Sunday, June 24, 2012
Reading The Summer of the Great Grandmother
I had read The Summer of the Great Grandmother by Madeleine L'engle several years ago when she was the writer in residence for Victoria magazine. I decided to reread it after reading a few of her novels earlier this summer. Madeleine's insights into dealing with an aging mother are both comforting and devastating now that it is happening in my own family. To see someone who was always the matriarch: intelligent, commanding, and immaculately organized failing physically and mentally is very painful. It helps to walk through it with Madeleine even though our paths are diverse. At times I pause and just marvel at what an exceptional writer she was. At other times I wish she had been more consistent in her writing instead of meandering off into her own religious theories. Madeleine's religious symbolism is very meaningful to me in her novels, but it seems if she didn't comprehend something spiritual that she rationalized it until it became something she could accept. This seems a little dangerous to me but I look beyond it because of the fine writer she is. I then read an older article in The New Yorker that portrayed her life very differently than her books. It made me realize that authors can be destructive to their families by what they write. That adds a whole new context to being a writer. It is not worth the cost of alienating those you love. Yet, if she hadn't written, we wouldn't have A Wrinkle in Time. What a loss that would be! There must be a compromise that one can meet to have both worlds but I see now that isn't an easy road.
Posted by Kristina at 6:00 AM