I like essays. I like essays by any notable writer because it helps me get into their mind, read what makes them tick, and hear what formed their world and life and why this translated into book form.
C.S. Lewis is one of my favorites because he can write something like this:
My dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realised that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it – C.S. Lewis’ dedication of the Lion Witch and the Wardrobe.
If you have read any of the Chronicles of Narnia, you will know they are nothing like the Disney film travesties. They are wonderfully written. Read them.
I write this post today because of something I read in a collections of essays by Lewis titled On Stories and Other Essays on Literature edited by Walter Hooper. One of these essays is titled “Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What’s To Be Said”.
It goes like this:
In the Author’s mind there bubbles up every now and then the material for a story. For me it invariably begins with mental pictures. This ferment leads to nothing unless it is accompanied with the longing for Form: verse or prose, short story, novel, play or what not. When These two things click you have the Author’s impulse to complete. It is now a thing inside him pawing to get out. He longs to see that bubbling stuff pouring into form…This nags him all day long and gets in the way of his work and his sleep and his meals. It’s like being in love.
Crazy huh? Does your work get in the way of your meals? Does it keep you up at night? Well, I think it should and so does C.S. Lewis. If, perhaps, it does not, is it worth your time?
Something to ponder for sure.
2 thoughts on “C.S. Lewis, On Stories”
Meals? Am I supposed to be cooking and eating while I write? I usually only think about that when I need to take a break, LOL! (Good thing I don’t have to worry about taking care of a family, huh?) I learned a long time ago to keep a journal and pen on my bedside table. I have a book light that clips on to my writing journal so that I don’t even have to stop to turn on a light … last night I woke up with a line for my new poem – and I guess the battery had died. I brought the journal over to the window and wrote my line in the moonlight before going back to bed! Sometimes my muse isn’t satisfied with letting me write in bed, but forces me to actually get up and come to the computer to finish a poem … tough taskmaster, my muse is! 😀
Thanks for the comment Julie!
Good to know your poem is brewing even while you sleep!
Writing can sometimes be like a virus scan on a computer. You are living away while your writer-self is looking for the bridge across the problem in your novel, poem, short story etc. Suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, the writer-self rushes to the front of your consciousness and shouts “HEY I THOUGHT OF THE NEXT LINE!”
Whether getting struck with an idea in the middle of the night or day, I am glad my writer is still working even when I am not thinking about writing at the time.