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I’m Busy, So Here’s Madeline – Shawna R. B. Atteberry
Apr 182007

The book proposal is taking up most of my time right now. But I am reading some good stuff both for that project, and in the book I’m using for my devotions: Disciplines for the Inner Life (see the What I’m Reading Page). For the rest of this week I thought I would share quotes that popped out at me and made me think. The first is from one of my favorite authors, Madeline L’Engle.

When we are self-conscious, we cannot be wholly aware; we must throw ourselves out first. This throwing ourselves away is the act of creativity. So, when we wholly concentrate, like a child in play, or an artist at work, then we share in the act of creating. We not only escape time, we also escape our self-conscious selves.

The Greeks had a word for ultimate self-consciousness which I find illuminating: hubris: pride: pride in the sense of putting oneself in the center of the universe. the strange and terrible thing is that this kind of total self-consciousness invariably ends in self-annihilation. The great tragedians have always understood this, from Sophocles to Shakespeare. We witness it in history in such people as Tiberius, Eva Peron, Hitler.

I was timid about putting forth most of these thoughts, but this kind of timidity is itself a form of pride. The moment that humiluty becomes self-consciousness, it becomes hubris. One cannot be humble and aware of oneself at the same time. Therefore, the art of creating—painting a picture, singing a song, writing a story—is a humble act? This is a new thought to me. Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else.

So what are you reading? What’s making you stop and think?

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  4 Responses to “I’m Busy, So Here’s Madeline”

  1. Just wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog. Jeff Markowitz (who wrote the article) has consented to host me as part of my virtual book tour (taking place mid-May to mid-June).

    As for what’s making me stop and think — it’s this virtual tour thing. I’ve been searching for sites that might be appropriate, then approaching strangers, asking them to spare me a day’s worth of space on their blogs to talk about my book. Want to guess how humbling that is?

    It reminds me a bit of the really old days when you’d sit down next to a stranger and ask if you could share the Four Spiritual Laws with them. To non-Christian eyes it must have seemed the height of audacity and arrogance. Ah me.

  2. It sounds humbling. And I am very glad that evangelism has changed as well. 🙂

  3. Hey Shawna! I’m going off topic here, but I found this link and I can already see heads shaking around blogdom! Check it out if you get a chance.


  4. Mary welcome back! It’s nice to see you again. I just don’t have the words. That is just..wow… You’re right heads will be shaking and not in a good way.

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