Archive for July 2, 2019

Two of my favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I had heard of their writer’s group at Oxford, but I had no idea how influential this group, the Inklings, were on each other. Diana Pavlac Glyer, through 40 years of research allows us to be those proverbial flies on the wall in this amazing gathering of great authors, in her book, Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings. This book is amazingly impressive. Here’s an example.

As a Tolkien fan, I have always loved The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. Then one day I decided I wanted to read more. I found a book called The Silmarillion. I thought surely this book would become another favorite of mine. While I appreciated it as a piece of art and a way of gathering more insights behind my favorite books, but I found it hard to follow and at times really over detailed. I was surprised to read this book, and not the more successful LOTR, was Tolkien’s heart. The Silmarillion was published posthumously in 1977, having been compiled and completed by Tolkien’s son, Christopher, himself a member of the Inklings. What I began to see was the influences that Lewis and others had on LOTR and I began to wonder if Tolkien had not had these collaborators who helped him to refine what became LOTR, and if he had written it similarly to Silmarillion, would it have become the classic that so many know and love? While I can’t answer that question for sure, I do know it was the pressure from the Inklings that got Tolkien to finish LOTR. This is just one example. There are many more throughout the pages of this very readable and yet scholarly book.

After discussing the Inklings in great length and detail, Pavlac Glyer turns the corner and gives very helpful advice on how to start ones own Inkling group. I think I am going to try to do this. Besides being a great book on some of my favorite authors, there is a recurring theme of the book that was so appealing to me. It states, “Creativity Thrives in Community.” I think I can use a little more creative community in my life, how about you? Pick this book up!