Through The Wardrobe

I just finished reading this delightful book about C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia, and it reminded me just how much I adored these books as a child (and still do). From the first thrilling, eerie moment that Lucy steps through the wardrobe and finds snow, not mothballs, crunching underfoot, I was enchanted. I didn't own them until later, but I read and re-read the copies from the Mt Hagen library until they became talisman books - to be borrowed and stowed under my pillow at night, without any longer needing to be actually read.

My particular favourite was Voyage of the Dawn Treader, with its sublime ending where Reepicheep the chivalric mouse paddles his coracle toward the green glassy wall of water at the edge of the world. The one book I loathed was The Last Battle, which seemed to strike false notes from the opening scene and ended, unthinkably, with the destruction of Narnia. Tears streamed down my face as I read it and I slammed the book shut, vowing never to reread it, pretending that I'd never read at all. Because as long as that story remained unread, it meant that Narnia still existed... didn't it? It was the equivalent of shoving my fingers in my ears and shouting "La, la, la!"

Many years later, reading about C.S. Lewis's philosophy, his spiritual vision, and his faith in the unique power of the imagination to grasp, and communicate, great truths, I can discern a straight line running from my deep and wordless love of Narnia to what I try, in my own feeble way, to achieve as a children's writer. To write books that aren't just about the surface story; to write books that comfort and inspire, that provide a glimpse of the mysteries of the universe; to write books that have a spiritual dimension, however deeply buried; to write books that might be loved, and stored in the heart forever.

1 comment:

  1. I loved the Narnia books too, when I was little, although despite reading them all again and again I never managed to get more than a chapter into The Last Battle.

    It wasn't until I was a teenager and saw a puppet-based play of The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe that I realised, aghast, that THE BIG LION WAS JESUS. And because innocent, non-religious-upbringing Lili hadn't even considered that the books could be a metaphor, I felt totally and utterly betrayed. It was like all the chocolate in the world turned out to be cod-liver oil. And to be honest I haven't been able to go back since.