Anne of Green Gables, she waltzed into my life with Tennyson. Though I didn’t know who Tennyson was at the time.
It was the Lady of Shallot. The words were an escape for Anne. Oh Anne with an E. Who was so strong willed. And I was like Anne. I tried to be strong willed and often felt alone. Felt like I needed an escape.
“She had heard a whisper say…”
Even the poem speaks of the power of words. And it made my excited. Like I knew a secret. A feeling of power at a basic level. Like Anne I had so little power in my own life as a child.
“A curse is on her if she stay…”
I watched the series as a child at my great-aunts. We watched movies with LaVonne who had a huge movie collection. She would rent movies and copy them to tape. She made a catalog of all the movies. There were a lot of them. This was back in the days of VHS and Beta.
In fact I think I recall watching cartoons on a pre-tape video disc/cartridge format.
Anne was the girl of my dreams. And the aspiration of my soul.
“There she weaves by night and day,
a magic web with colors gay…”
I don’t think I was old enough to read books. But there was a part of me which took to heart Anne’s escape.
Anne only reads a short part of the poem in the series. Once at the beginning. When she should be minding other duties. Later in the series she reads it again in a re-enactment of key scene in the poem.
But in neither part is the tragic end made clear. The Lady of Shallot dies. It was only years later when I finally read the full poem.
Movies were an escape for me growing up. I remember watching them with LaVonne, and eating pudding. Often falling asleep during the movies. But it was a safe place. A place where I could rest.
As I have grown books have become more of the safe place. Though when I am tired, I still enjoy a good movie. Sometimes you are just too tired to keep your eyes open. And reading is a serious activity for me.
In later years I met Moriah. She broadened my reading escape. I met the writing of her favorite poet. Leonard Cohen.
She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.
(This was another exercise from the Room to Write book.)