Saturday, September 08, 2007


Madeleine L’Engle died Thursday at age 88. She was born the year after my dad, two years after my mom. I read only one of her children’s books, the most famous, the science fiction A Wrinkle in Time, for which she won the Newberry Award in 1963.

The heroine of this book, Meg, is given time and space travel powers to rescue her scientist father on another planet via the tesseract.

I’ve been thinking about tesseracts for the last few days. Well, not exactly tesseracts. I’ve been thinking about doorways and pathways to be kept open.

I was talking yesterday with Inge about not being as interested in poetry as in photography. “Maybe I’ll stop going to Sapphos” (my poetry group), I said. And she said, “Why decide that? Why close the door? If you say, ‘I’ve stopped writing poetry’ on such-and-such a day, then a couple of weeks later, when you’re inspired to write one, you might say to yourself, ‘Oh, no, I decided I wasn’t going to write poetry any more.’”

Madeleine’s imagination kept doors open.

Douglas Martin in the NYT writes today that she called herself a French peasant cook, who drops a carrot in one pot, a piece of potato in another and an onion and a piece of meat in another.

"'At dinnertime, you look and see which pot smells best and pull it forward . . .The same is true with writing,' she continued. 'There are several pots on my backburners.'"

Thank you, Madeleine.


lesleyanne said...

wow Madeleine L'Engle. thank you for bringing her into my mind again. i haven't thought about her for some time, and it's sad to me that she returns to me only after her death. she opened so many doors to me as well.
i can't imagine you not writing poetry. please don't close that door. i know we had a conversation earlier about motivation and so on.
i'll call you later, we can continue the conversation. too much to write for a little comment on your blog!
i love you.

JoAnn - NL "My digital eyes" :) said...

Hi Ruth,
I Love this post however I do not know this woman Madeleine, we all have an insprering person, right? Do you write yourself also poetry? Just wondering, if so and if you not feel like it 'a time' you will another time. Its in your soul..

Thanks for being so kind to react on my blog ( I could not meet ginnie because I am 'still' sick) but we will Ruth, for sure its just a matter of time, but i have besides this a chronical desease, I heal very slow from all sicknesses. Ginnie seems to be 10 years younger (in energy) than me.

Have a goodweekend Haaaaaatssjeee! :0 joAnn

Ruth said...

Les, I've written here in my blog before how I start a project or a new craft, and then lose momentum and interest. I blow the horn for it at first, like "I'm learning to paint!" and then I haven't even painted a wash on a canvas. But I don't mind at all. I just have to remember that just because I am not doing it today, that does not mean I will never want to do it again. And what difference does it make anyway, except in my own mind?

Ruth said...

JoAnn, thank you for that encouragement. You are right. If it is inside me, I will do it again. Yes, I write a bit of poetry.

Yes, I read about your illness on your blog, which is the same as a friend of mine. I've watched her go through some difficult times. I hope you will have patience and that the illness itself will not cause you further heartache and stress. But that must be difficult to do. Please rest and take care of yourself. I hope you and Ginnie (I call her "Boots") can meet up next week.

Heather said...

Ruth, I believe that you'll keep writing. My interest in poetry waxes and wanes and yet I still come back to it. There's something about it that pulls me along. One thing I find so frustrating about poetry is the whole "poetry world" where you have to know this person or that person to get a decent publication. There's definitely an "in" crowd, and that bugs me. But I suppose it is that way with every art and occupation. Even in the library world there are the "superstars" the "up and comers" and it all just makes me tired. Just keep doing what you're doing. It will work out eventually.

Just a few minutes ago, I unsubscribed to the Writer's Almanac. Why? Because I don't find it inspiring, and I never seem to read it anymore. I just click delete. It seems horrible for a writer to unsubscribe to the Writer's Almanac, but they so rarely feature poems that I enjoy that I decided, what the heck. Keep in mind that we must make our own inspiration.

Ruth said...

