Thursday, February 08, 2018

Book Review: A Circle of Quiet (Crosswicks Journals #1) by Madeleine L'Engle

A Circle of Quiet (Crosswicks Journals #1) by Madeleine L'Engle
Paperback, 256 pages
Published 1971 

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

I loved this book so much! And reading this reminds me of how much I love Madeleine L'Engle and how much I want to read (and re-read) everything she wrote!

I shouldn't really be surprised given how much I love L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time books. And this book gives us her thoughts on everything from theology, writing, children’s education, writing books for children vs. adults, and more.

There is also encouragement here for those who want to see their own books published: A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times before it was published!
"A Wrinkle in Time was almost never published. You can’t name a major publisher who didn’t reject it. And there were many reasons. One was that it was supposedly too hard for children. Well, my children were 7, 10, and 12 while I was writing it. I’d read to them at night what I’d written during the day, and they’d say, “Ooh, mother, go back to the typewriter!” A Wrinkle in Time had a female protagonist in a science fiction book, and that wasn’t done. And it dealt with evil and things that you don’t find, or didn’t at that time, in children’s books. When we’d run through forty-odd publishers, my agent sent it back. We gave up." - L'Engle
And even though this was published in 1971 there are some parts that feel as though they could have been written this year:
“This sense of urgency has always been with my children, and those I work and talk with. They’ve grown up knowing that at any moment we could blow up our planet if some madman pushes the wrong button.” - L'Engle
“….we were listening to the news and when the weather report was announced he said, “Storms tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow.” - L'Engle
But I think the parts that resonated with me the most were where she talks about her own doubts in the midst of faith:
"I found myself earnestly explaining to the young minister that I did not believe in God, 'but I've discovered that I can't live as though I didn't believe in him. As long as I don't need to say any more than that I try to live as though I believe in God, I would very much like to come to church--if you'll let me.” - L'Engle
“The minute we begin to think we have all the answers, we forget the questions.” - L'Engle
I'll leave you with some of my favorite quotes from this book on writing:
"If a writer says he doesn’t care whether he is published or not, I don’t believe him. I care. Undoubtedly I care too much. But we do not write for ourselves alone. I write about what concerns me, and I want to share my concerns. I want what I write to be read. Every rejection slip—and you could paper walls with my rejection slips—was like the rejection of me, myself, and certainly or my amour-propre. I learned all kinds of essential lessons during those years of rejection, and I’m glad to have had them, but I wouldn’t want to have to go through them again." - L'Engle
"Of course. It’s all been said better before. If I thought I had to say it better than anybody else, I’d never start. Better or worse is immaterial. The thing is that it has to be said, by me, ontologically. We each have to say it, to say it our own way. Not of our own will, but as it comes out through us. Good or bad, great or little: that isn’t what human creation is about. It is that we have to try; to put it down in pigment, or words, or musical notations, or we die." - L'Engle
A Circle of Quiet Purchase Links: PaperbackKindle Edition, Audible Audiobook

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