When the movies first came out in the 1990’s, I was captivated by the promotional trailers for Anne of Green Gables. They would be shown on PBS as a mini-series.
My calendar was emptied but for that on the appointed days. An old friend would be visiting my heart with her story–one I remembered well from childhood when I first met her.
You see, my mom wanted me to read more. She knew I loved writing my stories–typing them on a small electric typewriter that was hers–but I took secret ownership of it, notwithstanding. She also knew, that . . .
Now, I loved my Nancy Drew mysteries, but by junior high I’d moved onto Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. My fascination with Victorian England was stirred and thirst quenched with each word and puzzle solved by such a literary legend.
But, one day I received a new book. I think it came at Christmas–but I’m not sure. What I do remember is the new friend I met on those pages–and how thankful I was that she came into my life in those awkward years. Those years when the creative within me might have been diced to shreds by a peer society at school who, through no fault of their own, just didn’t quite get my world of words, and worlds, and fanciful tales begging for a stage from which to be told.
Most of my contemporaries were soaking in the climate of the early 1970’s, which didn’t interest me at all. I thought “groovy” was a silly word, and found the pop culture of the time crass and rather unkind. I hated the clothing styles, psychedelic colors and patterns of the hippie culture, and the pressure to steer one’s life of such tender years, into fast lanes.
I liked the quiet, reflective place of my books in bygone settings–and all things old fashioned and elegant loveliness.
Yeah–I was totally geeked out on everything that was the polar opposite of 1970’s cool. And, I didn’t care.
That’s why I chose to hang out with Anne Shirley–the fictional personification of her creator, Lucy Maud Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables. She had been brought to life through the power of the pen some 65 years earlier. She spoke using deliciously rich language, had a flair for the dramatic, an imagination for the romantic, a passion for storytelling, and a love of learning in creative ways.
How was Lucy Maud able to capture my character so clearly, so long ago?!
Like me, Anne also struggled in finding her heart’s desire–a “kindred spirit bosom friend” who understood her and could support her ambitions to be a writer someday. To be an influencer for goodness and beauty in the world.
Because–we, none of us, can achieve such lofty things alone.
We need companions on the journey to cheer us on and under-gird our efforts in life. Enthusiastic friends and fans who will play along with our outside-the-box thinking, even when they don’t always understand a word we say. They know there is great value there–and they want to be connected to it in some way.
In the publishing world these days “tribe” is the term used to describe who our “kindred spirits” are. Perhaps our “target audience” or our companions along the way–the folks who “get us.” They’re the individual(s) for whom we labor to pour out our story in words and reading products in the hopes that through our story, their story will be enriched.
Reading Anne of Green Gables in those formative years encouraged me to keep on keeping on, and not hide my light under a bushel. We’re in each other’s tribe–that Anne-girl and me–though separated by generations and decades.
Twenty years after I first met her between the pages of a book in the 1970’s, I found myself living in the 1990’s, married with small children. I was shining still, growing in my story with a pen in hand and a newer model electric typewriter always open on the dining room table. I gathered my kids on the couch and together we watched Anne of Green Gables–the now classic mini-series by Kevin Sullivan.
My love for Prince Edward Island and longing for such a pastoral landscape in my life is etched in stone on my heart and mind. I had the joy, in the later 1990’s, as a Principle Approach teacher in a Christian school, to be able to share this love with my 7th grade English class. I wrote a literature study for the book–because that’s what we Principle Approach types do. We’re the master teacher of our subject and do all our own research and creative curriculum writing for what we teach–especially literature.
What a splendid three months we spent reading the story aloud, digging into Anne’s character with all the “why’s” and “wherefore’s” of her motivation and choices. There were art projects and in-class dramatizations, dress-up, and learning the craft of writing through our study of a master writer’s techniques–even though some of the editorial norms of the Edwardian era were out of style. We grew our vocabulary and experience boxes so we had more from which we could write our own stories.
That’s the power of literacy–it is food for building up and reproducing in like kind. Great care should be taken in choosing reading and viewing material. Words and images and the concepts they communicate shapes heart and mind. Plato, 400 years before Christ, had it right. I always seek to impart to parents and children the inspirational tag line that informs what I do as a teacher and storyteller:
This week, I’m pulling out my Anne literature study binder from over 17 years ago, and will be mentoring a young, creative homeschool 7th grader through its pages. The fruits of inspiration from my 7th grade year, informing 7th graders 20 years after that . . . and now another 7th grader almost 20 years after that–so cool!
We have many adventures ahead of us in literacy and discipleship. You see–the Bible, is the foundation for all moral teaching. But, in the 20th century the scars of two world wars birthed the hopeless philosophies of modernism and ushered in a post-Christian era. Society is collapsing into another dark age and leaderships are too blind to see why. Yet, until those scant few decades ago–a biblical worldview was pervasive in popular literature. It was an absolute in literature for children. These are the stories worthy of study to restore lights of literacy in a dark world.
Principle Approach Education teaches literature as the handmaiden of history.
When we study works of classic literary art, it is an opportunity to find God’s Story in our stories–and learn more about my story because of His Story.
I’m putting the tea on. There’s no reading great literature without a cuppa tea at hand. And, I am blessed to have a young “kindred spirit” with whom to share tender sips of tea and words that will be sweet honey to our soul and spirit . . . our mind and heart.
What transforming slice of literature was your companion in the critical years of your youthful development? How did it impact the person you are today?
THE REST OF THE STORY:
The person I am today is the polished and experienced writer that I–and Anne Shirley–hoped to be in adolescence. I have not strayed far from my goals to write and tell stories–only in that eventually, as I grew, God made HIS STORY a cloak of purpose to my own.
That’s when your passion becomes His calling.
To that end, I’m moving into year two of my long awaited independent publishing venture as Pageant Wagon Publishing. I am raising the funds to produce the second of the Fable Springs Parables picture books and study guides series, Bugaboo-Bee’s Bop: Patience for the Prize.
Read more about this on the Pageant Wagon Faire Words Blog this week.
But, moreso–I invite you to visit my crowd-funding campaign page at the PWP Family Literacy Campaign Fund via Go Fund Me. My mission to create literary products that enhance the lives of the Christian family in literacy and discipleship through the power of story–teaching all ages, all at the same time–requires capital funding to move forward with publications and marketing.
Do you seek literature steeped in the qualities of classic life values and biblical principles?
Do you want to provide reading experiences for your family, homeschool, Christian classroom, or church group that both instructs and enriches, enhancing relationships:
- Within the family through literacy and learning?
- Within the church through family discipleship principles?
- Within society through walking out in action the lessons we learn?
I covet your consideration to support our funding efforts to bring Bugaboo-Bee to print, and advance the many other digital and mentoring goals of Pageant Wagon Publishing with a donation to the cause. Click on the link for all the details:
Many thanks for your support, prayers through the process–and do share with an “Anne Shirley” type you know and love! Kindred spirits, all!
Sharing Literary Retreat to Green Gables this week with:
Kathy’s Return to Loveliness at Delightsome Life
No Place Like Home at Rose Chintz Cottage
Not Just Homemaking Party at Hope in Every Season
Fellowship Fridays at Christian Mommy Blogger