wrinkles in time

06Dec10

{above: Tiffany Bozic}

Time is terrifying. Can I get a witness?

When I read “A Wrinkle in Time” as a child, Madeleine L’Engle blew my mind into orbit. I remember lying in bed with the universe spinning around me, trying to comprehend the beginning and end of my life– trying to imagine the world before my window on it opened up. And seeing time as something that went far beyond my own small scope. It was a first exhilarating and terrifying look at mortality.

At this age, L’Engle’s view of time is more comforting. The mortal L’Engle is gone, but her words are here. And I suspect she is a new creature somehow. She was (is?) pretty wonderfully wacky. A holy fool. I’m forever different because of her.

“It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.”

“I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be… This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages…the delayed adolescent, the childish adult, but that they are in me to be drawn on; to forget is a form of suicide… Far too many people misunderstand what *putting away childish things* means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I’m with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up, then I don’t ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and *be* fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.”

From “A Wrinkle in Time,” about Earth: “They are very young. And on their earth, as they call it, they never communicate with other planets. They revolve about all alone in space.”  “Oh,” the thin beast said. “Aren’t they lonely?”

“But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career.”

“I think that all artists, regardless of degree of talent, are a painful, paradoxical combination of certainty and uncertainty, of arrogance and humility, constantly in need of reassurance, and yet with a stubborn streak of faith in their own validity no matter what.”

— Madeleine L’Engle

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2 Responses to “wrinkles in time”

  1. Thank you for reminding me of one of my favorite people and writers. I still hope to meet her one day! I had such a longing when she was alive to be in her presence.

  2. I adore Madeleine L’Engle. Her book “Walking on Water” blows my mind and always gets me out of a “painter’s block.” I want to grow up and think like her someday. 🙂


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