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Her lush use of words drew me into this memoir right away.
I chose to read this because I loved A Wrinkle in Time--it was my all time favorite childhood story. I felt (at the time) that she had written about me, I was a typical `Meg'. Madeleine L'Engle made the story REAL and for a fantasy this is big.
In a Circle of Quiet I heard the voice that had written a Wrinkle in Time. I wouldn't call this so much an memoir as much as I would say it is the metage of the authors thoughts. And I loved her thoughts and the way they darted from one point to another with nothing leading up to the reason why. But this also made me read slowly, sometimes going back to a passage to savor it.
It was quite a short book and this too was perfect. I was satisfied--more would have been too much.
A month or so ago I was asking for a good biography or memoir from a pastor or theologian. I was thinking of something like Eugene Peterson’s The Pastor or one of Lyle Dorsett’s biographies. What I was looking for was wisdom.
Wisdom is something that is earned by time. It is not guaranteed with age, but it is only comes to those that are aged. Part of what is required to earn wisdom is reflection. And that is what Madeleine L’Engle has done here. She is writing her thoughts and musings about life and her writing and meaning based on the journals that she has kept for her own purposes.
L’Engle was in her mid 50s when A Circle of Quiet was written. (And the fourth Crosswick Journal book was published 23 year later.) So she is not so old that she has forgotten what it is like to be young, nor was she that far distant from the failures of her life as a writer. (A Circle of Quiet was published just 11 years after A Wrinkle in Time was published.)
A Circle of Quiet is a bit meandering. Much of it is reflections on what it means to be a writer or story teller or how she has taught writing and story telling to others. But mixed in are thoughts on parenting and child development, living in a small town (Crosswick is the name of their home in rural Connecticut, where they lived for 7 years full time early in her marriage and that they kept as a summer home when they moved back to New York City), living in a large city, love, church, and many other random thoughts.
It isn’t a book that ‘goes somewhere’. I meandered through it for almost a month, enjoying her descriptive language and the ideas. So do not read it looking for an overarching story or plot. It isn’t that kind of book.
I have since read the next two books in the series of Crosswick Journals and I will be reading the last soon.
Gave this 5 stars for giving me some thoughts on God, the world, life, etc and how to experience them all to the fullest. I love her testimony of how she was converted to Christianity. She states that she wasn't convinced intellectually, but because of the love from an unlikely believer. I connected with her in this quote: "When I do something wrong I tend to alibi, to make excuses, blame someone else. Until I can accept whatever it is that I have done, I am only widening the gap between my real and my ontological self, and I am thus excluding myself so that I begin to think that I am unforgivable. We need to be forgiven:"