If You Could Meet Any Writer…

I was all geared up to post about tone today, but a recent post over at Murder She Writes made me change my mind (tone to come later this week).  They reproduced (with permission, of course) Madeleine L’Engle’s acceptance speech for the Newbery Award, written in 1963.  I’d read it before, but a refresher certainly didn’t hurt.  “A book, too, can be a star, ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,’ a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”  Regardless of what we may write, how can anyone not find this inspiring? 

And that got me thinking again about authors I admire and would like to meet.  If I could meet and spend an afternoon or a day with any author, dead or alive, who would it be?  As much as I revere Nora for her goddess-like greatness in the romance community, my answer would have to be Madeleine L’Engle.  I’ve read and own about half the books she’s ever published.  It’s a lifetime goal of mine to collect them all.  Why?  Quite simply because her books and her words have been my stars.  She has inspired me all my life, from my first reading of A Wrinkle in Time when I was 11, through the non-fiction Crosswicks Journals to which I return time after time.  I may never have met her, but she has had a profound impact on my life through her work–not only on me as a writer, but on my faith and my confidence as a human being.  I feel a kinship with her unlike any other writer I’ve read.  Whenever the font seems to run dry on my work or my faith (and this is not intended to be a religious post, but she’s got some really wonderful books on the subject), she’s who I always turn to.  I have reread A Circle of Quiet so often that I had to get a new copy.  The first was falling apart.  That’s a sign of a good book.  So she’s who I would like to meet.

How about y’all?  If you could meet any writer, living or dead, who would it be and why?

2 thoughts on “If You Could Meet Any Writer…

  1. I too admire Madeleine L’Engle’s writings. I know it shouldn’t but sometimes it depresses to ask the question: Could I ever write this good? I also admire the classical writers like Jane Austen, Emily Bronte and Agatha Christie. I would like to meet Emily Bronte, strange maybe but I find her intriguing. Thanks for sharing this

  2. My answer to this will change every few months, but currently: Virginia Woolf. Her almost-hyperlinked flitting of perspective, thought, and event in lean, elegant, mesmerizing stream-of-consciousness prose (vs. Joyce’s ponderous, shoot-’em-all-and-let-God-sort-’em-out approach) prefigured the internet and the pervasive interconnectedness of modern society in a way I find inadvertently prescient. And she wrote (and presumably thought) like this before the advent of most modern communication devices and concepts. I hate to trot out the buzzwords, but I consider this truly visionary. What would she make of a world that is becoming more connected yet simultaneously more isolated, just as her own writing intimated by exploring the minds of mundane people? How would the imagery and information overload of modern society influence her highly poetic style? What contemporary authors would she admire? What would she think of her own impact on literature? (I am betting she would laugh heartily at “The Hours.”)

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