Wednesday, January 11, 2006

When 27 is Bountiful: Notes to My English Teacher

In my Junior High journal, I enjoyed an ongoing correspondence with my English teacher, a fiery woman who occasionally wore leopard patterns and looked a bit like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (fake eyelashes and all).

“Oh, Ms. AH! I wrote a novel over the Summer, but unfortunately, I lost all 27 pages of it, and I just can’t bear to start all over again!”

I’m not sure why I thought 27 pages amounted to a novel. I had read novels, certainly, but churning out 27 handwritten pages during my family’s vacation in Maine must have seemed monumental to me.

Ms. AH commiserated. Back then, in the land of childhood, 27 pages were magical.

18 repartee:

Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

ah! Isn't the land of Childhood such a wonderful place? L.M.Montgomery said that very few people remember the way to Fairyland when they grow up because they stop believing in magic. Anne and Gilbert were one of those rare people :) oh and Rochester too ;)

oh wow Frankengirl! 27 pages does seem like a LOT for a middle-schooler!! Its a pity you lost it tho...who knows if it might have become famous years later (like Bronte's Angria, eh? :P). I remember writing a few short stories (complete with illustrations too)when I was 11. But then I gave my notebook to my great-aunt because she loved it so much she wanted to keep it for a year til I visited her again. That was the last time I saw it...because some rift occured and we stopped visiting each other :-/

Fairyland is ever so peaceful for sure!.

1/11/2006 6:24 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Alas, if *only* those 27 pages had survived! I'm quite sure my little novella would have been beloved (by one or two or even three!) and centuries later, critics would say, er, "Contrived!" Hehe :P

I wish I could see your illustrated stories - such a pity your aunt neglected to return what she so loved!

Which way to Fairyland? We'll have to find Anne and follow her through wood and meadow - or sit before the fireplace with dear Edward who still believes in fairies (especially when he's near his Jane). :D

1/11/2006 7:46 PM  
Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

Yes! That's why it is soo lovely to get a dose of Anne now and then...and live in her world for a while. Although she talks about finding Fairyland, I believe Anne lives in it herself. L.M.Montgomery's world is Fairyland in my opinion (or very close to it at the very least).

oh and wouldn't it be the stuff of dreams to be gathered around Rochy in front of a fire on a cold winter night and listen to his stories of another world? Even Pilot is to be envied! :P Our Rochy's a wonderful story teller for sure. He does have a *ahem* manner of talking that is not easily forgettable ;)

1/11/2006 9:45 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Yes, I have a real affinity for so-called "children's stories." Why must we give up magic, as adults? Or become fashionably cynical?

Oh, Rochester is a fabulous story-teller! He's larger-than-life himself. When Jane comes, he's inspired to orchestrate a "happy ending" for himself despite all the missteps in his journey, thus far. Wouldn't we try to orchestrate our own happiness, too, in his situation? I think that's why he's so easy to love - he wants to love and be loved for himself - and don't we all? :)

1/12/2006 10:43 AM  
Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

oooh Frankengirl!!! You like Children's literature too??? Why!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!! I even go crazy over picture books hehe. Children's Fiction is the nearest thing to Bronte (or possibly tie with it hehe:P).

1/12/2006 12:41 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

This quote completely makes me think of you and your blog...

"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 knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?" (Anne Shirley)

Why would we want to leave this feeling (or Anne!) behind in childhood?

1/12/2006 3:14 PM  
Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

aww Frankengirl, thank you :)

Yep..I think its a tragedy to lose such a feeling. Its the tragedy of growing up I suppose...haha try telling that to a kid..they'd never get it ;)

1/12/2006 7:09 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Don't tell the kids!!!!!!!!!!!!! (hehe) Guess it's good they don't get it. Not yet ... :P

1/12/2006 7:25 PM  
Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

I guess my attempt at preventative medicine would not work? :P

1/12/2006 7:33 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

They wouldn't believe you - just like you said! They would think we are nuts!!! I bet their make-believe makes more sense than this world...

Ah, when I've figured it all out, I'll get back to those sweet, little kids - ;)

1/12/2006 7:47 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Hmmm, actually, we've got a lot to learn from kids...

1/12/2006 7:50 PM  
Blogger Mercy wrote...

That's how you recognize a good teacher. They bring you into the wondrous world of thought and knowledge while still letting you be a child in the ways you still should be one.

1/13/2006 1:26 AM  
Blogger Mercy wrote...

Great post btw.

1/13/2006 1:26 AM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Thanks, Mercy - :)

This teacher used to tell me how "backward" she felt when she was 11, and all I could see was this incredibly vibrant, creative and free-spirited woman. She was truly inspiring (and unforgettable).

1/13/2006 7:55 AM  
Blogger Mercy wrote...

BTW I love that Anne quote. I should definitely go read those books again.

1/14/2006 5:26 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

I find the mini-series charming, too (except I might recast my dream-boy Gilbert) - but Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst & Richard Farnsworth all put in strong performances. Hmmm, this whole line of discussion is making me want to learn more about Lucy Maud herself. :)

1/15/2006 6:47 PM  
Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

oh I am really fond of Lucy!!! And it's a pleasure everytime one enters her world! You could try reading her journals (they give glimpses into darker shades of her character that is fascinating too) or you could read her "adult" novels like "Kilmeny of the Orchard" or "The Doctor's Sweetheart" to find out the range of her writing. The Anne books are the most famous though but I like a lot of her other works too.

1/15/2006 9:08 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

ah, thank you, mysticgypsy! :D The library has a collection of LMM's journal entries - I would love to glimpse the "darker shades" of this woman who brought us Anne.

Louisa May Alcott is another woman writer who's "adult" literature is widely ignored in lieu of her classic children's lit. I've heard her hospital sketches are quite good - though I haven't been able to get a hold of them myself.

1/16/2006 12:33 PM  

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