Writing as a gift

Johnathan Letham’s article, as Dr. W predicted, was really cool! Especially that ending! I loved how he proved his point by showing all the phrases he borrowed from others! Very neat.

Here’s a quote that struck me. At first I thought it was his until he revealed he got it from Mary Shelley. I thought was a prefect description of the creative process: “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos”.

I love that. It reminded me of Kirby Ferguson and also of my favorite theology book ever. Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl  By N. D. Wilson (who is Douglas Wilson’s son for those interested) does exactly what Letham does. He takes quotes from other philosphers, Christians, even Puddleglum from Narnia to prove and support his argument that God is Mighty, Sovereign, and that we are literally His spoken words. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the introduction desribing how the book came into being:

Here’s how it happened: Philosophers of various sizes and flavors and ages crowded into the saloon of my skull and began throwing elbows to make some space. Poets and preachers piled in with them. John Donne said some zippy things about Kant, and the ancients wouldn’t stop snickering at the moderns. On top of that Gilbert Keith Chesterton (that fabulously large Catholic writer) overheard someone making fun of Milton (it didn’t matter that the insults were all true).

Isn’t that cool? Of course, Wilson would have to borrow quotes for his book if that’s what was going on in his head! How could he not? Anyway, that’s where Letham’s article led me.

Note to all C.S. Lewis and J. R.R. Tolkien fans:

Wilson also has a “kid’s” series (100 Cupboards trilogy) that is (in my humble opinion) comparable to  The Chronicles of Narnia. All about how a 12 year old boy named Henry and his cousin Henrietta find these 100 cupboards that lead to another world in the attic of their house. Along the way, they wake up the Witch of Endor and meet the hilarious Frank Fat-Faery, the loyal Richard Huchens, the awesome Caleb, and discover the magic of Dandelion Fire.

Very clean and deals with some great issues. Wilson is a Christian, but he doesn’t talk blatantly about his faith in these books. He hints at it, more like Tolkien than Lewis.

 Sorry this turned into a brag fest of my New Favorite Author. Letham’s article really did remind me of Wilson and then, of course, I had to share the edifying gift of his other works.

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Yea, I liked Lethem’s list of quotes at the bottom too. I thought it was like a really awesome works cited page (which, let’s be honest, is a really boring piece of text usually). Also, I loved that same quote. As a writer, I can definitely understand that “writing out of chaos” thing. There’s always so many things in your head and sometimes you just can’t get them all out at the same time, or at all.


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