I've said it many times before: if I want to have charming conversations with strangers, I take my copy of Anne of Green Gables out with me. It never fails to elicit warm and happy comments from people. How revered that book is! It seems to give people permission to love life, and to love loving.
I don't understand why a bleak and cynical vision of the story is needed. It's bad enough that our entertainment is full of darkness and misery, to the degree that even our comedies are gritty, and anything soft is sneered at. Why take a source of joy and turn it into solemnity? Why twist optimism into grim courage?
We are told that these days are hard and dark ones. Certainly that's true in many places, and for too many people - although it's also true that there is much to celebrate about living in this time (not that you would know it if you watched television or, dare I say it, read contemporary fiction.) Really, if things are so hard and dark, surely the medicine is love, optimism, beauty, happiness, charm?
LM Montgomery herself experienced many difficulties in her life. She chose to respond through her stories with hope and a positive vision ... although a dark thread does go through much of her writing, the short stories in particular, and ultimately hope could not sustain her. But as best she could, she gave us the gift of light out of her own darkness, beauty out of her own grief. It seems so sad to take that away.
I realised recently how melancholy my own stories tend to be. I guess I've been influenced to believe that adulthood requires a more sombre kind of creativity than the enthusiastic embrace of wonder I enjoyed as a younger woman. Even so, I've always tried to keep faith with the idea that storytellers should as much as they can offer hope and uplift hearts, otherwise what's a story for? (I know many people disagree with me.)
When even children's literature must be made gritty, when love must be wrestled out of grief and anxiety in order to be considered "realistic", when gentleness is considered weak or uninteresting, how can we learn to envision a warm and inclusive and caring society for ourselves - one we actually want to live in?
pictures from Sullivan Entertainment's gorgeous and iconic mini-series and sequel of Anne of Green Gables, before they ruined everything by modernising the later story with a hideously bleak perspective, and then completely trashed the whole entire story with a ghastly reboot of the original.