Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Once Upon a LORD OF THE RINGS Panel...

One of the perks of my day job is working with faculty who teach really interesting subject content. This semester I had the privilege of doing a library session for a class studying Tolkien and LORD OF THE RINGS. Even better, I've been invited to a panel discussion on Halloween to talk about Tolkien's impact on literarture and culture. And, I'll be able to dress up.

To prepare, I'm reading the THE HOBBIT to refamiliarize myself with Tolkien's language. I love how he inserts the real within the fantastical, much how Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling do. That they're all British is probably no coincidence--British humor has a way of depicting very straight, narrow, and normal characters in absurd situations, and making it all engaging and amusing. Something I strive for in my writing all the time.

But what really got me thinking is how Bilbo decided to embark on his adventure in the first place. His mother was a Took, known for welcoming the unexpected, whereas his father, a Baggins, was very accustomed to routine.

It's the classic head vs. heart scenario. The Baggins part of Bilbo doesn't want the adventure, but the Took part of him craves it. Much like my writer/librarian divide. The librarian in me loves the routine of my job, the security of it. The writer in me (more at some times than others) yearns to break free. And then the librarian remembers how scary that is (and reminds me that I get to do cool things like be on LOTR panels).

As writers, we are all embarking on our own adventure. Even the published among us are carried on various roller coasters.

So we have to find a way to sync our heads and hearts. Marry our Tooks with our Bagginses. And the best way to do that is to focus on the writing--which remains constant, no matter where our rollercoaster adventures take us.

So, go, and be free. Write what you love. Listen to your Baggins. But don't deny your Took.

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