I remember catching the spark from Madeleine L'Engle. Madeleine L'ENGLE had just published A Wrinkle in Time in 1962. I read it in 1966. I related to the adventurous girl in the story. I was an adventurous 12 year old. I explored the land around my house and imagined monsters in creeks, mysterious strangers in abandoned cabins, and hideouts in trees.
But it was more than an adventure story. A Wrinkle In Time, gave 12 year old me permission to experience the deeply profound issues that swirled around me as I entered the bigger world. I still remembers her chilling portayal of conformity:
"As the skipping rope hit the pavement, so did the ball. As the rope curved over the head of the jumping child, the child with the ball caught the ball. Down came the ropes. Down came the balls. Over and over again. Up. Down. All in rhythm. All identical. Like the houses. Like the paths. Like the flowers."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
Her advice on writing resonates with me today: "You are given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."
Thank you Madeleine L'Engle for sharing your imagination and insights with an adventurous twelve year old girl. I will always be grateful.