It’s amazing what a week of focus, peace, quiet and no distractions can do for a writer. Being at the Kilns this past week has been that for me, and it’s paid off. I wrote two whole chapters in my book (I am now two chapters away from the end!), plus the preface. Being in C.S. Lewis’ house has been quite an inspiration, and I’m so blessed to have had the chance to come here.
The week here has been something of a blur (probably because I was plunged into writing so wholeheartedly), but it’s been full of great moments of spiritual rejuvenation and sensory delights. I’ll take you briefly through some of them:
- Eating Ben’s cookies in the Oxford covered market. Anyone who’s had these cookies knows what I’m talking about.
- Waking up whenever I wanted to for seven days straight, with my window open and songbirds singing right outside. Truly glorious.
- Spending time with the two people who are also living at the house right now—Donna and Tammy. So great to hear their stories and share mine with them, and to know that our paths crossed in this place at this time for a reason.
- British grocery stores. I forget how fun and clean and interesting they are. And MAN have they mastered the art of self-checkout technology!
- Watching collegiate rowing on the river in downtown Oxford while drinking Pimms and eating strawberries and clotted cream. Apparently this is what they do here in the summer, and it’s fantastically British.
- Meeting Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis’ stepson, who popped in to the house a bit today.
- Having coffee in the morning, tea and crumpets in the afternoon, and some sort of wine at dinner. If this is how retirees live, I want to be old.
- Watching no television for a week. Good thing all my shows are done for the season.
- English cheddar cheese. Amazing. And combined with fresh herbs from the garden and organic eggs, it makes a mean omelet.
- Being part of the tour. As tour groups came through the house (usually 1 or 2 a day), I was often sitting at a desk somewhere writing. “Oh, this is one of our resident writers,” the tour guide would say when they came into my room. Among the tourists in these groups was Dr. Timothy George, renowned theologian and Dean of Beeson Divinity School.
- Hitting the hipster jackpot in the Hackney borough of London on Sunday. The church I visited (Grace Church Hackney) was a great place to worship and will be featured in my book.
All of these things have made this an incredibly memorable, enriching, useful week for me… one of those weeks that feels more productive and full than the average month of “regular life.” I’m so incredibly thankful that I am here, and when I leave tomorrow it will be bittersweet. But it’s off to the next exciting place—London (for 3 days). And then Paris for the final 3 days of my trip, before returning home to California next Tuesday. Until then—Further up and further in!