Thursday, October 7, 2010

Excerpts From a "Green Gables Letter"

I absolutely love reading "behind the scenes" bits and pieces of famous authors' lives. Generally the best ones come from their letters and journals, where their true thoughts were spilled out, and thought "safe" from the public eye! :D We have a thin volume entitled: "The Green Gables Letters: from L.M.Montgomery to Ephraim Weber", published by Borealis Book Publishing, and I have read it several times. One part in particular is very amusing. Miss Montgomery was in the midst of writing the second "Anne" book, and was writing to Mr. Weber about the process:
"I don't like my new Anne book as well as the first but that may be, as you say, because I am so soaked and sated with her. I can see no freshness or interest in it. But, I suppose if I took the greatest masterpiece in fiction and read it over, say, a hundred times, one after the other with no interval between, I wouldn't find much of either in it also. I felt the same, though no so strongly when I finished Anne......The book deals with her experiences while teaching for two years in Avonlea school. The publishers wanted this-- and I'm awfully afraid if the thing takes, they'll want me to write her through college. The idea makes me sick. I feel like the magician in the Eastern story who became the slave of the "jinn" he had conjured out of a bottle. If I'm to be dragged at Anne's chariot wheels the rest of my life I'll bitterly repent having "created" her."

What tickles me about that whole passage, is that every one of us writers who have taken our books to the end and edited them, knows exactly how Lucy Maud Montgomery felt! And it is wonderfully reassuring to know that even when one is famous, that feeling does not change! :) I have read my book to shreds, picked it apart, looked at it inside out and upside down, till I doubt there is any originality, or continuity in the thing. That is when I lay it aside and forget about it for a little while. If ever you are in a blank spot in your writing, it really does help to read the famous authors' private never read of writer's block in the text of....well, "David Copperfield" for instance, and yet, perhaps Dickens had a few blank moments! :) Anyway, whether you benefit in your writing from reading such things, I know they are at least, amusing and insightful! -Rachel


Carilyn said...

That is a very interesting excerpt! Do you have any other specific books to recommend like the one above? =)

Rachel and Sarah said...

Well, generally any biography about an author includes some interesting tid-bits, but another book that we love is called "Letters to Children From Beatrix Potter" collected and introduced by Judy Taylor. This collection is intriguing because of the fact that introduces you to the children Beatrix wrote each book for, and all the little picture-letters she made for them... I love it! :D

Horse Lover said...

haha, thanks for posting that; it was helpful. I have felt the same way myself. I've read my stories so many times and edited them, that they are quite dull to me and I'm always sure that everyone else will hate them.