I just found out.

To say that I’m saddened by the news is more complicated than it sounds. And many others feel the same.

Madeleine L’Engle was more than a writer to me. She was an influence. I started reading L’Engle’s works when she was introduced to me by a beloved English teacher. I read A Wrinkle in Time, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book. By the time I reached A Swiftly Tilting Planet, my favorite by the way, her writing style had sunk deep into the recesses of my mind. And it stayed there. And it rose up inside of me on an occasion when I began to write. I wrote, page after page, the inspiration flooding my thoughts, until I had finished the short story that my favorite English professor compared to the writing style of Madeleine L’Engle. And I was proud, honored, and humbled to be compared to such a great writer.

So, now she is gone and the articles are being written, tributes from all over, of people, writers, literary enthusiasts, and the like are pouring their hearts out over the loss of this writer who spoke to the masses. I stand amazed at the scope of her influence. I feel inspired myself, to finish the work I started, to write the books that are in my head, the books that are a prototype of L’Engle’s imagination.

Will I do it? Honestly, I don’t know. I’ll try. I want to. I need to. I just don’t know if I have the discipline to.

For now, I’ll start with my short story. It needs tweaking, but it isn’t bad as it is. Perhaps that is my beginning.

5 thoughts on “Influences

  1. Jana Swartwood says:

    When I found out, I had such an odd mix of sorrow and peace about it. Yes, she’ll never write anything else for us, and yet her life was full and her writings will be with us forever.On another note, yes, write. I remember reading something (might have been L’Engle, actually) about a writer trying to teach people at a writer’s workshop about writing. And her first question was, “Do you love words? Because if you don’t, you shouldn’t be writing.”You, my friend, love words. And should never stop sharing them, even though you see their imperfections.

  2. Coley says:

    Jai, it is bittersweet. She has left an amazing legacy for those of us who love to write!Thanks for the encouragement. I know I need to just get up the courage to publish this story. Oddly, it isn’t the rejection that I’m worried about. I know that rejections will come to anyone that wants to write. I’m worried that if I publish one, I won’t be able to find the inspiration to write another. Then where will I be?I have to begin somewhere, though.

  3. Jana Swartwood says:

    There’s a quote by Annie Dillard that I adore: “[T]he impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”All that to say…what good is it if you just keep it to yourself? I’m not saying publish it today or tomorrow. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t hone it till you feel it’s ready. But how can you be filled with more inspiration if you have not yet released that which has been given to you?

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