by Michelle Douglas
I've spent a lot of time wondering what I should post about in my inaugural blog for the LoveCats. What would be the best way to introduce myself? Should I list my top 10 fave things... or unfave things? That's always a good way to get to know somebody. Should I post pictures of my workspace and detail the items there that are necessary to me for an ideal working day (revealing in a totally different way)? What about discussing my five favourite romances of all time? That could lead to a lively debate.
But then it hit me - know me by my literary influences. That sounds rather grand, doesn't it? But what it boils down to is this...
I am a writer because of Anne of Green Gables.
Notice I said Anne of Green Gables and not Lucy Maud Montgomery whose creation she is (and who is also responsible for Blue Castles which is one of my all-time favourite romances). Lucy Maud may have created 'Anne with an e', but it was her character that gripped my imagination and turned me into a writer.
Now before we go any further I best mention that Anne and I have several points of connection - all superficial mind, but seriously important when I was seven. First, she had carrot red hair and so did I. Her name ended in an e and so did mine. She had freckles and she loved to read - tick and tick. As you can see, we were bosom buddies from the first.
That's not why I became a writer.
Anne Shirley had a vivid imagination. She could turn the mundane into a thing of beauty and awe. With that imagination of hers she transformed her commonplace life into a series of adventures. She wasn't afraid to dream. Whenever I grew bored or restless with my far-from-beautiful country town I'd play the Anne game. I did what she did. I'd search out places of beauty or interest or quirkiness in my town and, like her, give them new names to reflect their aura - The Lake of Shining Waters, Willomere, Dryad's Bubble, the White Way of Delight, Idlewild and Lover's Lane. And then I created histories and on-going sagas for these places - talking trees, birds that became human at night, wars between flowers and bees. My inner life grew so rich that it more than compensated for the humdrum of my outer world.
And that's why I'm a writer. Because imagining better worlds became second nature to me. Lots of writers have influenced me as a writer, but it's Anne who made me a writer. She gave me different eyes with which to view my world.
So my question to you...has a fictional character ever changed the way you see the world?