Saturday, September 08, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle, 1918-2007

Excuse me, ma'am. You don't know me, and I don't know you--outside of what you showed me in your books--but I need to say thank you. I need to say it more than you or your heirs need to hear it, because yours were one of the earliest words to take me to other places, other worlds, making this real one so much more bearable and easier to comprehend.

You took me on your wild tesseract ride with your children, the Murrys, then later on the Austins. You made me consider kything as being more real than imagined (and I still do lean to the former than the latter), and you revealed to me that what may seem so little and inconsequential to human eyes have their importance and place in the universe.

I was only a kid, yet you spoke to me in elegant and crisp prose that I understood, and even now as an older man I still find touching. You showed how a story can have something beneath it, so deep beneath it, layers upon layers, and without being preachy, so that as a child I began to understand how the world has this potential to be so ugly, and that even small ones like me, even if we might fail, can at least try to do something to turn it around and make it beautiful. Inconsequential indeed am I, but nonetheless with a role and a place. When I became an adult I realized then that it was you who had taught me early humility, and proper pride.

Though I'm no Charles Wallace, I believed you when you wrote that "adults can go deeper", so maybe I can kythe you my appreciation, since now you can probably hear me much better.

Excuse me, ma'am. I just want to say thank you.

Madeleine L'Engle, 1918-2007.

*Yahoo News.
*An interview when she was 85. Tough lady! But we all gleaned that already from her books and because of the eras she wrote them in.
*A Filipina mourns Madeleine's passing.
*Booktopia, a PGS distributor, remembers the author.
*An entry with a poem at Miamor. The poem speaks of death in the same way that Dylan Thomas's Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night does, but with less defiance and more joy. Typical of Madeleine, as Miamor has pointed out to me.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Mia said...

You know, I got misty-eyed when I first read about her death. She has been and (I hope) will always be one of my favorite writers.

(Oh, and thanks for linking :D)

9:59 PM  
Blogger pgenrestories said...

Madeleine was one of the first I ever read, Mia. I was fortunate to find a fine one. I didn't know what to make of that old Wrinkle In Time in my school library, with Meg, Calvin, and Charles on the cover riding on who I would discover later to be Mrs. Whatsit. Many of the writers I grew up reading as a child have passed, or are gone. Makes me feel older than I am, and sadder than I have a right to be, and with each passing the part of me as a kid that first enjoyed and discovered reading just hurts more. I felt something really painful when I read that Madeleine had passed. I'm afraid of the inevitable for the others, like Ursula K. LeGuin, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, E.L. Konigsburg.

But I find relief and comfort in the fact that their books are still here for others to read, and that there are new writers to discover and read. :)

And that poem you posted? I have a feeling that, despite their differences in their opinion on
the existence of God, Philip Pullman would have approved of Madeleine's poem.

Nice post on science for writers by the way.

And thanks for dropping by and commenting!

10:31 PM  
Blogger Mia said...

Oh, le Guin! I love her just as much. (Why do I have to love so many old authors? --More people to mourn...)

Isn't A Wrinkle in Time incredible? Fourteen years later, it's still powerful and heart-wrenching. I'm glad you liked the poem I posted! It appeared on the greatpoets LJ community the day Madeleine passed away.

and with each passing the part of me as a kid that first enjoyed and discovered reading just hurts more -- So true.

Thanks for the compliment re: the science post, by the way. :) I'm planning to read more (and learn more about) science fiction these coming months.

11:12 PM  
Blogger pgenrestories said...

I agree. A Wrinkle In Time still resonates up to now. I like going back to it every now and then, even if my copy's pages are yellowing and musty from age. A Wind In the Door is also good, and so is A Swiftly Tilting Planet, though that one I feel gets a little heavier than the first two.

Many Waters is like a separate story, like Madeleine just wanted to give the twins a story too.

And good luck with science fiction! Its definition and scope have broadened over the years.

11:31 PM  

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