The Beautiful Woman Has Come

The Beautiful Woman Has Come
A Historical Novel by Debra Giuffrida

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Back of the Wardobe

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of "East, Love, Pray," gives a wonderful talk on the creative process and how modern society is injuring our writers by putting the burden of genius in them as opposed to having genius reside within a temple and only occasionally visiting the artist. She goes on to point out how the ancients were right in their belief system and modern man by putting godhead within us is killing off all of our talented people.

I, on the other hand, have finally realized that they are both wrong.

C.S. Lewis created a marvelous series of books entitled The Narnia Chronicles of which The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe is the first entry. To say that the four protagonists walk through a wardrobe into a world of fantasy is to make light of the story. It's not so much that they conquer evil and right a wrong and save this fantasy world. It's that they are safe and at peace and happy and free. Everything that we are not.

So, at the end of the story they have stayed in Narnia and grown up in the bosom of this fantasy world until one day they come across the grove that contains the back of the wardrobe. It's at this point in the story I realized that C.S. Lewis understood, that we artists (here I include myself) have all stepped through the back of the wardrobe and entered this life we are now living, away from what you normals call "fantasy." Each of us yearns for the return, stepping back through the front of the wardrobe and out the back, to return to what we have lost. And this other world, this fantasy, as we live here in the glare of reality, we can just see it out of the corner of our eye. We feel it in our heart, we see it in the beauty of nature, we hear it in the sigh of the breeze in the trees or the call of the birds or the low of the cattle. But it is just out of our reach and it drives us mad with desire. Desire to step through that wardrobe and go home.

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