New Look. My Travels. New Series.

A couple of weeks ago I had promised an update and so today’s post is a bit of what’s been happening with Mel, as well as what you can expect to see on this blog in the future.

First, I’m playing with a new theme. What do you think?

This photo was taken on Lover’s Lane. Isn’t the light just exquisite?

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I’ve been all about the light recently. Every where I’ve travelled, I’ve noticed how the light laughs with nature.

I’ve been doing what I can to walk in Montgomery’s shoes on my travels to Prince Albert, Prince Edward Island, and Ontario. This was driving along Southwestern Ontario yesterday on the way to Guelph from Leaskdale.

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While I was in Prince Albert in May, Spring was just about to come so there are pockets of greenery. The Prince Albert Historical Society has been really wonderful, connecting me with all of the information I needed, as well as one volunteer, Ken, took my friend and I on a journey around the city pointing out the different places Maud would have been. Sadly, the house Montgomery lived in (her Father’s) is not there anymore, but we took a picture of the corner anyway.

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See how that blue shifts pale just above the trees?

We also walked along the river that Montgomery would have walked down with her best friend, Laura, and boyfriend, Will. Look at that sky!

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In early June, I did a writing retreat with some VCFA friends in northern Michigan, which was exactly what I needed. This was taken right near where we were staying. The road was basically level with the trees and it has just rained. Behind that is Lake Michigan. Notice how it looks like the clouds are touching the water.

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And then I  travelled through London, Ontario where I connected with my good friend and “LMM knower of things,” Vanessa, who writes for The London Yodeller and we did this piece.

In PEI I spent the first five days driving around with my friend, Ben, and I, interviewing some of Montgomery’s family members. I really appreciated the time these people took, driving around with me, answering my questions, and telling me stories.

There were also those moments where things get a bit hilarious. Such as when we were visited by a cat that looked an awful lot like Montgomery’s (and mine for that matter) on our way to the post office.

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I have already spoken of some of the feelings traveling around those first five days, here, as well as seeing the Anne and Gilbert musical–which I will get to more in a moment.

The last five days we spent at the L.M. Montgomery and War conference.  I was asked to help coordinate the social media effort and with the help of our little Maud Squad, the #LMMI14 on Twitter was a grand success. We had some very interesting discussions about Montgomery and memory, the question of is Gilbert Blythe as the Canadian Darcy, the idea of waiting in Montgomery’s fiction and much more.

We had people from all over the world take part and I hope that next time, in 2016, those people will find a way to come. The energy is high, the presentations are superb, and everyone is such so happy to be there connecting. The theme for 2016 is Montgomery and Gender so you know that I’ll probably want to talk about one of my favourite literary loves (This is a post I did on Ingrid’s Notes a few months ago)…

This year my topic was “Maud and the Mean Girls: Clemmie Macneill vs. L.M. Montgomery and the (Mock) Trial of the Century” focusing on a school girl row Maud had when she was 15. And yes, I did use Mean Girls and there was pink and quotes and clips.

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The banquet is always a nice way to close off the last night of the conference and this year one of the organizers put together a Red Cross Belgium Relief fundraiser. Some of us got up and performed. Yes, my friends and I were commissioned to do a scene from Rilla of Ingleside and I got to play a mean girl, Irene Howard–which was hilariously good fun.

But, honestly, I believe that the highlight of the evening for many was when the actors who play Anne and Gilbert, Ellen Denny and Patrick Cook, from the Anne and Gilbert: A Musical, surprised everyone by showing up at the banquet during dinner and sang “Happy Birthday” to one of the participants.  Another friend, Holly, coaxed me to get up and introduce myself. Given all of the Twitter action that week, she said it was my duty. I had to go up. So sucked in my introverted shyness that comes up in times like this  and introduced myself to them. And I’m glad that did…because…this leads me to the what’s next portion of the blog post. There are photos but I will save it for later…Oh alright…

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As I’ve been pondering embodying character, I’ve been wondering a lot about how Ellen and Patrick  have been playing people that the general public have preconceived notions of.  So I asked them if they might be willing to take part in a little series about how their process in embodying character and they agreed!

Over the next few weeks, interspersed with some other Q&As from writers such as K.A. Barson, author of 45 Pounds, we will be having a mid-summer blog series called: Embodying Character, featuring Ellen Denny, Patrick Cook, and author who once did a stint on As the World Turns (I know!), Sandra Nickel.  Given that the embodying character notion was also inspired by a lecture Sandra gave at VCFA, I knew that she needed to be involved. So I’m so thrilled that all of them agreed.

The tentative dates are as follows:

July 22 and 24: Ellen Denny (This is because I know we will want to break this up into two.)

August 5 (maybe 7): Patrick Cook We will be focusing a lot about one of my favourite topics. Gilbert Blythe.

August 18th: Sandra Nickel (and we will definitely add another part if necessary.)

Intermingled with this, I also hope to have artist, Caroline Nevin, come talk about how she uses photos to tap into the characters she uses in her art work and Juno-award-winning Quebec singer, Andrea Lindsay, will discuss her songwriting process. She’s singing here with  Luc De Larochellière:

I have also changed the blog’s tagline to “Connecting creative people one passion at a time.”  I think this series is the perfect way for doing just that. For I’m passionate about creating a community of artists where we can learn and connect with one another, perhaps learning something about our own creativity in the process.

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About Melanie J. Fishbane

MAUD, my YA novel based on the teen life of author L.M. Montgomery will be published by 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 Embodying Character Series, Inspiration, L.M. Montgomery, Literary Book Boyfriends, Music, Talented Friends, Teen lit, VCFA, Writing, Writing Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to New Look. My Travels. New Series.

  1. Sarah Emsley says:

    Sounds great! I’m looking forward to reading your new mid-summer series. Fun to hear about your travels, too.

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