Sunday, January 17, 2010

Feeling Rejected? Don't Be Dejected!

I didn't discover Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time until I was an adult in the early years of my spiritual awakening. It's a gem of a book, filled -- as is all her writing -- with spiritual truths for young adults and adults alike. Today, nearly two decades after that first reading, the profound wisdom of this prolific author and devout Episcopalian continues to inspire me.

One of my favorite L'Engle stories, apart from the one that follows, comes from one of her nonfiction books -- I don't now remember which. In it she describes legions of white-bearded Old Testament prophets, their faces raised to the sky, shouting up at God, incredulously: "You want me to do
what!?" There are days I know just how they felt!

I first posted a version of this piece about rejection in June 2008. But I've reposted the link so often, I decided to make it new again.

Feeling rejected? When you read L'Engle's story, I guarantee you
won't be dejected!


Author Madeleine L'Engle received two years' worth of rejections from 26 publishers for her novel A Wrinkle in Time, which, once it was finally published in 1962, went on to win major awards and be translated into more than a dozen languages.

Toward the end of that two-year period, L'Engle covered up her typewriter and decided to give up -- on A Wrinkle in Time and on writing. Then on her way downstairs, a revelation: an idea for a novel about failure. In a flash, she was back at the typewriter.

"That night," as she explained in April 1993 on the PBS documentary Madeleine L'Engle: Stargazer, "I wrote in my journal, 'I'm a writer. That's who I am. That's what I am. That's what I have to do -- even if I'm never, ever published again.' And I had to take seriously the fact that I might never, ever be published again. ... It's easy to say I'm a writer now, but I said it when it was hard to say. And I meant it."

Today, the bibliography on L'Engle's web site lists 62 works spanning the period from 1944 through 2005, plus a 63rd, published posthumously in 2008. Sadly, Madeleine L'Engle died in September 2007.

"I cannot possibly tell you how I came to write A Wrinkle in Time," her New York Times obituary quotes her as having said. "It was simply a book I had to write. I had no choice."


Whether you're published or not, if you're writing, you are a writer.

Need some help believing that? Listen to the guided meditation, "You Are A Writer," from The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers.





Writing/Creativity Coaching Sessions with Mark David

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Mark David's January Workshops / Denver Area

Free Talk, Author Q&A and book-signing
Topic: Birthing Your Book...Even If You Don't Know What It's About
Thursday, Jan 28~ 7pm~ Bemis Public Library, Littleton, CO

Writing workshop -- From Memory to Memoir: Writing the Stories of Your Life
Friday, Jan 29 ~ 6-9pm ~ Colorado Free University, Denver, CO

Writing workshop -- Write in the Flow: Answering Your Call to Write
Saturday, Jan 30 ~ 10am-4:30pm ~ Colorado Free University, Denver, CO

The Call to Write: Answering the Voice of Your Muse
Sunday, Jan 31 ~ 1-5pm ~ Phoenix Healing Center, Longmont, CO


Mark David's February Events / Los Angeles

Conscious Life Expo, LAX Hilton
• Friday, Feb 12 ~ 7pm
Free Talk
• Fri, Feb 12 - Sun, Feb 14
At booth #505, offering discounted coaching sessions, signing books, answering writing questions

6 comments:

Will said...

I used to read and reread L'Engle. Awesome post, Mark David--thank you.

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, Will. She was such an inspiration to me that I always hoped to get a chance to meet her in person, as well as through her books. Alas, it never happened.

Karen Walker said...

Now I definitely have to add this book and this author to my must-read list. Such a wonderful reminder to those of us struggling in this writing life. Thanks.
Karen

Cyn Narcisi said...

I read A Wrinkle In Time when I was a kid in the 70's. After having read your post, I now look forward to reading it again as a 39 year old in the midst of my own spiritual seeking. Thank you, Mark!

sallyhanan said...

My kids loved her books. I do believe there are some books that guide many without intending to be a guide.

Jeff Ballam said...

My 6th grade teacher read this book aloud to us. I re-read it later and then discovered the (then) three sequels. I just did a literature study with my fifth graders and one student informed me of the fifth book in the series! I can't wait to read the entire series again.

Great post, Mark David. Thanks for sharing.