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smile - Golden cart Frodo

MEFA nominations final: jan-u-wine a nominee

Posted on 2010.06.16 at 22:56


jan_u_wine at 2010-06-20 14:32 (UTC) (Link)
Dear Antane.....the sheer volume of LOTR prose, poetry and non-fiction is mind-boggling, isn't it? I feel a great sadness when I realize that I'll never have time to read it all....and, in fact, don't even have time to read the ones I really feel that *must* be read. *sigh*

It was (at the least) very fortunate for me that Mechtild and I *met* and that she decided to feature the poems on her LJ. What an amazing road it's been.

You've written Star Wars poetry? Although the themes are certainly similar to LOTR, I have difficulty imagining writing for those characters. I loved them, loved the story, but on a deep level, they felt too.....movie-ish to me. I felt as if Lucas were paying homage to all the Saturday movies he'd seen as a kid. All of his movies, no matter how wonderful (and I DO think the original Star Wars movies were wonderful), feel that way to me. There isn't anything better, imho, than the Indiana Jones series, but the feeling I get from the characters (and the Star Wars ones, as well), lacks a certain dimension that I find in LOTR. I guess I could simply say that Frodo feels real to me and Luke.....not so much.

I wish he did feel more real, for he's a wonderful character and he'd be wonderful to write for.

Sorry for the tangent, but your comment was interesting.

Re: hosting my poems on your site. Well, no one has ever asked me that before. That's very kind of you. May I think on it for a little while? (for one thing, I don't have files of any of the poems, and there are some on the scrap book that are rife with formatting errors. It's all a matter of time, or lack of it! TIme I spend fixing errors is time I can't spend writing, and I have so very little of it). In any case....if I may, I'll give you an answer by the end of this coming week. Thank you again!

antane at 2010-06-20 23:52 (UTC) (Link)
Mind-boggling is certainly one word for it! I have reams of essays, etc. that I have printed out and more I haven't that I have yet to read. *sigh* indeed!

Not to worry about the SW tangent. Luke had my heart for many years before I met Mr. Underhill in a theatre in 2001 and he was indeed a wonderful one to be with and write about, but you are right, Frodo is more real for me too, because he's from here, this same Earth. I've learned more from him and Sam and Aragorn, my three primary teachers, than I could from SW and have grown in my faith because of it and if you don't know, am actually writing a book about the spirituality of the tale. You can check out my blog if you want (http://momentsofgracelotr.blogspot.com) or my site for my book which my sister designed (http://wwww.momentsofgracelotr.com). Please pray for it and me!

I shall await your response regarding posting to my hobbity site. I still have many more of your poems to read and I hope to continue enjoying any new ones as well! If you wish to consider spreading your masterpieces around, you may want to look also into the Silver Leaves journal which it a print publication that publishes poetry as well as essays and art. The third issue is out and I am in it with an essay and one of the very few LOTR poems I have written. You can check out their site at http://www.whitetreefund.org. They are an awesome group!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
jan_u_wine at 2010-06-21 13:01 (UTC) (Link)
*sigh* indeed....I have given up on printing things out, since now I realize that it is likely I never will read them, and it only frustrates me to see them sitting on my desk.

I think that the characters of LOTR are excellent mentors (let's just say that the beloved Luke (and even Han!) were necessary precursors to this particular part of your spiritual journey). I will (I promise....and I DO keep my promises) check out your blog for info on your book....a great undertaking. I'm not certain that you are in need of my prayers, however: I believe you have the talent, drive and passion within you for this project. In those cases, I think it is only the technical aspects of the writing that are of any concern at all (that, and finding *time*). May this journey go well for you.

Congratulations on being published in Silver Leaves. I'll check out their site as well. I'm very happy that you are enjoying my work and will most certainly get back to you about hosting pieces at your site. Thank you again!
antane at 2010-06-21 17:30 (UTC) (Link)
Well, I have almost given up for the same reason, thinking I should read what I have first before adding to the pile even more and I do have hope that one day I will do it!

Definitely SW helped sharpen my writing skills and I think in some ways Luke and Frodo are akin in that they are overall gentle people who love deeply and show the power of that and of forgiveness of enemies and concern for the souls of others - you can see more of that in Luke in the voluminous professional fic that was published in later years and so he could be a role model as far as that goes. That's interesting that you would say it was necessary for the spiritual journey also. I hadn't thought of that.

I had no idea whatsoever that I would be transformed by meeting Frodo who I had no idea who he was or anything else whatsoever when I first entered Middle-earth. It took some years for SW to wear off, but I've been a Frodoholic since the summer of 2004.

