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Bits & Bobs and Love for Lucy Maud Montgomery

02 Nov

I’m feeling like writing a bit of an update to life and my current musings. The new issue of Portrait is out and I’d love for you all to check it out. That rant I’ve been planning about fandom is in this issue so that’s fun. Basically, I really just want to talk about two things, LMM books that everyone should read and NaNoWriMo.

I’m trying to be committed to NaNoWriMo this year. I even put up the first bit of the novel right away. (I included it below too if you don’t do NaNoWriMo). Now to continue writing. If you don’t know what NNWM is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s a challenge to aspiring or current writers to write a novel in a month. It’s a great way to force you (meaning me) to knuckle down and really focus on writing and just put pen to paper. Even if half of what you write is crap, it’s still more than was written down before. And feedback can be great.

That said, my novel is tentatively titled Garage Band Assassins. I’ve always thought of it as a potential series so maybe it’ll be different down the road. Here’s the first bit:

“Is it weird that one of my favorite feelings in the world is a sharp knife in my hand?” Ethan looked over at Candice as he threw the knife, perfectly lodging it in a target 20 yards away.

Candice was twirling her own knife in her hands absentmindedly. She spun it a few more times. Her fingers nimbly twisted the blade’s handle back & forth, around and around. For all the concentration in her hands, her mind didn’t seem to be concentrating on anything. Candice hummed under her breath as she played with the knife, not noticing Ethan kept trying to talk to her.

Ethan stopped throwing knives and turned to Candice. He was careful not to walk too close. You just didn’t surprise someone who could stab you with the same effort it took to pick up a grape.

“Candice!” Ethan yelled, hoping she’d pay attention.

Candice looked up. “What?!” She flipped the knife into an attack position, before noticing Ethan. “Oh, sorry E. What’s up?”

Ethan sat on the floor next to Candice. “Nothing. Bored. And wondering if liking holding a knife makes me psycho?”

Candice stopped playing with her own knife and sheathed it. “I don’t know. I mean, I kind of like the feeling myself,” she adds looking down at her own weapon. “So maybe we’re both psychos.”

A door opened at the end of the room and a young blonde girl, looking about seventeen, walked into the room. She had a small vial and syringe in one hand and what appeared to be a dead mouse in the other. Laurie had a massive grin on her face as she hurried over towards Ethan and Candice.

“You guys, I did it! I finally found one,” she said loudly. Her blonde hair was swept into a ponytail that swished as she walked.

“What did you find?” asked Candice, looking up. “Oh my gosh, is that a dead mouse?! Laurie, that is disgusting!”

Laurie looked at the mouse in her hand and back up. “Why? I’ll throw it away in a minute.”

“PETA would kill you right now,” joked Ethan.

Candice laughed, “I think a lot of people would like to kill her for that.”

Laurie huffed, exasperated. “Will you two shut up & listen?! I’m trying to tell you something.”

Candice and Ethan stopped laughing and pulled themselves together. As soon as they were quiet, Laurie began again.

“So you both know how I’ve been working in the lab for the last few weeks like nonstop right?” she paused as the other two nodded. “Well, I finally succeeded in finding a chemical compound that can stop a person’s heart and nervous system without being discovered.” Laurie smiled.

“So you’ve come up with an undetectable poison?” clarified Ethan.

“Yep. I can kill someone and make the world think it was a freak heart attack.” Laurie stood up and walked over to a trash can, dumping the mouse inside. She placed the syringe and vial in a locked cabinet near the trash can then rejoined Candice and Ethan.

“You were saying something about psychos,” muttered Candice.

My other bit or bob as it were is about Lucy Maud Montgomery, authoress of the Anne of Green Gables series, the Emily trilogy and numerous other books. I highlighted LMM on Portrait Magazine this issue, including a few favorite quotes. The header quote on this blog is actually from her. Her books are the type that you can go back to over and over again, falling a little more in love each time. I’m personally an Emily girl as Anne and I have never truly been kindred spirits (though I love her taste in cats) with a touch of Valancy.  I always found it a tough call between Gilbert Blythe, Perry Miller and Barney Snaith as far as men go. Anyway, the books of her’s that I most highly recommend are as follows. I tried not to be horribly spoilery but most of these books are a century old. Besides, the best books can be enjoyed regardless of spoilers. You can easily read Rilla of Ingleside without reading all of the Anne books first but it’s worth reading the series at some point. LMM also has this knack for the most beautiful and haunting descriptions of scenery.

