Sunday, November 07, 2021

Start With Favourite Lines From L.M. Montgomery



 —Lines from Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
❝ It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that she was very, very near to a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside—but sometimes, just for a moment, a wind fluttered it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond—only a glimpse—and heard a note of unearthly music.
This moment came rarely—went swiftly, leaving her breathless with the inexpressible delight of it. She could never recall it—never summon it—never pretend it; but the wonder of it stayed with her for days. It never came twice with the same thing. Tonight the dark boughs against that far-off sky had given it. It had come with a high, wild note of wind in the night, with a shadow wave over a ripe field, with a grey bird lighting on her windowsill in a storm, with the singing of "Holy, holy, holy" in church, with a glimpse of the kitchen fire when she had come home on a dark autumn night, with the spirit-like blue of ice palms on a twilit pane, with a felicitous new word when she was writing down a 'description' of something. And always when the flash came to her Emily felt that life was a wonderful, mysterious thing of persistent beauty. ❞ p. 7 - 8
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Sigh...it's one of my favourite passages from a delightful novel I read in my youth. For me, lines like these stand out as markers—transformative, defining moments when I came to recognize and could admit to myself that Beauty was, and remains, the most inspirational and motivating force in the world. If I could find the 'beauty', however tiny, in the midst of any given situation, I knew I would be okay. Up until that point in my youthful life, I think I had the notion that life was hard, and happy moments were just that...fleeting glimpses in a sea of hard knocks, life to be endured, with a small faith and joy where it could be snatched for companionship, at the whim of moods and emotions—my own and those of others. I longed for a glimpse of the Divine in my life.

It was Lucy Maud Montgomery who gave me the courage to see something different. Her storybooks and published journals gave me something to hope for, that people could find a path that had beauty and joy sitting right in the middle of the hard or sad - much the way we see the proverbial dandelion living large as life from a fracture in a sidewalk. I don't know about you, but I always smile to see such a picture—where Beauty has found a way to peek through and to survive—oh, let me take hold when it does. 

I'll never forget that summer evening long ago when I sat on the back step entranced as twilight fell on our neighbourhood after a beautiful day. A notebook in my lap and pen in my hand, my heart dearly wishing I could emulate Lucy Maud's splendid way of writing as I yearned to describe the marvel of that evening.

How did Miss Montgomery find the right words? How did she make them float like bubbles on the breeze? How did she choose the perfect words that allowed me, her reader, to see what she saw and experienced? How can I write like that?

I started bumping into advice that became an answer. For example, C.S. Lewis sent this advice to aspiring young writers who wrote to him: 'read all the good books you can' . . . Ray Bradbury who in his early career said he used to 'live in the library' . . . Annie Proulx who wrote, 'writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write' . . . and Steven King who advises, 'If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.'

It's true, I have since discovered for myself it is the greatest advice. Through reading I have opened the door to discovering not only new ideas and historical contexts, but the art of language, expanding my vocabulary and becoming familiar with the fine nuances of words as I learn the art of cherry picking the one phrase that conveys it with (kissed) perfection. 

I'm so grateful for writers like Lucy Maud Montgomery who continue to lift up my heart through their beautiful writing. Nothing invigorates me like reading someone else's well chosen words. I am inspired to get on with living life as beautifully as I can. I become energized to create work that expresses my own wonderment at all that is still lovely in a broken world. And when I get to share it here with you, I am flooded with a joy that leaves me content.


NB. In case you're interested, here is an article I enjoyed and hope you might as well, entitled Writers on Reading.

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My wish for you this week....Mercies new every morning, grace that's sufficient for whatever you face, joy to strengthen in the midst, and peace that keeps your heart steady in the eye of the storm. Oh, and a generous dollop of plain old fun to make you laugh out loud.


With love and heart hugs,

Brenda


(Top)Photo by Alicja from Pixabay


PS. I have since written a Guest Post elsewhere that companions
this post; if interested, you'll find the post HERE.

 

14 comments:

  1. How did she find the right words indeed! And here you are, all these years later, finding the perfect words to describe your journey with LM Montgomery. One of my favourite authors too.

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  2. Oh, Brenda, I remember reading that same passage in the Emily books and longing for the "flash" and also longing to put down in words the feelings I had. You've expressed yourself so beautifully in this post, and it's one I will return to. I wish for you the wishes you wrote for your readers.

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  3. Beauty is a huge influence on my life -- I think that our souls long for it. Thank you for writing about beauty so expressively

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  4. Brenda, I think you are a marvelous writer! You paint pictures with your words. Always! One of my very favorite writers is Gladys Taber. Her words left permanent footprints on my soul. Here is hoping your week is filled with many blessed moments and, of course, beauty everywhere you look. Thanks for visiting, too! Love it when you stop by. Warmly, Susan

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  5. Defining moments--they come in all shapes and sizes and are to be treasured:)

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  6. Interesting how you perceived a "glimpse of beauty" to "a glimpse of the divine." It is a beautifully written description. And you write beautifully.

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  7. Thank you for this lovely post.

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  8. Brenda you do have such a special writing gift. Your posts are always touching and transport us to wherever you are. My husband and I were just discussing the art of writing. It seems those who are best at their craft are those who are well read and often write what they know. Thank you for sharing the beauty in each and every post. Hugs!

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  9. Something that I strove to teach my students...the art of writing so depends on the knowledge and love of words. Enquiring minds need to read well written books, and sometimes not so well written , in order that they can learn to compare the good with the mediocre.
    A very beautifully written post Brenda, thank you.

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  10. Brenda, this is such a beautiful post. One I will read again. I can't imagine what life would be like without reading. Reading has helped me discover many things and many people. You, sweet friend are one of them. You write beautifully.

    Lovely November days to you!

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  11. Thanks for such a lovely post, Brenda. Inspired! I had to copy it so I could reread it now and again. Somehow, when I was young, I missed reading Emily of New Moon and the inspiration Montgomery gave to budding writers--not sure why our school library didn't have it, because I read all the Anne books more than once!

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  12. I love how you think about things so deeply and are able to express yourself so well. You have a talent my friend. I'm wishing you a week filled with the beauty of nature! Hugs!

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  13. Dear Brenda, I love these "well chosen words" of yours: "I always smile to see such a picture—where Beauty has found a way to peek through and to survive—oh, let me take hold when it does."
    Beautiful post, beautiful blog.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

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To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....