Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy 115th Birthday

"What are you reading?" I looked up at my mother, blond hair with touches of brown brushed my shoulders. I was maybe four or five, perhaps six, but I had already been filled to the brim with an appreciation for books. I also knew that it wasn't likely that she'd even hear me ask. Books would do that to her, pull her from herself, leaving her deaf to the world. It wasn't so today.

"It's about a man who goes to another planet where sin doesn't exist, and he has to keep that world's Eve from sinning." She looked down at me for a moment before falling back under the waves of the story her pages held.

My mind was filled with images of a star traveler on a barren wasteland of a planet, perhaps Mars. To his left I could see an Adam, Eve holding his hand and standing slightly behind him. Miles past them were buildings where civilization had sprouted. To the traveler's right was a skinny little apple tree and a snake. I was sure it would make a great story and promptly forgot about it.

Last year, I picked up C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy. I hadn't ever really been able to stay focused when reading the Narnia books, but these three books were a far different story. I devoured Out of the Silent Planet and started on Perelandra. I don't know how far I was into Perelandra when I remembered a short conversation with my mother what seemed like ages ago.

Before last year, I firmly believed that such a thing as a favorite book was impossible (excluding the Bible). I liked Out of the Silent Planet very much, but Perelandra made me want to scream, cry, and throw up all at once. Since then it has been my favorite book, and Lewis my favorite writer.

C. S. Lewis was born one hundred fifteen years ago today. Seven days ago was the fiftieth anniversary of his death. His death was overshadowed by American President John F. Kennedy's assassination, which happened the same day.

Happy birthday to the writer that made such an impact on my life and my religion.

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