“There is such a place as fairyland - but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”
― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl
INTRODUCTION TO LUCY MAUD MONTGOMERY
The world knows her as L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables and many other books. Her friends and family knew her as Maud. Two boys knew her as “Mother”. To me, she was always a kindred spirit, a beacon of hope for me as a gifted individual. This author was born in 1874, exactly one hundred years before me, and her journals gave me companionship on lonely evenings in middle school. Her five volumes of deep personal writing taught me that I was not alone in my feelings; her writing reminded me of the power of words as a survival tool. Although she died years before I was born, I consider her a friend, so in this book, I will call her “Maud”.
Maud was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada, on November 30th, 1974. Her mother died when she was two, so she was raised by her grandparents and lived with them until their death. Hers was a strict upbringing, but she was particularly fond of her grandmother.
The house where Maud grew up The young author’s schooling was in a one-room schoolhouse in Cavendish. She then went to high school in Prince Albert, where she lived with her father for a few years. After college at Prince of Wale College, she became a teacher but had to further support the family by working at a post office. It is from there that she secretly sent off copies of her novel, hoping for publication.
Maud married a minister, Reverend Ewen MacDonald, and they stayed married until his death. However, he suffered from great emotional distress and as the minister’s wife, she needed to cover up his psychological disorders. This caused great strife for her. She escaped a great deal into her writing, both fiction and poetry. Furthermore, she kept a detailed journal of her emotional and daily experiences. These are a record of not only her life but also of what it was like to be an educated woman in the beginning of the 2oth century.
Maud and her sons Together, Ewan and Maud parented two boys in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Chester and Stuart were the source of much joy for their mother. However, LM Montgomery was famous for her books about girls. Her main series include the protagonists Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon, and Pat of Silver Bush. A century after their publication, these books are still in print and some have been put into movie or musical theater forms. There is even an amusement park in Japan based on Maud’s characters! Her works have been translated into over twenty languages; LM Montgomery lives on through her art. She was a truly gifted human.
Hokkaido, Japan: Evidence of LM Montgomery’s international appeal
Maud and Loneliness
Many gifted children struggle with loneliness. Albert Einstein once said, “It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.” Even before Maud was internationally famous, she knew and lived this fact.
The psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski describes gifted people as having overexcitabilities. According to his theory as outlined in “The Loneliness of the Gifted and Genius” website, the extreme feelings, thoughts and energy of gifted individuals has both bright sides and dark sides. This can make people feel different and this alienation can cause many struggles, including loneliness. Maud was not exempt from this threat.
Presence of Overexcitabilities in Gifted and Nonidentified Populations In her early school days, Maud was bullied. Classmates called her “Baby Aprons” (McCabe, 50) because she dressed differently. They laughed at her for not taking her hat off in class; she just wasn’t thinking about her clothes because she had deeper ideas to attend to.
Later, Maud struggled with loneliness because she could not share her struggles with her husband’s congregation. Furthermore, she was separated from the people of her community by age. “The residents were mostly older people or young children,” McCabe notes (228).
It is perhaps out of her loneliness that Maud was able to invent characters of such strength. Through her loneliness came art for which future generations will forever be grateful.
Maud and Creativity
One marker of gifted individuals is creativity. Gifted specialist Deirdre Lovecky states that “Divergent thinkers tend not to think first of the most commonplace response; many do not seem to understand how to conform.” Based on her role in the community, Maud had to conform. She had to go to church events, dress the role of a minister’s wife, and appear calm even during times of strife. However, she invented characters who did not conform.
ETC….. (I’m not going to put my whole book here….)
Lovecky, Deirdre V. The Divergent Thinker on http://www.grcne.com/divergent-thinker.html
McCabe, Kevin. The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album. Fitzhenry & Whiteside,
Montgomery, LM. Anne of Green Gables, Starfire, NY, 1908.