Sunday, October 26, 2008


Dear Maud,

My apologies if you think it rather informal of me to use your first name---but I think by this time, we should be on a first name basis, don't you?

I am writing to express some concerns I have. Not with you...god, no! You're fine and brilliant --- I lavish you with lofty laurels of praise daily. I write, instead, to express my disdain for a certain person of the same lineage as you.

Do you need some back story? Thought so. Most happy to oblige:

To start, you're quite on the tips of the tongues of most Canadians right now...

Fear not, old friend, the ever classic Mary Rubio has quelled the inopportune and distasteful suicide blurt while synonymously encapsulating your life faithfully in her new biography ( released early, which I argue, was to dispel the wagging tongues of those who couldn't loop a coherent sentence without the words: "Montgomery" and "suicide"). She has done you justice and the biography ( as prompted by your youngest son, Stuart) is definitive.

There's also, of course, the matter of the Anne Centenary: which has fickle Kevin Sullivanites plodding your treasured golden land of opal, red and turquoise in noisy droves. Oh, and some amateur playwright penned what is undoubtedly a travesty, a musical version of your life, cattily entitled: The Nine Lives of LM Montgomery . I know! You hate that, don't you ?

Thank the good lord you are spared those debacles.

But I will remain relatively laconic on those issues and delve into an issue pervading my realm of your scholarship.

I must tell you about KMB ( I concede the best way to handle her is to squish her name into monogram --- just in case some googlers get out of line ). You won't remember her, of course, because even though she is your granddaughter, her birth evaded your passing by some years.

Unfortunately, most of your followers ( not the authentic ones, mind, but the Sullivanites ) have made her into a full-blown celebrity.

Evidently, as KMB is constant proof, you can be famous and revered having done absolutely ( and I mean absolutely in the absolutest of senses) nothing. Pardon my italics, will you, I need to exude emphasis for the part of my brain forever in line with yours teeters desolately on this subject.

Last night, a revered Canadian Children's literature expert gave a lecture in your honour ( not Anne's honour as so many of the sub par events I have attended this year have turned out to be but yours). Aforementioned lecturer spoke of your tremendous influence on Canadian Children's literature and the indelible stamp you have forged on your literary heirs. Albeit, not your direct descendants, your heirs, I feel , in the truest sense of the word.

I arrived at the lecture slightly before its commencement to secure my seat and bury my nose in my book. I was subsequently tapped on the shoulder thrice by limpid Anne-ites begging: "Tell me, who is the granddaughter?"

Pathetic, eh?

Moreso when I tell you that she knows little of your work. Atleast that is what one has to assume given that a.) I have heard her speak and her knowledge seems minimal b) she ratted out the whole "suicide thing" at the same time as the Centenary celebrations ( how do you spell crass again? ) c.) she authenticated ( indeed, commissioned) a prequel entitled Before Green Gables. It seems sacreligious to breath its syllables and relay its full-bodied tragedy so, alas, I will leave you but a skeletal outline: Walter and Bertha Shirley's romance.

Do you need me to re-adjust you upright again, Maud, in your grave? Because your serene poise of eternal rest just took quite a tumble.

Don't blame you, dear soul.

I pointed out KMB, just in case you were wondering, and expressed her as she is: dyed blonde hair, oft-bespeckled, a hairband hoisting her severe bangs in a gaudy belfry atop her peaked face.

I am sorry to speak ill of one of your descendents, but I thought you should know you were being capitalized on. More than Sullivan, the stamps and coins, the Girl Guide Cookies (!!!) and the Niagara Falls-esque horror show lining the now-tortured and meretricious road to Cavendish is a woman who sold your "secret" to the Globe and Mail and the dignity of your writing to an exorbitant prequel.

I guess she expected to send another shockwave of your burgeoning popularity ( already potent and steady due to Anne's birthday ) in a pulsating undercurrent through the popular consciousness.

I don't try to reconcile myself to KMB's ill timed and ill-manouevered wish to out your private affairs and the manner of your death to the masses..... Maybe her long, bulging pockets ( laden with the fruits of your artistic labour ) feared the stealthy sounding of your multi-syllabled name would sink quietly back to its modest background.

As aforementioned, and most hearteningly, Mary Rubio countered the insanity with an eloquent extrapolation of the events. And, fortunately, the influx of ignorant comments polluting the internet have stilled and ceased.

There, Maud, it's all off my chest.

I hope you are resting well in the knowledge that I will brandish your name proudly. I will wave it high and defend it to the death.

The KMBs of the world are easily squelched!

So, dear Maud of the purple prose, ironic wit... you proclaimed painter of words, of fairystories, who tipped behind the veil of sodden reality to reveal jewelled sentences strung tautly like the faux pearl beads you bought in the West End Woolworth's Dept. Store, I sign off.

For now.

Thanks for everything. Next time I'll tell you about how elated I felt to realize Barney Snaith was based on a real person!

Your absolutely devoted,


(p.s. What is up with Dean Priest? )

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