L.M. Montgomery

L.M. (Lucy Maud) Montgormery

L.M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942), born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, was a novelist and short story writer best known for creating the Anne of Green Gables  series. When she was less than two years old her mother died of tuberculosis, and her father left her to be raised by her grandparents. The author drew upon her habitat for the adventures of Anne Shirley, one of the sunniest characters in children’s literature. Her fictional heroine provided a contrast with her own life, which became increasingly filled with cares as she entered adulthood. Battles with ongoing depression increasingly took their toll.

Before getting published she worked as a teacher and then as a proofreader copy editor for the Halifax Chronicle. When she began writing short stories and poems she was mostly met with rejection. Upon the first acceptance of a poem, she wrote in her journal: “The moment we see our first darling brain-child in black type is never to be forgotten.” At age 21 she sold her first short story for five dollars, and never looked back.

She wove personal experiences with marriage and motherhood into her work after she married Ewan MacDonald. For Maud, fiction became a buffer against resentment at the roles she maintained, first as a dutiful granddaughter, then as an upstanding minister’s wife and devoted mother of two sons. Though these roles weren’t entirely facades, her spirited female characters hint at rebellion toward limited opportunities. Even mores than the depression she suffered from, her husband was beset by severe mental illness. This in turn impacted quality of life for both of them.

L.M. Montgomery Age 43Montgomery held no lofty view of her own talent, though she savored her gift for storytelling and ability to earn good money doing what she loved. Her was an exception to the prevailing view of writing as an arduous (and sometimes agonizing) process. It was her greatest joy, and an escape from the troubles that grew ever more tangled as she aged, not the least of which were a husband who suffered from mental illness and serious legal battles over her most lucrative literary properties.

Despite Maud’s own depressions, which included nervous breakdowns, she consciously sought to bring happiness to readers. The blend of nostalgia and realism in her works have captivated readers for generations. Anne of Green Gables remains a beloved series, and has been translated to film and stage numerous times. Many readers are equally devoted to the Emily of New Moon series.

Lucy Maud Montgomery kept copious journals, and the theme that emerges from her reflections was that despite her personal troubles, she viewed her writing as a vehicle for bringing joy to others. She died in 1942 at age 67; there is dispute over whether she died as a result of a heart condition, or if she took her own life.

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L.M Montgomery Quotes

lm montgomery“It’s not what the world holds for you. It is what you bring to it.” (Anne of Green Gables, 1908)

“I write fast, having ‘thought out’ plot and dialogue while I go about my household work. I only do three hours literary work a day—two hours writing and one typewriting. (from a letter, 1909)

“I hate to lend a book I love … it never seems quite the same when it comes back to me…”

“The body grows slowly and steadily but the soul grows by leaps and bounds…” (Rilla of Ingleside, 1921)

“When you’ve learned to laugh at the things that should be laughed at, and not to laugh at those that shouldn’t, you’ve got wisdom and understanding.” (Anne of the Island, 1915)

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” (The Story Girl, 1911)

“We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.”

“I am simply a ‘book drunkard.’ Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.”

“Now, it used to be at home that I thought undisturbed solitude was necessary that the fire of genius might burn. I must be alone and the room must be quiet. It would have been the last thing to enter my imagination to suppose that I could ever write anything at all, much less anything of value, in a newspaper office … Every morning here I write and not bad stuff either. I have grown accustomed to stopping in the midst of a paragraph to interview a prowling caller …” (From her journal, entry dated January, 1910)

L.M. Montgomery in her 30s“Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them– that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.” (Anne of Green Gables, 1908)

“You may tire of reality but you never tire of dreams.” (The Road to Yesterday, 1974)

“Life is worth living as long as there’s laugh in it.” (Anne of Green Gables, 1908)

“Humor is the spiciest condiment in the feast of existence. Laugh at your mistakes but learn from them, joke over your troubles but gather strength from them, make a jest of your difficulties but overcome them.”

“You were never poor as long as you had something to love.”

“Last night I sat down and computed the number of dollars I have made by my pen since that day in Halifax twenty-five  years ago when I got my first check — five dollars for a story. The result totals up to about one hundred thousand dollars. Not such a bad total, considering the equipment I started out with — my pen and a knack of expression. If Pages [her publisher] had not been rogues I should have had at least fifty thousand more. But it’s no so bad. It’s a pity it doesn’t mean happiness. But perhaps my children will reap the happiness fron it that I cannot have. And perhaps they would be better off, and more ambitious and successful if they had to scramble along and struggle as I did. That seems often to be the way in this mad world.” (From her journal, entry dated February, 1921)

“The moment we see our first darling brain-child in black type is never to be forgotten.”

“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.” (Anne of Avonlea, 1909)

L.M. Montgomery

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

“Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them — that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.” (Anne of Green Gables, 1908)

“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?” (Anne of Green Gables, 1908)

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you makeup your mind firmly that it will.” (Anne of Green Gables, 1908)

“At first I used to feel dreadfully hurt when a story or poem over which I had laboured and agonized came back, with one of those icy little rejection slips … But after awhile I got hardened to it and did not mind. I only set my teeth and said, “I will succeed.” I believe in myself and I struggled on alone, in secrecy and silence. I never told my ambitions and efforts and failures to any one. Down, deep down, under all discouragements and rebuff I know I would “arrive” some day.” (The Alpine Path, 1917)

“People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?” (Anne of Green Gables, 1908)

“All life lessons are not learned at college,’she thought. Life teaches them everywhere.” (Anne of the Island, 1915)

L.M. Montgomery-age 61 -1935“You were never poor as long as you had something to love.”

“There might be some hours of loneliness. But there was something wonderful even in loneliness. At least you belonged to yourself when you were lonely.” (Mistress Pat, 1935)

“Humor is the spiciest condiment in the feast of existence. Laugh at your mistakes but learn from them, joke over your troubles but gather strength from them, make a jest of your difficulties but overcome them.”

“Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.”

“I’d like to add some beauty to life,” said Anne dreamily. “I don’t exactly want to make people know more…though I know that is the noblest ambition…but I’d love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me…to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn’t been born.” (Anne of Avonlea, 1909)  

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