Why Write a Story?

In my “inspiration” folder, I keep articles by or about famous writers whom I admire.
Once in a while I review the obituary for Madeleine L’Engle, the author of the children’s classic A Wrinkle in Time, from The New York Times, September 8, 2007.

“Her writing transcended genre and generation,” Douglas Martin wrote in the obituary.

The series that included A Wrinkle in Time “combines elements of science fiction with insights into love and moral purpose . . .”

I ponder the concept of moral purpose.

L’Engle said of her most famous work: “It was only after it was written that I realized what some of it meant.”

I often write a story for no other reason than because the story is there. After I’ve written a draft or two, it dawns on me what are its reasons for being. It answers, I suppose, some question in my subconscious. The story is there, and I write it first.

In answer to the question, “Why does anybody tell a story?” L’Engle replied, “It does indeed have something to do with faith . . . faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”

We divide into two camps: Life has meaning or it doesn’t. L’Engle came down on the side of purpose and blessed us with her insights.

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