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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 2010-06-27 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 :)
jan_u_wine at 2010-07-01 03:09 (UTC) (Link)

Re: a ps

not to worry. it's been one heck of a week this side, too. maybe the weekend will be better in terms of having half a mo'

take care,

(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 :)

jan_u_wine at 2010-07-05 16:08 (UTC) (Link)

Re: reply part 2

(btw....the first comment showed up (for me) HOURS after this one did. Ah, the vagaries of the computer)

I'm so glad that you are exploring the possibility of writng as a pro. I've been encouraged to do so, but it's difficult, certainly. Until/unless that takes off, I still need to take care of the daily needs of life. So, it's a bit of a juggle.....

It's wonderful that you've had this long weekend to work on your book...and yes, that is, indeed, a lot like being at home and on vacation all at once. (don't you love Sam? He says such wise things). I have to say that I love research, too, although at times I get pulled off into so many side roads that I scarcely remember where I was going in the first place. I have close to 300 poems in my drafting files that are the results of such inability to concentrate properly, lol....

but.....it isn't about the poems, per se, nor even about the book you are writing. Those things are the by-products of what truly is going on, which is (for myself (and I think I may include you!)) spiritual growth and renewal. I have a friend who told me once, "God doesn't care how you come to Him, He only wants you to come". I'm not sure I can agree with that whole-heartedly, but I can agree with it *mostly*. JRR may not have written LOTR as a religious book, but it is spiritual, nontheless. Some people only see the story of it, the plain facts on the plain paper. Other people see it as an invitation to their own spiritual Quest. I suppose that I am one of those. Frodo was granted an education along his Road. We who feel enjoined to walk alongside him have the honour of sharing that.

(Anonymous) at 2010-07-08 00:30 (UTC) (Link)

Re: reply part 2

I would definitely pursue writing yourself in any and all scraps of time available. I too of course have to remain in a quite consuming job to pay the bills, but free time is spent feeding the soul as much as I can. Writing nonfiction is not the same as fiction because you also have build a 'platform' at the same time to get a following so publishers take you seriously and risk taking a chance on you. It's a full time job in itself all this, one I wish I could just focus solely on.

Yes, I do love Sam, almost but not quite as much as I love the soul he is knit to, or at least one of the two souls. But definitely I love him and I wish there were more of them in the world, which there probably are but being their humble selves you don't hear much. Ah, all the Roads we can follow, or perhaps more accurately all the winding paths that branch off the one Road. I read a motivating book called Time to Write, which is chock full of great ideas.

I do love that quote about God and think it very true because it was through this tale I have come to His Son who I didn't have a relationship with before. He is being very patient with me! When I told my sister this, she said that the Pope had been asked once how many paths were there to God and he said as many as there were individuals. Like others, my path led through Middle-earth and I had no idea whatsoever that the Road would lead where it has! That's another book I want to write one day - testimonials from all those who have been so deeply affected by this. Would love to include your story, if you'd like to share!

And so right that the spirituality of all this, for only in writing, in getting away by myself and working on this book, do I feel my soul refreshed and feed. The job is feeding the pocketbook which is always hungry, but so is the soul so I am glad I can find time to feed it too!

The professor didn't realize at first that he was writing a deeply spiritual book, but later said, it was a "fundamentally religious and Catholic work". A true pencil in God's hands as Blessed Mother Teresa said she wanted to be and as I want to be. Indeed it is an honour to walk along the Road with Frodo for that is where my greatest growth has come.

Must look up your essays on LOTR scrapbook that you mentioned in a reply to someone else.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
jan_u_wine at 2010-07-10 15:16 (UTC) (Link)

Re: reply part 2

re writing: yes, I write in the small scraps of time that I have, although that is very difficult. It's easier for me to write a scrap of non-fiction than it is to write a 'scrap' of a poem. Not often do the 'doors' of those poems re-open, once they've been shut.

Sam: it's hard for me to express in prose my feelings for Samwise. To me, he's not a person easy to pin words upon. Like most things which seem simple, he's not. So, I'll just say that I love him. Like my children, I can't say I love him more or less than his companions, only in a way most suited to *sam* being *sam* and *jan* being *jan*, with an unique intersection at some point.

I think that's marvellous that LOTR led you to a relationship with God and that you will someday write a book of stories of similar folk. As for my story, there really isn't one, at least not related to the LOTR/religious connection. I should say that I've always had a spiritual bent and that LOTR focused it more. But i think to say that LOTR brought me to God would be incorrect.

