"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 kept forgetting to write about how I felt to learn that Madeleine L'Engle died. Her books were such a part of my child and young adulthood that I think I kept avoiding acknowledging that there would be no more books from her. It reminded me of how I feel when I learn that someone I don't see much anymore has died, it doesn't affect your day to day too much, you just bump up against it at odd moments. I feel such a debt to her, for giving me a protagonist in Meg Murray that blows Potter out of the water, and for setting the stage for being able to hold contradictions and the unknown, and allowing a context for feelings to have value even if sometimes they are inexplicable. I'll never forget the witches in A Wind in the Door telling Meg; "Love is not how you feel, it's what you do." I find it fascinating that some of the most imaginative authors for children have been religious Christians: L"Engle, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien. I may not subscribe to their particular definition of how faith is practiced, but I can still hold the contradiction of how one chooses to operate in a world that doesn't often affirm holding onto the value of love.
She never let you forget that, even while valuing all the beauty that science holds:
"The scientists think it likely that there may be other planets out
there, but this far nobody's been able to communicate with anybody
else. Maybe we'd better learn to communicate with each other first."
Thank you Mado.