During the Kavanaugh sham hearing, I saw a tweet of a quote from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time being posted everywhere:
“Stay angry, little Meg,” Mrs Whatsit whispered. “You will need all your anger now.” #AWrinkleinTime
— Madeleine L'Engle (@MadeleineLEngle) August 23, 2018
AWIT was one of my favorite books as a tween, and it actually wasn’t until my 30s, when I was in graduate school and working in a children’s bookstore, that I found out it was part of a quintet – and upon learning that, I quickly read the rest of the books. Childhood favorites are much different when you read them as an adult: you notice new themes, new nuances, and simply come at the story from a completely new vantage point. Life experiences and maturity color how you read and interpret it, and if you’re lucky, you retain your love for the story, and somehow, love it even more.
I’ve been diving into books that could be called science fiction or fantasy, as well as comics, more and more in the past 3 years. While part of this is due to the experience of raising my son (which is a whole other post in itself), I’m beginning to see that it’s also a reaction to politics. SFF stories like Star Wars, Harry Potter, AWIT, and others (as well as comics) tackle good vs evil, fighting against tyranny, and scrappy heroes and heroines searching for their places in the world. There is something about these books, these stories, these worlds, that feels timeless yet very pertinent to me.
Like Jo March, Meg Murray is one of those characters that I imagine many of us loved as bookish young girls. But reading her as an adult, I have a newfound respect for her sense of family, her role as a protective older sister for Charles Wallace, her moxie when standing up for her mother and father, and her sheer stubbornness. That tweet that went around spurred me to re-read the book, and I found it to be full of inspiration for the present current events. Here are some of my favorite quotes.
“I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.”
I mean, that’s for damn sure, given the events since 2016, right?
“Anndd wee mussttn’tt looose ourr sensses of humorr,” Mrs. Which said. “Thee onnlly wway tto ccope withh ssometthingg ddeadly sseriouss iss tto ttry tto trreatt itt a llittlle lligghtly.”
Yes. Sometimes we have to find humor in the dark.
“My child, do not despair. Do you think we would have brought you here if there were no hope? We are asking you to do a difficult thing, but we are confident that you can do it….”
Sometimes we have to do difficult things, especially in the face of hopelessness. Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper for hope. We can do hard things.
“Explanations are not easy when they are about things for which your civilization still has no words….”
“…All your great artists. They’ve been lights for us to see by.”
In times of despair or hardship, art has especially been a saving grace for so many people: the creating of it, the consuming and appreciation of it, the sharing of it. Art is a powerful thing.
“The spoken word is one of the triumphs of man,” he proclaimed, “and I intend to continue using it, particularly with people I don’t trust.”
Keep speaking out against lies. Speak truth to power.
“Then you’re feeling again,” her father said quietly. “I’m afraid it is going to hurt, Meg.”
Don’t be afraid of feeling. Even if it hurts.
“Don’t be afraid to be afraid. We will try to have courage for you. That is all we can do.”
Feel the fear, do it anyway.
What books have you been turning to for inspiration?