Thought I would share a bit of serendipity today. J.R.R. Tolkien died two days before my first birthday. I desperately wanted to be a writer–even before I could talk. So one day I wrote a story when I was about two. In my head all the loopy loops were words but what impressed my mom was I wrote on the lines. So by three I could read and write.
I was about four or five when I decided I wanted to be the Poet Laureate of England (at the time)–not knowing the impossibility of that and everyone wondering how a child my age even knew what that was, love of writing was already etched on my soul.
The poem above has no name but I nicknamed it 99 years because I wrote it on June 5, 2015–99 years to the day J.R.R. Tolkien went to war, I learned. What was more serendipitous was the fact that I wrote Thranduil and Êlúriel’s last night together before he went off to war on March 22, 2016–100 years to the day J.R.R. Tolkien married Edith Bratt.
I do not believe in accidents or fate–things happen for a reason. When I was at my lowest point, I heard a gentleman’s voice answer my question, “why do I write at all,” to which I heard as clear as day, “to see beyond all that lingers.” I wrote that down as soon as I heard it because who says things like that these days. It sounded so “old world” to me.
After that I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. Today I was told the story is a good one. My little story I hashtag “in honor of jrr tolkien” on Tumblr is a good story. Still going through editing, but someone said it was a good story and in the battles there was emotion and detail. The love story was real. The relationships they say are natural. I am humbled if it is good. It was hard work and I lost sleep and even friends, but I gained so much more.
This wasn’t going to be another fan fiction about what someone wanted it to be. I feared the trap I would fall into because other “Thranduil” stories had plenty of sex and violence with plenty of readers for it–not to mention 21st century colloquialisms that were unbearable. I couldn’t do that to Tolkien. If it couldn’t be worthy of being read by Tolkien, I did not want any part of it. That was the reason it took me some time to start The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy. But something kept pulling me the story. Once I started on this journey, I knew I would never be the same again.
By the end of 2015, I could read Tolkien Sindarin, Quenya and Black Speech–still working on Adûnaic. I had memorized the layout of Middle Earth East to West and North to South. I knew names of things in equivalencies. I asked questions from experts and in between writing a story, I read. I memorized tales, people and complicated genealogies. Tengwar takes some getting used to in writing but reading it a bit easier.
I stuck to my word–follow the History, write what you would find in Middle Earth and nothing less. Faithful and true to Tolkien I stayed and those who appreciated it have.
I had 360 pages for the first book–over 400 in all so far, 170 + new characters so far and pages of poetry, journals in Elvish and a crate with so many Tolkien books, it needs wheels to move it. In all that hard work, it only took a year to compete Book II: The Saga of Thranduil. I am on Book III: To Eryn Lasgalen and I love every moment. I’m almost too excited to start Book I which is about Orothôn and Oropher, but I want to get it right, so study more I will. I was asked today did I have an Appendix–lot of characters to keep up with, you realize. Yes, it is a work in progress because I want it annotated with a bibliography so people know exactly where my inspiration came from. I am proud of that most of all and whisper thank you into the wind.
I like to think Tolkien spoke to me when I was sad that day. He saved my life that day. But the night after I said I would never do this, I found myself looking through Tolkien quotes for some reason. One I posted hours after I told the world I would never do what I am doing now.
“Few can foresee whither their road will lead them, till they come to its end.”—J.R.R. Tolkien (11:57 pm May 12)
“Elrond raised his eyes and looked at him, and Frodo felt his heart pierced by the sudden keenness of the glance. ‘If I understand aright all that I have heard,’ he said, ‘I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo; and that if you do not find a way, no one will.” —J.R.R. Tolkien (12:01 a.m May 13)
I came to the end of one road only to find another. I guess Tolkien was a prophet as well as the genius behind all the tales we loved since childhood. I have a love for this that defies explanation and I know my story has an end–as all unexpected journeys do–but I will cherish it always no matter what comes of it. It brought me home to my love of storytelling and writing. Now I dream again.–J.