No, in case you’re wondering, I haven’t gone all Smeagol and Gollum referring to myself as “us”. Today is my birthday and I happen to be in good company. While I’m not exactly thrilled to be turning yet another year older, I am thrilled to share my birthday with three of my favourite authors. To celebrate, I thought I'd share some random thoughts about them.
My grade three teacher introduced me to C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia when I was eight years old. I still remember the eerie feeling I had while sitting in my classroom listening to Diggory ring that golden bell. Little did I know it then, but someday I’d start reading The Magician’s Nephew to my son on the day he turned eight. Oddly enough, it worked out that we finished the entire series on his ninth birthday. Perfect bookends for a magical year of reading.
We like to turn books into events in our family, so after reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, we transformed our living room into Narnia and watched the movie while pigging out on Mrs. Beaver’s marmalade rolls. So much fun. And yes, we bought the lamppost specifically for this occasion. Too bad Mr. Tumnus wasn't included.
"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
(Nov. 29, 1918-Sept. 6, 2007)
Madeleine L’Engle has probably influenced me more than any author. Her writing reminds me to think beyond the scope of our world, something I need to remember considering my personal world often feels very small. She taught me that it’s okay to take “being” time, to just sit and be calm, instead of getting caught up in the rush. Her unique opinions on faith and art have molded my ideas on writing. I was never a big fan of science or science fiction growing up, but through her writing I learned to see beauty in science: “Peace is the center of the atom, the core of quiet within the storm…” (Sonnet, Trinity 18) And now what do I like to write the most? Science fiction, of course.
If the artist works only when he feels like it, he’s apt not to build up much of a body of work. Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it, because the largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work and to go where it tells him to go. Ultimately, when you are writing, you stop thinking and write what you hear.
--Madeleine L’Engle (Walking on Water)
|Louisa May Alcott|
(Nov. 29, 1832-March 6, 1888)
Louisa May Acott's characters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March have been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. My mother read Little Women to me when I was six years old. The night we finished the book, the power went out and we had to read the last chapter or two by flashlight. The story and that moment have stuck with me ever since. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started writing. I only know that I was very young, and I often wonder if Jo scribbling her stories had anything to do with that.
"...When the writing fit came on, she gave herself up to it with entire abandon, and led a blissful life, unconscious of want, care, or bad weather, while she sat safe and happy in an imaginary world, full of friends almost as real and dear to her as any in the flesh. Sleep forsook her eyes, meals stood untasted, day and night were all too short to enjoy the happiness which blessed her only at such times, and made these hours worth living, even if they bore no other fruit."
--Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
All three of these authors have passed on, but they left quite a legacy behind for writers and readers everywhere. So today, I raise my cup of tea and/or wine in honor of these three extraordinary people and thank them for their inspiration.