In the Company of Artists

When I look back on [my] decade of total failure – it’s been a mixture, both before, and since – there was, even on the days of rejection slips, a tiny, stubborn refusal to be completely put down. And I think, too, and possibly most important, that there is a faith simply in the validity of art; when we talk about ourselves as being part of the company of such people as Mozart or van Gogh or Dostoyevsky, it has nothing to do with comparisons, or pitting talent against talent; it has everything to do with a way of looking at the universe. My husband said, “But people might think you’re putting yourself alongside Dostoyevsky.” The idea is so impossible that I can only laugh in incredulity. Dostoyevsky is a giant; I look up to him; I sit at his feet; perhaps I will be able to learn something from him. But we do face the same direction, no matter how giant his stride, how small mine.

— Madeleine L’Engle, Circle of Quiet, quoted in Madeleine L’Engle, Herself, p. 32

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