Sunday, September 09, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle

In 1998 I went to hear Madeleine L'Engle speak on the topic "Garbage and Grace: the Ecosystem of the Soul". She spoke for an hour in the morning about how we chose what, of all our experiences, possessions, relationships, thoughts, and ideas we chose to "throw away" or release from our lives. We broke for lunch and then she spoke for another hour about what we ought to "learn to keep". She was brilliant. I wish I had taken written notes so I could share her original wisdom with you here, but what really stands out in my memory is the intensity with which she impressed on us the eternal impact of those choices.

We stood in line for an hour afterward to get her to sign our books. Later I realized that I should have bought new copies of A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door for her to sign, instead of the old paperbacks I brought. Sigh. They are two of very few author-signed books that I own. She was one of my favorites and I read those books (and her others) over and over growing up. She past away at the age of 88 last Friday. I look forward to meeting her on the other side.

More to read on Madeleine L'Engle:

Thanks to ChickenSpaghetti for these great links.


Beth said...

Thanks for posting the links. I find it very sad that she died in a nursing home, after caring for her mother and husband at home until they died, and after writing characters who abhorred the very notion of going to a nursing home. I do hope she wasn't alone, at the end.

I loved her books so much. I met her when I was fifteen. I wrote a post about her too ...

Daphne said...

I wrote her an adoring letter when I was 11 and received a nice note back. I think she is still here with us. Today I was at a meeting where there was a chronological discrepancy on the agenda, and the person leading the meeting said, "We must have had a tesseract."

Mo K said...

I'm pretty sure her family was with her. It wasn't publicized but she as been very unwell for a while.