Agatha Said, pt. 6

Happy Agatha Day! We have made it through March, although it sure seemed to last forever. I thought about skipping a quote this month, but then I remembered that Agatha had some things to say about the state of the world that are perfect for what we’re all going through right now. It’s a longer quote, but it’s absolutely worth a read.

Agatha Said:

“There is at least the dawn, I believe, of a kind of good will. We mind when we hear of earthquakes, of spectacular disasters to the human race. We want to help. That is a real achievement; which I think must lead somewhere. Not quickly — nothing happens quickly — but at any rate we can hope. I think sometimes we do not appreciate that second virtue which we mention so seldom in the trilogy — faith, hope and charity. Faith we have had, shall we say, almost too much of — faith can make you bitter, hard, unforgiving; you can abuse faith. Love we cannot but help knowing in our own hearts is the essential. But how often do we forget that there is hope as well, and that we seldom think about hope? We are ready to despair too soon, we are ready to say, ‘What’s the good of doing anything?’ Hope is the virtue we should cultivate most in this present day and age.”

Context: This paragraph follows Agatha’s musings about life after WWII. Having lived through both world wars, serving as a nursing assistant and then a pharmacy assistant in the first, and returning to work again in a pharmacy during the second, she saw a lot of tragedy and pain. To her, it seems war is pointless. What’s the purpose of winning one war if another is bound to follow? And yet, in spite of the things she has seen, she’s hopeful—hopeful that society is improving, that the future will be brighter than the past.

Why I Chose It: I think it’s a particularly insightful observation. And I agree with what Agatha says—so much attention is given to faith and love. People cling to faith and adore love, but much less consideration is given to hope. Often we look at hopeful people as being unrealistic or out of touch. But it takes great strength to be hopeful, especially in the face of tragedy. And the pain we feel for the suffering of others means we are connected, we care even though we may not know them. To feel that pain or fear and still hope—that is pure and beautiful strength. Cultivate hope, my friends. It’s more powerful than you think.

Agatha Said, pt. 5

Happy March! I hope you’re all staying healthy and enjoying the weather as we move toward spring. This month I’ve chosen a rather illuminating quote about Agatha’s career ambitions in the world of writing.

Agatha Said:

“I personally had no ambition. I knew that I was not very good at anything. Tennis and croquet I used to enjoy playing, but I never played them well. How much more interesting it would be if I could say that I always longed to be a writer, and was determined that someday I would succeed, but, honestly, such an idea never came into my head.”

Context: This quote falls after a paragraph where Agatha is musing about her older sister’s literary pursuits. Madge began writing stories before Agatha and was in fact published in Vanity Fair multiple times, something she gave up once she got married. She later went on to write several plays, one of which was produced by the Royal Theatre.

Agatha also mentions that Madge was a talented actress. And, amusingly enough, in the line before this quote, reflects, “There is no doubt that Madge was the talented member of our family.”

Why I Chose It: Before I read her autobiography, I thought Agatha Christie must’ve been someone with great ambition, given everything she accomplished. So it was surprising to me to discover that writing was something she came to gradually, falling into it rather than doggedly pursuing it.

This quote also shows her humility, how she never imagined she would become a prolific author and a legend of the mystery fiction world. Whatever her assessment of her own capabilities, I think we can all agree that Agatha was truly talented in her own right. And even though she originally had no plans to establish herself as a writer, I’m so very grateful she did.