Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Story Is Revelatory

Today, we sat for three hours at the motor vehicle department, waiting, waiting, waiting. The number we pulled from the little machine dispenser was 73. The digital sign said 15 when we walked in. I was hoping that in moving to a smaller town in a less populous state, the process would be easier. It was easy, once we got to the desk. Just took a long time.

While we sat and waited, I read Madeleine L'Engle {Herself}, a variety of selections and quotes from some of her books and talks.

Her excerpt, "Story Is Revelatory," answered a question I asked yesterday.

"Your point of view as a human being is going to come over in your work whether you know it or not. There's no way you can hide it. So if you are a Christian, your work is going to be Christian. There's no way you can hide that. If you're not, you can talk about Jesus all you like and it's not going to be Christian. If you are someone who cares about human beings, that's going to come over in your work. If you are indifferent to the fate of other people, that's also going to show."
"You cannot hide yourself, and that's a very scary thing--particularly true, oddly enough, in fiction. Sometimes in nonfiction you can hide yourself behind statistics and facts, but in fiction you are writing story, and story is revelatory. One of the wonderful things that comes out of story is that you not only find out more about your characters, ultimately your are helping to write your own story."

Very pleasant, to sit in the motor vehicles office and have a personal conversation with Madeleine L'Engle. She was there to reassure me, in the process of writing, whether it is personal to me or with imaginary characters, my story will be developed, too.


  1. I did the same thing last week...twice...waited and waited at the motor vehicle place!

    1. Not exactly fun, but I did have good company with Madeleine L'Engle. One of life's necessities. And you had to go twice!

  2. What an amazing quote. Thank you so much for sharing it. I think I would love to read this book.
    Re. the DMV, I always bring something to drink and a thick book.