In the U.S., February is a month in which we remember several of our country's heroes, so I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this blog for a month to writing about several of mine.
One of the first heroes that comes to mind and heart is Lucy Maud Montgomery. I think if I had to choose one author that most influenced my decision to be a writer, it would be she. Because I could go on ad infinitum about the reasons why, I'll try to put together a little list here to limit myself:
1. Anne of Green Gables. As one of the first “thick” books I ever read, it has a special place in my heart. It taught me more about character development than any book on writing I've ever read. And it provides an example to live up to in creating a story with an emotional heart.
2. Gilbert Blythe, Hilary Gordon, and Teddy Kent. L. M. Montgomery's heroes showed me that real men treat women with respect and affection, do great things with the time given to them, and aren't afraid to recite poetry in public. This certainly shaped the heroes I create...and I think it had more than a little to do with the standard I set for finding a husband. (Incidentally, one of the most heart-stopping love letters I ever received was the one in which Mark told me how much I reminded him of Anne Shirley...luckily I didn't have to break a slate over his head to get his attention.)
3. Her perseverance. At the time Maud Montgomery set out to be a writer, the world was not as accepting of women writers as it is now. Still she set her eyes on her goal and achieved it....despite the fact that she received rejection after rejection for her poetry and short stories, and even Anne of Green Gables was turned down four times.
4. Her journals. Has anyone else read them? Amazing.
5. Emily of New Moon and its sequels. There is very little about this “trilogy” that I don't like, but I think the scene I consider most is Mr. Carpenter's deathbed, where he gives Emily some of the best writing advice you'll ever find:
“…Never write to please anybody but yourself… No use trying to please everybody. No use trying to please critics. Live under your own hat. Don’t be led away by those yowls about realism. Remember—pine woods are just as real as pigsties—and a darn sight pleasanter to be in.... Don’t tell the world everything. That’s what’s the matter with our literature. Lost the charm of mystery—and reserve…Beware of italics.”