Many people are familiar with the works of C S Lewis. If you’ve ever read ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, it’s a fascinating insight into the mind of the author. C S Lewis was not only a talented fiction writer, but also one of the preeminent Christian apologists of the last century.
‘Once Upon a Wardrobe’ is new book by New York Times bestselling author, Patti Callahan. The story is inspired by C S Lewis, and his ability to change the world and captivate hearts. Patti recently joined us to share a little about the influence Lewis has had on her writing.
This book focuses on a terminally ill boy named George, and his logic-driven sister Megs. It’s full of inspiration, wisdom and hope. It’s a feel-good story that takes readers to a deeper level, exploring the power of myth and story in our lives.
“C S Lewis had a phrase when he talked about the way he wrote books,” says Patti. “He said he wanted to ‘sneak past our watchful dragons.’ That is how he meant to hit us in the heart. Sneaking right past our logic so that we don’t have an argument that rises up when we start to read.”
There are noticeable parallels between Biblical teachings and Lewis’s writing style. “When Jesus was teaching, He wasn’t giving us a list of things to believe or do,” continues Patti. “He was telling a story. If you want to touch someone’s heart or reveal Christ to them, it is done through stories.”
Patti’s new book is set in 1950’s England in Winter. It’s about a little boy named George who is terminally ill. He discovers ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’, and he reads it back to front in the hopes a wardrobe will pop out and open up to Narnia for him.
He then asks his sister Megs, who is a math and physics genius attending Oxford, to track down where Narnia came from. But she refuses because she believes that the world is founded on science and logic. But Megs loves her brother so she tracks down C S Lewis and asks him.
“He will not give her a simple answer,” says Patti. “Instead, Lewis tells her stories from his life. Light stories, dark stories, broken stories. Some full of hope, and some full of sadness. He shows her how he took the ordinary moments in his life and turned them into an extraordinary magical world.”
Part of the inspiration for Patti’s book was the idea that we have to choose either imagination or logic. One of her favourite quotes of Lewis’s is ‘imagination is the organ of meaning.’ Lewis and his wife were both constantly trying to find a way to blend imagination and logic together.
“I think he was using the things of the world and transforming them into a representation of Christ,” says Patti. “He was taking what we might call ordinary and reminding us of what the Biblical story is. He supposed that if there was another world and Christ was going to enter it, how might he do it?”
“Lewis helps us look not just at the seen, but at the unseen. It is often stories or fairy tales by Lewis and others that make us ache and long for what else there is”.