Motherhood and the Dark and Stormy Night

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

If you hear this phrase and immediately picture Snoopy atop his doghouse with a typewriter, then perhaps we are kindred spirits. This line is such a well-known cliche of bad writing that it inspired the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest for the worst literary opening line, but it also opens one of my favorite novels from childhood: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. L’Engle is perhaps making an inside joke with us right from the start, as she opens with a scene of a teenage girl huddled under a quilt in the midst of a…