Oh, I definitely need your prayers! And anyone else's too. This has been a long road already and while I do have passion, drive and hopefully talent enough, I know also how easily distracted I am by all the other pretty flowers along the path, this site included! :) and so much else, so what I really need is prayers for self-discipline and dedication and all that. I hope you enjoy the blog and book site! And thanks for your congrats on Silver Leaves. :)

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
jan_u_wine at 2010-06-21 19:38 (UTC) (Link)
it's a very sad thing (to me, at least) that I haven't the time to read all these lovely things that call to me. Just like I will never hear all the music there is. It's a "given" of course....but I just can't accept that.

Oh, I should certainly agree that Luke and Frodo are akin. They are probably more alike than not. I expect there are a couple of groups of heroes: ones that are the large and boisterous sort and come equipped with a sword and the ability to whack people with it, and the small and quiet ones that have only their values and passion to get by on. There's sub-categories and fine-tuning, of course, but they are all part of the great cosmos of heroes, built by storytellers from day one. It's an amazing thing to be part of. (I don't know about you, but I like "modern" fairy-tales, wherein there isn't necessarily a happy ending, but rather one more in line with how life really is. These modern tales, and the heroes attached to them are people that I, at least, can identify with. Luke is one of those heroes, although he lacks, in the movies, the depth that Frodo owns).

Frodo really is a transforming character. I tend to have pictures in my mind of people and places...but there is none for Frodo: just a calm and enduring light and a feeling of utmost certainty and peace.

Certainly, I shall send prayers your way. It's difficult to know how best to serve your journey when there are so many roads that look as if they *should* be explored. We all go through that process, narrowing the roads we *can* travel down to the ones that we *must*. Thank you for allowing me to share a little of your journey.

antane at 2010-06-25 00:31 (UTC) (Link)
Sorry to be so late in replying here, so busy, and last night had a real nice thunderstorm complete with lots of lightning and a tornado warning (though not for the immediate area I was in) so didn't want to use the computer.

Frodo's greatness as a 'little' hero as different from those who are large and that he is 'one of us' is so wonderfully expressed by Connie Marie's essay - I assume you've read that? She (and you) pinned it exactly where Frodo's power lies. The overwhelmingly male does not interest me, not to say Frodo is effeminate in any way, but that he is a gentler, softer type that I prefer. Luke would in that category too. Would you be interested in reading any of the professional fic that he was in? I could recommend some if you'd like and you see how he grew. Even in the movies he grew so much, especially in Return of the Jedi which is my favorite of the first three. That had lessons for life, but I do agree Frodo and all those are much more transforming and have changed me on a much deeper level.

I love your image of Frodo. I came through the films so I didn't have any preconceived idea of what he looked like (or any clue who he even was). He is or Frolijah is one of God's most beautiful creations.

Le hannon for your prayers and your thoughtful comments! :)

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
jan_u_wine at 2010-06-25 16:04 (UTC) (Link)
good morning! (afternoon?)....well, I am glad indeed that the storm(s) did not get you (you must live in the Midwest....Mechtild mentioned to me that there were storms and tornado warnings where she is, as well, in MN). I live in CA, where it is predictably nice. Except of course, we do have unpredictable 'quakes.

Re Connie Marie's essay: I may have read it. One problem that I have is that my memory is not stable. And I have read SO much LOTR stuff that I rarely remember specific items, especially if I read them long ago. I think that I corresponded with her briefly after having read something that she wrote, so it may have been in regards to that essay.

Re Luke: thank you for the offer, but I simply don't have the time for anything more. I rarely write any longer because of time constraints. (and....with my memory loss, reading is a waste of what time that I do have....I don't retain it, so it's just a momentary pleasure, at best. Unfortunate, but that is how it is). I loved those original three movies, though there were moments in "Return" that I did not think were well-done at all. (I thought the depiction of the Ewoks, for example, a mistake...not as huge a one as Jar-Jar, but too cutesy for the serious themes of the movie. They looked out of place to me, as if Disney and Lucas were cohabiting)

Thank you so much for your very kind compliment on the way I envision Frodo in words. I have a friend who is a visual artist for Disney and she told me last week that she considers the work she does to be acting. So I suppose that what I have done is acting in a way, too. I like what James Cagney said about acting: "you hit your mark, look the other guy in the eye, and tell the truth".

That's just elegant in its simplicity. My "mark" is the scene I am writing about (*dressed* in all its ME glory), the "other guy" is the reader, and the "truth" involves everything I *know* about Frodo (or whomever else I'm writing)from the books, other fan-fic, essays and just gleanings from life. Frodo is such an 'everyman' (and yet....not) that although he's not always easy to write, there's a wealth of material in ordinary life that can certainly be of use.

