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Of Cabbages And Kings


Put your imagination to work and you are in a whole new world!



Where do writers get their ideas?  Why do they write about the things they do?  Have you ever wondered about that?  And here I am writing about writing!


Actually, thereís no mystery about what writers write about; the number of things to write about are limitless.  Iím reminded of a few lines from an amusing poem: "The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things; of shoes and ships and sealing wax; of cabbages and kings."  And thatís about it.  Name it and someone has probably written about it.


The why takes more thought.  Doubtless you could think of a number of reasons: money? fame? control?  These are pretty negative reasons.  Are there more positive reasons?  You know there are.  A simple reason might be because someone had confidence in your ability to write creatively.  Thatís why I wrote "The Siege of Shah Island."  My children urged me to write a "Narnia" story after C.S.Lewis died.  Needless to say, I finally gave in and created the land of Shahlasia where Dennis and Betts met many adventures along with the dwarves, talking animals and, of course, a "Son of the Emperor beyond the sea."  One of my favorite scenes took place on Shah Island with Mr. Duran, the faun, and Dustin, a dwarf: A battle was imminent and the captain, Dennis, had sent Dustin on an errand. 


His orders were to go straight back to him as soon as he found out about Arnnold and "all he could."  But had he learned anything worth while?  That no one was suspicious of an attack?   But could he be sure of that?  That King Fakerud was more interested in feasting than interviewing prisoners?  That he was, as a matter of fact, scarcely able to talk let alone interview?  That had been fortunate for Arnnold...and it would help them when the time for the attack came.  But was that "worthwhile" carrying to Dennis? 

As he pondered these questions, he had begun walking slowly down the hall.  Had he been looking where he was going no doubt he would have saved himself a big surprise for as he slowly turned a corner he came against something that sat him back on his seat with a thud. 

His surprised eyes stared into another shocked face--Mr. Duran--who took one look at the dwarf and hastily turned to escape the way he had come. 

Dustin was up and after him in no time, his beard flying behind him.  He didn't yell...but he must catch that faun.  He was sure he was an ally of Aryehn.  No friend of King Fakerud would have so open and honest a face. 

But the faun was fast.  Unfortunately he didn't know the castle.  Dustin caught up with him on the third turn in a corridor that ended right there. 

"Hold on," Dustin whispered loudly, "in the name of Aryehn." 

"In the name of Aryehn?" Mr. Duran asked. 

And Dustin nodded wisely. 

"Then," said Mr. Duran, "perhaps you can tell me what has happened to the queen's emissaries." 

Dustin covered his lips with a fat finger and looked around.  Then he motioned for Mr. Duran to follow him.

When he had made sure they couldn't be overheard--though, to tell the truth, there probably was no need for such caution as the banquet was well under way even at this early hour--Dustin said, "Now, sir, who are you and what do you know about the queen's emissaries?" 

Mr. Duran replied cautiously, "They came with me from Shahlasia three days ago.  Something dreadful must have happened to them and I must either rescue them or return to the queen in very great sadness." 

"They are safe," said Dustin. "I will take you to Capt. Dennis." 


And with this you may be able to see why writers write-they just get so involved in their subject they canít stop.  And they sort of fall in love with the characters.  That is true of nearly all writing-even scientific things in which the "characters" are facts, formulae and even, sometimes, fiction.


That brings me to another kind of category and another reason folks write.  They may have been encouraged to write, not by persons, but by a desire within to inform, educate, inspire, motivate others.  Indeed, one of the best reasons for writing is that God, himself, has put such a desire in ones heart.  Paulís writings are a great example of this.  He, obviously, had the desire to write for several reasons: instruction, encouragement, to correct erroneous ideas.


What do you want to write about?  The above reasons could make you want to take pen in hand and begin a writing career.  What subject would you choose?  History?  Thatís fascinating.  Adventure stories?  Maybe even newspaper articles.  Or letters.  Letters are a great way to communicate.  They can be any or all of the things Paulís letters were.


"But," you say, "how do I get started?"  (If youíre reading this, youíve already started!!)  I thought about that a great deal when I was asked to teach a class in creative writing-a class on the essay.  I hadnít realized this before but I came to realize that, if one can write a simple essay, one can progress quite easily to various other kinds of writing.  Would you believe that an essay can be as short as a paragraph?  In my book "Creative Writing and the Essay" thatís just what I teach folks-how to write a short essay.  When you can do that you can do most any kind of writing. 


"We may not be aware of the wide use of the essay--often we do not even recognize we are reading an essay, but once one begins to recognize essays one can see how useful knowing how to write one can be and how influential they have been.  Indeed, knowing how to write a good essay can be the doorway to longer and more influential kinds of compositions.  My hope is that you will be used mightily of the Lord for the growth of His kingdom here on earth.  That you will, by the use of the pen, become a "Repairer of the breach, a restorer of paths to dwell in....í (Isaiah 58:12) for your generation." ( Excerpted from "Creative Writing and the Essay.")


If you are longing to write, thatís a sure sign God has given you the gift of writing.  But remember there are principles involved in writing, just as there are principles for everything one does.  One of the first, as pointed out in my manual, "Creative Writing and the Essay," is contained in the Scripture Philippians 4: 8, "Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."


If you want to be used of God to write about things you are enthusiastic about, He will help you do it. Thatís why I write.  Thatís why I wrote "Creative Writing and the Essay."  Why do you want to write?

Question: What is a "Christian door"?  Have you ever heard of one?




Answer: I was having lunch with a friend of mine when she pointed to the door leading into our room.  "Thereís a Christian door," she said.  I looked at the door.  What in the world was she saying?  She then explained: "I was visiting a house in Georgia when I noticed a sign on the door, ĎThis is a Christian door.í   When I enquired about the meaning of the sign, it was explained to me that when travelers would see a door like this one, they would know this house is a place of refuge." 


The design of the door is as follows: The upper part was divided into squares in such a way that the center part was a cross; the lower section of the door had two squares representing an open Bible."


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