptoeing through the haunted wood, and renewing our vow of eternal friendship over the babbling brook that ran alongside Lovers Lane, much to the amusement of passing visitors who showed their Anne credentials by being instantly aware of what we were up to.
On day two we ventured off to Silver Bush (the original home of LMM’s aunt and the setting of the Pat books) where we had the enormous pleasure of going for a ride past the Lake of Shining Waters and down to the shore in Matthew’s buggy. Wish fulfillment doesn’t get any better than this.
Next followed a visit to LMM’s birthplace, a pit-stop for raspberry cordial at the Blue Moon tea house, a diversion to check out the schoolhouse where LMM taught as a young woman and finally a pause to officially record our pilgrimage in period clothing. Rachel and I are firmly convinced we were born in the wrong era.
The grand finale, after a further day exploring the island and it’s many wonderful wooden lighthouses, was an evening taking in Anne and Gilbert, The Musical. This event was so fabulous that Rachel and I (wearing matching button covered shoes) were left in hysterical tears at the wonder of it all.
It’s a mark of our enduring passion that Rachel sent me an LMM book for my recent birthday. For thirty-five years I’ve been searching for The Golden Road – an obscure and little known LMM work – in our coveted Angus and Robertson edition to complete my collected works. I screamed, squealed and danced around the room when I opened the package. She couldn’t have found anything I’d love more.
I think if LMM and I could sit down and have a chat she’d be astonished to know that over one hundred years after she released her Anne to the world, a pair of fifty-year-old Aussie women dressed up in fake plaits and traveled half-way round the planet to pay homage to her work.
My literary aspirations are modest. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if in one hundred years another pair of starry-eyed readers made their way to Narooma because of something I had written …
7 thoughts on “Inspired by LMM …”
Take me back! We need to go again and include Ontario and Nova Scotia 🙂
This week’s blog has made my week!!!
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It was the trip of a lifetime, no? Sign me up for more 🙂
What a wonderful experience and amazing memories – felt as if I was transported to Anne-land and Prince Edward Island. Still have my copy of Anne of Green Gables! x
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Ah, another Anne devotee! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
Happy ‘Anne-iversary’! You both inspired me during your marvellous trip to re-read the Anne series, providing a lovely literary journey back to Prince Edward Island.
There are so many places around the world I would love to visit as a result of a lifetime of reading so what better a way to start than my trip to Paris next year, the locale of one of my all time favourite novels, The Elegance of the Hedgehog; not to mention one of the locales of my own work in progress.
Isn’t it truly a great joy of reading and writing that through words we can be transported not only to anywhere around our blue planet but to distant worlds too?
You’ve now enjoyed two amazing book based trips – Prince Edward Island and Carcassonne – I’m looking forward to seeing where your next literary travels take you.
I love that you dare to dream…that’s where all amazing things become reality…you really just don’t know, Cath…those little future girls could certainly be reading your book!!! Lotsa hugs Mozx
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My book is a bit more Parental Guidance Recommended, but maybe teenagers …? 🙂