Quote It! Madeleine L’Engle


“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”

― Madeleine L’Engle



L’Engle had a profound effect on me as a teen after I discovered her A Wrinkle In Time series:

  • A Wrinkle In Time (1962)
  • A Wind In The Door (1973)
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978)

Up to that time I had not read anything so imaginative. Tolkein was soon to follow.

Thanks to my (older) sister for sharing her books!

What books first ignited your creative flame?


Michael Ehret, for Writing on the Fine Line

6 thoughts on “Quote It! Madeleine L’Engle

  1. Many thanks, Mike. You’ve inspired a post for my own website. (I’m long overdue for one.)

    My wife’s undergraduate recital was an hour-long performance of A Wrinkle In Time. She loved the book. And what writer doesn’t know the opening line: “It was a dark and stormy night.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of that work. There’s two other “time” books: Many Waters (1986), and An Acceptable Time (1989).

    During the Cold War years, I was reading spy novels that ignited my desire to write. One that stood out was The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, by John le Carre (pen name for David Cornwell). He’s still writing, and while I certainly don’t like some of his content, his craft is worth studying. Of his old novels, I’d recommend the George Smiley trilogy: (1) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2)The Honorable Schoolboy, (3) Smiley’s People. Of his modern works, I think the best is The Constant Gardener.

    Here’s three other l’Engle quotes (which you may see in my post!):
    “Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.”
    “We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”
    “The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”

    Thank you again for “igniting” our thinking.

    • Yeah, finding the L’Engle quote made me want to pick up those books again … I’m aware of Many Waters, but have not read An Acceptable Time. But I always think of the three as a set piece.

      Never got into spy books myself, but if I try any I’ll try those.

  2. The book that are me want to write was John, Son of Thunder, by Ellen Gunderson Traylor. What sparked the fire was how she brought me alongside her characters and I walked with them. I didn’t understand about writing then, but I loved what she did. Now I know she employed deep POV.

    And a side note: I’ve gotten a bunch of emails on my latest article in the ACFW Journal. I have to share them with my wonderful editor! You make me look really good, buddy!

  3. Probably like many others Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis sparked my fantasy writing. It was the first book I read that wasn’t on a teacher’s reading list. It was my choice. And what a choice!

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