Madeleine L’Engle-1918-2007

To say that Madeleine L’Engle was my favorite author as a child (and young woman) is probably putting it mildly. My name is scrawled on the library card of all her books countless times…I would renew them several times in a row, and perhaps, the next year, you would find my name there again. The Wrinkle in Time trilogy was a great favorite of course, and Meet the Austins. But my favorite of her books for young adults was, oddly enough, Camilla, the story of a teenager whose life is changed when her father has an affair with another woman, an oddly prescient choice for me, as this would happen in my own life some 15 years after I first read the novel.

Ms. L’Engle died last Thursday, at the age of 88. I’ve been skimming through her Crosswicks Journal, a trilogy of memoirs written in the early 1970’s (which is when I purchased and read them). It’s been interesting to note what I underlined in these books~this passage stood out tonight:

“I am, for better or worse, writer, wife, mother, and all these bits of me are inseparably blended to make up the human being who is-or who is not-responsible. The story comes, and it is pure story. That’s all I set out to write. But I don’t believe that we can write any kind of story without including, whether we intend to or not, our response to the world around us.”

“The writing of a book may be a solitary business; it is done alone. The writer sits down with paper and pen, or typewriter, and, withdrawn from the world, tries to set down the story that is crying to be written. We write alone, but we do not write in isolation. No matter how fantastic a story line may be, it still comes out of our response to what is happening to us and to the world in which we live.”

I thank her for sharing her stories with me.


3 thoughts on “Madeleine L’Engle-1918-2007

  1. If we lived in the same town, our names would be inscribed on the same library cards!

    Thanks for the wonderful excerpt. I haven’t read the memoirs, but now I think I will. Or maybe I will be a child again and go back to the Time series. It never fails to delight me or to take me back to the time when children scrawled their names on cards and tucked them into the back cover of a book, before they carried them home in anticipation.

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