Madeleine L’Engle


American Novelist, Poet, Short Story Writer best known for novel "A Wrinkle In Time" winning the John Newbery Medal

Author Quotes

Papa's always had the ability to remember the good things and let the bad ones go. Not a bad ability.I'm not sure. I think we have to remember it all before we can forgive it.

Scar tissue was the strongest tissue in the human body.

People are more than just the way they look.

Schooling, instead of encouraging the asking of questions, too often discourages it.

Perhaps the times I seem most sure are the times I am most unsure. A good deal of the time I simply act, with great positiveness and very little assurance. I have all the arrogance of utter insecurity.

She always had to have someone to love... She couldn't seem to believe that anyone could really love her. She always thought it was because she was a star, not just because of her herself, and she always had to be reassured.

Perhaps what we are called to do may not seem like much, but the butterfly is a small creature to affect galaxies thousands of light years away.?

She began to feel the sense of wonderful elation that always came to her when beauty took hold of her and made her forget her fears.

Play is part of intimacy, and in our busy world we don't play enough.

She had that spontaneous quality of aliveness which illuminates people who have already done a lot of their dying, and I think I am beginning to understand the truth of that.

Poetry, at least the kind I write, is written out of immediate need; it is written out of pain, joy, and experience too great to be borne until it is ordered into words. And then it is written to be shared.

She seems to have had the ability to stand firmly on the rock of her past while living completely and unregretfully in the present.

Poets are born knowing the language of angels

Silence fell between them, as tangible as the dark tree shadows that fell across their laps and that now seemed to rest upon them as heavily as though they possessed a measurable weight of their own.

Prayer was never meant to be magic,' Mother said. 'Then why bother with it?' Suzy scowled. 'Because it's an act of love,' Mother said.

singing, each compassed by the rest, the many joined to one, the mightiest to the least. It is so great a thing to be an infinitesimal part of this immeasurable orchestra the music bursts the heart, and from this tiny plosion all the fragments join: Joy orders the disunity until the song is one.

Probably the worst thing that has happened to our understanding of reality has been the acceptance of ourselves as consumers.

Six months after I started to write Wrinkle, I discovered higher math. And for me, higher math is much easier than lower math. Lower math lost me in 4th grade when I was taught that 0 x 3 equals 0. Now, I understand that if I have nothing and I multiply it by 0, 3 something's are not going to appear. But, if I have 3 apples and I multiply them by 0, why are they going to vanish? So I wiped out lower math as philosophically untenable.

Progo,' Meg asked. 'You memorized the names of all the stars - how many are there?' How many? Great heavens, earthling. I haven't the faintest idea.' But you said your last assignment was to memorize the names of all of them.' I did. All the stars in all the galaxies. And that's a great many.' But how many?' What difference does it make? I know their names. I don't know how many there are. It's their names that matter.

So dis-aster is separation from the stars.

Questions are disturbing, especially those which may threaten our traditions, our institutions, our security. But questions never threaten the living God, who is constantly calling us, and who affirms for us that love is stronger than hate, blessings stronger than cursing.

So how do we do it? We can?t just sit down at our typewriters an turn out explosive material. I took a course in college on Chaucer, one of the most explosive, imaginative, and far-reaching in influence of all writers. And I?ll never forget going to the final exam and being asked why Chaucer used certain verbal devices, certain adjectives, why he had certain characters behave in certain ways. And I wrote in a white heat of fury, I don?t think Chaucer had any idea why he did any of these thing. That isn?t the way people write. I believe this as strongly now as I did then. Most of what is best in writing isn?t done deliberately.

Qui plussait, plus se tait. French, you know. The more a man knows, the less he talks.

So perhaps the reason I shuddered at the idea of writing something about 'Christian art' is that to paint a picture or to write a story or to compose a song is an incarnational activity. The artist is a servant who is willing to be a birth-giver. In a very real sense the artist (male or female) should be like Mary, who, when the angel told her that she was to bear the Messiah, was obedient to the command. Obedience is an unpopular word nowadays, but the artist must be obedient to the work, whether it be a symphony, a painting, or a story for a small child. I believe that each work of art, whether it is a work of great genius or something very small, comes to the artist and says 'Here I am. Enflesh me. Give birth to me.' And the artist either says 'My soul doth magnify the Lord' and willingly becomes the bearer of the work, or refuses; but the obedient response is not necessicarily a conscious one, and not everyone has the humble, courageous obedience of Mary.

Rather than feeling lost and unimportant and meaningless, set against galaxies which go beyond the reach of the furthest telescopes, I feel that my life has meaning. Perhaps I should feel insignificant, but instead I feel a soaring in my heart that the God who could create all this ? and out of nothing ? can still count the hairs of my head.

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American Novelist, Poet, Short Story Writer best known for novel "A Wrinkle In Time" winning the John Newbery Medal