Showing posts with label Reflections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reflections. Show all posts

February 09, 2024

The Golden Road Finds Me

The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery on a bookshelf with other old books

Sometimes our lives intersect with people, with places, and with stories in unexplainable ways. These moments can feel like manifestations of serendipity, unexpected occurrences in life that bring us untold joy.

Earlier this week, my husband and I went out to dinner, and I experienced one of these unusual moments. We were walking down a beautiful staircase lined with books. I was admiring the design of the room and the old book covers. As I walked along, there was an old copy of The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery directly in front of me. Although I was scanning the shelves, I wasn't looking to find any book or author in particular. But somehow this book found me.

I stopped and stared at the book's blue spine for a moment. As I pulled my phone out of my purse to snap a photo, I called my husband back and pointed to the book. He looked at the book in surprise and bewilderment, asking me, "How did you find it?" I didn't have an answer. I hadn't been looking. Montgomery just tends to find me at various moments, on sometimes significant days, and in improbable places around the world. I'm left in wonder at the reason.

Created February 9, 2024.

January 08, 2024

Anne of Green Gables and the Newness of Tomorrow

Drawing of Anne Shirley running down a red road on Prince Edward Island from Akage no An, the anime production of Anne of Green Gables

"Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"


The new year is a time for reflection and renewal. It provides an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, dream big, set goals, and make changes. Everything feels fresh, and the world is full of possibilities.

Anne Shirley felt this way with each new day. She didn’t have to wait for the new year to begin. Instead, Anne started her mornings with those feelings of freshness and renewal.

In Anne of Green Gables, Anne feels disgraced after baking Mrs. Allan a cake that she flavored with liniment instead of vanilla. Anne lamented, "I shall always be pointed at as the girl who flavored a cake with anodyne liniment." Mrs. Allan comforts Anne saying, "My dear little girl, you mustn’t cry like this...Why, it’s all just a funny mistake that anybody might make." Anne responds forlornly, "Oh, no, it takes me to make such a mistake." After they talk more, Mrs. Allan helps turn things around so that Anne finds some enjoyment in the evening.

Later, Anne tells Marilla, "Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" The ever-practical Marilla responds, "I’ll warrant you’ll make plenty in it...I never saw your beat for making mistakes, Anne."

In Anne of Avonlea, Anne arrives home at Green Gables after a hard day teaching. She recounts her day to Marilla who listens to the whole story. Marilla responds by quoting Anne’s old words back to her: "Well, never mind. This day’s done and there’s a new one coming tomorrow, with no mistakes in it yet, as you used to say yourself. Just come downstairs and have your supper. You’ll see if a good cup of tea and those plum puffs I made today won’t hearten you up."

At first, Anne cannot take Marilla’s words to heart, and she responds, "Plum puffs won’t minister to a mind diseased." But, in the end, Marilla’s words and her delicious plum puffs worked wonders, and Anne did hearten up over their cheerful supper. Then Anne "had a good sleep that night and awakened in the morning to find herself and the world transformed."

As she got dressed for the new day, Anne sings,

"Every morn is a fresh beginning,
Every morn is the world made new,"


Anne Shirley believed that the world could transform over night. Isn’t it nice to think of a new, fresh day with no flaws, blunders, or misunderstandings? No matter how bad a mistake might feel, one can start fresh and begin again tomorrow.

Image credit:

Drawing of Anne Shirley running down a red road on Prince Edward Island from Akage no An, the anime production of Anne of Green Gables.

Purchase and read Anne of Green Gables:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables Book Set by L.M. Montgomery


Created January 8, 2024.

September 05, 2023

Lane Moore on Anne of Green Gables

Lane Moore and Megan Follows playing Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables

This week, I finished reading a book called You Will Find Your People: How to Make Meaningful Friendships as an Adult by Lane Moore. She's a writer, musician and comedian.

Having moved this summer, and feeling lonely in general, I thought the book might be helpful to me. I’m always searching for kindred spirits and hoping for that ideal bosom friendship depicted in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. I think that this belief in true and lasting friendship is a common bond shared by people who love the Anne series. What I didn’t know when I started reading You Will Find Your People is that its author Lane Moore loves and identifies with Anne Shirley too and that Anne would turn up in her book.

In Chapter 2, Moore talks about Anne Shirley and Diana Barry’s friendship as being an exception to the general categories of female friendship depicted in the media. She writes:

"There are of course so many beautiful exceptions in pop culture. Particularly, Anne Shirley and Diana Barry's lifelong, deeply devoted, Platonic Soulmates friendship in Anne of Green Gables. (Though, their friendship is arguably two people who are totally in love with each other, and I will forever stand by this correct assumption, but that's for another book.) But if such a Platonic Soulmate exists, where do you find that devotion that sees you through adolescence, into adulthood, into marriages and kids and moving and new careers? Where do you find that magical, poetic friendship where you both grow on parallel tracks—even if they're not the same tracks exactly—into people who still connect deeply, not only as the people you once were, but also as the people you're constantly becoming?"

