Literary Retreat to Green Gables

When the movies first came out in the 1990’s, I was captivated by the promotional trailers for Anne of Green GablesThey would be shown on PBS as a mini-series.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

TRIBE

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. 

Anne of Green Gables Literature Study, Pageant Wagon Publishing

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:

Plato's Quote

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.

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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.

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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:

PWP FAMILY LITERACY CAPITAL FUND

Many thanks for your support, prayers through the process–and do share with an “Anne Shirley” type you know and love! Kindred spirits, all!

The Writers Reverie blog signature, Kathryn Ross

Speaking of ” . . . restoring lights of literacy in  a dark world.”

Don’t miss my latest PODCAST!

When the Pageant Wagon Comes to Town, THe Writers Reverie Podcast Episode 2, Kathryn Ross

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

Wholehearted Wednesdays

A Little R&R Wednesdays

Vintage Mama’s Treasures

Katherine’s Corner

Fellowship Fridays at Christian Mommy Blogger

Pink Saturday

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Kathryn Ross 

About Miss Kathy

“I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts.”

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at TheWritersReverie.com and blogs at PageantWagonPublishing.com.

Comments

  1. Kathy, you and I share so much in common; a love for God and the heroine, Anne! Living on PEI afforded me numerous visits to Green Gables when I was a girl. {In those days, it was free to visit} My father played golf there on the lush greens of the golf course most weekends while my brother and I played about the grounds and explored the woods. I had such an imagination in those days and so I always felt that Anne and I were kindred spirits too. That’s the wonderful thing about Anne’s world, she makes you believe. I enjoyed your post very much and I’m glad you are realizing all your dreams. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing this with No Place Like Home and enjoy this first week of November.

    Autumn blessings,
    Sandi

    • Thanks, Sandi! We start our Green Gables journey this afternoon! I’ve made a blueberry cobbler and will be pulling out the tea things soon. I’m starting with a little background on Lucy Maud and PEI–wish you were here!! Your childhood running about where Anne might have had her adventures sounds dreamy. I will definitely be checking your archives to show my young friend some of your photos of the area. AND–there will be posts coming in the future to record some of our sessions. I may even allow her to help write them!
      Joy!
      Kathy

  2. This is all so interesting and I agree with you about instilling a passion for reading and learning in our children through reading good literature and books. So inspirational, thank-you sister !

  3. I just read your sidebar and ta-dah , I have missed you and your blogging and have now found you again…yay!

    • Yay! You did find me again. I migrated from blogger a couple years ago at the beginning of this transition to writing and publishing and felt like I lost some many dear friend I’d made there. Glad we’re connected–hope you subscribe so you don’t lose me again! Thanks so much for your encouraging words about our publishing vision! It is a passion of mine and has been for some time–stepping out in faith now to make my calling reality.
      Joy!
      Kathy

  4. Hi Kathy…I too was a voracious reader as a child. So fun to hear about the source of your affinity for Anne. I had always hoped to visit PEI, but alas, with my husband’s illness, we had to cancel a trip we had planned. But with you and Sandi and the books, we often get to visit vicariously. I love that you are using your God given talents for His glory…and our enjoyment!
    Ruth

    • Blessings, Ruth, and especially for your husband’s illness. We are both living vicariously through Sandi’s posts from PEI. I sigh with each one. THanks for your encouragement in my writing!!
      Joy!
      Kathy

  5. Anne Shirley and I are kindred spirits, too. I didn’t discover her books until I was in my thirties. I’ve read every one of Montgomery’s books, and now have them on my Kindle. I’ve seen the movies and loved them so much. I adore sweet stories that teach a moral lesson. Isn’t it sad that today’s publishers don’t want those types of books any more? I’m thankful for independent publishing now, and wish you well in your efforts to publish your books.

    • Thanks for your good wishes. I need much prayer–and the material resources of course. Just great things to believe God for! I am appalled at what I see coming into schools for kids. Even in the Christian schools, kids are deferring to a lot of poor pop culture literature. My book series are designed for interaction within the family as a whole to learn HOW to read–and grow discernment in the way of character and storyline. God help us all as we seek to raise the bar and discipleship in the church today!
      Joy!
      Kathy

  6. For some reason, I never read the Anne of Green Gables books as a child even though I was always reading something. When the series came on TV I was mesmerized! I have read almost everything L.M. Montgomery has written as well as seen all the productions. (The last two movies were so disappointing as the stories were completely made up and didn’t follow L.M. Montgomery’s writing.) My sister and her family took me with them to visit PEI and the highlight was visiting all the Anne of Green Gables sites. I will never forget it!

    Good luck with your writing adventures!

    • Thanks, Susan! There are actually a few book series I usually recommend that were originally written for “children” but I think adults get more out of them than kids do. I know I did–re-reading Green Gables and then ALL the Anne books in my early 20’s. I should write a post with my recommendations sometime. Thanks for visiting–blessings in all your reading adventures.
      Joy!
      Kathy

  7. What a privilege to be able to mentor someone in the joys of literature! I think that both of you will be tremendously blessed in the process.

    I was also a huge Nancy Drew fan, and then moved on to Agatha Christie. I enjoyed Ellery Queen, but never read much Sherlock Holmes (wonder why? – I’ll have to remedy that!) Even today, I still love a good mystery. I have found myself on a *historical fiction* kick in my mysteries lately. I have found many enjoyable authors that portray detectives and inspectors set in various eras in the past. It’s been so much fun. One of my favorites depicts Sherlock Holmes and a young woman, Mary Russell, who solve cases together.

    In the end, books are windows that let us explore life and character and setting – and often, like in the case of your books, we also learn something in the reading.

    GOD BLESS!

    (Just the other day, I looked around at my family and said to myself, “This is my tribe. I love them so…”)

    • Good reading in your library, my friend. I have a host of cozy mysteries awaiting my leisure time for pleasure reading. Alas–not quite the season for that. Good call on your “tribe”–glad they “get” you! I consider YOU part of my tribe–so many commonplaces and I am enriched weekly by your words.
      Blessings, friend!
      Kathy

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