Emily of New Moon Trilogy:

The Emily series is my favorite of the LMM books. Emily goes to live with her aunts and uncle at New Moon and the story goes of her friendship with Ilse, Perry and Teddy, her romances as she grows older and her drive to become an authoress. I think that’s what most drew me to the series. Emily is asked in Emily of New Moon what she would do if she knew that she would never be published or make a cent of her writing and she adamantly insists that she would write anyway. There are stories and characters and lives that have to get out of her and she couldn’t live if she couldn’t write. That’s how I feel. I don’t know how to live without writing because my characters need to live.

Favorite Character: Dead tie between Mr. Carpenter & Perry Miller

Favorite Descriptions: Anything with the flash or the Murray look

Favorite Moment: The cheesy and sappy but oh so perfect graveyard scene after the night in the church in Emily Climbs.

Favorite Quote: “Well, it all comes to this; there’s no use trying to live in other people’s opinions. The only thing to do is to live in your own. After all, I believe in myself.”

Next up is The Blue Castle:

Valancy is an old maid by the town’s standards and has a miserable existence of being told what to do, how to do it and how to feel about it. So when she’s diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition, she throws caution to the wind and does whatever the hell she wants. But along the way she falls in love with Barney Snaith, the dearest and sweetest man with the perfect hint of mystery. (IMO) This is probably the most adult of LMM’s books since the characters don’t start out as teenagers. It has become my go to book when I’m depressed or upset and invariably convinces me to pluck up my bootstraps and carry on. I’m quite certain Caroline Forbes would adore Valancy.

Favorite Character: Valancy Sterling

Favorite Description: The moment Valancy looks upon her Blue Castle.

Favorite Moment: When Barney’s car runs out of gas. It’s a delightful blend of humor, budding romance and the sense of comfort that can only be found in two people completely content with themselves.

Favorite Quote: “It was three o’clock in the morning – the wisest and most accursed hour of the clock. But sometimes it sets us free.” 

My final LMM choice is Rilla of Ingleside. Rilla is the youngest of Anne & Gilbert’s children and the story is both beautiful and heartrending. Unlike most of LMM’s heroines, Rilla is forced to grow up in the midst of WWI as her siblings are fighting as soldiers and nurses in the war. I’ve never had much of an opinion for her romance (though I do love him) because this story is all about Rilla. She’s fiesty, rebellious, passionate and brimming with emotion. She’s everything a teenage girl or young woman should be without a hint of condescension from the author. So I suppose, I’m really a Rilla girl.

Favorite Character: Rilla & Walter Blythe.

Favorite Description: “How beautiful the old Glen was, in its August ripeness, with its chain of bowery old homesteads, tilled meadows and quiet gardens. The western sky was like a great golden pearl. Far down the harbour was frosted with a dawning moonlight. The air was full of exquisite sounds–sleepy robin whistles, wonderful, mournful, soft murmurs of wind in the twilit trees, rustle of aspen poplars talking in silvery whispers and shaking their dainty, heart shaped leaves, lilting young laughter from the windows of the of rooms where the girls were making ready for the dance. The world was steeped in maddening loveliness of sound and colour. 

Favorite Moment: There’s a moment that I won’t spoil for those who haven’t read it because it deserves to be embraced as is but it is truly one of the best she’s ever written. Many writers of film or literature would do well to reference this scene. It will utterly break you and yet you’ll never be able to skip it because to do so would cheapen the value of the rest of the story.

Favorite Quote: (A few because I couldn’t pick just one)

“Before this war is over, every man and woman and child in Canada will feel it–feel it to your heart’s core. You will weep tears of blood over it. The Piper has come–and he will pipe until every corner of the world has heard his awful and irresistible music. It will be years before the dance of death is over–years. And in those years millions of hearts will break.”

“When our women fail in courage, shall our men be fearless still?

“the fate of mankind. That is what we’re fighting for. And we shall win—never for a moment doubt that. For it isn’t only the living who are fighting–the dead are fighting too. Such an army cannot be defeated.”

“Let us drink to the silent army. To the boys who followed when the Piper summoned. For our tomorrow they gave their today–theirs is the victory!”

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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Books & Writers

 

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