I have been feeling very uncreative lately. Like someone stuck a cork in my bottle of creative juices. I was blaming this on Madeline L'Engle's "Circle of Quiet," which I am currently reading. Hands down one of the best books I've read. Beautiful and inspiring, full of greatness and truth, but maybe my head is so full of that that until I'm done with it my own thoughts won't flow as freely. Or maybe it's something else entirely. Maybe I just have nothing to say.
Because of that I'm going to share some of Madeline's greatness. There are so so many things I could share (and I'm sure you'll be hearing more of her), but there is something that makes me say "YES!" every time she mentions something about it, because it's something I strive for and is a goal in teaching my children as well - coming face to face with greatness.
Oliver DeMille states that "reading and working with greatness inspires selves to become greater," and "who we are changes as we aspire."
Madeline L'Engle talks about it in this way:
"When we talk about ourselves as being part of the company of such people as Mozart or van Gogh or Dostoevsky, it has nothing to do with comparisons, or pitting talent against talent; it has everything to do with a way of looking at the universe. My husband said, "But people might think you're putting yourself alongside Dostoevsky." The idea is so impossible that I can only laugh in incredulity. Dostoevsky is a giant; I look up to him; I sit at his feet; perhaps I will be able to learn something from him. But we do face the same direction, no matter how giant his stride, how small mine" (38).
When she was being rejected by publishers, "It was great writing which kept me going" (39).
"Nobody can teach creative writing--run like made from anybody who thinks he can. But one can teach practices, like finger exercises on the piano; one can share the tools of the trade, and what one has gleaned from the great writers: it is the great writers themselves who do the teaching" (61).
"A great painting, or symphony, or play, doesn't diminish us, but enlarges us, and we, too, want to make our own cry of affirmation to the power of creation behind the universe. This surge of creativity has nothing to do with competition, or degree of talent. When I hear a superb pianist, I can't wait to get to my own piano, and I play about as well now as I did when I was ten. A great novel, rather than discouraging me, simply makes me want to write. This response on the part of any artist is the need to make incarnate the new awareness we have been granted through the genius of someone else...
"It is beauty crying out for more beauty" (147).
I actually feel terrible in a way for sharing this now, knowing that she'll be dropping more gems on this through the rest of the book. But here I go to hit the publish button, all in the name of sharing greatness.
I am loving learning from Madeline.