Through the Wardrobe
I love, love, love the Narnia books. I love Faun Tumnus and the Beavers and Reepicheep (the brave warrior mouse) and the lone lamppost and the stone statues in the witch's castle and the dawn run with Aslan... One of my most treasured books is a copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with beautiful illustrations by Michael Hague. Inside it says, "To Sarah, Merry Christmas 1983! Love, Mom and Dad." It makes me think of Christmas mornings, when my brother and I would wait in my room until it was late enough to drag my parents downstairs to see first the stockings then the tree (always in that order -- I was a tad bit obsessive compulsive about family traditions). And Uncle Bill and Aunt Julie, our close-enough-to-be-family neighbors, would come over for bacon and eggs in a breakfast feast worthy of the Beavers. And I'd help my mom set the dining room table with the china for Christmas dinner. And I'd sneak-read bits of whatever books I'd received whenever I thought no one was looking... Anyway, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is one of those books that makes me smile inside when I see it. I think I've read it at least several dozen times.
So this fall, when an editor from BenBella Books contacted my agent and asked if she had any authors who would like to write an essay for an anthology about the Narnia books, I jumped at the chance. (Or more accurately, I channeled my inner teacher's pet, stretched my hand in the air, and shouted: "Ooh, ooh, me, me, me!")
But what to write about? When adults talk about the Narnia books, there's often much discussion of religious allegory and such. And, of course, the books are clearly religious allegories. But when I was a kid, in all the times I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I never once had the slightest clue that there was even the tiniest bit of symbolism in there. Some kind soul finally pulled me aside (much in the way that parents through the ages have sat down with their kids to give them "The Talk") and repeated the word "Allegory, allegory, allegory!" in increasingly frustrated tones until I finally said, "Oooh, so the whole Stone Table scene..." And then they said "Yes!" and went away muttering under their breath and rolling their eyes.
So when I sat down to write my essay for the BenBella anthology, I decided to embrace my obliviousness. My essay is called "Missing the Point", and in short, it's about why it's okay to be completely clueless.
The essay anthology is called Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. It was edited by Herbie Brennan, and includes essays from the following writers:
Sarah Beth Durst (me!!!)
Zu Vincent and Kiara Koenig
And check out the awesome cover:
It comes out this month (March) exclusively at Borders stores, and despite the fact that my essay includes several embarrassing personal anecdotes, I'm really excited about it. Narnia! Aslan! Faun Tumnus! YAY! Seriously, I feel honored to be included.
The very nice folks at BenBella have offered to give me a couple extra copies of Through the Wardrobe to give away on my blog. So in a week or two (once my copies arrive), I'll be hosting a contest here. I hope you'll drop by and enter!