She was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1832. She started out writing sensational stories about duels and suicides, opium addiction, mind control, bigamy, and murder. She called it “blood and thunder” literature, and she said, “I seem to have a natural ambition for the lurid style.” She published under male pseudonyms to keep from embarrassing her family. But in 1867, an editor suggested that she try writing what he called “a girl’s book,” and she said she would. The result was Little Women (1868), which was based on her own family and her own experience as an aspiring writer. She was disappointed at how popular Little Women became, because she was obligated to keep writing more books in the same vein. Her name? Louisa May Alcott.
She was born in New York City in 1918. She struggled to find any success as a writer with novels about ordinary families and ordinary situations, but after reading about the ideas of Albert Einstein, she wrote a science fiction novel called A Wrinkle in Time (1962), about a group of children who have to rescue their father from a planet where individuality has been outlawed. The book was rejected by 26 different publishers, who all felt that it was too difficult for children but too fantastic for adults. But when it came out in 1962, the novel won the Newbery Medal, and it sells about 15,000 copies a year. Her name? Madeleine L’Engle.
He was in Belfast in 1898. He is probably best known for The Chronicles of Narnia, a seven-volume series of children’s books. He is well known also for his essays on Christianity. He’d been baptized and raised Anglican (in the Church of Ireland), became atheist as a teenager, then a theist in his 20s, and then, in his early 30s, he converted wholeheartedly to Christianity.
His writings include Mere Christianity (1952), based on theological talks he gave on the BBC during World War II; The Screwtape Letters, a novel of letters from a demon to his nephew (1942); and the allegorical novel The Great Divorce (1945), in which dwellers of hell ride a bus up to heaven. In an essay called “Is Theology Poetry?” he wrote: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” His name? Clive Staples (or C.S.) Lewis. Lewis taught English and medieval literature for three decades at Oxford University, where he was good friends with The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien.
Alcott, L’Engle, and Lewis share a love for writing (as well as the same birthday). You may aspire to a career in literature, poetry, music, or writing. Take courage from their example and persevere in your dream. God has gifted you with a love for words and the ability to communicate on the written page. Do not hide your gift under a bucket.
The world is a better place because of the writing of Louisa May Alcott, Madeleine L’Engle, and C.S. Lewis. But there is always room for another voice, another poet or writer. Do not hesitate to cultivate your gift(s). Write for your school paper. Share your material. Publish your work. Whether your audience is small, large, local, global, or your work is even recognized, your love for writing can make a difference. Serve globally.
Love is a verb,