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Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Implications of Writing a Novel


We’ve just returned from a five day visit to Prince Edward Island. That’s a province known for being the birthplace of confederation in Canada where the historic 1864 Charlottetown Conference was held. More information is here:
There are three ways to get to The Island, as it is referred to: air, sea, and the Confederation Bridge. Again, if you’d like to know more, this might help http://www.confederationbridge.com/about/confederation-bridge.html  which states
The curved, 12.9 kilometre (8 mile) long bridge is the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water, and more than a decade after its construction, it endures as one of Canada’s top engineering achievements of the 20th century.
It opened in 1997 and this week as we drove across the bridge we were reminded of our previous visit in May with young Bentley (see my earlier blog ‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up’). But this time we were going on our very first vacation together. We are home-bodies, you see, and also a dog loving family and if we can’t take our family with us wherever we go, then we just don’t go. We’re happy with that.
The rental cottage on the red sands beach was perfect. Rustic, but perfect. The ‘girls’ (Nelly and Tilly our dogs) just loved it, especially the morning and evening walks that went on for deserted mile after deserted mile, with the glorious sun setting over the bridge.
We also made time to be tourists. And the BIG attraction on The Island is Anne of Green Gables, drawing thousands upon thousands of visitors from around the world year round. Who’d a thunk it? Anne of Green Gables was written by Lucy Maude Montgomery in 1908. The tourism PEI website purports that if she were alive today, author Lucy Maud. Montgomery would be overjoyed by the continuing interest in her most famous work, Anne of Green Gables. The novel has fans from all around the world, and has generated widespread curiosity about the places Montgomery lived in and wrote about.
My dear-heart and I discussed this at some length as we sat in the gardens with the dogs, in the early fall sunshine, at the birthplace of this humble and possibly troubled author. We agreed that she would probably be horrified at the millions of pairs of feet treading her tiny halls year in year out, poking their ways through her ‘haunted woods’ and buying multiple boxes of ‘Anne’ chocolates and made-in-China ‘Green Gables’ tea mugs. Horrified would not have even scratched the surface of seeing the Island Tour buses offloading cruise-ship couples sporting tacky Anne red-hair braids under battered straw hats, just for photos confirming that it was Tuesday and they were at Green Gables. Green Gables - a historic government controlled Provincial Park raking in entrance fees hand over fist.
So what of Lucy Maude? I meant to purchase her journal while I was there. One of the park rangers assured me that, as a writer, I would find it most absorbing as it gave a detailed insight into the author’s life, and what made her tick.
But I didn’t. I felt we’d encroached enough on the lady’s life. But I did buy a porcelain Anne doll and a copy of the book for a 6 year old neighbour, and six boxes of Green Gables hand made chocolates for gifts. I also bought myself a tea mug. It will remind me that one author writing a book can impact the world in so many ways. And if that includes providing employment to hundreds on an island where the fishing and farming industry is suffering. Then so be it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Susan, love your final lines in this post. I wonder what L.M. would think if she could see what her creation hath wrought?

    I thoroughly enjoyed your piece in Foreign Encounters. The little twist at the end was perfect. I'm glad to be a contributor to the anthology too!
    Chris

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