Writing Struggles with J.R.R Tolkien

I was organizing my bookshelf last Saturday afternoon, as one does on Saturday afternoons. I picked up a book (as one does when organizing a bookshelf, completely abandoning the project originally started.) It was Humphrey Carpenter’s Tolkien, a lovely ’77 edition.

Started reading it and found some quotes that are just GOLD and thought we (writers) could just really relate)

(Please note that the quotes are in backwards chronological order because for some reason I decided to go through the book backwards???)

“My work has escaped from my control, and I have produced a monster: an immensely long, complex, rather bitter, rather terrifying romance, quiet unfit for children (if fit for anybody)”

I think all of us can look back at a work and just feel like what. Did. I do. I know I feel that way with Lily. It’s juts…wow. It’s really something.

“I don’t suppose there are many sentences that have not been niggled over”

‘Cuz we’ve ALL been there, bleeding over one stupid sentence, and then STILL somehow missing a gigantic typo. Also Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings by hand and typed it up with two fingers. No wonder it took 12 years to write.

“All that I had sketched or written before proved of little use, as times, motives, etc, have all changed.”

When our characters decide to throw our nice plan and outlines into the dumpster and set it on fire. Also, he told Faramir to stop talking about so much history because he would moved it to the appendices.

“…I found my moons in crucial days between Frodo’s flight and the present situation…were doing impossible things, rising in one part of the country and setting simultaneously in another. “

I. Have. Been. There. ALL THE TIME. I always seem to keep my characters awake for like 72 hours, have it be windy and not windy at the same time, have it morning and then two hours later be midnight.

“At this point I require to know how much later the moon gets up each night when nearing full, and how to stew a rabbit.”

I always wondered how Tolkien talked about moons so much and just kinda thought he knew astronomy when apparently he did not. I just always assumed since Tolkien talked about the moon so much he just kinda…knew where it goes.

These quotes aren’t directly from him but the book itself…

“He was fifty-one, tired, and fearful that in the end he would achieve nothing. He had already gained a reputation for almost indefinite procrastination in his philological work, and this sometimes amused him, though it was often saddening to him; but as to never finishing his mythology, that was a dreadful and numbing thought.”

…I think we all need to read this when we wake up in the morning. (we meaning “me”)

Just fyi, a whole stock pile of the Hobbit was burned in the London Blitz so there’s another reason to hate the Nazis if you needed one.

“But as the name ‘Bingo’ had now become quite unbearable to him in view of the serious nature the story had taken on, he changed it to ‘Frodo’”

Can we all just please sit back and imagine Elrond, Hugo Weaving, “Bring forth the ring, Bingo.” Or better. “For Bingo.” *SITTING ALONE AT MY DESK LAUGHING.* I’ve known this fact for years, but it just gets funnier and funnier.

What are some of your favorite authors? Are there any quotes about writing from them that you just LOVE? Find relatable? As a kid, did you want to go on adventure with the Company of Thorin Oakenshield or were you normal?

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