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Friday, March 20, 2015

What C. S. Lewis Means to Me

By Kelly Bridgewater

I plan to share how twelve different writers have inspired me and are the ones I return to when I need some inspiration. As readers, we have loved the words written by authors who have spoken to us through their stories. It could have happened as a child or as an adult. I don't have a set date for each entry, but I will sprinkle them in on Fridays, hopefully, at least, once a month. I will have links to all of them, so in case, you missed one; you can click back and read another one.

My first author on this journey that I want to travel with you is none other than the one of the greatest Christian writers of the past. Have an idea? If you cheated, his name is in the title of this blog post.
C. S. Lewis 
C.S. Lewis.

What does C.S. Lewis’ writing mean to me? It started when I was a little girl. My father handed me a copy of Prince Caspian, and I was transported to Narnia on the wings of my imagination. I loved Lucy, the curious little girl who saw the best in everyone. She didn’t have a mean thing to say about anyone, except when Edmund picked on her. She had the faith of a child and still believed in Aslan, even when everyone didn’t believe he would come back.

I loved the landscape of a land that you were transported to through magical portals, either a wardrobe, a train station, a picture, a ring, or a jump off a high cliff. The entryway was never the same twice. Lewis did a good job at holding the readers’ attention as we waited with anticipation to see how our familiar characters were going to be transported back to Narnia.

I loved a land filled with magic and talking creatures. Who could forget the talking beavers that helped Lucy, Peter, Susan, and Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe? Or Tumnas, the half goat, half man, or a faun as the story lovingly refers to him, who sacrificed his life to keep the two daughters of Eve and two sons of Adam safe because he believed in a free Narnia?

As a writer, C.S. Lewis has taught me how to create a story using imagination to share the wonderful story of Jesus Christ and his saving power. My imagination is my best tool to create a story that allows my future readers to connect with the characters occupying the pages of my story.  Using my imagination, I can sprinkle in clues to Jesus without overwhelming the readers with the Biblical lesson.

As I got older, I have read a majority of Lewis’ others stories, fiction or non-fiction. I have read a good chunk of his literary criticism. He has such passion for the written word. In graduate school, I wrote two different papers using C.S. Lewis’ writing as the basis for my papers. One was a compare and contrast between Paradise Lost by John Milton and Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Second paper, I argued that even though The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as a Biblical allegory is a valued way to look at the story, Lewis actually created it as a fairy tale, which I proved.

C.S. Lewis taught me the love of creating stories with my imagination and the ability to create a passion for the written word. He is one of my favorite writers who I return to when I want a good read to explore Narnia or learn more about something in the literary field. No wonder still today, fifty-one years after his death, his books still capture the imagination of new generations and are placed in the hollow shelves of our local libraries. 

*This blog entry first appeared on Hoosier Ink on January 21, 2015.

Have you read C.S. Lewis books? If so, what is some of you favorite books? What has he taught you as a writer and a reader?

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