Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Rediscover a classic! A young orphan, Anne Shirley, is adopted by Matthew and Marilla, a pair of aging siblings who own the charming landscape known as Green Gables in the town of Avonlea. The classic children’s book follows Anne on her escapades into adulthood. Her habit of daydreaming and bright imagination lead her into all kinds of trouble. It also teaches her many valuable lessons about friends, family, and what it means to be a young adult.
I originally had read this book for my Children’s Lit course, but in the end I enjoyed it immensely. Aside from the blatant sexism (which is probably due to the time period of the piece), it teaches many lessons about mindfulness and the importance of creativity. I loved the characters, especially quiet Matthew. His interactions with the much more outgoing Anne were adorable and well written. Anne was instantly relatable and charmed me throughout the entire book. This novel is a great choice for lovers of classic children’s books.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
After years of spinning stories about her past–each different, all untrue– the reclusive author called Vida Winter is finally ready to share her real origins. She hires Margret, an amateur biographer and quiet bookshop assistant, to document her tale. So begins the story of two women seeking to reconcile with their tragic pasts.
I recommend this book to lovers of modern gothic fiction, and anyone who is looking for an engaging, suspenseful read. That said, I am not usually a fan of dark dramas. Yet the novel hooked me from page one. It’s beautifully written, if a little lengthy, and has an irresistibly noir feel. At times, it strongly reminded me of Edgar Alan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. I fell in love with Setterfield’s artful style in much the same way Margret falls for that of Vida Winter’s–first surprised, and the enchanted.
As time has gone by, I’ve found that writing can feel exclusive to some people. I’ve heard it from people ages ten to forty to six-five: “English class is/was the worst. I hate writing.” But it’s a closely held belief of mine that writing is for everyone. The question is not can you write, but how do you write? Storytelling is important. It gives us a way to express ourselves creatively, to voice our opinions, and learn about ourselves. Below are just a few writing mediums that can offer exactly that.
Poetry & Lyrics
When people think of writing and self-expression of feelings, many minds instantly jump to poetry. I’ve coupled song lyrics within this category because often they can be a form of poetry in themselves. We can be deeply moved by the beautiful sounds of the music and vocals, but my favorite songs usually speak to me through the story their lyrics tell. Both poetry and lyrics are excellent forms of writing because they can be as short or as lengthy as desired and leave room for freeform writing. (Spoken word poetry is phenomenal. If you need an example, look up Sarah Kaye or Ruddy Fransisco IMMEDIATELY!)
Novels & Short Stories
Longer pieces are more my style (see Meet Marley Emmons). They allow the writer to dive into multiple subjects at length and express opinions or pose questions without directly confronting the audience. Sometimes it’s a method of working through our thoughts in a tangible way. At the same time they can be fun and imaginative, pushing the bounds of reality.
Essays & Journals
For those who are less inclined to works of fiction, essays and journals are another way to process and create physical representations of feelings, arguments, and opinions. They can be about research, everyday life and struggles, and so much more. I’m a big believer in journaling. It doesn’t have to be daily or even weekly. But, as someone with a family history of Alzheimer’s, I keep a journal for practicality, because there may come a day when I won’t remember my own story.
The possibilities of writing are endless. The trick is finding what medium suits a particular person. It’s also important to keep in mind that not that all writing requires an audience. Writing is for the individual as much as it is for the reader.
We’re going to try something different. Today’s post will be in the form of a Mad Lib! Play along and comment your completed story below.
Absolutely Mad: A Scientist’s Tale
This is where it happened, in this (noun/place)-this very spot. Here is where I created my monster. Sit. Allow me to tell you how I defied death. It was late, and I was just about to (verb) when there was a fevered knock at the door. Upon opening it, I discovered a (noun) holding a (noun), which (s)he offered me. A family member had died and (s)he knew of my special talents, specifically my (adjective) ability to (verb) . I admit my curiosity got the better of me. After procuring the body, we hurried to the (noun) to gather the necessary elements. We returned to this spot. Using my (noun), (noun), and a dash of luck, I revived the corpse. What was god compared to (noun)? But then I saw the undead man’s eyes. They were void of all (noun). What had I done? I had conquered death, but at what cost?