Beyond FAREWELL: Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007)
I discussed a particular, personal moment of wonder with the Images and Identity class at CU-Denver last week and shortly after was reminded of another when I began reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. On page eight, the main character recalls overhearing this statement: “Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.” For me, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was that book.
I still remember the small rack of paperbacks stashed in the storage area/back entranceway of my parish school; the back entry led to a sidewalk to the convent. That rack of books comprised my school’s “book fair” and somehow I found myself alone as I perused the small collection. I’m sure I held tight to a few folded dollars and maybe some saved change, savings I’d hand over to my teacher if I found something I could afford. I remember standing near a small window and light streaming in (really; it was that kind of fourth-grade moment of wonder) and I remember finding a copy of A Wrinkle in Time that fascinated me on the spot. I don’t know how many times I read that book back then, but the images of Meg and Charles Wallace and the unique, almost mystical language used on those pages stayed with me for a long time. As I commented on Patry’s blog, at some point Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time convinced me that nothing but a writing life would do, though it took me many years to fully accept and pursue that calling.
The past few weeks have been full of creative wonder for me as I’ve written another short story, beefed up my blogging activities, met a number of other local authors thanks to Patry’s blog (meetings which then led to my introduction to even more local literary types through the Denver chapter of the Literary Ladies Luncheon), and my Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute presentations at CU-Denver. Today, I thoroughly enjoyed a meeting with the six other RMWI 2007-2008 associates. I’d been impressed at our first meeting with the diversity of this group; now after viewing some of the other artists’ work, hearing more of their stories, and learning what compels them, I’m convinced my participation in this group represents an important step in my development as a writer. While I’ve got many people to thank up and down the line for all these recent riches of experience and inspiration, it all leads back to Madeleine L’Engle and that fourth-grade moment of wonder as I reached for one of her magical books, a book that would speak volumes to me for many years to come.