Friday, August 21, 2009

All Replete With Very Me

Anyone who knows me, knows that I hold Madeleine L'Engle in the highest regard.
And, if you think that she just wrote A Wrinkle In Time, look again at the 60+ books that she authored.

Some of you know that stuff has been going on in my life for the past year. Everyone has stuff going on. And, sometimes that stuff gets the better of me. And, then, I remember this poem. Madeleine included it in one of my favorites books--A Ring of Endless Light. She attributed this poem to Sir Thomas Browne. In her book, it's etched on the wall of the room that the kids sleep in at their grandfather's house on the beach. It has always been a secret desire for me to wallpaper my walls with words. Maybe I will.

If thoust could'st empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf,
And say "This is not dead."
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou art all replete with very thou,
And hast such shrewd activity,
That when He comes he says "This is enow,
Unto itself--'twere better let it be,
It is so small and full, there is no room for Me."

It reminds me that being very full of me doesn't allow room for anything else. And I think that real living only happens when I am open to receiving whatever the universe wants to throw my way.

How's everyone else doing, today?


  1. That's certainly a lovely poem. I've only read two of her books. It looks like I need to read more!

  2. I have mixed feelings about her. I think I need to read her again and see what I think now.

    My universe is full of kitten diarrhea right now. I think that says it all.

  3. Casey-- I had read her Time Quartet Series when I was a child, and was amazed to find out the true variety of her works when I was much older.

  4. Sarah--Isn't that wonderful about books-- that different books speak to different people? How boring things would be if the same book was the same thing for everyone. And, I am sure that some of her books (like one of her journals, A Circle of Quiet) wouldn't have spoken to me at other times in my life. In that journal, she writes about not being published for a whole decade as she wrote book after book. She definitely had stick-to-it-iveness.

    I'm hoping that the universe throws something else your way. Cat diarrhea--bummer.

  5. It's getting better. I hope.

    Been editing my little heart out in the meantime and need to decide what to read for the visiting editors - the new and hopefully improved Garlic or 13 Black Cats Under a Ladder (which is only about 1/3rd written but might be stronger than Garlic). *sigh*

  6. Oh. Visiting editors at the retreat I'm going to in 2 weeks.

  7. Is there a chance to read both? And, wouldn't it be good to know how strong Garlic is after polishing it? What do your beta readers say? Isn't it reassuring to know that we get stronger at writing by doing it? Boy, I am question girl today. Whatever you choose to read, the most important thing is that you will be getting feedback on your writing from editors--scary but great.

  8. Um, No, Yes, Getting feedback as we speak, Oh Yeah - I love it and hate it. Love that it gets better, hate when I look at what I poured my heart and soul in and realize it needs a lot more work - always.

    We only get to read one thing to each editor. One of my betas pointed out that 13 black cats was more unusual. That might make it stand out better. So I'm going to work on it between now and the retreat and see how much more I can get done. Holiday weekend coming up should help.

  9. Good luck-- it's great (sometimes) to have a deadline to get things moving.

    I am feeling the same way about my revision, that I poured in my heart and soul and that it needs a lot more work. That work is really tedious. I guess the only way to the other side is through. There's a wonderful Neil Gaiman quote about this-- once I find it, I'll post it.