The Joys of Branching Out

Lately, Jeremy and I have taken to reading out loud to each other.

Our first endeavor at this bonding activity failed (we tried to read a marriage book– booooring!). But recently, we’ve taken up a few of C.S. Lewis’ classic fantasy tales, namely The Great Divorce and his space trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength).

So far, we’ve gotten through The Great Divorce and Out of the Silent Planet, and we’re  half-way through Perelandra. And we’re eating them up!! We’ll sit in our faux-leather love seat, enraptured by the other’s words, and when we’re not reading, we’ll be discussing what we just read, what we think will happen, and how we hope the series never ends! (Sadly, they always do though…)

What I like so much about this activity is that though we are engaging in an activity that involves engaging with an art form, it is so unlike our art forms. I cannot, for the life of me, write fiction, let alone fantasy. And Jeremy works with metal, wood, and computer screens– very different from Lewis’ writing style. Moreover, Lewis’ books are so overtly philosophical (unlike our art work tends to be), that we find ourselves being led into fascinating conversations about the evil in humankind, the intricacies of creation, and the closeness of heaven (closer all the time). It’s like a good date night, wrapped in a tidy paper cover.

We find that stretching our minds by trying new mediums, whether through experiential, hands-on learning or through viewing and taking in the work of others, lends itself to stretching our own art. I paint a crude picture and get an idea for an essay I’m working on. Jeremy watches a film about angels that inspires a new found object piece.

Has this been something that you also, artist or no, have found about yourself? Does trying new things that you are not traditionally drawn to or good at stretch your thinking and help you to become better at what you love to do?

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

7 thoughts on “The Joys of Branching Out

  1. Just for clarification, The Great Divorce is a book about “a fantastic bus ride from hell to heaven.” We didn’t quit reading a marriage book to read a book about a literal divorce. haha!


  2. Hey Liz! My name is Lara, and I was a friend of Jeremy’s at JBU. I stumbled upon your blog through a link somewhere – it is fun to see a picture of you and have a face to put to a name! I just had to comment on this post because my husband and I are also reading through the Space Trilogy. He’s on That Hideous Strength, and I’m still back in the first one, but I like that he can talk to me about the first one. 🙂 We’ve read books aloud in the past, most recently, The Hobbit. I agree, it’s a great time together and a super platform for good discussions.

    Hope you and Jeremy are doing great!


    1. Hi Lara! Great to meet you (sort of :)). That’s great you’re reading the Space Trilogy too! How funny. We’d love to hear your thoughts about it– I think we’re going to be posting some of our thoughts pretty soon. 🙂


  3. I love that you guys are reading the Space Trilogy together! I absolutely love Perelandra…it’s like a theology book wrapped up in crazy fiction wrapping paper. So good.

    Jeremy, remember the good old days when we had to read the Abolition of Man out loud to each other? I think you and Liz should start reading that out loud to each other next…or not.


  4. Jessica and I read to each over the GVid Chat. We’ve both found it valuable and a way to pretend we’re not over a 1000 miles apart. It started with short stories, then we read The Stranger and are almost through Catcher in the Rye. While it’s less of a stretch for me, since I write fiction, study literature and TA Creative Writing, for Jessica I hope it provides a much needed break from the rigors of Scientific Research and coding.


    1. Next we will read “Spatio-Temporal Migration Patterns of Pacific Salmon Smolts in Rivers and Coastal Marine Waters”. You guys can listen in too, if you REALLY want to branch out 😉


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