I was in sixth grade, I was not the best student; in fact, I failed the sixth grade this same year. We had some home issues going on and I wasn’t quite as focused as I should have been. But then something caught my attention. I had always loved reading, I recall reading as far back as I can remember, but this was different. The class were all given a book for Popcorn; you remember that horrible game where the slow and fast readers in the class pop in and out of turns reading the chapter as the teacher sees fit. We did this a lot in the sixth grade. The book that sparked my interest was Anne of Green Gables. We began reading this book and the little girl caught my eye. I could see her in my mind, hear her voice in my head. When it was my turn to read aloud I would speed off for a paragraph or two and Mrs. Marx would pull on the reigns and call on another kid, sure he or she might read slower, but I would continue to speed ahead, I recall keeping my finger on the page the rest of the class was on, and secretly turning the pages ahead as I read to myself. I loved it, the adventures weren’t so much adventures as they were woven tales of beauty and wonderment. I could relate to Anne and I felt like there was something about her that reminded me about myself. She was my ideal idea of who I was.
When we finished the book as a class I discovered the Library had more Anne books and I spent more days there, more recesses, more lunches, and even some class time. The library was mostly open and I would slip in and out as I pleased. Discovering Anne was like discovering a whole world of words and thoughts that could be expressed better than I had realized. I wanted to write. I did write. I wrote all that came to mind, I wrote fantasy and fairytale, as Anne sometimes did. I tried to account for family history because I thought our large strange family was quite interesting. I even began tape recording My grandparents tales from their youth. Storytelling was now my everything. I wrote accounts or creative pieces based on the bad things that were happening in my life; shrouded in art I could escape those things for a while – of course I would tear them up or destroy them so there was no trace, but I still wrote everything down. It was my way of getting my feelings, my emotions, my thoughts out, and un-clouding my head. Those who knew me at that time know I was very much “up-in-the-clouds”. It took me several more years of learning and appreciating Anne and her stories before I realized that I was becoming a writer even then. When I finally stopped running from the true me, and I embraced her instead – beautiful things began to happen to me and to my life. I learned a lot in those early years, even when I didn’t know it.
Anne taught me that mistakes happen – move on, learn from them. She taught me to always be true to yourself, even if your truth doesn’t make sense to others. She taught me to find the beauty in your reality. She taught me that knowledge doesn’t always mean A+’s, but they sure would help. She taught me sometimes things aren’t always what they seem at first. Anne taught me that when the world looks down there are always things you can do for yourself to change the outlook. I learned a great deal from Anne and her adventures, I learned a great deal more when I started looking to my own adventures for my lessons in life. And the biggest lesson I learned is that when I write I want to impact someone as much as Anne and her Author, L.M Montgomery impacted me for the rest of my life.
Thank you Anne – spelled with an “e”.