I was saddened to learn of the death on Thursday of writer Madeleine L’Engle, aged 88. She’s probably best known for her children’s fantasies, which I first read as an adult and found enthralling, but she also wrote prolifically about art, creativity and Christianity. ‘Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art’ is very dear to me, but this quote is from ‘A Circle of Quiet’, which strangely enough, I bought just last Monday.
It’s all been said better before. If I thought I had to say it better than anybody else, I’d never start. Better or worse is immaterial. The thing is that it has to be said; by me; ontologically. We each have to say it, to say it our own way. Not of our own will, but as it comes out through us. Good or bad, great or little: that isn’t what human creation is about. It is that we have to try; to put it down in pigment, or words, or musical notations, or we die.
Leif Enger in the foreword to ‘Penguins and Golden Calves’ called Madeleine L’Engle
… chiefly an apologist for joy – one of the rare ones who consistently upholds her own definition of art: that which speaks of what was true, is true, and what will be true.
And I would add – along with joy – love, playfulness, and mercy. A great writer and a wise woman. Her spirit touched mine and I will miss her.