Last Saturday while cleaning the house I decided to start listening to an audio version of “The Inklings” an excellent biography covering the lives of four famous writers (JRR Tokien, CS Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams) and regretted it five-minutes later.
The author began describing things that most people would view as life goals; writing of a children’s play and book, learning of languages, creating your own rudimentary language complete with dictionary, and devouring of any classic literature possible.
Tolkien and Lewis were doing it at the age of six or seven
While these accomplishments are partly due to the fact that these men were obviously brilliant, I believe there are deeper reasons for their achieving such amazing things at a young age
- The lack of technological tools to take up their time (tv, computer, tablet)
- Reading books was an easy way to escape boredom
- Love for literature and words from their parents (especially mothers)
- And plenty of solitude (Lewis would spend all day in the attic with his brother)
Within these reasons a profound truth is seen that I believe reveals a big reason why these men became such great writers….they created literature or language for fun
Each of us have some things we enjoy doing for fun or relaxation whenever there is free time.
- Hang out with friends
- Play a video game
- Listen to music
- Surf the Internet
- Crash on the couch to watch tv or Netflix
- And check Facebook or Twitter on our phone
Please understand I’m not saying that these are bad things since there is a need in everyone’s life for forms of relaxation. But the fact that a spare ten-minutes would lead me to catch up on Netflix episodes or check facebook while Lewis or Tolkien would reach for paradise lost by Milton is convicting.
This led me last Sunday to think about how much time is spent on social-media, my phone, or Netflix every day. It wasn’t pretty, but helped me realize those minutes invested in these things really added up
- While drinking that first cup of coffee
- And getting that second (third, fourth) cup of coffee
- While my programs load on my computer
- While my oatmeal cooks for a minute and a half
- During lunch
- While cooking supper
- During my morning walk through town
- And countless other times
I’m not saying it’s easy of course. I would much rather be catching up on NCIS while eating breakfast this morning instead of wrestling with what Owen Barfield called the evolution of language, and his “great war” with Lewis over the subject of imagination. But sharpening my mind over oatmeal instead of watching Gibbs slap someone in the back of the head is better in the long run (though I love to see it).