Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Voyage to the Ugly Heart of Me -- and back.

I haven't seen the newly released film version of C.S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader yet.

GASP!

I know, right?

The truth is, I'm scared of it. This is my favorite book in the series. What if they mess it up? What if they downplay the reality of THE LION's role in Eustace's transformation? What if they skip an island or two? What if I can't smell the lilies??????????

*****TANGENT ALERT*****
Oooh. I just had a random thought: I hope Disney does a Dawn Treader ride at DisneyWorld. That would be soooo awesome. Like the Pirates of the Carribbean ride except with dragons and a LION and children as heroes and the scent of lilies at the end and the mist in your face all along. Oooh. I really hope they do that.

Anyone who's been to Disney World will tell you how utterly transported you are to other worlds via the Imagineers. They use sight, scent, sound, mist, light, film, motion, and, I think, a few generous pinches of pixie dust to make multiple worlds come alive in one magical kingdom.

And to think: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is right down the road at Universal Studios Orlando. It would be a little like studying Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon, except much less stuffy and with better weather. It would be so awesome: the mirror-world realization of two of the 20th Century's literary greats (Okay, Rowling crossed the millenium with her series) only a couple of miles from each other. Wouldn't that be the theme-park trip extravaganza of all time???? One day you're in Narnia via Disney, the next day you head over to Hogwarts via Universal.

awwwwwwwesome.

So, Disney Imagineers, please, please, please get on this.
****END TANGENT****

But back to my original thought -- I haven't seen the movie yet. I only hope that next weekend (when the wind chill factor is in a more human-friendly zone and my emotions are stabilized enough to handle the fear of epic disappointment) that I am awed by the cinematic interpretation of one of my favorite books of all time -- my favorite of all The Chronicles of Narnia. When I read/see Eustace Clarence Scrubb in the ways C.S. Lewis created him, I see myself, my own dragon scales getting ripped off by the claws of the LION who loves me enough to bathe me with his rough pink tongue and make me clean.

Some of you may know that I have dabbled in the world of songwriting. In fact the music business was my chosen career path when I moved to Nashville and entered Belmont University's Music Business program in 1991. Moving to Iowa put a bit of a kabosh on my career plans, but I couldn't stop writing lyrics. This musical penchant has helped me as a writer, to feel the rhythm of prose, the musicality of story, as I try to create that which moves the emotion of a reader.

Some of you also know (because I have blogged about it before) that for most of my reading life I have tried to read through the complete Chronicles of Narnia every 2 years or so, to see how much bigger the Lion seems based on my own growth (see my old post Countdown to Prince Caspian, or another one: Lions & Chiggers & Dragons, oh my!) After one such re-entry into Narnia (in 2006) I penned the following lyric, entitled "Eustace's Daughter", based loosely on another lyric I had created in college many years before, again, after reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I still hope to someday put it to music -- but the right melody hasn't revealed itself yet; the lyric itself needs revision. But due to the release of the film it seemed appropriate to share the lyric here, even in its imperfect state. And, who knows, maybe some other music-writing Narnia-lover will be interested in contacting me (leave a comment in the comments form) about the possibility of co-writing a melody for this song someday. In any case, here it is, unedited & unrefined, like me. Because, unfortunately, I still must seek the rough pink tongue of a LION regularly.
--my apologies for the weird formatting -- I've been fighting with it to make it more uniform, but it isn't translating from the "new post" page to this page accurately. Go with it. ----

Eustace’s Daughter

words by Shawna R. Van Ness

Thick scales

a dragon’s tail

the heaviness in my soul

is like a man drowning in gold

Scalding tears

breathing fear


Your presence shocks the fire from my eyes

I know just who You are to my surprise


Layer by layer by layer you bid me

My own strength is spent but yet you still bid me

Sir, your vicious mercy scores my skin

Dig deep enough to gut the soul within

Wound to heal me with that golden claw

Wash me with the tender sting of love


Treasure cave, a dooming grave

the shame caused by my greed

hangs like mist below the trees

My golden lair, His burning stare

Your beauty puts the brightest gem to shame

You see me as I am and douse my flame

Layer by layer by layer you bid me

My own strength is spent but yet you still bid me

Sir, your vicious mercy scores my skin

Dig deep enough to gut the soul within

Wound to heal me with that golden claw

Wash me with the tender sting of love


Naked and raw in the water

I step in like Eustace’s daughter

and I scream -- oh, the sting....


Layer by layer by layer you bid me

My own strength is spent but yet you still bid me

Sir, your vicious mercy scores my skin

Dig deep enough to gut the soul within

Wound to heal me with that golden claw

Wash me with the tender sting of love

The water turns sweet on my skin

You've washed away all of my sin

In your view

I am new….

copyright 2006 Shawna R. Van Ness



fiction mirrors truth.

1 comment:

psalm127mom said...

Ok, *sigh* I must admit that I haven't read all of the Chronicles of Narnia...I've only read the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe because I wanted to know what the movie was about when it came out, but alas until I met Alan, I had no clue who C.S. Lewis was. With that said, these lyrics rock, but make no sense to me in light of not knowing the story. However, Alan has been in a music writing splurge lately (he wrote the music to some lyrics for Pastor Flack and we've now been singing the song weekly for Advent), so I shall send a link to this on to him, and perhaps he and I can play around with it soon ;)