Writers and Truth

by DoctorGamgee

Writers and Truth: a musing/tribute to our authors           

I was looking around the Scrapbook, utterly amazed by all of the thoughts and exchanges that the boards have fostered over the years. It is somewhat daunting to skim through the myriad of titles in each of the respective posts. It seems that everything has been said or covered already, and many wonder just how long it will be able to sustain itself. And yet the sheer number of new additions never seems to fall, and theme days add spice to them, so I don't really worry about our running dry any time in the near future. And today I was inspired by a writing by FanForever. The question revolved around why one must face evil to be a hero, and those who are 'gardeners of good' go unknown.

I remember when I was younger, my older brother Jay said that writers "seemed to notice everything more." He was perhaps correct, but it seems not so much that the things were noticed, but rather how they fit into the greater scheme of things that was augmented: their relationship to other things in the area and how things worked together and affected each other that created the stories.

This is the thing which draws me into the LOTR: Tolkien's ability to spin the yarn so cleverly that the kindness Frodo shows in the middle of the second book finally finds fruition in the end of the third; or how the Seed Sam is given in the middle of book one ends up becoming the new Party Tree, and bringing full circle the theme of Fellowship and "looking out for one another" which is found throughout the books. This simple truth, and how failure to do so leads to mischief (Sherriffs!) and Sharkey. By watching how JRR tells the story and shows in ways great and small that even the smallest person, or the least important seeming event can affect the whole story's outcome.

Tolkien's work has been rated as the greatest piece of literature in the 20th century. If this is so (and I believe it is) then aren't those of us who have read it, and who claim that it has had an important effect on our life, somehow required to show that by reading it, we have changed some way? I know that it has changed the way I perceive things, and the way I deal with some aspects of my life. Has this happened to you too?

One thing that it has called me to do is become more aware of the world around me. So oftenn I feel that heroes are defined the way they are is because many of us fail to react to things which don't grab our attention in a bold way, and thus, many battles are unnamed, unclaimed, and either overlooked before they are begun, or their relevance is never sought in the bigger picture and the lessons that they could have taught go unlearned.

I have never been much of a writer here on the boards -- at least as far as Inklings go. I find that my mind does not wrap around the facts and relationships needed for that sort of thing. I have only done one (I believe) and that was mediocre at best. But this year, I hope to follow in the steps of Primula, Varda, Agape, Lothithil, Evermind, Dinledhwen and others. I will search out truths in the world around me, and see if I can create them for others via stories. I will pay attention to history more, and see if I can figure out how the events of the past are coloring the present and future.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us here on the boards. We are all endebted to your generosity and wisdom.


Response from Lothithil

Well said, Doc!

We have a unique place here, and it's folks like you who make it extra special. I have yet to meet, online or in the Real World, a person as perceptive, gentle-hearted, and intellengent as you are, Dr G.

I've made friends on this board that I will keep for the rest of my life. It is as real a place in my heart as my hometown, painted with the colours of Middle-earth. I love this community!

And I am so glad that the Scrapbook is there for us to enjoy (especially us who have less time to 'hang about' than we used to!)

Response from Linaewen

I take as much pleasure in researching my facts for the things I write as I do in actually writing it. Something about doing the research opens the door to insight into character and relationship -- not sure how that works, but I hope you discover that to be true for yourself, as well. I bet you will!

Response from Pi

Very insightful and thoughtful, doc. But as far as your "Limerick of the Rings" goes, my friend, you bow to no one.
I, like you, have not really done an inkling. I'm not sure how hard it would be for me, but I'd like to try a little one. Just ask Rogorn about that - he and I have talked about his "Hope of the North," and I've done a couple little HOTN poems for him, and I've given him an outline of an idea I had, but as far as actually writing it, I run away, run away!!

Reply from Doctor Gamgee:

Thanks, Pi. Although I was thinking of "Rosie's Confession" not the Epic Limerick -- that is more poetry than real Inkling, as I am not creating anything new.

Linaewen, I hope that good things will come to pass, but while I am good at following formulas (i.e. poetry and poetic forms) the vast openness of writing prose is somewhat daunting: finding the proper formatting and form for the story is my great challenge. But I am glad to have you in my corner.

And Lothithil -- that is the nicest thing that anyone has said to me in a long time. I will simply say 'Thank you' as my gut reaction to your kind words was more along the lines of "Don't get out much, do you?" But I share your love for this community and agree -- it is home.

So we shall see where this leads. Thank you all for your support and encouragement.

Response from Lothithil:

And Lothithil -- "Don't get out much, do you?"

Hee hee! My chain is only long enough to reach the waterbowl!

Response from Ladyhawk Baggins:

 What do you mean it was mediocre?! I thoroughly enjoyed your little Rosie tale and wished you'd continued with it. But then I've not kept up well with Through Frodo's Eyes. I dread what's coming, and I've been... distracted by other writing. I too look forward to your new adventure, for an adventure it surely is to be, not only for your characters but for you as well. Reading what others have written allows me to broaden my own views, even if I don't agree with the writer, for I am required to examine my own thoughts more closely and consider things I might not have considered before. One of my goals this year is to be sure and write at least 15 minutes a day, to start. Habits take time to form, but this is a habit I've wanted for a long time, and now is the best opportunity to get started.  And I like the way you have challenged us to show that we have changed in some way by the reading of a great book. It certainly has changed my life for the better.

Response from Vison:

Although I haven't been here much lately, nor Inkled much lately, I still treasure every single word I ever wrote in the line of fanfic. And I treasure all the kind friends who read it, commented on it, praised it.

And I've read some wonderful writing on this board. My word, I'm waxing sentimental.

Response from Varda:

 Dear Doc,

thanks for this inspiring post, something needed at this last gasp of the old year when believe it or not we writers wonder has the well run dry and will we ever see our muse again. Thanks for the namecheck and if you opt to write fiction, best of luck.

I am working through seismic changes in my life, and my writing has been put aside, and I miss it as it is my way of processing what is happening in my life in other ways. If you do write, focus on character rather than ideals, especially heroism. It should be personhood, rather then heroism that leads us. Just getting up in the morning is heroism for some people and most heroes dont look like it. The greatest hero was Frodo, and he was just a hobbit. Sam was the servant of a hobbit, but the greatest quest ever seen would have failed without his common sense, pig-headedness and pans. Little is actually big, very big. People on this board seem perhaps to colleagues and even family to be modest achievers, but their posts reveal genius and perception far beyond the ordinary.

Id like to take this chance to wish you and yours, and G Minor a very happy New Year, and all the very best in 06, fiction or fact, it is all one....and maybe we will meet at convention or such like.