It feels impossible and downright silly to try to describe, in a single blog post, why I adore C.S. Lewis and how much his words have influenced not only my writing, but my life as a human being on planet Earth. For some authors, there will simply never be enough words. And some authors will forever loom, larger than life, over the corners of the imagination, their impact understood but possibly never expressed or even completely comprehended.
This is how I feel about C.S. Lewis.
From the beginning, with my introduction to The Chronicles of Narnia, he has stood out in my mind as a giant of literary inspiration, and I have learned more from him than I will ever fully understand. Over the years, he continued to fuel my imagination with The Space Trilogy, provoked deep thought with The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce, and blew the foundation out from under me with the deceptively simple but profoundly brilliant Mere Christianity. In high school, I waded through Surprised by Joy and Miracles, which fascinated me, and The Abolition of Man, about which, I confess, I remember little except that it was hard. In a breathtaking literary experience that has yet to be repeated thus far in my life, I read Till We Have Faces within a 24 hour period, turned the final page, and then immediately flipped back to the beginning and read straight through again. (Yes, it really is that good. I promise.) I read The Pilgrim’s Regress as a summer study discussion book with some literature classmates, guided by my favorite tutor, Matt Turnbull. I think I have at least skimmed or thumbed through every major publish work by Lewis, and I can easily say that his unique, adaptable style and his captivating tales have influenced me more than perhaps any other writer.
Although he never had any formal theological training, Lewis was the perfect example of a layman who used his gifts for God’s glory – and along the way, who became an instrument that has drawn thousands of people to faith in Christ. He inspires me as an example of a writer who lived in light of his faith and his convictions, who was not afraid to break rules and defy literary norms, and whose work has stood the test of time and become classic, a must in the library of any serious reader.