Monday, September 10, 2007

My Madeliene L'Engle Story

In Fourth Grade, our class read A Wrinkle In Time. I adored it. I was already an avid reader, and was always excited and thrilled to find more stories. Then a classmate told me there were more. I remember being a little jealous that she already knew what happened to Meg and Calvin and Charles Wallace. I quickly got the rest of the books from the library and read them.
I'm not sure if it was the same year, but certainly still elementary school, our librarian arranged for us to have a call with Ms. L'Engle. We had a phone set up at the front of the room on speaker, and each of us was allowed to ask a question. Having read The Young Unicorns I asked her how much of the laser work on eyes was made up. She responded that while she had fast forwarded the successes a bit, that there were people working on using laser technology to correct eyesight. In the early 1980's - to me that seemed magical, although it is fairly simple now.
During my scavenging of the L section in the library, I found the Austin series. (There is some character swapping from the series, Zach ends up meeting Meg and Calvin's daughter, and Adam, Calvin's assistant, meets Vickie Austin.) The summer I was sixteen, I read Ring of Endless Light.
In Ring Vickie is sixteen, so I felt a special kinship. My grandfathers were each ailing, although their afflictions were different than Vickie's grandfather. (My summer did not involve dolphins or two very different guys vying for my attention.) I adored this story such that I often stopped reading so I could explain the latest part to anyone who would listen. So, several of my friends, ended up vicariously reading the story.
It was fourteen years before L'Engle published the next installment of Vickie's journey, but my mother and I both devoured the story quickly. And now, with her death, that is where that journey will end.
But it is a wonderful legacy, over 60 books, including a sci-fi novel, considered unconventional because it was told through the eyes of a girl, that still appeals to people today.

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.

I do not think that I will ever reach a stage when I will say, "This is what I believe. Finished." What I believe is alive ... and open to growth.

The great thing about getting older is that You don't lose all the other ages you've been.

When we fall as we always do, we pick ourselves up and start again. And when our trust is betrayed the only response that is not destructive is to trust again. Not stupidly you understand, but fully aware of the facts, we still have to trust. The Young Unicorns

You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you. A Wrinkle in Time

For the things that are seen are temporal, but things that are unseen are eternal. A Wrinkle in Time

Maybe you have to know darkness before you can appreciate the light. A Ring of Endless Light

What I think is that if we're still around after we die, it will be more like those moments when we let go, than the way we are most of the time. It'll be--it'll be the self beyond the self we know. A Ring of Endless Light