Madeleine L’Engle: Artist at Work

“In art we are once again able to do all the things we have forgotten; we are able to walk on water; we speak to the angels who call us; we move, unfettered among the stars.

We write, we make music, we draw pictures, because we are listening for meaning, feeling for healing. And during the writing of the story, or the painting, or the composing or singing or playing, we are returned to that open creativity which was ours when we were children. We cannot be mature artists if we have lost the ability to believe which we had as children. An artist at work is in a condition of complete and total faith.”

— Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water

Don’t you love Madeleine L’Engle? I truly wish I could have met her.

Beyond the beauty and evocative imagery of the writing, this quote feels so right for launching a new creative endeavor. The thought of starting a blog or sending anything out into the cluttered waters of the web is a bit daunting, but I find myself in agreement with L’Engle’s wise, wise words. Every creative act is an act of faith. It’s a step out onto the water.

When L’Engle writes about the “open creativity” we had as children, I think she’s on to something. A young child who draws doesn’t necessarily care what his picture looks like. He cares about the act of drawing and the pleasure of it. You’ve seen it before: the child toils away on his masterwork, and as soon as he’s done, he rushes to give it away. To share it.

Too often, as we get older, we start to censor ourselves. We hesitate. We judge. We take a step and think, “Eep! This water is too cold! Too deep! I can’t do this!”

And then we start to believe it.

For me, this quote is a good reminder to dump those things that bog me down and stop me from doing the work of creating and sharing. It’s a call to action as much as it is an observation. This quote is also why I added a picture of the ocean. I snapped the photo this summer while I was on vacation with my family. I love it, and it just seemed to fit.

So this blog is a next step. I’ll use it to share writing, ideas, and to connect with the wider world of storytellers and enthusiasts who make the book community such a vibrant and rewarding place.

Thanks for visiting and reading. I’m so glad to have you along.

(PS — If you haven’t read Walking on Water, I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful book!)