7/22/2016: The Hobbits Are Us

I know Tolkien didn’t allegorize. But I can’t help but see a metaphor here. It’s probably just me, but hey.

The Hobbits are us. In particular, they are us who don’t know or care to know about the wider world, the world outside of our little culture’s scope—the world of Lewis prior to Mythopoeia. Ted Sandyman is the hobbit par excellence, and even the more pleasant ones want nothing to do with news of Mordor and of Dwarves and Elves and adventures and magic. They just want to eat and drink and party, to gossip, to be comfortable, to live small lives within the Shire. Simple, petty lives. And they live in holes in the ground—another metaphor for being somewhere that separates you from the wider world, like living under a rock.

(2/28/2017 Is Ted Sandyman really the premier hobbit? Later on, his sourness is revealed to come from hobbit-external influences, like Saruman. He has the mind of the machine, which comes from Saruman. But I wonder at his receptivity toward Saruman’s philosophy, that perhaps his being the hobbit par excellence made him the best candidate for such. I’d really need to go read all that he says more before deciding. But if I remember correctly, he’s the first to dismiss Sam’s attachment to the dark rumors from the east—something altogether hobbitish of him. And the idea that this attitude makes someone the most susceptible to his later adherence to Sharky plays well with C.S. Lewis’s idea that the greatest lie Satan ever told was that he doesn’t exist. Thus, it is those who care for nothing other than themselves who become the first to dominate all others toward that same end.)

And it is a hobbit whom Illuvatar uses to defeat Sauron, even in spite of the nature of hobbits. And God uses us for like things.

Tolkien was so brilliant.

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7/19/2016: Creating By Writing

I wonder if, perhaps, my vision should not be one of writing so much as of creating. That is, I write to create. I could do other things that are creative as well. The creating is the thing, and the creating makes writing so much more wholesome to the reader.

What’s more, what if I focus all of my creation on a single point, a single secondary world and all of the laws and guidelines and mythologies therein. Wouldn’t that world be the richer for it? Wouldn’t it be more worthwhile, more engaging, more true to life and full of meaning for others (and for myself)?

Look at Tolkien’s world. His business was to create. Stories, yes, but by them he created a world, and from this world, he tells the stories that move us.

I like the idea of creating a world, and I think it’s an ideal worth pursuing. In fact, some of what I have created in the past has come to be the foundation for what I am currently writing. Perhaps this can be my starting point.

I would have to publish as I created, though not all of what I create will be publishable (assuming any is).

Of course, the downside of publishing prior to the finalizing of a world is that I can’t easily go back and edit what I’ve published if I find that the world needs changing.

Another downside—what if I get tired of my world? I read that Rowling got kind of burned out during Order. Though, with her new work on the horizon, it seems that she couldn’t stay away.

One could also look at Rowling as an example, though her progress differs greatly from Tolkien. Where he created separate mythologies and romances to bedeck his world, she created seven stories, and her world feels quite full (though perhaps not as full). I wonder how much behind-the-scenes worldbuilding she did.

But my point is this—don’t try to copy Tolkien. He did what was natural for him. For instance, he was obsessed with the languages of Middle Earth. I couldn’t do that, and I am not naturally drawn toward them. Don’t try to copy Rowling either. But perhaps a rich, developed world is worth pursuing, however I end up developing it.

Of importance in a secondary world is the appearance of historicity. That was Tolkien’s goal for his languages, or at least one of them, and I assume for his development of mythologies. Rowling also accomplished this by her exploration of government and of the school’s legacy. It’s also interesting to note that her use of names had the similar effect of consistency that Tolkien’s did, though of course without anywhere near as much development. She does it by means of what appears natural English charm and playfulness. All of her names have it, and the older ones have the air of such.