Last week I wrote about living authors I’d love to meet–and since they’re living, it’s at least somewhat possible. Many of my favorite authors, however, lived several generations ago, putting meeting them out of the question. Unless, of course, I had the ability to travel in time–using a TARDIS, perhaps! If the Doctor ever showed up and asked me what time I wanted to visit, I’d know exactly what to tell him…
L. M. Montgomery would be the first person to meet, probably to no one’s surprise! I’ve read every scrap of writing by her I can get my hands on, letters and private journals included, so more than any other author she already feels like a friend. I know exactly when and where I would like to go–June of 1908, when Montgomery was still living in Cavendish, on Prince Edward Island. According to her journal, her copy of Anne of Green Gables arrived on June 20th. Besides that excitement, it seems to have been a cheerful period (not always the case). Her journal also mentions that it was the most beautiful June she could recall–and I’m sure she said somewhere else that nothing is more beautiful than Prince Edward Island in June. If I had a TARDIS, my first stop would be to go pick strawberries and ramble through woods with Maud Montgomery.
William Shakespeare would be my next trip (following the Doctor’s footsteps, in this case) because, I mean, Shakespeare! I have to wonder if he sounded out loud like his plays, or not (probably not…) And then there’s that authorship question to explore. I’d visit Shakespeare in autumn of 1599, when my favorite comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, was debuting at the recently-opened Globe Theatre.
Brenda Ueland is a far less famous choice. She wrote my favorite book on writing, If You Want to Write. She also taught writing classes, and if they were anything like the book, they must have been wonderful. If I could, I’d visit long enough to take some of her classes–perhaps in 1938, the year her book was published.
Diana Wynne Jones wrote so many amazing fantasy books, and by all accounts (and the evidence in her own semi-memoir, Reflections on the Magic of Writing) she was a fascinating woman full of extraordinarily colorful anecdotes. I don’t know precisely when I’d like to meet her…unless possibly when she was at university, so that I could join her attending lectures by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.
J. M. Barrie is probably no surprise either. Like Montgomery, I feel as though I know him, because all of his books (and plays, somehow) feature a most charming narrator. I can’t help feeling like that narrator is Barrie himself. I’d like to meet Barrie and the Davies boys (the inspiration for Peter Pan) in April of 1904–in Kensington Gardens, of course. George, the oldest boy, was twelve, and Barrie had just finished writing the play version of Peter. The other advantage to April is that the daffodils would be blooming in the Gardens, and I love daffodils.
So if the Doctor came to your door and invited you for a literary spin in the TARDIS, what authors would you go to meet?