Met with some students at the Bible school again today for lunch. What we’ve done is start a weekly “Inklings” group, to talk about writing, mythopoetics, theology, etc. It’s an appropriate time to schedule it, as the social branch of the Inklings used to meet at noon on Tuesdays at the Eagle and Child (Bird and Baby) pub in Oxford. We’re exactly like them, except without the beer and the smoking. And with more females present.
Today the subject was “stories.” When they asked me for my input, I quoted something I heard from Dr. Sebastian Gorka, who guest hosted for Larry Elder on his radio talk show yesterday.
Gorka said (as I recall it) that when he’d finished his book, Defeating Jihad, he showed the manuscript to his wife. Her response was, “Is this all there is?”
I’m sure that Gorka – like all the rest of us writers – had been hoping for a response more along the lines of “This is the most wonderful thing I ever read! I laughed, I cried, I wanted it to go on forever!”
But she explained. “You’ve got to give people a story. Nobody will care unless you tell them a story.”
So, he says, he added a long preface, telling the story of his father. His father was in the anti-communist underground in Hungary, during the Cold War. He was betrayed (by the noted Judas, Kim Philby), and sent to a political prison. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 he was released, and he decided to flee to the West. A friend asked him to take his 17-year-old daughter along with him, so she could live in the free world. They managed to escape (crawling through a mine field at one point), and eventually settled in England. He and the girl married, and Dr. Gorka is their son.
“Whenever anyone talks to me about my book,” Gorka said, “they never talk about the body of the thing. They want to talk about that preface – the story.”