I wonder that too, where do you find that truest of friendships depicted in Anne of Green Gables? Sometimes I’ve wondered if this type of friendship really exists or if it’s simply fiction, but I still hope it’s something real and attainable.

Later on in the book, in Chapter 14, which is titled, "Friend Breakups: How to Know When to Leave, How to Do It, and How to Cope with the Grief," Lane Moore begins the chapter with a quote from L.M. Montgomery’s novel:

Even though we meet as strangers now I still love her with an inextinguishable love.
-Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

Anne's statement really captures the grief when a friendship feels lost.

After finishing the book, I read a beautiful essay where Lane Moore talks about friendship and Anne of Green Gables called, "I Want a Bosom Friendship Like Anne Shirley and Diana Barry." She wrote the essay for Powell’s Books Blog on April 25, 2023. (Until just a couple months ago, I used to live a few blocks from Powell’s). Moore's essay is really lovely, and I think any fan of Anne of Green Gables should read it.

Moore writes about her lifelong goal, saying, "For me, I want a bosom friendship like Anne Shirley and Diana Barry from Anne of Green Gables more than just about anything in this world." She writes, "When I was a kid, I would read Lucy Maude Montgomery's words describing bosom friends, which boiled down this very romantic sentiment: two people who were absolutely platonic while at the same time being absolutely soulmates." She continues, saying, "I knew I wanted bosom friends. I wanted friends who I could be openly romantic with, maybe a little dramatic with, and also extremely silly with, who I could get drunk on cherry cordials with…"

I love her description of Anne and Diana’s friendship: "Their friendship was about full acceptance and full support of each other. In the face of cruel classmates, and a frustrating world, Anne had Diana's back and Diana had hers just the same."

No wonder so many of us long for a friendship like theirs.


Moore has also mentioned Anne of Green Gables in the following interviews. Check them out:

"What Attachment Styles Teach Us About Our Friendships: They’re Not Just for Romantic Relationships" by Lane Moore, Elle (June 28, 2023)

"Lane Moore: 5 Books That Make Me Feel Less Alone" by Lane Moore, Strand Book Store (October 30, 2018)

Image Credits:
Left: Photograph of Lane Moore from her website.
Right: Screen capture of Megan Follows as Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel © Sullivan Entertainment.

Created September 5, 2023.

April 12, 2023

Anne of Green Gables and the Comfort of Reading Books

Drawing of Anne Shirley reading a book in front of Green Gables from Akage no An, the anime production of Anne of Green Gables

"'My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.' That’s a sentence I read in a book once, and I say it over to comfort myself whenever I’m disappointed in anything."


As a lonely orphan, Anne Shirley finds solace in books. Reading provides her with comfort and room to explore, learn, and grow. We learn about Anne's love of words, stories, and books early on in the novel Anne of Green Gables.

In Chapter 5, Marilla has decided to take Anne back to Mrs. Spencer. She expects that Anne will be returned to the asylum in Nova Scotia. Aware of her fate, Anne decides that she will still enjoy the buggy ride to Mrs. Spencer’s home. Anne looks around and sees beauty in an early wild rose and comments on how the color pink is "bewitching."

When Anne asks Marilla if she ever knew anyone whose hair was red when she was young that changed to a different color when she grew up, Marilla coldly dashes Anne’s hopes. Anne then quotes a sentence she read once telling Marilla, "Well, that is another hope gone. 'My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.' That’s a sentence I read in a book once, and I say it over to comfort myself whenever I’m disappointed in anything."

Marilla is prosaic. She doesn’t see anything comforting in Anne’s quote. Anne explains that she finds the words, "nice and romantic, just as if I were a heroine in a book." Anne's imagination saves her and comforts her and provides her with hope when things are dark.

Just as Anne finds comfort in stories, quotes, and reading, the readers of Anne of Green Gables find comfort in L.M. Montgomery’s creation. Anne Shirley is a character who somehow brings comfort and joy to readers everywhere.


Image credit:

Drawing of Anne Shirley reading a book in front of Green Gables from Akage no An, the anime production of Anne of Green Gables.

Purchase and read Anne of Green Gables:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables Book Set by L.M. Montgomery


Created April 12, 2023.

May 10, 2022

What's in a Name? Rainbow Valley: L.M. Montgomery, Johnny Cash, Love Affair, and John Wayne

Steve Ellis of Love Affair singing Rainbow Valley, Johnny Cash, L.M. Montgomery's novel Rainbow Valley, poster for Rainbow Valley starring John Wayne

I recently finished a book called Forever Words: The Unknown Poems by Johnny Cash. This collection of Johnny Cash's poems and lyrics was published posthumously in 2016. It's a great book if you're a fan of The Man in Black.

