Men Who Write, Continued: Tolkien

I was surprised by a gravitational force pulling me back, again, into my thoughts of  writers who have gone before us.  This time I thought of J.R. Tolkien.  

Picture provided from:
Tolkien’s story is a great story. I encourage you to spend a little time to read about this man who authored The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit.  The scene described below comes from The Lord of the Rings.

At the Council of Elrond, long discussion came around to the option of destroying the Ring, which meant journeying to Mordor, and

English: Replica of the One ring from The Hobb...
English: Replica of the One ring from The Hobbit and The Lord of the rings trilogy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

throwing the Ring into the fires, there.  However, no one volunteered for this task, and there was silence.

“No one answered … Still no one spoke. Frodo glanced at all the faces, but they were not turned to him.  All the Council sat with downcast eyes, as if in deep thought.  A great dread fell on him, as if he was awaiting the pronouncement of some doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped might after all never be spoken.  An overwhelming longing to rest and remain at peace … in Rivendell filled all his heart.

Elijah Wood as Frodo in Peter Jackson's live-a...

At last with an effort he spoke … as if some other will was using his small voice. ‘I will take the Ring,’ he said, ‘though I do not know the way.’ …”

“Elrond (spoke to Frodo) … ‘If I understand aright all that I have heard … I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo …

Hugo Weaving as Elrond in The Lord of the Ring...

This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great …  But it is a heavy burden.  So heavy that none could lay it on another.  I do not lay it on you.  But if you take it freely, I will say that your choice is right …’ ”    ”  ‘But you won’t sent him off alone, surely, Master?’ cried Sam …”

Tolkien and C.S. Lewis hung out together along with a group called the Inklings.  Having community is so important: for encouragement, for insight, for accountability.  And yet, when it comes to writing, one writes alone.  We are ring-bearers, really.  To use Elrond’s words: “.. it is a heavy burden.  So heavy that none could lay it on another … But if you take it freely, I will say that your choice is right .. ”

Gerald May wrote a book The Dark Night of the Soul, based on the work by St. John of the Cross (16th Century) with the same name; an excellent read.  I bring it up because, for me, the long hours and grueling experiences of writing can be a desert experience … sometimes more than others.   I am interested to know if anyone else experiences a “dark night of the soul” whether it is connected to writing, or not.


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