Heather, you are much more aware of the "poetry world" than I. I sometime feel guilty that I don't pay attention to it. Maybe my subconscious knows I would get frustrated too.

I unsubscribed from the Writers Almanac too. Like blogging or any other craft that we love to do, we have to choose our own pace. When I was doing the East Lansing Daily Photo, I figured out that the pace was not right for me. Yet I can post a photo almost every day on Flying. What I feed myself and what I get hungry for daily is a constant choice. And hey, I get to decide. And so do you.

Loring said...

Ruth, I never thought I'd rely on your blog to fill in obituary blanks. I did not see L'Engle's obituary anywhere, on line or in print. It seems to indicate another failure of wide-scope, global journalism in an era where we care more about Lindsay Lohan's arrest record. Or maybe I just wasn't paying strict enough attention.

Ruth said...

Loring, given your position and scouring of the Net, that really is disturbing. I only heard about it myself from my sister Ginnie. But then I found the NYT piece by looking rather deeply.

KMF said...

fantastic photos i love the refflection of water on the second photo

Ruth said...

Thank you, KMF. These were taken at our family cottage last October. It was a rare morning that I was up and out on the lake before the moon set.

Raw Kale said...

Wow, this post has really stirred up the dead thoughts in all of us, hasn't it? I love the way death encourages us to live all the more fiercely! I have to get a new stove, if I am to open any more doors- but I won't let that stop me- new stove it is!

There is a great door I would like to open soon, speaking of journalism, called Check it out if you get a chance. I googled the author, Linda Moulton How, and she has an amazing journalism history. The sight has a fee, so I am waiting for that to manifest.

Also, I just wanted to add a diddy about your beautiful blue bird that is watching over me so often as I read your blog and write to you... I have become so aware of their presence. I saw one while I was in Monterrey perched on a branch. One of my guides, Gary, called it a blue jay, but I knew the truth, and the spectacular symbolism of it all. During my trips to California, I saw several blue birds- thanks to you:)

Britt-Arnhild said...

Madeleine was not very well known in Norway, but I know her name and think I have read one or two of her books.

Rauf said...

Oh dreamy pictures Ruth, i'd be lucky if i see such pictures in a dream. But i am looking at them on your page and it is not a dream. You are a poet in every minute Ruth, one day you decide to put your imagination in pictures and next day in words.

Never heard of the lady, don't know Paris Hilton either. Don't know if she is a hollywood actress or a model.

Ruth said...

RK, earthfiles looks fascinating, what a find. And Linda Moulton Howe is pretty young and cute, devoting her life to science, not accumulating dresses (or so I might guess). Thanks for that tip. I am finding new things all the time. You might check out something I might post about soon called BIOMIMICRY: Learning from Nature how to treat humans better and help solve problems.

I'm so happy the bluebird has visited you too. They are a charm, a delight, a breath of Nature's beauty.

Ruth said...

Britt-Arnhild, many here do not even know her, despite her awards and accomplishments. Maybe more will read her now.

Ruth said...

rauf, I appreciate what you wrote. Indeed, it is a way of looking at the world. It does not matter how or when it is expressed. Just like your life is a prayer.

You are not the only one in the dark about Paris Hilton's occupation. I don't think she has one.

Book Circle Blog said...

Thank you so much for that tip. I have contacted them regarding my ambitions and will wait to see what they think:) Most excellent source!

Ginnie said...

I got tears in my eyes while reading this post, Ruth. In her death I realize this amazing woman was deep inside of me. She was quite an eclectic in her dress (did you ever see full-dress photos of her?) and was a person I wanted to meet when I was very young. Kything is another of her words, when you can connect with people across great spaces. I think it happens to me all the time.

And you know these photos are so perfect. She would have loved them being connected to her.

Ruth said...

Ah, Boots. I didn't know this connection for you with her. I suppose you could call it kything. And no, I didn't remember that word. It's nice when a word is perfect for what you feel.

You know the day I took these pictures, last October, before the moon set. I think I kythed with someone that day, maybe the geese and the moon and the sun.

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