My Communities

In a week I will be heading off to Vermont for my fourth residency. Hard to imagine that I only have one more semester left of school and that I graduate in January. I still feel like I have so much more to learn and my nervousness and anticipation is much like it was a year and a half ago.  I have had many residency dreams the last few days, as if I’m already laying out the foundation.

Last week I was in Prince Edward Island attending the L.M. Montgomery and Cultural Memory conference at the University of Prince Edward Island. While I was once again part of a madcap crew of tweeters and bloggers, I also gave a well received paper on how Gilbert Blythe continues to be part of our cultural memory. I have to admit, that although I had hoped that I would be entertaining, I didn’t leave enough time for the laughter. Apparently, I’m quite entertaining. Lesson to all: If you plan on making jokes, leave room for the possibility of actually being funny because people will laugh with you- hopefully not at you (unless you want them too.) Also lesson to all: Believe in your own talent so that you can anticipate the funny.

This trip I stayed at a B&B with my good friend and Montgomery traveling companion, KS, in Charlottetown. KS loves to walk and so she really encouraged me to get off my *clears throat* behind and walk myself. While I do love walking and walk to work and such, I admit that I will find ways to avoid exercise. I think it is one my self-sabotagers.  So, we walked from downtown to the campus almost every day. One such day, KS had left early and I actually listened to myself, put on my music, and walked myself.  I had actually thought up a blog post that was never written (well I guess this is a form of it) about the different communities in my life.

One of the aspects of Montgomery’s lives that we often discussed was her many communities. Later, at the end of the conference, one of the chairs mentioned this very thing and it was like he had read my mind.

While I’ve spent the last number of months really investing in my writing, I see (again) how much I’ve also invested in the communities the support writing and the work that I care about. How many of us wait for this to happen in our lives? I’m continually amazed and grateful for the support of the L.M. Montgomery community for how much they’ve embraced the work that I’m doing, providing support and feedback, while also their friendship. There is a group of us that seemed to travel together this time around and it felt like we were not only building something within the Montgomery community, but also something greater. It was amazing and wonderful. And, hard to come home.

As I mentioned, I did blog with the L.M. Montgomery Research Group about the conference. If you are interested, you can find it here.

I have been also participating in the Beyond Little House’s read-a-long of These Happy Golden Years. Which has been so great because I love seeing other people’s perspectives of this novel. I think we have one or two chapters left, so do check it out.

This time next week I will be at the Vermont College of Fine Arts about to start the intense ten-day residency schedule with another supportive community of writers and colleagues. We will be blogging again at Through the Tollbooth

I’m also grateful for the community of Canadian writers I’m connecting with online and through the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and CANSCAIP.  Next to VCFA, these are some of the most devoted group of people to children’s lit and writing that I’ve ever met. 

Then there is the small writing group that I’ve been hanging out with. Although it has been a little while since we’ve met (because of our schedules) I find that we can still poke one another for advice and hopefully when I return from school we can meet up again. 

I suspect that I’m repeating myself here, but I’m all about the creative visualization these days and by continually writing about these amazing facets of my life, I hope that I can continue to be grateful for the interconnected supportive network of colleagues and friends. 


About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
This entry was posted in Children's Literature, L.M. Montgomery, VCFA, Writing Life. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Communities

  1. And you're bringing some of that Gilbert's Toffee to Vermont for us to sample, right?

  2. I only took a picture. I didn't buy it. In retrospect, maybe I should have.

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