Friday, January 18, 2013
For months, I looked forward to the premiere of The Hobbit. With much prodding from my husband twenty some years ago, this was the very first fantasy novel I ever read. I loved it. Since then I have read many, many fantasy novels. I would love to say that J.R.R. Tolkien also inspired me to write fantasy. I am sure he has subconsciously, but he hasn’t consciously. How could he? He is the master, a genius. I could never write at his level.
With the movie came articles about Tolkien. I started hearing talk of his Christian message in all of his books. I became intrigued. I decided to learn more about the man. I checked out his biography from the county library and began to read. I became fascinated by him. He sounded like any normal professor that may have taught me Eastern. Okay, maybe not Eastern, but you get the idea. I loved learning his mother converted to Catholicism when he was but a boy. I shook my head at her being turned out by some of her Protestant family. I was amazed to discover when she passed away when he was twelve she left him in the guardianship of their priest. I chuckled at the quote about how he thought other Christian faiths were watered down. I cheered when he helped convert C.S. Lewis to Christianity though he was disappointed Lewis didn’t become Catholic. He loved mythology and languages. He served his country in World War I. He loved nature and trees. All of these facts endured Tolkien to me even more.
His being a Catholic, soldier, and lover of mythology helped connect me to him to a small degree. The writing life he led connected me more. He struggled. Working on his novels, he would become distracted and write about the world or the history of the novel instead of the scenes needed to complete his work. He was never completely happy with his work. I can relate to that! Even after the huge success of The Hobbit, he struggled getting his other novels published. I can’t even imagine. I thought it would have been a breeze for him. But like the rest of us, he paid his dues. He didn’t like what the publishing business wanted to do with his work. His story is the story of all writers. Oh, and the character of the Ent is loosely based on his friend C.S. Lewis as my troll is loosely based on one of my dear friends.
I was not at all disappointed by part one of the movie The Hobbit. Nor was I disappointed with Tolkien’s biography. I learned he was a normal man with a genius of telling an amazing story. He will always be a master and I will never compare myself to him. Writers block would take up permanent residence in my head if I did. Instead, I will try to hold on to the knowledge that even the greats struggle through this journey of writing, living, holiness.
Blessings to you all.