By Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
NEVER yet was a springtime,
Late though lingered the snow,
That the sap stirred not at the whisper
Of the south wind, sweet and low;
Never yet was a springtime
When the buds forgot to blow.
Ever the wings of the summer
Are folded under the mould;
Life, that has known no dying,
Is Love’s, to have and to hold,
Till, sudden, the burgeoning Easter!
The song! the green and the gold!
Early again because we're going to Hershey tomorrow as soon as my in-laws get back from church. Happy Easter to everyone celebrating!
Gacked from chrismm, the 10 most influential books meme -- not necessarily the best books you've ever read, not even necessarily good literature however you might define that term, but books that affected you as a person or as a writer.
1. Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, which I first read when I was nine and is still the one book I could not live without on a desert island, as it helped create the foundation of my entire belief system, not to mention my love of allegory. This is a book about how everything in the universe interconnects.
2. Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series, my introduction (beyond the musical Camelot) to Arthurian myth, a tale of history and destiny told through the eyes of young people. This definitely contributed to my growing Anglophilia as well, and my interest in sacred sites overseas.
3. Richard Bach's Illusions, first read when I was in elementary school, which taught me to open a book to seek answers to life's questions, and which made me realize that my religion did not have to be precisely the one handed down to me.
4. Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon, the book that initiated many women of my generation into the religion of the Goddess and the study of Wicca; it's also one of the most entertaining retellings of the Arthurian myths.
5. John Milton's Paradise Lost, which both made me realize that I wanted to be an English major and gave me insight into why I tend to root for Satan. I studied this epic poem twice, with two extraordinary professors, Maureen Quilligan and Marshall Grossman; I haven't ever forgotten the things I learned in their classes.
6. Sharon Olds' The Dead and the Living, poetry about love, life, family, and what it means to be a woman, discovered when I was a junior in college wavering between Renaissance and modern literature and between various paths in life, various definitions of feminism and various ways of balancing the things that mattered to me.
7. Pattiann Rogers' Firekeeper, a gorgeous collection of poetry about nature, love, and the human spirit, which made me think about poetry as spiritual song. I actually read the books which comprise this anthology individually before I read Firekeeper but if you're only going to get one of her books, it's worth getting a collection that spans much of her career.
8. Janette Turner Hospital's The Last Magician, a bleak and beautiful novel about youthful torment and the extraordinary power of memory. Hospital's out-of-print novel Charades is also extraordinary, the tale of a Scheherazade-type character looking for her heritage.
9. Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams, a beautiful, heartrending little collection of stories about time and space and the nature of the universe.
10. Donawerth and Kolmerten's Utopian and Science Fiction By Women: Worlds of Difference, an anthology where you can read my essay on Octavia Butler. I realize that this is cheating, as I should probably have Butler herself on this list -- if I hadn't been so blown away by her fiction, I would never have written an essay on it -- but in terms of influence upon me as a writer, getting published in an academic collection of essays like this was definitely a big deal.
I have also long had a thing for big historical conspiracy novels like Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, Theodore Roszak's Flicker and a whole host of others (and I seriously considered putting Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the source material, such as it is, for The Da Vinci Code, on the list above, as it rocked my world when I read it in high school). I don't know that I can say they were influential, but they have always kept me healthily skeptical without letting me go over the edge into conspiracy paranoia. Just thought I'd mention.