“Meg, I give you your faults.”
“My faults!” Meg cried.
“But I’m always trying to get rid of my faults!”
“Yes,” Mrs. Whatsit said. “However, I think you’ll find they’ll come in very handy on Camazotz.”Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
In my love affair with quotes (which really is a just passion for juicy thinkers and conversation- starters through time) I often find my way back to Madeleine L’Engle’s- A Wrinkle in Time.
Maybe it’s because the book–and the recent version of the movie directed by genius Ava DuVernay–pose some of the worthiest questions that can be asked in the shape of a young girl’s struggle– and represents an epic voyage through time and space right inside one character’s psyche and time-traveling body.
That question is: How can we face doubt, grave danger and feeling waaay too small for the work before us–and eventually, push all the way back with integrity, focus and devotion?
You likely already know the story so I won’t spend too much time on it but the main character in A Wrinkle in Time is Meg. She grieves the loss of her father, a scientist who has wrinkled himself to another galaxy, has been away for years and can’t get back. Meg misses him. It’s Meg and her brother who have to save him with a team of three eccentric goddesses. named Mrs. Who, Mrs Which and Mrs Whatsit.
But I want to hone in on Meg (Storm Reid rocked the part). Meg is a character whom creators should watch because L’Engle knew the secret to making her familiar and “real.”
She gifted Meg with the inner conflicts most of us can recognize. Meg loses her temper when she and her brother are teased for their father’s absence. She is gawky with glasses and feels things “too intensely,” which makes her feel awful.
Yet, it is exactly her most awkward feelings, those barometers of insight, that force Meg to find the guts it takes to stand up for what she believes. That even means disagreeing with the people to whom she is most fiercely loyal–her family–the ones she loves the most. It eventually even includes her little brother, who when possessed by the cold power-hungry IT, tries to convince her to join him. Meg is baffled at what to do next. How can Meg remain true to herself when pressure to conform doesn’t feel right in Meg’s heart–and the stakes are so very high?
Like most of us, Meg can’t see her strengths for long. She dwells upon her weaknesses until circumstances demand that she believe in herself..
I relish that the book, as well as Ava Duvernay’s direction for the latest Disney version, is about embracing our inherent faults–to look inside ourselves and take a stand with love–and ultimately fight for what we believe. While faults on their own are surely problematic, when combined with awareness, conscience and that willingness to put oneself on the line, one heart might produce breakthroughs no research team can touch.
So, rhetorical question time. To spin that around to writers (and all creators really), what are some faults that we can put to use in our work? Where, with awareness, might faults be gifts In our life?