Tuesday, September 25, 2007

thank you, madeleine

i don't want september to pass by without acknowledging the passing of one of the great writers of our time. on september 6th, madeleine l'engle died at the age of 88. most of the world knows her as the author of the children's classic "A Wrinkle in Time," but many others know her as a woman who inspired them in their faith journey. l'engle wrote beautifully but honestly, gracefully pulling back the layers of pretense and facade that we so often live behind and, by exposing her true self, allowed us to see ourselves again in new ways. she reminded us that sometimes we need to just 'be.' she wrote beautiful poetry (which i have used in worship several times!). she was known for making fascinating connections between faith and science in a way and at a time that very few christians dared not.

madeleine l'engle was known for all of this, and more. but, to me, she was even more. i referred to it in a post back in february, but if it were not for l'engle's book "Walking on Water," i would probably not be making collages and asking questions about what it means to create in a postmodern context. i hate saying that i am an artist (i am trying to get over this), but if i am an artist at all, it is in part because of madeleine l'engle.

"A great painting, or symphony, or play, doesn't diminish us, but enlarges us, and we, too, want to make our own cry of affirmation to the power of creation behind the universe. This surge of creativity has nothing to do with competition, or degree of talent....This response on the part of any artist is the need to make incarnate the new awareness we have been granted through the genius of someone else."

time and time again madeleine has inspired and encouraged me to continue to try and make cosmos out of chaos, to participate in the divine act of creating, in the image of the one who created all this wild beauty around me. more than anything else, i think, l'engle helped articulate what was wordlessly and formlessly hovering in my soul. she named it and helped me see the shape of it. she was an amazing christian woman, and we should all know that we have lost an artist, an encourager, a friend, and a witness to the amazing miracle of this living.


for more on l'engle:

her wikipedia here.

an obituary here.

quotes here.

a tribute here.


Emoly said...

Maybe I should watch the news a little bit more. I had no idea that she passed away. Her books are the first books I remember truly getting lost in my own imagination and wanting to read more. I've been meaning to re-read the Wrinkle in Time series again. Now is as good of time as any. Thanks greg!

greg. said...

i was wondering if people knew that she had passed. it didn't get much news coverage.

the time series is a great read. it is absolutely wonder-full for kids, but deeply inspirational for adults, as well. it is not juvenile at all. read on!

cathyq said...

Yes, I knew and it saddened me. I actually sent a card to our mutual friend Shirley Shipley who was a devoted fan and friend of Madeline's. She had met her several times and inspired me to read beyond the Wrinkle series to find the other rich writings that truly are an inspiration. My favorites are The Circle of Quiet, The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, The Irrational Season, and Two-Part Invention. I have already started re-reading them. Her novels are also good. In truth, I love everything she has written, and I cannot say that about very many authors, even my beloved Shakepeare!

Emoly said...

Thanks for the list of other writings! I am going to have Bill look them up for me, well after I re-read the Time series... :)

mego said...

I saw the news on her passing a few weeks ago and was actually thinking about posting it but never got around to it (story of my blog) so I'm glad you did. I love her writing so much because it speaks to my love of the unknown and "fantasy" in such a unique way.