Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, April 18, 2008

Madeleine L'Engle & Julie Wright

Julie Wright is one of my favorite writers. Also one of my favorite people. Whenever I feel a little blue, I go to her website and am immediately lost in the wonder of all things Jules. While I love everything on her website and blog, this post about another of my heroes, Madeleine L’Engle, took my breath away. I’m sharing it here today with her permission.

Madeleine L'Engle and Me

by Julie Wright
I bought the book A Circle of Quiet just after my booksigning at the BYU symposium. It was on sale, and I can’t turn down a sale. I love to tell Scott how much money I save him. Besides, I loved reading A Wrinkle in Time when I was in fourth grade and was happy to read more about her.

I have shed many a tear since then. Madeleine and I have quite a bit in common. We’re both neurotic writers. We’re both mothers trying to juggle writing careers while dealing with the tsk tsks from other mothers who have it all together when we don’t. We both own grocery stores in small communities. We both married men who loved acting. We’ve been dealt the stinging blow of rejection and have come back screaming, “Is that all you got?”

Okay so maybe neither of us came back screaming for more, but we did come back . . . isn’t that the important thing?

I hate how I’ve discovered how much I love this woman only after it was too late to ever meet her. Madeleine died last September. I would love to give her a hug and say, “Thanks for understanding my very weird life.”

Something that struck me as utterly profound was this statement she made after a rejection she received on her fortieth birthday. This was after her years in the thirties, which were filled with endless manuscript rejections and incredible guilt for taking time to write books when she worried she might be better occupied to learn to make cherry pie and do as other–more proper–mothers do. She decided to, “Stop this foolishness and learn to make cherry pie.”

She covered her typewriter in what she refers to as a great gesture of renunciation and walked around and around her room bawling, totally, utterly miserable.

While pacing and bawling, she stopped, realizing her subconscious mind had already begun working out a novel about failure.

She uncovered her typewriter.

This was her moment of decision. This was her moment where she realized she WAS a writer, no matter what, even if she never had another book published.

A quote from her on this matter is, “I’m glad I made this decision in the moment of failure. It’s easy to say you’re a writer when things are going well.”

I mourn the fact I never got to hug her.

There have been several rocky years where I was faced with the very real possibility that I would never see my name on a future publication. There was a time when I covered my computer, and said, “Stop this foolishness and learn to make pie.” Okay, maybe I never said I’d learn to make pie, but there are so many ways I fall short of other women because I have split my life into other things. I would stop the foolishness of writing, and be like other moms.

I uncovered my computer.

I, too, am glad to have made this decision in my moments of failure. And now with another book coming out, quite possibly two, I wonder that I even considered it. There is no such thing as second child infertility with novel writing. If you can write one . . . you can write two, and more. If you can make the choice to keep writing amidst rejection and failure, then you’ve proved something important–to you and to the world, but most importantly to you.

You proved you really are a writer.

While Julie Wright has already proved that she really is one of the most gifted writers in this dispensation (My Not-So Fairy-Tale Life, To Catch a Falling Star, Loved Like That), she’s about to prove it again with a new release coming out this fall. You can catch a sneak preview of Seeking Zion and The Day My Subconscious Betrayed Me and two more on her website. (Lucky you.) It is right here. At least I hope it is. If it isn’t, it’s at www dot Julie Wright dot com. Go now. You can thank me (profusely) later.


At 4/18/2008 1:57 PM, Blogger Traci Hunter Abramson said...

Thanks for sharing! I know there are days when it's so easy to let everyday life get in the way of writing, but it's so gratifying when the words start coming. Now back to the computer.

At 4/18/2008 2:31 PM, Blogger Julie Wright said...

Kerry, there are few people who make me feel as good about me as you do. Thanks for everything.

At 4/18/2008 4:18 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Jules, you and Kerry have that in common. You're both awfully good at making someone else (me) feel good. Great blog.

At 4/19/2008 11:33 AM, Blogger Carole Thayne said...

Ahhhh, great post. I love Julie too and got to listen to Madeline L'engle speak. She was amazing.

At 4/19/2008 12:34 PM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

Awesome blog, Julie and Kerry. ;) I'm so glad you shared.

At 4/20/2008 10:48 AM, Blogger Marta O. Smith said...

Kerry and Julie, you were an answer to my prayers today. Seriously, I was praying about my writing just 5 minutes before I read this blog.

This is my favorite Madeleine L'Engle quote: "I have to constantly balance 'being a writer' with being a wife and mother. It's a matter of putting two different things first, simultaneously."

At 4/20/2008 8:10 PM, Blogger Crystal Liechty said...

Great blog! I'm a big Jules fan myself. And Madeliene fan. Wrinkle in Time is one of my top 10 favorite books of all time. Thanks for sharing, Kerry!

At 4/22/2008 1:26 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I love Julie's books! I can't wait for Seeking Zion to come out! (Is that the final title)


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