So how does this relate to L.M. Montgomery? Well, as I was reading the book, I read the lyrics for a song Johnny Cash wrote in the 1970s called "Chinky Pin Hill." (It's now been recorded in a beautiful rendition by I'm With Her). The third stanza of the song reads:

We'll stop in Rainbow Valley
Where the church is standing still
And we'll be newlywed married
On Chinky Pin Hill

Seeing the name "Rainbow Valley" got my attention because it's the name of the seventh book in the Anne of Green Gables series. L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valley was published in 1919.

Johnny Cash had capitalized Rainbow Valley as a real, definable place. Could Cash have come across Montgomery's Anne series on a bookshelf somewhere and remembered the name? Or was there a real Rainbow Valley out there?

I started digging around the internet. It turns out that there is a Rainbow Valley on Mount Everest where many climbers have fallen to their deaths in their colorful gear. Well, I was clearly following the wrong thread there.

I continued searching and came across a cheerful song called "Rainbow Valley" by a band from London called Love Affair from 1968. The lyrics are sweet and charming:

The sun always shines
down in my Rainbow Valley.
There's one that's always mine,
down in my Rainbow Valley.

Maybe this song title made its way into Johnny Cash's lyrics? I also wondered, could Love Affair have been inspired to name their song by L.M. Montgomery's book?

Going back even farther, there's a 1935 film titled Rainbow Valley starring John Wayne. I wonder what inspired the title of this film. Were all these people simply influenced by rainbows in valleys, or could they have been inspired by one another?

What's in a name? My hours of digging provided me with no definitive answers. Sometimes art is all about hidden dialogues and connection, picking up inspiration from people, words, sounds, and observations and putting them all together in unexplainable ways to create something new.


Created May 10, 2022.

January 27, 2022

Thoughts on "The 'Anne of Green Gables' V.R. Experience"

The "Anne of Green Gables" V.R. Experience by Weike Wang, published in The New Yorker, Illustration by Luci GutiƩrrez

On Monday, The New Yorker published an article titled, "The 'Anne of Green Gables' V.R. Experience" by Weike Wang. The article appears in the "Shouts & Murmurs" section, which contains humor, satire, and funny observations. It's a curious piece, and I recommend reading it if you're an Anne of Green Gables fan.

The article begins without mentioning any history of Anne of Green Gables and fails to mention the novel's author, L.M. Montgomery, by name. These were odd omissions. But perhaps Anne is such an iconic character that she and Montgomery no longer need an introduction.

Rather than spending time on introductory matters, Weike Wang dives into a description of your Anne of Green Gables virtual reality experience. You (as Anne Shirley) have a choice in skin tones, but must have long red hair styled in two braids. Your journey in the carriage occurs in the autumn and without Matthew (unlike the book), and you meet the Cuthberts at Green Gables.

Later, your virtual reality experience continues in the classroom where your teacher leaves a vowel out of your name to your dismay. When your classmate Gilbert Blythe insults you, you have the option to hit him with a virtual arsenal of weapons including the standard slate, as well as a retractable prop dagger, a dead fish, and more. After class you go on "life-affirming adventures" with your bosom friend Diana Barry.

Then you must study, eventually graduating with your teaching license from Queen’s and winning the prestigious Avery scholarship, which allows you to attend a four-year college. Your friends, including Gilbert, celebrate you. Weike Wang notes that you can choose to end your virtual reality experience here, "feeling galvanized, like you can do anything," or you can choose to stay for the final two minutes. In these final minutes, your family loses their savings, Matthew Cuthbert dies of a heart attack, and you defer your dreams for a time and stay at Green Gables. Then you marry Gilbert, have seven children, and live in an idyllic home. Wang writes, "though you do leave the room less galvanized, you are relieved that the immense pressure to amount to something has resolved itself and, in the natural course of adulting, priorities must change."

The article had a bit of humor and weirdness, but it also left me thinking about the author's purpose. Was it simply a humorous piece, poking fun at virtual reality and Zuckerberg's metaverse, or was it more? Weike Wang brings up an interesting point, namely, that in this virtual reality version of Anne's story, you could stop your experience at a wonderfully high point in Anne's life. When Anne wins the Avery scholarship, she has so many ambitions and dreams ahead of her, and she's on the cusp of success.

Do many modern women truly want to live out Anne's full life story? When she's young, she's charismatic and passionate, and she doesn't conform. She's not ordinary. But later, she gives up her dreams of teaching and writing for her loving brood of children and devoted (but mainly absentee) husband. As Weike Wang notes, "A person can’t trailblaze forever; she has to slow down sometimes and take stock of societal norms." This piece left me wondering where I would choose to conclude my own Anne of Green Gables virtual reality experience and whether I would prefer to leave before those final two minutes.

Created January 27, 2022.