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The Inklings - Thoughts on Informal Author Gatherings

Lady Arwen
The Mermod Moderator

I've been doing some thinking of late. Facebook's memories (I know, I know, not quite on topic, but I promise, I'll get there!) reminded me that several years ago, at this time, I was making my way to Oxford to visit a friend for Christmas. We, of course, landed ourselves at the Eagle and Child for some food and cider right away, and spent a lovely afternoon chatting about books and research. No one paid us any mind, because who pays attention to someone sitting in the corner of a pub talking to their friends? Which made me think...really, what was the value of the Inklings? Today we look at it as a collection of well-knowns, fervently discussing the highest forms of literature, but I'd be willing to argue that it was basically a group of World War I vets and their buddies talking snark and sharing random story ideas. As Lewis' brother later pointed out, it was very unofficial and informal, with little structure past a general regularity of meetings.

All of that, then, led to the reflection on the value of the group. True, the group essentially heard Lord of the Rings read aloud, along with Perelandra and Out of the Silent Planet and Charles Williams' All Hollows Eve, but they also heard it as Tolkien, Lewis, and Williams were working on them. How much might the group have shaped the development of those stories? Did it effect the structure, or simply encourage them to keep writing? Or neither at all?

I'm also curious if any of you are writers, and if you are, if you have any informal social groups dedicated to writing, and how those work out for you.

Avatar thanks to AITB

Topic starter Posted : December 10, 2018 1:12 pm
NarniaWeb Guru

I like to think that C.S Lewis and I have a just bit in common with each other. For starters, our military service and secondly our love of writing. Obviously our experiences in both areas differ quite vastly. However the base ingredients of similarity are there. As such, I believe I relate to the man on a primordial level.

If I know anything about soldiers or veterans, is that they love to be around other vets. In the military you make blood-brothers, combat veterans often say that they cared not for overall military strategy when they fought, instead they fought to get their brothers to their left or right back home. This would have been especially prevalent during the first world war, a war that most would have avoided if at all possible. The bond between these vets would have been immense. I can say, with a ninety percent certainty that the group influenced each of their writings. I would not be at all surprised if they even gave each other good natured ribbing if any of their work was a bit too over the top or needlessly corny.

Personally, I don't have any outside-world social writing groups. However, I have a few friends that I've met over the years on the interwebs that I really enjoy writing with. Some I've even met on this very website, if you can believe it. I can say with absolute certainty that they've helped me improve my writings and also encouraged me to stick with it. Writing groups are useful, 10.5/10 would write in a group again.

If you ain't first, you're last.

Posted : January 31, 2019 12:00 am