Madeleine L'Engle

“Why does anybody tell a story? It does indeed have something to do with faith, faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”--Madeleine L'Engle

When I was seventeen, I went to see Madeleine L'Engle at a bookstore. She signed my copy of The Small Rain. It is still one of my prized possessions.

As a teenager, Madeleine L'Engle was, perhaps, my favorite writer. But then I grew up, read more, and had my head turned by people who considered her writing uncool (not only for its linearity, but also for its faith). And while I still love A Wrinkle In Time, I am older now, the story does not resonate for me as it did when I first encountered it at age ten. The Small Rain, a book which was my favorite, a book which, when I was fifteen, seemed to mirror my own feelings regarding big topics like love and friendship and loyalty, seems simplistic to me now in precisely the way my own teen years seem to be simplistic. While I am now secure enough to argue the literary merits of the young adult writers who have come after (J. K. Rowling being the most notable) and really could care less whether my reading choice are deemed cool, but it has been a long time since I thought about Madeleine L'Engle or read any of her books.

But I feel the loss of her, as I read her obituary, and I feel a bit of emptiness, an emptiness that comes from having turned away from something I dearly loved in childhood, and I realize that there is still so much she can teach me about faith, about life and about writing.


Judy said…
I loved her work as a young teen. A few years ago, I introduced her to my daughter, now nearly 12, who is reading through her books. I don't remember the books much - only that I loved them at the time. And I felt a sadness, too, when I heard of her passing, which was probably exaggerated since my daughter is now reading her books. (I think my almost-10 step-daughter is reading them too!)

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