I can't explain the phenomenon of Frolijah, nor, indeed, how film served (for me) as a touch-point of writing. I'm only glad that it happened. Not only did it open my eyes to writing in the LOTR universe, but it opened them to just observing any human. For if Frodo is 'everyman', then it follows (for me, at least) that everyman has a story, every man is a hero, everyman is......a failure (in his own mind), everyman is a savior...everyman is in need of saving.

Everyone you pass on the street is a marvel of creation...and they all will tell you their stories, often with little provocation. (sometimes, of course, it will not be in words)And then you can write those stories, add a thread to the wonderful tapestry of the universe, the music...as it *happens*.

Actors sort of do this, but not like I do. They are great observers of people, and incorporate what they see into their acting. (I remember seeing a picture of EW once, leaning against a wall in a hotel, just observing people walking by. I couldn't help but think that such observation goes into the acting *pot*. He's a storyteller, one way or another...)

well, gee, i have to go...and quickly, too. Take care, dear Antane. If you should like to email me at my personal address instead of through LJ let me know. jan
antane at 2010-06-26 20:39 (UTC) (Link)
I forgot to mention the hurricane force winds. :) But wasn't near those either. Weather has been rather odd recently with many huge but not long lasting storms with sun in between.

Certainly understand that you wouldn't want more on your reading plate. I have so many books I want to read, Tolkien related and not, that I really need to win the lottery (which I don't play) or have someone rich die and leave me a lot of money or something so I can quit my job and just read and write all day! This is one of the reasons I love Frodo, because he is such a kindred spirit, with that opening shot of him reading against a tree and the scholarly heart he has. What a life!

My memory is just horrible also. I've read LOTR about five times and still have much trouble remembering the exact sequence of various events. I am also completely addicted to the BBC Radio program - I think I'm on my 26th listen there. Just marvelous stuff and really gives you insight into Frodo's torment and how heroic he was to carry his cross so far under such duress and no wonder it caused such great damage to him.

He is hard to write at times, but other times easier. I felt while I was writing my fic Via Dolorosa that he was dictating it to me and I was just writing it down and people would compliment me on the writing and I couldn't remember what it was they were referring to at times because I felt I wasn't writing it myself, it wasn't coming from me, but from him and I was just transcribing it. There was another time when I wrote A Secret Garden that I felt I was allowed into a very private, sacred space of his pain and it was a hallowed, awesome (in the religious sense of the word) moment to be there. It's hard to describe how honored I was to be allowed into such a special, secret, private space, especially after he had stopped talking to me but it was like he was asked to show this to me and he agreed to. Now I feel cut off from him for the most part and I have to tread very carefully trying to sort out whether he would have reacted this way or not and trying to faithful and not just indulge my love of angst which I so freely did before. I want to be true to him. I have learned so much from walking beside him.

In a way he is Everyman but also as you say not. His struggles we can all find inspiration in and reason to go on, but he is also in a way over us, imbued with that "elvish beauty" that Sam saw. Everyone indeed is a marvel of creation.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
jan_u_wine at 2010-06-27 00:25 (UTC) (Link)

reply part 1

this comment apparently exceeded the limit for comments, so look for part 2

.....for myself, I should welcome some storms. Since moving to the beach area, I've become acquainted with the weather that is particular to the environs of the ocean: fog that actually seems to have texture and substance, winds of force with *voices* in them, clouds that hang heavy and low.

I appreciate your understanding that I really can't take anything else on, reading-wise. I'd much rather write, both my own stuff and correspondence with other interesting folks. I am frankly feeling my own mortallity and also the uselessness of spending time on things that do not further what I perceive as good and positive goals. I do let myself have fun, yes, but at the point it arrives, it is awfully silly fun, totally at odds with all the serious stuff I do. Add to that My Entirely Serious and Time-Consuming Job and you've got the makings of a 48 hr day.

Re your experience of feeling embodied by a character while writing: I think that this must be a not-so-uncommon experience. I've had it, as well. It's a wonderful thing, watching your fingers fly over the keys, all the while being in a state of wonderment and not a little fear. The sad part is that it never seems to last, although I daresay it could be argued that, if it did last, one would go (or IS!)mad. Just today I was reading about such things on a site dealing with MPD. But what you are speaking of isn't that, of course (although I suppose, in certain conditions, that it could be). What you are speaking of they call "soulbonding" or "fictives":

"Soulbond" is a word used mostly online for people who feel they are in touch with fictional characters or the real persons on whom said characters are based. It is also called having imaginal or fictional presences -- or just having presences. Some people refer to soulbonding as a non-serious connection with an imaginary character, and use 'fictive' to mean a serious connection to a real presence with a fictional source."

