C.S. Lewis On Everything

From C.S Lewis’ autobiography.  I’m seriously at turns giggling and heartbroken.  What a fascinating individual.

On his greatest fear, insects —

“My bad dreams were of two kinds, those about specters and those about insects.  The second were, beyond comparison, the worse; to this day I would rather meet a ghost than a tarantula. … The works — that is the trouble.  Their angular limbs, their jerky movements, their dry, metallic noises, all suggest either machines that have come to life or life degenerating into mechanism.”

On his weird thumbs —

“What drove me to write was the extreme manual clumsiness from which I have always suffered. I attribute it to a physical defect which my brother and I both inherit from our father; we have only one joint in the thumb.  The upper joint (that furthest from the nail) is visible, but it is a mere sham; we cannot bend it.”

On his first narrative creation, Animal-Land —

“They were an attempt to combine my two chief literary pleasures — ‘dressed animals’ and ‘knights in armor.’ As a result, I wrote about chivalrous mice and rabbits who rode out in complete mail to kill not giants but cats.”

On his first spiritual experience as a young child —

“Before I knew what I desired, the desire itself was gone, the whole glimpse withdrawn, the world turned commonplace again, or only stirred by a longing for the longing that had just ceased.  It had taken only a moment of time; and in a certain sense everything else that had ever happened to me was insignificant in comparison.”

On the grief of losing his mother to cancer —

“We lost her gradually as she was gradually withdrawn from our life into the hands of nurses and delirium and morphia, and as our whole existence changed into something alien and menacing, as the house became full of strange smells and midnight noises and sinister whispered conversations.”

On the loss of childhood —

“With my mother’s death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable, disappeared from my life.  There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of Joy; but no more of the old security.  It was sea and islands now; the great continent had sunk like Atlantis.”

On sailing —

“By great efforts I succeed in vomiting; but it is a poor affair — I was, and am, an obstinately good sailor.”

On his brother who cheated at school —

“Presently you were called up to ‘say a lesson.’ When that was finished you went back to your place and did more sums — and so forever. … My brother — I have told you that he was already a man of the world — soon found the proper solution.  He announced every morning with perfect truth that he had done five sums; he did not add that they were the same five every day.  It would be interesting to know how many thousand times he did them.”

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