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.
One thing I've learned in my years of writing is how solitary this profession is. Sure, we have our critique groups, online friends, agents, editors, and blog buddies (hi, Mayhemers!), but the daily work is something done largely alone. These books offer an amazing glimpse into the life of an author and provide an opportunity for rich study, deep reflection, and a whole lot of satisfying reading.
It has been some time since I've picked up 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.
Our own Marissa Burt, a big LM Montgomery fan, is reading along!
Want to join in? Here's what you need to do:
Find the books
Try your public library, or order through your local indie, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. Now that they're available in paperback, they're more affordable and easier to track down.
Save the dates
introductory post - Friday, February 1
discussion - Monday, February 25
introductory post - Monday, April 1
discussion - Monday, April 29
introductory post - Monday, June 3
discussion - Friday, June 28
introductory post - Friday, August 2
discussion - Friday, August 30
introductory post - Wednesday, 2 October
discussion - Wednesday, 30 October
Read to share
Jot down anything that sparks your interest and join the discussion at my personal blog, Caroline by line. And please spread the word.
Twitter hashtag #lmmjournals
I'll be sharing favorite quotes while reading!