Friday, October 10, 2014

Opening the portals of sacred shrines to the crowd

In 1917, L.M. Montgomery was approached by an editor of a magazine, Everywoman's World, to write a bit of a memoir. She did this, writing "The Alpine Path," an article which became a book (one I've read and recommend).

The editor lamented that Montgomery did not include enough about her personal life:
I sent "The Alpine Path" to the editor, and he writes, professing himself as delighted with the story, but laments that there is nothing in it "concerning my love affairs." He is sure I must have had some. Will I not write an additional thousand words and tell my "adoring Canadian girls" of my pangs and passions!!!!! 
Ye Gods! Suppose I were to do it! 
I smile when I imagine what the "parties of the second part" would think if they picked up a copy of Everywoman's World and read a cold-blooded account of their "affairs" with me in it. But I do not smile when I imagine what their wives would think! 
The dear public must get along without this particular tid-bit. I have snubbed that editor very unmistakably, telling him that I am not one of those who throw open the portals of sacred shrines to the gaze of the crowd.
Had Montgomery gone into some detail of these matters, some of the stories would have proven to shock and disappoint her readers. There were a few incidents where Montgomery does not shine. She was no different from many young women who make silly mistakes with young men.

Montgomery was a woman of her time; it mattered what others thought of her. There were impressions to maintain. Perhaps she held in too much and pretended too much. But perhaps, she knew what she was doing. Her attitude today would not fly, for many people write memoirs for the sole purpose of throwing open the "portals of sacred shrines to the gaze of the crowd."