Hey, Tolkien. I Missed You.

chapter 1

Hey, Tolkien. I’ve missed you.

I don’t know why I stopped reading your words. I first heard them read aloud in my family, when I was a child. I loved your stories, characters, and writing. I read The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit multiple times on my own as I grew older; I was a shy little bookworm. I finally saw the movies, and was hooked. I watched them every Christmas break after that, and never stopped enjoying them and gaining new insights and thoughts from the experience. Entering high school, I picked up The Fellowship of the Ring over the summer, determined to make it through the series before school started. But I never made it past Theoden’s courts in The Two Towers. For some reason, I got stuck. Then Life happened. School got busier and busier. I only ever had time to read required literature for school. Reading lost a bit of its magic. I read the great works of literature, and analyzed the crap out of them. But, by that point, great literature held little meaning, few life-impacting lessons, and no magic. So, I forgot the magic of reading, and how vital it impacted my ability to write well, too.

Then, for some reason, even though I still hadn’t laid a finger on The Two Towers, I decided that it would be a good idea to start a blog based completely on the metaphor of stepping outside the Bag End door. I used some quotes from the books, examples from the movies, and general Middle Earth metaphors. But I still didn’t pick up the books again. Apparently I thought that my yearly dosage of the movies would suffice to sustain the metaphor and my inspiration for my Bag-End-based musings.

next chapter

Well, Tolkien, I’m finally back. I missed you, and I forgot how inspiring you are. For no particularly compelling reason, I decided to take the Fellowship of the Ring with me to burn time on a 4-hour plane ride to California three weeks ago. I knew that the first few chapters were a little monotonous, with the prologue, explanation of hobbits, and long description of Bilbo’s party, but I decided to fully commit to my first Tolkien-reading-experience in years. I read every word of the forward, preface, “Concerning Hobbits” intro, and then into the first chapter. It was, indeed, a little monotonous, but I kept reading. By the time Gandalf had returned to give Frodo an account of the Ring, memory was stirring in me. I began to remember why I loved these books so much. And by the time I got to Frodo’s encounter with Farmer Maggot, I was thoroughly enjoying the small sections that I would read each night before bed. I started trying to catch a couple pages, half a chapter, or sometimes a whole chapter whenever I got the chance– the plane ride home, on break at work, and sitting outside on the lawn, looking at the sunset.

chapter 3

Well, Tolkien, I just wanted to say thank you. I’m not tucking your words away on my bookshelf and forgetting about them any more. Life will still be crazy, and will probably do its best to distract me from reading the things that truly bring me joy and inspire me. But, day by day, step by step, I will focus on continuing to read and learn. I’m learning that, in order to become the people we truly want to be, we have to prioritize the things that truly inspire and impact us.

This song lyric has been on my mind a lot recently, in relation to that:

“Well if you can’t get what you love
You learn to love the things you’ve got
If you can’t be what you want
You learn to be the things you’re not
If you can’t get what you need
You learn to need the things that stop you dreaming.” {emphasis mine}

— Passenger, “The Things That Stop You Dreaming”

Too often, the mundane and painful things of life make us chase after “the things that stop our dreaming”– in my case, being so immersed in the stress of school, literary analysis, and English classes that I don’t make time to read books that truly inspire me.

Well, Tolkien, chapter by chapter, book by book, I hope to seek after the things that inspire and continue my dreaming. Besides, coming back to you words may breathe a little life into this struggling blog. Thanks, Tolkien, for helping me become the writer, reader, and human that I want to become. From now on, your words will be close to hand, mind, and heart.

4

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