My new online class HACK the CLASSICS: Unlock Jane Austen in Under 60 Minutes will be live in a little over a week. I’m making some tweaks to a few of the lessons, but I thought I would share the promo video with you. Be on the look-out for $7 introductory coupons!
As some of you already know, I teach an online fairy tales and storytelling class (that’s the icon on the right hand side). Because storytelling is so awesome…I wanted to give everyone some writing inspiration for today.
PRACTICAL TIP: Make a list of 5-10 stories that you really enjoy telling people. Look expand on one or two of those stories by adding more sensory details. Write it out…video yourself telling the story…share it with other people!
Guest Blogger R.J. Anderson (Check out at her fantastic book series at http://www.rj-anderson.com)
I can’t remember exactly what age I was when I first read The Princess and the Goblin, but I suspect I was at least nine or ten. My father, a full-time Bible teacher in the “open brethren”, had introduced me to Lewis and Tolkien by reading them aloud to my older brothers (bless him for it!) and I had plunged headlong into fairy tales, mythology, and all the “juvenile” (as they were then called) fantasy stories I could find as a result — L’Engle, Le Guin, Alexander, and so on. My father’s habit was to scour the Christian bookstores for fantasy stories that might interest me, and give them to me for birthdays and Christmas presents: a four-book set of the Curdiebooks, The Lost Princess and The Golden Key and Other Stories was the happy result.
I have re-read the Curdie books, and read them out loud to my own children, at least ten or perhaps fifteen times since. They exerted an influence on me almost as powerful as that of Lewis and Tolkien, albeit in a more subtle way that I find difficult to describe. Interestingly enough the main and most obvious “borrowing” I did from MacDonald ended up being the same part that Lewis and Tolkien borrowed from him: the powerful imaginative element of the goblin tunnels leading to a vast, labyrinthine underground world. (We see it most clearly in The Hobbit when Bilbo must rescue the dwarves from the goblins, and again in LotR during the passage through Moria; in Lewis we find it most in The Silver Chair, when Eustace and Jill and Puddleglum venture underground to find Prince Rilian; and in my own books it manifests as the Delve, an abandoned tin mine which is both a place of safety and great danger for my Cornish piskey heroine and her people.)
On a faith level, however, I find the symbolism of the young princess Irene following her “grandmother”‘s thread through the tunnels by touch more than sight, with the skeptical Curdie unable to see or feel the thread at all, is a marvellous use of spiritual metaphor — ringing true to Scripture and to life, without feeling contrived or preachy in the least. MacDonald had an amazingly deft way of weaving faith elements into his fiction in a way that seemed natural to the plot of the story and even enhanced it, while still containing a deeper truth and meaning that even the youngest child reader would find difficult to miss. I love that.
I want to dedicate the next few posts to guest writers who have written about how George MacDonald has affected their lives.
This writing comes from Justin Wiggins. Go check him out on Facebook
The Impact of C.S.Lewis and George MacDonald On My Life
by Justin Wiggins
C.S.Lewis was the first one who led me to George MacDonald. I still remember vividly reading through Lewis’“Surprised by Joy” and coming across MacDonald’s name. Who was this Christian writer that had such an immense impact on the Oxford pipe smoking Christian apologist and thinker? I discovered a very fascinating and amazing individual when I began to read the writings of George Macdonald. I saw parallels between “The Princess and The Goblin”and the Narnia stories, and was very moved by the powerfully imaginative “Phantastes” and “Lilith.” From that point on I read through his other fairy tales like “The Golden Key,” “The Light Princess” and re-read them, like I did Lewis’ books.C.S.Lewis was my first introduction into the world of literature through reading The Chronicles of Narnia, and it was from that point on that I started to think more critically, saw the value of language in a way that I had never had before, was given a love for myths and fairy tales, and began to really be interested in Christian theology and apologetics, and it’s role in the life of a believer. I loved “Mere Christianity” and read his other apologetic works, along with his fiction and his very brilliant essays on literature that are still hard for me to understand. I grew in my faith like never before and loved it. I had answers to theological, historical, and existential questions I had for years, and it was liberating! And though there were still some very difficult things that I went through like we all do, the writings of MacDonald and Lewis were always there to encourage me, challenge me, delight me, and remind me of just how much Christ Loves me. As any reader does with his favorite writers, I read some really wonderful biographical things on the life of Lewis and MacDonald, and only marveled all the more because they really lived out their beliefs, and therefore had a more personal impact on my life. I loved learning that most of C.S.Lewis’ money during his lifetime went to people that really needed help that was managed by his friend Owen Barfield, that he took the time to answer his letters written to him when his writings were becoming popular, that he took in children at the Kilns when WWII was going on. I loved learning about George MacDonald that he tutored women at a time when them getting an education was looked down upon, that he helped the poor, and as a preacher he really sought to help people in their walk with Christ,and that through his novels and fairy tales and other fantasy works he sought to teach the Christian virtues of faith, hope and Love that he believed in passionately. What George MacDonald has most helped me with is the delight in obedience towards the will of God, the tenderness of God and the Love that flows from His Heart. I am in a very interesting and new chapter in my life right now, and it’s a comfort to me to know that if I am obedient to the will of Father,then He will guide me and provide for me: He is the author of my life and is guiding me. Just this afternoon on a walk I was overwhelmed with the Love of Christ, and marveling at all the beauty around me,and came across this passage from George MacDonald’s first written worked called “Within and Without” that really resonated with me,“It is a law with us that no one shall sing a song who cannot be the hero of his tale—who cannot live the song he sings..” I really resonate with that because recently I have been struggling with a lot of fear and depression, and everything looked bleak, but that quote was a reminder that I don’t have to fear, and that Christ is guiding me as he is writing my story, and I have peace and joy now embarking on this new quest, this new chapter of my life. And I am choosing to sing the song of my tale.
I recently started a new unit with my class on The Hobbit, so we were fooling around with an elvish and hobbit name generator. Thought it would be a little fun to see what everyone’s Elven and Hobbit names were.
Findaráto Lossëhelin or Bolo Bramble of Willowbottom at your service.
What are your names? Copy and paste them in the comments section.