“Against the background of her practical sensible clan, she shone like a diamond flame. Many people liked her, many disliked her. No one was ever wholly indifferent to her.”-Emily of New Moon, L.M. Montgomery
Lucy Maud Montgomery never intended to be famous on the scale that she was, but she did always intend to have her writing published. Indeed, the fame that her writing brought her never settled; cloaking her like a garment that just didn't sit right. And yet her need to write, to weave stories, both fictional and anecdotal of her own life far outweighed any discomfiture she might have felt from the public attention afforded by the publication of her novels.
"We pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self-denial, anxiety and discouragement."-Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
Writing was vital for Montgomery. Growing up in a Puritan family and community and remaining deeply enmeshed in that world once she married, Montgomery was stifled in the verbal observances she could have made of the world- held back, like many women of her time by the cultural expectation of silence. She felt the pressure to follow the Victorian codes of female conduct and this meant presenting an outer air of abstraction. Inwardly, she was a woman of firm passions, with a highly Intuitive soul, an astute scribe of human nature. It’s said she was quietly observant, saving her thoughts of disillusion and the truths of day-to-day life for journals and the intense cathartic emotions of hope, agony, and innocence for her novels.
It’s suggested that to be a good writer, to write something worthwhile, one should write about what they know. Imagination can run wild, but there should always be some bases from reality. This is certainly a tenet that Lucy Maud Montgomery subscribed to. Each of her novels is a piece of her, forever memorialized in ink and paper. Each journal entry is a cathartic release and view into her soul.
To read Montgomery’s Journals is to experience her true spirit and gain insight into a psyche that was scarred by the grief and the separation anxiety that touched her life. Beginning from the time she was nine and continuing until her death, these volumes are illuminating and powerful in their observances and chronicle her life as if it were a story- enthralling, and magical in the ability to bring stimulation to the mundanity of domestic life. Humorous, yet keenly sad. challenging in their quiet assertion to live in the moment and take joy as it comes.
"When we imagine we have finished our story fate has a trick of turning the page and showing us yet another chapter."-Rainbow Valley, L.M. Montgomery
With such an ability to chronicle the essence of humanity, to present life through a poetic eye, is it any wonder that Montgomery became such a beloved and lauded author? Her acclaim may not have been expected, but it was well deserved. And her viewpoints of the world, in both her journals and novels, encourage her readers to take on that role of a keen observer.
Find the first three volumes of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery , as well as copies of some of her novels here. And watch our documentary about Lucy Maud Montgomery's inspirations, "Spirit of Place" on GazeboTV.