Oh my goodness this is really happening…
I have read a lot of C.S. Lewis. Not all, but quite a bit. It started when I was in second grade. I remember reading the Chronicles of Narnia as a child (and even having them read to me), and loving the magic of his stories. In “adolescence,” I fell for The Space Trilogy. Just when I thought this had been a passing phase, I discovered his “adult” fiction and non-fiction like Till We Have Faces, The Great Divorce, and The Screwtape Letters. These books and a relaxed class on novels that allowed me to again read the Chronicles kept the flame burning. And then I started college.
I’ve thought that maybe my fascination would die or fade as I read other books and went on other adventures and misadventures. But after 3 years of university and a lot of different world experiences and travels, I am even more curious about his allegory, imagery, and characterization. I want to see the environment that produced these stories. I want to know the original context of the stories. I want to experience the history that Lewis drew upon when writing. I am interested in the craft of the stories, and how I might go about writing something like what he wrote. I still admire and respect him, his work, and his ideas.
It is something of a dream come true then to be able to participate in something that he was a part of nearly 50 years ago. It is incredibly invigorating to know that I’m going to be going to the same pubs that he visited and learning in the same system that he worked within. I think in this sense, going to Oxford was almost something of a pilgrimage, but I want it to be much more than that.
I want to engage this place. I do not want to simply be a visitor. Oxford seems to mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but I think for me, Oxford is like a grindstone or a knife sharpener. It seems like an incredible place take on challenges learn from your successes and failures. To simply visit a grindstone (unless it is the insert-uber-superlative-here grindstone) would be worthless. My biggest fear about this study abroad program is that my 9 short weeks here will go by so quickly that my stay will be more of a visit and less of an engagement.
That and missing my train to London. Thanks for reading. Next stop: Orientation.