I’ll be the first to say I am so flawed, there’s an angel in Heaven that watches over me with a production team to keep up with everything I do. I was listening to the Eurythmics song “Missionary Man” and yes, I was born an original sinner and I was born of original sin. True story.

How I went from abandoned at birth to adopted at seven is nothing compared to what I’m about to do now–finish my very first book. Who would have thought that 4 lbs. bundle of joy left at the Boone County Hospital in 1972 on Labor Day (September 4) would finish something. Well, over 500 pages.

My first starring role was in the Columbia Daily Tribune listed as a number and a note for the parents to come claim a baby girl. Needless to say, no one showed up until I was taken home by my birth mother’s social worker whom I would later know as ‘Mom’. From day one my mom couldn’t figure me out. She always said I was a wanderer. I loved wandering and did it so much on the farm I was raised on, I drove my mother up the wall. I was always looking for something else. I could relate with Luke Skywalker staring into the setting sun on our farm on a clear day wanting desperately to leave and see the world.

I guess it was no surprise I took to The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy like a duck to water.

Not all those who wander are lost…

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I am no Aragorn, but I tend to not want to take responsibility for my own destiny. Like Aragorn, sometimes the Heavens have to force it upon us because it knows somewhere deep down we know what we have to do; we just want a nudge and some assuredness that we are going in the right direction.

For the past one and a half years, every time I wrote anything down, if the word was “write” it came out “right”. You don’t get anymore of a cue from the sky than that I suppose. I don’t know why I would replace “write” with the word “right” for so long–my head knew I was writing. It only happened when I wasn’t writing on the story. I wandered off to something else and that little voice that directed me here was telling me to stop messing around. I’ve had a year and a half of some of the oddest “accidents” happen when I would wander away. I finally realized that the head wanted to go back where the heart was waiting–in the pages of my first book. No one in their right mind would write this thing, so my fate was automatically sealed.

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Tonight, on what was supposed to be the day I finished Book II: The Saga of Thranduil of The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy, a family issue came up and I had to postpone it. I will admit that even though it was a small distraction, I was glad for it. It was a defining chapter in my life. A tale far more detailed than even Tolkien’s stories, I will say the air was cleared of something. I had been putting off finishing my book–even with a deadline because I didn’t want to say good-bye. Mirkwood had become my home. I loved every moment being Thranduil. He is a part of me and I don’t want to let go.

I had seen him grow from a child to a man–from a prince to a king. He survived perils beyond imagination to come to the end of his adventures. Though there were tears and pain mixed with joys and laughter, all of it was part of his world and mine. I will begin telling his father’s story soon–in the voice of Oropher–and moving away from the one that started it all has been tough. To be able to bring him to life made my life make sense. I stopped wandering. For the first time, I wanted to go down the path I was supposed to go. I knew I was supposed to do it, but like Aragorn, I had more aliases than I could count and spent sometime in the Land of Denial. I woke up every day wanting to go on a journey with a direction–I wanted to go down a road that meandered but had purpose and meaning. Once you start that road, the next one seems scary but you know you have to go.

For a week, I spent most of the time listening to Billy Boyd’s song “The Last Good-bye” from the end credits of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”.

It is the perfect song to make yourself realize the Journey is over but you have fond memories of it. It is also the perfect song to make you cry and not want to move on because the memories are not all you want to take with you. You want to stay there.

“Many places I have been

Many sorrows I have seen

But I don’t regret

Nor will I forget

All who took that road with me”

This is my favorite part of the song–the one I sing the most (and terribly off-key) because I realized that on the outside there were people who took this road with me. In a twist of fate, one of them just retired on Tuesday of this week. The one person that started me on this journey because she thought I could do it when I didn’t want to and thought I couldn’t. I took a chance and when I did, people saw my true colors. One friend said to me, I was happier and I seem I found my calling. I gave this lovely woman the first hard copy of my book and on Tuesday, I gave her the first Appendix–15 pages of new and canonical characters that helped tell the story of Thranduil. She adores them both and tells anyone who will listen they should read my story. When I left her, she told me that another doctor of mine was rooting for my book as well and she wished me luck on finishing it and she hoped to see it in a bookstore one day.
My defining chapter is life. Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” I don’t remember either one but I believe that the day I stopped wandering and began following my meandering path to ‘now’ was much like my birthday. I started out screaming and kicking and wanting to go back where I came from knowing full well that was never going to happen. After a while, I took to the world like a duck to water and began wandering around until I found my way to where I found out why I was born.
I’ve written tons of stuff–some that was published in hometown or college places. I’ve had my share of good reviews here and there. But not one thing in all my life I ever wrote drew an audience like The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy. I suppose I could find many reasons why–it’s a fan fiction. The audience for Tolkien still lives on. People start reading it thinking I’m retelling the film or adding to it. It might have its roots in Middle-Earth, but also in my imagination. Like Tolkien said..
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“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” That was the beginning of his journey. Mine began with words whispered when I thought I had nothing left to give to the world and I had nothing left to write, “To see beyond all that lingers.” So Tolkien-esque those words whispered to me, I wrote them down into a poem:
 “To see beyond all that lingers, 
To walk beyond all eternity.
To speak beyond all voices,
To hear beyond all truths thus clearly.”–Jaynaé Marie (5-9-2015)
Soon enough, my journey, as with all things in this life, will end. But I don’t regret and won’t forget how I got here and all those–living and dead–that took this road with me. I am just beginning my own defining chapter as I leave Thranduil’s behind. Some day, I hope to meet him again when I come to journey’s end. But not yet. I have a lot more living and writing to do.–J.
Gif Image: Image: ©2001. Warner Brothers Pictures. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. All Rights Reserved.
The Appendix of The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy is here: https://tkwrtlegends.tumblr.com/post/160101792997/this-is-the-first-draft-of-the-official-appendix
J.R.R. Tolkien in his own words here:
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