Sunday, December 27, 2009

Time after Time

If I had to choose one author who has had the most impact on me, it would be Madeleine L'Engle. As a reclusive young adult, I barricaded myself in my room with a treasure trove of her books. Lost in the fantastic world of her imagination, I transformed from a girl who was afraid to cross the street to become a fearless heroine. From reading her first published novel, A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, to her latest posthumous novel, The Joys of Love, I have discovered more about myself that I ever thought possible.

As an adult, I have rediscovered L'Engle's novels like long-lost friends. It is a distinct pleasure to remember the time when I identified so strongly with Meg Murray, a late-bloomer who gains the confidence to save her father from a great evil. The evils I encountered were on a much smaller scale; they came in the guise of mean girls, tyrannical teachers, and quarreling parents. Still, pain is pain and my alienation and angst only grew without a release. Finally, instead of delving into math, as Meg did, I tapped into my strengths and began to express myself through writing. Inspired by the setting of Camazotz in A Wrinkle in Time, I wrote:

. . . There is a place where no one is happy
They beat to the same rhythm
They cannot understand anything at all
In Camazotz, it's strangest of all
Whether on Camazotz or on earth

Remember to stay close to your heart


I'll spare you the rest of my unpolished middle school scrawl. Still, I know that whatever I write today is directly effected by the works of Madeleine L'Engle. Whenever I ponder the existence of good and evil, the evolution from childhood to adulthood, or the power of hate and love, I need only to remember the epic struggles of the Murray and Austin families, and I have my answers. A Wrinkle in Time will always be timeless for me. Time after time I will reread it and gain new insights into the child I was and the adult I am becoming.


For your own edification and humor (feel free to laugh at the overly dramatic lines), I am posting a selection of poetry I wrote as an adolescent inspired by the works of Madeliene L'Engle. Enjoy!

Anger

An Echthros victory
a life of bickering
a family apart
not very smart
greed and lust
no trust
a heart of sorrow
that stays til the morrow
shedding of tears
hurting your peers
sitting alone
cut to the bone
Sad

Happiness

Adds to the Ancient Harmonies
Pulls together families
Makes peace
Anger cease
Trust and love
No guns
Simple lives
Sadness dies
New revival
Own survival
Peace of Nations
Healing of Patients
Joy

The Nephilim (Many Waters)

We had no choice
we had no free will
and we are frozen by an iron chill
We had no words - our lips are locked
and we don't know how to stop

Chorus - And there's nothing we can do.
There's nothing to say.
We have forsworn Heaven and this is the price we pay
Our evil ways won't go away and we feel no shame

We have no hearts
we have no souls
and we are disowned
We have no morals
we have no sins
and we have no way to get in

Chorus

We gave it up so we could live
we let it go so we could take
and never to return from where we came
we are dispossessed, we are alone
and to Heaven, we have no hold

Champagne (A House Like a Lotus) (with lines extracted from the novel)

Champagne flowing, the bubbles spill over the glass
the intoxication of living and dying
an icon of a new world, of art and music and ideas
out of this dark cocoon
into a butterfly, my arms now freed
a rainbow of color in her eyes
a wildness, a fear
pouring another glass and
confessing her darkest secrets
"Damn you, Pa! I'm just like you!"
the light touching the Laughing Christ
Revealing the compassion in his eyes
then . . . madness - running terrified from the nothingness
the Laughing Christ falls and shatters
my idol, lying drunk and sobbing
my heart like a lotus
a whole world inside
now broken and scarred
my mouth tasting like metal
dead bubbles and
Emptiness

Antarctica (Troubling a Star)

The blue glaciers upon the frozen sea
eyes wide open in disbelief
an experience you'll never forget
penguins play but do not love
whales fluke
they sing
snow lays forever upon the precious land
seals relaxing on the snow
her harp plays my song
like the penguins she won't make
herself vulnerable
look at them and find your answer
How could be be so cold?
Antarctica

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