Can you tell I just finished reading Rilla of Ingleside, by L. M. Montgomery? That book is on my top ten list of books, and I read a lot of books. It's so beautiful and real, and it makes me cry but it gives me hope. If you haven't read it, you simply must. But the reason I ask if you can tell that I just finished is my constant use of italics in this past post. Italics are quite frequent in Rilla.
"Rilla was fond of italics as most girls of fifteen are..." - Chapter 2, Dew of the Morning
"'Oh, Walter coaxed her over. He knew I would be heart-broken if I didn't go. It's my first really-truly grown-up party, Miss Oliver, and I've just lain awake at nights for a week thinking it over. When I saw the sun shining this morning, I wanted to whoop for joy. It would be simply terrible if it rained tonight." - Chapter 3, Moonlit March
What frivolous fun; reading it over again makes it all the more sad. It's like a hurricane coming in the midst of a rainbow. Or a swamp growing where a spring meadow used to be. It's the dreadful knowledge that you know what is coming, and Rilla doesn't. Not even Miss Oliver can guess at what heartbreak they'll all be forced to endure over the next few years.
I adore this book. I wish I could write like that, so real and honest and true that it makes the readers cry. Perhaps it is because it was real and honest and true. Montgomery published it in 1920, and World War I ended in 1919, which is the last year of the book. She lived the anguish that was that war. She braved the storm, just like Rilla. I want to write a book that I can put my very heart into, one that I know is truly me, even if the character does not share my name.
But what would I tell of? The war in Iraq? How it feels when two friends, young men that I've known for the last seven to ten years, announce that they are enlisting? There is not much risk; the army even has so many applicants that they must wait. Yet, somehow, there is a sinking feeling in my chest, one that I suspect I share with females over the past millenia. Going to war, however safe it may be, is still going to war. And I still fear for them, and for me, that I will have to bear it.
I don't want to. Sometimes, when I see them, I want to beg them not to go. They're not truly needed, really. The economy has made the army rosters swell. But I don't beg. I smile and joke around as if nothing out of the ordinary were happening. As if enlisting is an everyday occurence, the same as getting a job at McDonald's or Academy. And all the while, my head is pounding with a pulsing throb that spells despair.
Perhaps that is what I should write about. I did it prettily there. But in a book, well, I don't know how there could be much plot unless I devised a romance. I will know more of what emotions take place when my friends actually do go. Until then, I'll keep these ideas written and ready for when the time is right.