Saturday, September 08, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle: Time can be wrinkled...

One of my most favorite authors passed away quietly this week, on Thursday, September 6th.

Madeleine L' Engle, the woman who wrote the award winning book A Wrinkle in Time first caught my interest when I was ten years old. I was so fortunate to have been led to read Wrinkle the year it won the Newbery Award; I believe my entire fourth grade class read the book together.

I didn't read another of her books until I was in my late thirties.
By then she was not only writing novels, but she was also writing about her quest and practice of faith. Her book Walking on Water refreshed my understanding of faith, and widened my definition of belief. I discovered her writing on caring for her extraordinary mother, and the challenges which that life passage presented.

Amazingly, I also found that the people I had met in A Wrinkle in Time had continued on; a trilogy had been written; then another book more, eventually a quintet. Then there was another whole series (The Austin Family), books flowed from her, as natural as conversation over tea, yet with a depth that made her words worthy of underlining, and tacking up in places to be further mulled in quiet moments.


Madeleine was named Author in Residence for Victoria magazine. Bit by bit I learned more about her, and realized she was a gift to us all. Such an intelligent, creative, spunky, curious, and secure woman. She was a happy wife, a mother, a grandmother, a caring daughter, yet she never buried herself behind any of those labels. Rather she brought herself into those roles, and continued to make space for personal growth. She was an inspiration to me.

Women who quest to deepen, to dare, to explore and to wonder will do well to reach for L'Engle's writings. I am saddened to know that her time here on earth is over, yet I rejoice that she has eternity above in the heavens, and we here will have her voice and her thoughts for eternity as well, via her abundant body of written works.

I am so glad I found her thoughts at age ten.
And I am so very very glad that through the miracle of the written word, anyone at anytime may find her yet.

When the pages of a book are open, a tesseract appears.
It turns out that it isn't a wrinkle that will enable us to pass through time, it is instead an unfolding of the covers of a book that will always allow us to travel to a place in time when Madeleine was inspired, and wrote.

If you have a favorite L'Engle book (and if you can bring yourself to only name one of her 62 titles, I doubt you have read many of her books!) please leave a comment and write the title(s).

Oh, how I wish we L'Engle fans could meet and chat in her memory!
What a marvelous band of women we would find!


Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Wind in the Door is my favorite fiction, Walking on Water my favorite non-fiction.
Oh, it is hard to only name a few.

Anonymous said...

It is hard to name a favorite, but "A Wrinkle in Time" always comes to mind first. That book fascinated me when I first read it in grade school. Apparently I hoped my kids would enjoy it as well; while cleaning out my son's room after he moved out, I found two copies of it! I kept one and donated the other to our public library, and then I read it again. ;)

A Lady said...

Which one is the one when the twins go back in time to the bible ages and they are teens? that one was pretty interesting.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Laura-that book was Many Waters.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I had missed the news of her death until I got your message on my blog. I just did a Google search and found the NY Times article announcing it. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes and wondering why - why am I grieving the loss of a woman I never met? And anyway, I should be so happy for her; she has gone home. Maybe because I also long to go home (not in a morbid way; I just long to be there sometimes, even though I am enjoying life where I am)...

Actually, anyone who has read her has also "met" her...

Well, there are so many of her books that I have not read yet but I am going to's out of print books today and ordering a lot of them.

My favorites? I'd have to say Penguins and Golden Calves, along with Walking on Water (so far anyway). This past spring I read all of the Wrinkle in Time series. I don't think I even knew about her writing until my son brought home Many Waters years and years ago...that was the only in the Time series I had read until this year.

Anyone who reads her will find much to chew on and I personally felt like I had met a soul mate of sorts...and someone who opens doors and windows in our minds and hearts to let in more of the great God and Creator of the Universe in such unique ways.

Becky said...

"A Wrinkle in Time" was the first novel I ever finished. It spurred me to read, and I have never forgotten it! What a gift she left for us to have!

Becky said...

"A Wrinkle in Time" was the first novel I ever finished. It spurred me to read, and I have never forgotten it! What a gift she left for us to have!