Saturday, October 31, 2009

#98

On Friday, November 22, 1963, at approximately 5:30pm, C.S. Lewis died at his Oxford home, the Kilns. Lewis had not been well for some time leading up to that late fall day. For the next few weeks I will post a few of the letters Lewis was able to write during his last month. *An amendment - looking at the material I will have to actually work back into the Summer of 1963 in order to present relevant letters. The last month of his life Lewis did not write many letters and many of them deal with everyday affairs as opposed to thoughts on life and death. So: 9 July 63 Dear Mary I can well understand with what mixed feelings you received what was obviously, in the ordinary medical sense very "good" news. Aren't you a trifle fierce about the Doctor? It can't be much fun attempting to explain the details to 100 bio-chemical patients who have no knowledge of bio-chemistry and who, one knows, won't really understand, however hard one tries. I was always only too glad to let mine off with the merest skeleton account of my own state -I found it such a boring subject. Also, aren't your doctors (like ours) hideously overworked? I know my specialist, when I was in hospital, had a working day which had begun at 8:30am and was still going on at 9:45p.m. Doesn't leave much elbow room. Our hearts, by the way, must be different. When yours is worst you have to lie flat. When mine was worst I had to sit up - night and day for months. By the way, as you come out I may possibly go in. Swollen ankles - the Red Light for me - have returned. I see the doctor about this to-morrow. My fear is that he will forbid me to go to Ireland on Monday as I had arranged, and put me back in hospital. Our friends might really get up a sweepstake as to whose train will go first! Blessings. Yours Jack

Friday, October 30, 2009

#97

29 Oct. 63 My dear Banner Thanks for your kind letter. Perhaps you and I were nearly dying at the same time? My adventure was in July - a long coma from which I was not expected to emerge. If your experience was anything like so gentle as mine you possibly share with me the feeling that, having reached the gates as sweetly as those who travelled by the ships of Phaeacia, it is rather a pity to have found them shut and have the job all to do over again some day, and some not very distant day, and perhaps (who knows?) far less agreeably. This sounds as if I were unhappy, but I'm not. I live the life of lotus-eater, for once, a clear conscience. I doubt whether I can ever leave this house again and I am not even allowed up-stairs. What then? I've just re-read the Iliad and never enjoyed it more, and have enjoyed to the full some beautiful autumn weather. I hope you are as comfortable as I. Yours C.S. Lewis

Thursday, October 29, 2009

#96

On Friday, November 22, 1963, at approximately 5:30pm, C.S. Lewis died at his Oxford home, the Kilns. Lewis had not been well for some time leading up to that late fall day. For the next few weeks I will post a few of the letters Lewis was able to write during his last month. 29th October 1963 Dear Miss Kristy, Many thanks for your kind letter of the 23rd, and I'm sorry that the one you wrote me in the summer miscarried. How am I? I'm pretty well for a man who has become a permanent invalid; and if I cannot make much use of my legs I can still use my head, and am able to continue to write. I hope you are enjoying your work on the newspaper, and that the savings programme will continue: there is no holiday so good as the one you have to save up for. With all good wishes, yours sincerely, C.S. Lewis

Monday, October 26, 2009

#95

Tonight's Fall Lecture has been canceled. We will still be meeting at 7pm. If you are unable to make the meeting and need a copy of the book for November's meeting send me an email and I will get it to you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

#94

As a follow up to the last post I drove to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and planned to spend some time on the Skyline Drive hoping to enjoy Autumn and take a few pictures to combine with another Fall quote from Lewis. Unfortunately the mountains were not covered with blazing colors, but thick white fog. I will attempt to get back with the Lewis quote when the weather clears and a picture of local leaves can be had. The possibility of Autumn leaves at the Shenandoah National Park comes by way of my latest hobby - Shakespeare. I never thought much about Shakespeare until last year when I took a class, taught by Becky Kemper - Maryland Shakespeare Festival. Since then I have made 3 trips to Staunton, VA to watch performances at the American Shakespeare Center - the only replica of the original Blackfriars playhouse (the first indoor theatre in the English-speaking world) - an amazing place, worth one trip just to see (they offer tours and the tickets to shows are very reasonable). While this is my latest personal passion I do need to justify putting this on the Lewis Blog. Turning to my trusty book - The Quotable Lewis - looking under S for Shakespeare I find, amongst seven pages: "The mark of Shakespeare (and it is quite enough for one mortal man) is simply this: to have combined two species of excellence which are not, in a remarkable degree, combined by any other artist, namely the imaginative splendour of the highest type of lyric and the realistic presentation of human life and character." - from Selected Literary Essays, "Variation in Shakespeare and Others" - I personally do not own this collection or essay and cannot find any modern collections where one would find it. Anybody know anything about it? Amazon has a few used copies available - $$$$ Another link would be on Lewis's grave stone, where a quote from King Lear is to be found. I will not comment on the quote, or even reveal it (do your own research), at this time. A little over a month and I will mention it on the anniversary of Lewis's death.
One other plug: On your way to Staunton, VA, right off of I81 after you pass Harrisonburg, is the Green Valley Book Fair. Check the link for times, they are only open during certain times of the year - a few weeks at a time. Currently they are open until next Sunday (10/25). All books are new and half priced or more. Three large warehouses to walk through. Go with a budget or you may find yourself in financial trouble.
Sound like an enjoyable day or two? Ask me and I will share my thoughts and experiences concerning lodging, B&Bs, and of course food.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

#93

The second glimpse came through Squirrel Nutkin; through it only, though I loved all the Beatrix Potter books. But the rest of them were merely entertaining; it administered the shock, it was a trouble. It troubled me with what I can only describe as the Idea of Autumn. It sounds fantastic to say that one can be enamored of a season, but that is something like what happened; and, as before, the expereince was one of intense desire. And one went back to the book, not to gratify the desire (that was impossible - how can one possess Autumn?) but to reawake it. And in this expereince also there was the same surprise and the same sense of incalculable importance. It was something quite different from ordinary life and even from ordinary pleasure; something, as they would now say, "in another dimension."
from Surprised by Joy

Friday, October 9, 2009

#92

In order to throw a quick quote on the blog I grabbed The Wisdom of Narnia. The first entry, titled Simple Pleasures, goes as follows:
"There's nothing to beat good freshwater fish if you eat it when it has been alive half an hour ago and has come out of the pan half a minute ago."
From The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
I wonder how many have had this simple pleasure in this modern world we live in?

#1045

The Christmas season, for me, usually means my annual trip to the movie theater.  I average about one trip a year and as far as I can r...