I recently read Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water. In the beginning of her book, L’Engle shares a wonderful quotation by Jean Rhys: “Listen to me. All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. And there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.”
What a gorgeous piece of wisdom. Rhys does more than simply meditate on her craft or her role as a writer. She celebrates the creative community. Eloquent, evocative, inspiring, reassuring, this quotation speaks to me.
The opening is a command: “Listen to me.” Rhys has something important to tell us, a special knowledge learned through hard work and experience or perhaps through epiphany. But before she shares it, she wants to make sure we’re paying attention. [Read more…]