“The moment we see our first darling brain-child arrayed in black type is
never to be forgotten.”
Lucy Maud Montgomery
Wonderful, isn’t it, when the universe hands you a gift? For some reason I can’t explain, the idea of reading Anne of Green Gables as part of my YA research popped into my head. Luckily, a bookstore was near at hand and I was able to pick up a copy. I’ve just spent a lovely Sunday with Anne and her friends and family. Her story was so entrancing that I read the book from cover to cover. What a delight!.
Who could ask for more from a book than the gift of total immersion? Sadly, I never read Anne of Green Gables when I was growing up, but even now, I found it totally enjoyable and inspiring. This book has it all: a unique and totally winsome heroine, heartwarming supporting characters, lyrical language, a gorgeous setting, and an entertaining plot. It’s not surprising to learn that 100 years after it was published, this novel and others by this author still remain in print and continue to spawn stage, TV, and film versions.
A born writer, Lucy met with her share of difficulties. In a description of her writing career, she noted that nine out of ten of her submissions were rejected. Unfazed she kept turning out poems and stories and submitting them. Her writer’s mantra: “Never give up!”
Lucy kept a journal where she would jot down ideas for stories, character studies, and snippets of conversation. One day she came across a note she’d jotted down a few years before about an elderly couple who apply to an orphanage for a boy to help them but are sent a girl by mistake. She thought of penning a short serial based on the idea, but then realized that she had the seed of a novel. With this in mind, after working all day, she began writing Anne of Green Gables in 1904. By 1905, she’d finished the book.
After typing up a fair copy, she sent it to a number of publishers, only to have it rejected by all of them. One said that while Anne was a likable character, they didn’t think the book was of publishable quality! Discouraged, she put it in a hat box and left it there for four years, then decided to try again. This time she was successful. It was published in 1908 and was an instant success — the first of 22 books that she would write. Lucy’s advice:
“We must follow our ‘airy voices’ through bitter suffering and discouragement and darkness, through doubt and disbelief, through valleys of humiliation and over delectable hills where sweet things would lure us from our quest, ever and always must we follow, if we would reach the ‘far-off divine event’ and look out thence to the aerial spires of our City of Fulfilment.” Let’s remember these words this week as we write on.