Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series and two dozen more books, kept a journal from the time she was fourteen until she died in her sixties.
I first discovered her journals (available in five volumes) with my dear friend, Jamie C. Martin, back when I was teaching, was a soon-to-be mama, and was pursuing the writing life with as much vigor and passion as I was able to muster while figuring it all out alone.
If you’ve read any of Maud’s books, the journals might come as a surprise. Much of the sweetness you’d expect from the author of Anne, Emily, Pat, and the Story Girl isn’t present. Her life was a challenge in many ways. But for me, seeing Maud’s daily struggles made her somehow more real and made her hopeful books that much richer.
I have always felt an affinity for this woman. We share a lot in common as teachers, mothers to two boys, pastor’s wives, authors, women who have lived with depression. These journals are insightful, funny, painful, full of longing, and brimming with the anecdotal stories you’d expect from an author of over 500 short stories. Through these books I’ve learned about women’s schooling in the late 1800’s, a bit of Canadian history and geography, societal norms, women’s fashion, beginning and sustaining a writing career (in the midst of babies and a male-dominated publishing world), advancements in technology, the impact on the individual of the first and second World Wars. I could go on and on.
It has been some time since I’ve read these journals, and I’ve found myself longing to re-read the books that so deeply spoke to me over a decade ago. I’m inviting anyone who’s interested to read along. This is one of two reading goals I’m setting for myself in 2013.
Expect to see a lot on LM on the blog next year.
Update: Here’s the reading schedule.