I went further and clicked on a link to Wiki that they supplied, but I'm afraid that I cannot have any such connection, as I entirely did not comprehend what was being said.

Something I *could* understand was pointed out to me a couple of years ago by a friend of mine, who noticed my discomfort at some folk's perceptions of my writing skills. There were people who wished for me to teach them "how" and I realized that I couldn't. In those days, I was mostly in the zone that you are talking about above, a sort of dreamy, mystical place where I was an on-looker at most. *I* was certainly not much present then. But the best of the poems came from this....'zone'so i certainly can't regret it.

The book that this friend had and that I read a couple of chapters of is The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" (for those of us who are hobbits, it must be noted that the word is biCAMERAL, NOT bicaramel!). Although what the author says is theory and not a widely accepted one at that, it put forth what to me were some very interesting (and most importantly) comforting reasons for what I had experienced. The best news: I wasn't mad, there were people throughout history who experiencecd the same things. And they were not mad, either. Most of all, the chapter I read provided an easy to understand version of why and how this pheononem happened. I don't know about you, but...as marvellous as the feeling of not being myself was....I was in need of the assurance that I'd not gone 'round a bend.

jan_u_wine at 2010-06-27 00:26 (UTC) (Link)

Re: reply part 2

Like you, this honeymoon phase has ended. I still write *to* Frodo, but I wonder if it can be said that I write *for* him any longer. I can tell the difference, but I don't know if anyone else can. I'm a good enough crafter now that the only difference may be *my* emotions as I write.

My emotions being calm and myself being in the moment and side-by-side with the character (instead of two hands, there only to take care of the typing)as the piece is produced is important, for many reasons. I look upon this period of my writerly life as the solid 'marriage' which has taken place after a tumultous honeymoon. I could make a go of this business of being a writer. More, I could enjoy it. I have only now to come to terms with how I feel about selling my words for money.....

anyway....back to what you were saying about your present situation in writing Frodo: I would not ever tell anyone to simply trust to their instincts in this case. And yet, when the character no longer *speaks* to you, or when they deign to speak only under duress, or through what I would term a veil, you have little choice. In all truth, I have come to believe that our writing *of* Frodo concerns ourselves just as much, if not more than it concerns him. We are telling our story, in telling his. And many a time, we get to a point that, inside our own selves, is a sticking point, one where we're too proud or too hurt or too scared to do the James Cagney thing: tell the truth, even under the comforting cloak of Frodo.

It's a form of writer's block, and everyone who writes has their own cure for it. In writing Frodo, my cure is what I think he'd have espoused: I carry on, I do my best, I allow the weaknesses and burnish to fine shimmer the strenghts. And I have a friend to lean on: Mechtild. Most important to wondering hobbits to have a star to anchor to, one that points them "home" when they stray.

It is sad when the Muse departs in such fashion. But you do get used to it, and you will grow as a writer and a person because of it, if you look upon it positively. You are not deserted upon the writerly Road....you were blessed to have a companion to show you the way, as a parent does a child. And now you *are* grown, and may find the way by yourself.

I find it helpful, when writing him, to let the work, when completed, just sit for a few days, without my thinking any more of it. Then I print it and read it aloud. If I have a problem suspending my disbelief, then I must work some more. If I am no longer aware of myself, reading, then I mostly feel that I've got it right.

I am not writing any of this to you as "advice" on how to write, but rather because I feel your sorrow that the Muse you knew has departed. I hope to have been of some comfort.

And now....the RW calls LOUDLY...there are rooms to be cleaned, dishes to be washed, bills to be paid.....

take care, dear Antane. jan~
jan_u_wine at 2010-06-27 00:29 (UTC) (Link)

Re: a ps

and please not to mind the spelling errors, of which there are many!
antane at 2010-06-30 18:47 (UTC) (Link)

Re: a ps

Not to worry! Just wanted to drop you a quick line that I haven't forgotten you, have read your and enjoyed your replies and will reply when I have a moment to breathe! Antane :)
(Anonymous) at 2010-07-04 23:35 (UTC) (Link)

Re: reply part 2

Writing for a living is definitely what I want to do and what I have finally discovered my vocation to be. The book I am writing is the beginning of that and I have several others already waiting and a bunch of papers/essays I want to write and all sorts of fun stuff! I love research. I'm one of those cracked people who actually loved to do term papers in school. It would be fun to go back to that! But I'm fine where I am too - working on this book and enjoying all the research and writing. I want to help others along the Road just as I have been.

