Sometimes, the only way to get a clear picture is to step aside, be objective. Sometimes, in order to get one's bearings, to make progress forward, one must look where one has been.
So, as part of the effort to reorient myself, here's a look into the past, the very first blog entry I wrote, originally titled "The Red Book of Westmarch":
Christmas 2002, a friend gave me one of my favorite presents ever: a hardbound book with a red cover, embossed in elven filigree, with a star stamped in silver at the top, a silver double-B at the bottom, and a silver title, There and Back Again, its lined pages waiting to be filled with whatever words I wished to write thereon.
Having read, in the 70s or early 80s, an edition of The Hobbit subtitled There and Back Again, a Hobbit's Holiday, I was both amused and excited to own this small volume--and a little unwilling to mar its pristine pages with cross-outs or scribbles or poor penmanship.
Two months later, I found the courage.
February 25, 2003
So begins my own Red Book.
February 27, 2003
So many people who love Tolkien's work love the completeness of Middle-earth. What is it in all of us that wants something more? That seeks a world of our own, away from the one we know?
Truth can be told in a tale. A story can be a mirror held up to life, altering our perspective, clarifying details that appear fuzzy in reality.
In Middle-earth, everyone has a purpose. Their actions and words have a goal. In a story, all events point toward the end, the culmination of all things. Then, when the end comes, we readers are not always willing to leave the imaginary for the concrete. Perhaps we feel purposeless in the real world, or small and insignificant, lacking importance or place. Yet Tolkien gave great importance to halflings; mayhap we little folk can bring about great things?
Since then, I have weathered periods of self-doubt, frustration, criticism, and other plagues that attend being a writer. Yet, amid the negatives, there have been moments of wonder and insight and even wisdom.
This blog is for sharing and exploring the journey, the detours and the shortcuts, the bogs of despair and the fields of imagination, and the plodding from one page to the next, even when creativity seems to have shriveled up like a sun-blasted raisin.
Readers as well as writers are welcome on this road. After all, a writer's words cannot truly live without anyone to read them.
At first, that request for fellow travelers went little heeded. In recent weeks, a few more of you have joined this journey. Thank you.