Write In Between

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Writer's Wednesday -- Madeleine L'Engle

Jesus told his friends and disciples over and over again that not only were they to let the little children come to him but that they were to be like little children themselves. When we are like little children, with the openess the child had up until the age for school, then we retain our ability to be creators, our willingness to be open, to believe.

I need not belabour the point that to retain our childlike openess does not mean to be childish. Only the most mature of us are able to be childlike. And to be able to be childlike involves memory; we must never forget any part of ourselves. As of this writing I am sixty-one years old in chronology. But I am not an isolated, chronological statistic. I am sixty-one, and I am also four, and twelve, and fifteen, and twenty-three, and thirty-one, and forty-five, and... and... and...

If we lose any part of ourselves, we are thereby diminished. If I cannot be thirteen and sixty-one simultaneously, part of me has been taken away...

The marvellous thing is that in the writing of fiction we can, indeed, be eighteen again, and retain all that has happened to us in our slow growing up. For growing up never ends; we never get there. I am still in the process of growing up, but I will make no progress if I lose any of myself on the way...

Creativity opens us to revelation... to see angels, to walk on water, to talk with unicorns. In the act of creativity, the artist lets go the self-control which he normally clings to and is open to riding the wind. Something almost always happens to startle us during the act of creating, but not unless we let go of our intellectual control and become open as little children. This means not to set aside or discard the intellect but to understand that it is not to become a dictator, for when it does we are closed off from revelation.

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