I find your comments about the honeymoon and marriage interesting and perhaps that's what it is. I feel a greater respect for Frodo now, more mature, not that I was ever just a silly giggly girl about it. I think I liked to over-angst things too much before with him. I don't think he was under duress to show me what he did in A Secret Gate (which I keep wanting to call Garden) but that he agreed when asked. When I was first really growing spiritually, I wrote a lot about that type of writing and felt I was being guided by the Holy Spirit, and that maybe I was being prepared for something that if I could only figure how Frodo would respond properly to it, I could do also because I felt he and I had so much in common in how we would react to things in good and bad ways. And it would be a lot easier for me to sort all this out (primarily how he would heal from PTSD) ahead of time so I would have an easier time myself. Such an event has not come about for me, but still it was interesting to explore things with him. Those days especially I would leave my work be for overnight to see it anything else was going to be imparted.

Very interesting comments here, but RW is calling LOUDLY here too, with dinner ready.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)

Re: reply part 2 - (Anonymous) Expand
antane at 2010-07-04 23:19 (UTC) (Link)
Finally getting to reply to this! I love storms myself but not while I'm out in them, though I think of Bilbo's experience on his Quest with the thunder battles (sounds like you have had similar experiences) and think it would be interesting to be protected in a cave or something and hear the storm much more elementally than being safe at home behind glass. Had another big storm last Sunday with darkness in the morning so deep I would have had to turn on a light if I had wanted to read and lots of thunder and lightning and it was the first day for the farmer's market and I thought of those poor people out under such an intense storm, but it was not long lasting and it's been sunny since!

Been enjoying this three day weekend and hanging out on my balcony working on my book. Like Sam said, it's like being at home and on holiday at the same time. The best vacation I could give myself and it's free!

It is unfortunate that being in the zone doesn't last, but isn't it glorious when it does! Sometimes I felt it was even the Secret Fire Himself, if I could be so bold, was guiding my words, because what I was learning and what Gandalf and others was telling Frodo to try to ease his torment and guide him along his way to his Creator was not coming from me, but through me. I couldn't have made up that stuff on my own.

Years ago I was interested in MPD. I suppose I was 'fictive' in the 'good old days' and now I'm soulbonded, thought it would make more sense that a soulbond would the more serious bond. Definitely Frodo was much more present to me a few years ago, to the degree I felt that he really was there, like some say they have felt the presence of a deceased loved one. I have not felt that but I imagine that what I felt would feel like that. He's still there but much more silent. Perhaps my love for him has matured also.

Don't you know all artists are mad? :) We see things that are not there to the eyes of the head all the time, but only through the eyes of the heart. Used rightly it's a great spiritual gift and blessing.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
jan_u_wine at 2010-07-05 15:53 (UTC) (Link)
well, I am glad that you were able to enjoy the storm as an observer and NOT a participant, lol! Here in CA it would be a rarity indeed to have a storm that made the sky as black as you describe. It's mostly just grey and kittenish when it rains, though where I live, the wind may howl horribly.

I wish that I understood the phenomenom we are talking about more clearly. But understanding it, I think, wouldn't make it more likely that I could replicate it and that is what I should most like to do. It was just something wonderful that happened, and I'll certainly cherish the memory. It carried me, as a person and a writer, from one place to another, that's for sure. And I don't really want to look at it too very closely, I just want to....let it be. I think that *be-ing*, letting the mind work naturally without high-flown disciplines, is (for me) the ticket to getting back to the zone. Will I be hand-in-hand with my elusive Muse, then? I think not. Part of me is very, very sad at that, and part of me is excited, too.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote: "On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux." ("We only really see with the heart. The most important things can't be seen with the eyes.")

I'm not sure that all artists are mad. But I will say that most people who have an artistic bent are, because of that *bent*, out of step with the median of the world. Sanity is a very democratic process, consisting of what the majority think it is. (for example, a hundred years ago, people who were homosexual were judged insane, at least in some parts of the world). If we lived in a world where such things as soulbonding or having a community living inside your head were the norm, then what MPD people call "singles" would be judged insane.

What about war? And soldiers? To me, it's insane to train people to kill others and then expect them to come home and just be sweet, loving members of society again, proceeding as if the horrors they have seen and participated in had never happened. Now, THAT IS INSANE!

I should say: there are no sane people in this world. If there were, they would be driven insane instantly by the cruelties which happen daily around them. It's a matter of degree....most all of us have a level of functionality and sanity that is acceptable and recognized by our peers.
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