Essay by Indis

The True Fellowship
Well, I am on this board for about one and a half years now. It has become an important part of my life, and I try to be here every day. I have seen discussions, musings, great inklings, beautiful poems, funny things and sad things, battles and arguments, and wonderful proofs of solidarity and compassion. How precious this board is!

I have been a Tolkien fan for more than 26 years now, I have read the Lord of the Rings about 25 times or so, have read the Hobbit numerous times, the Silmarillion (only once, ahem…). Through Peter Jackson’s movies my passion for Tolkien has seen an incredible rejuvenation. All of a sudden I was not the weird person reading an out-dated fantasy novel written by an old-fashioned Oxford professor, I was just one of many fans and it was no longer something slightly strange to be a fan.

What was more I suddenly found myself in the middle of a breathing and living community of people of diverse origins and backgrounds. On the way since my first contact I have met wonderful people, made friends with people from Ireland, from the USA and Canada, the Netherlands and Germany, I found ringers in the most unlikely places like airports and supermarkets, I have been to Toronto for the Gathering, to Bonn for RingCon, saw the LotR exhibition 4 times, this year I will see Howard Shore in concert, go to the Fellowship festival in London and to New Zealand in October. I have done things and gone to places I would never have dreamt of before. This whole thing has brought me back to life again!

What struck me most was how easily we all connect. I am not talking of the person who goes to see the movie and likes it, I mean us ringers who have made this Tolkien and his work part of our lives, and especially the people on this board.

Of course we share the same love for Tolkien and PJ’s movies, but this alone would not explain the extreme familiarity and affection between us. I think we all have some things in common that make it easy for us to feel at ease with each other.

This topic has been brought up before, many months ago, when suddenly everybody was talking about how he or she found his or her way to Middle-Earth.

Many of us here, it seems, have had a very hard life, some from their childhood on. There was loss and abuse, separation and divorce, illness and death, unemployment, depression and loneliness, financial difficulties and legal problems.

And still, among all this hardship I could not find anybody complaining about the unfairness of life, nobody was expressing feelings of being deprived or treated badly.Many said that through their hard times one thing kept them going: Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings!

Critics call us escapists, but I call us strong! Because instead of wailing and whining we look for help and relief and when we have recovered in Middle-Earth we just go on and do what we have to do, no matter how hard life is.

Is that escapism? No, I don’t think so, I rather think that we are down to earth people who know that in this day and time nobody is going to help us except ourselves, and we cling to the virtues of self-sacrifice and friendship and love to help us go on. I say we are people who despite serious problems have never given in to despair but still trust to hope. We are the ones who face the problems and manage to solve them, or, if that is not possible, we live with them. In this, we follow what Tolkien wrote down as the foundation of his world, and that is why we are attracted by his writings.
Escapists? Never! We do not avoid our problems, we face them!

And this is our common ground, this is why we all connect to each other so easily, this is why we found so many friends here, and this is why I love you all! I raise my glass to you, my friends, and my heartfelt wish is that we may stay together for as long as possible, for you indeed are precious to me!!!

28-Mar-04