Sunday, September 18, 2011

Waking Up with Busy Brain

There's nothing more I like to do on a crisp autumn morning than stay in bed.  No, not all morning, but when you wake up and just lay there all snuggled in, warm and peaceful.  I love it!  Unfortunately there are days when my brain seems to get a jump start on me and I wake up with busy brain.  Yesterday morning was one of those mornings.  I had two haiku poems chasing each other around my head.  Haiku poetry is a Japanese style of writing and in the very simplest sense, are three-line poems.  The first and third lines have five syllables each, while the second line has seven syllables.  Traditionally the subject matter is nature and there is a juxtaposition present.  I prefer sticking with the basic syllable count, especially first thing in the morning.  I will share my two intruders with you now.

Furry ball of love
Kitty purrs when she's happy
She purrs for ice cream

Gallop through the house
Little cat who never hissed
Follow me downstairs

Nothing to get excited over, and certainly nothing Pulitzer-worthy, but there they are!  They are, of course, about our two cats.  The first is about Punkin who has acquired a taste for vanilla ice cream.  The second is about Benny who is the funniest cat I've ever known.  I've yet to hear him hiss and he's five years old now.  He also likes to follow me down to the basement when I do laundry.  Both are wonderful friends.

I think I'll keep a pad of paper and a pen on my nightstand from now on.  At least my busy brain and I could stay in bed on a crisp autumn morning!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Middle Earth

"The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings," both by J.R.R. Tolkien, are set in a place called Middle Earth.  Any work of fiction needs to have a setting, and while Middle Earth is such a setting Tolkien goes far beyond what nearly any other author has done in terms of history and back-story.  As an author myself I am amazed at what Tolkien accomplished.

Tolkien wanted to fill a gap that he perceived in the mythology of Great Britain.  Whether he started out with that specifically in mind or whether that evolved as he wrote bits of stories that were set in Middle Earth, I'm not sure.  But either way, the fruit of his life's work is truly incredible.  Not only did he create a world in which his characters could live, and several races of characters, but he also created a number of functional languages including the alphabets for each.  He wrote the histories for each race all the way back to the "creation" of Middle Earth's universe.  He really went all out.  But for all of his work and creativity much of the history and back-story of Middle Earth is never mentioned in either of Tolkien's most famous works, although they are available in "The Silmarillion" and other collections of Tolkien's writings.  That history did shape his work and give "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" their richness. 

Not only has Tolkien shaped the world of Middle Earth, he has shaped our world as well.  In a number of colleges and universities you can study the languages that Tolkien created and become a scholar of them.  You can hear some of his languages in the popular movie adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings" directed by Peter Jackson.  You can also experience what it's like to explore Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings Online, a massive multiplayer online game.  The developers of LOTRO have gone out of their way to follow the books as they have created and grown their version of Middle Earth and much of Tolkien's histories and languages come into play.

Books can be a very nice way to slip away from the daily grind and have a little adventure.  Tolkien's works are one of the best ways to do whether it's reading his books, watching the movies, or playing online.  A lot has come out of his work.  A lot went into them.  I'm just glad that Tolkien decided to share his world with ours!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Love Books

I love books.  Well, not every book, but there are a lot of books that I really like.  Some books have become lifelong companions.  "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of these.

When I was in the tenth grade I had a kidney infection and wasn't able to attend school so my parents arranged for a tutor through my school.  He would come to the house twice a week.  We would go over assignments from the previous visit and he would assign me new work to be done for next time.  As I have since come to understand from my experience in homeschooling our son, when you have a one-on-one teaching arrangement the student learns more in a shorter period of time.  The assignments never took me very long to complete.  I soon found that I had lots of time on my hands.  Having that pesky infection meant that I couldn't really get out and do anything.  Fortunately for me I love books!

Books are wonderful because you can have adventures without ever leaving the coziness of your home.  That's just the sort of adventure I needed and I found it in "The Hobbit."  Through Tolkien's brilliant work I was able to join Bilbo and Gandalf on quite an adventure indeed.  Beginning in a wonderful place called The Shire, I traveled through goblin-infested mountains, spider-infested forests, and into a mountain that was inhabited by a dragon.  Right along with Bilbo I travel There and Back Again. 

There aren't too many books that I have read more than once.  There are even fewer that I've read on a regular basis.  "The Hobbit" is one of those rare gems that never grows old or tiresome.  And at times in my life when I've really needed a familiar friend it's always come through for me.  It was a very special treat when I read "The Hobbit" to our son for the first time.  To see the joy and wonder on his face as we traveled Middle Earth together was a blessing I wouldn't have traded for the world.

If you've never set foot in Middle Earth I would highly recommend you get your feet wet with "The Hobbit."  Who knows - you just might meet a very good friend along the way!