Food for Thinking

I shared these words with one of my writing groups earlier, and I’ve decided they need to be permanentized here, too, for easy access and revisitation.

Madeleine L’Engle is the writer of my heart.  From her I learned (just to name a few)

  • about Story
  • that fiction can contain more Truth than fact
  • about the doggedness of the writing life
  • that Bach’s music is as holy as Scripture
  • to care about quantum physics and math and language and beauty
  • that it was okay to be intelligent and educated
  • that travel might be (and could be) as necessary as breathing
  • that Christians could doubt and question
  • that the heavens (spheres) sing and dance
  • that EVERYthing is connected

If I were to list everything I learned from her, this post would go on for days.

She is the reason I blog.  One day after her axis-tilting death, in 2007, I started my first blog, in honor of her life and her impact on me.

I recently tripped over these passages on a visit to another favorite blog, Brain Pickings (from two posts, here and here):

The first people a dictator puts in jail after a coup are the writers, the teachers, the librarians — because these people are dangerous. They have enough vocabulary to recognize injustice and to speak out loudly about it. Let us have the courage to go on being dangerous people.


So let us look for beauty and grace, for love and friendship, for that which is creative and birth-giving and soul-stretching. Let us dare to laugh at ourselves, healthy, affirmative laughter. Only when we take ourselves lightly can we take ourselves seriously, so that we are given the courage to say, “Yes! I dare disturb the universe.”

And from another text of hers:

“Human beings are the only creatures who are allowed to fail. If an ant fails, it’s dead. But we’re allowed to learn from our mistakes and from our failures. And that’s how I learn, by falling flat on my face and picking myself up and starting all over again. If I’m not free to fail, I will never start another book, I’ll never start a new thing.”

Here’s to being dangerous!  Here’s to soul-stretching!  Here’s to healthy, affirmative laughter!  Here’s to being allowed to fail!


Madeleine L’Engle (Photo by Sigrid Estrada)

Overheard at a kiln: "The main teaching of all religions is, don't be a dick." You heard the man--comment away, know...

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