Picture taken with my mentor and chair Dr. Jasmine Renner at Taylor’s local eatery Ivanhoe’s
“Nothing, I suspect, is more astonishing in any man’s life than the discovery that there do exist people very, very like himself” – Surprised by Joy
Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending and presenting research at the Colloquium on C.S. Lewis and Friends at the beautiful Taylor University.
The experience was nothing less than amazing. Most people who are casually acquainted with me are aware of my deep affinity for C.S. Lewis. Lewis references spring from my lips quite unintentionally, and often to the disdain of those who have spent more than 30 minutes around me. For example, while I was preparing backstage for graduation, I explained to a colleague that I wore heels but I did not want to suffer the same fate as Lewis did when he accepted his essay award as a student at Oxford (for the record, he fell attempting to walk across stage; thanks for that piece of info Will Vaus!) In my world, nearly everything has a Lewis reference, either to Narnia, the science fiction trilogy, an essay, or Lewis’s own personal experiences.
Here, I found strangers who quickly became friends. I imagine it would be no different if I were joining an Inklings meeting. All of a sudden, we could quote, chuckle, or discuss with ease. I quickly altered from “that annoying Lewis nerd” to “one of us.” The transformation is quite exhilarating! One website you absolutely MUST visit is http://www.essentialcslewis.com/ which is maintained by fellow Lewis fan William O’Flahtery. The website features book reviews, Lewis facts, and podcasts with Lewis scholars.
Among meeting a plethora of Lewisophiles, I had the privilege to personally thank three of my research contributors: Devin Brown, Alan Jacobs, and Will Vaus. Not surprisingly, they were incredibly kind, even to muttering, nervous fans like me. All Lewis scholars moved among us, being personable and quite interested in engaging in conversation. I had great talks with David C. Downing and met a new scholar and author of the book Light, Charlie Starr. If you haven’t procured a copy of Light yet, I highly suggest you get one. It is literary analysis with a generous dose of mystery concerning the “last” short story published by Lewis. Great read!
If you ever have the opportunity to attend this conference, please do so. The papers and plenary speakers challenge the mind and strengthen the faith. Just as Jack would have wanted it.