Mechtild rec'd a book to me that you might enjoy reading (or perhaps you already have)called "Story of a Soul". It is very beautiful, I think.

I'm not sure what you are saying about essays of mine. I have not written LOTR essays (except in replies such as these, LOL). But there are essays on the scrapbook, wonderful ones. But not mine.

I have written some religious poetry, and will finish with one that I hope you might like:

"The Other Man Upon the Hill"

I did not find him upon the Hill of the Sorrows.

A wind was there,

and self-centered,

leaves and whirl-dust-dervishes

within its rigid fists.

I did not find him within the Garden.

Only shadows waited there,

bent beneath the burden of darkening sun and sky,

cramped with all the ages of waiting and bearing,

swollen and scrabbling upon terra cotta soil.

I did not find him where I should then most have expected.

His tomb lay empty, the silence of it mirrored greatly by my stilling heart.

I am only human, and so I supposed that he *should* be there.

He should be there,
cold and silent,

purpled upon greying flesh,

torn asunder.

And I should know grief, if he were there, a grief I would recognize, for (and the refrain repeats and repeats) I am human.....

I am



My heart recognizes the truth then and leaps with it,
(at the same time feeling a different sort of grief,
one I cannot name, for all the wanting to):

He is not human.

Or, to put a fine point upon it:

He is human
no longer.

He *is* there,


upon the Hill
which has no sorrow,

within the Garden
which has no


beside me,

in a place of joyful remembrance,
the tomb of pale flesh become a palace

of spirit,

a home eternal.
antane at 2010-07-11 17:39 (UTC) (Link)

Re: reply part 2

What a lovely poem! I will have to get to your other reply when I can but wanted to compliment you on this poem right away. Very interesting.

I just automatically thought essays for some reason when you said you wrote prose on Scrapbook and then realized when I didn't find any essays that you must have meant stories which I have to return to find.

Is Story of a Soul the autobio of St. Therese the Little Flower? Then I read that years ago but remember little. I think it was called that.

I always had a relationship with God the Father, but not the Son and that's what LOTR has brought me.

Must go,
God bless,
Antane :)
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.
antane at 2010-07-05 19:00 (UTC) (Link)
Well, it wasn't *black* but it was quite dark as it gets just before it rains - I love dark clouds - then as it rains all it is is grey.

I love your quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - how very true! I may have to steal that for my other blog of inspirational sayings. :)

I don't mean artists are truly, clinically insane, but different from others in the way they view things which makes them seem a little nuts. I am happily cracked myself. :) I know just what other writers mean when they say all they can do if just run after their characters and write down what they do, as though they have no control over that themselves. In a way, they don't. That's when it's the most fun - not knowing ahead of time what will happen and being along on a journey yourself side by side with those you write about. I think you would agree!

I completely support our troops and all those fighting on the side of freedom, especially knowing how many terrible, demonic things they are confronted with and have to somehow deal with. I agree it is nuts to think one would be unaffected by that and nuts that PTSD has been so unrecognized until recently that some of those that may have had it in the past were executed for cowardice when it could have been nothing of the kind. We have no idea what it's like. It is no wonder that some are shattered, and hopefully learn to rebuild. It's too bad the Undying Lands are cut off to mortals for some could certainly benefit from it! I read an interesting article recently about one soldier who has a dog who is trained to recognize PTSD symptoms and knows just when her master is about to have a flashback or other disruptive episode and she knows just how to comfort him. I pray for all our troops and all the sacrifices they and their families are making. I read another article about a woman who woke up to find her husband was choking her during an episode and she is staying with him - now that's love!! There are too many who can't or won't handle that, but she is, which is a wonderful testimonial to true love.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
jan_u_wine at 2010-07-10 14:18 (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry it's taken me so long to reply, it's been a very stressful week....

I also love the dark clouds which morph into the gentle silver-grey, soft-kitteny ones.

I love "The Little Prince". It's one of those "children's books" which is only for children in a very oblique sort of a way. Lots of great quotes in that book, lots of great thoughts. The movie is also good, I think. Very minimalist.

I actually think that a great many artists have (at the least)mental issues. But that is part, also, of what 'gives' them their art. They break free of the 'normal' laws of existence. I don't mean to imply that all artists are commit-able. No more so than ordinary folk, probably. But a known artists sanity (or lack thereof) is on display in ways that the rest of the world's is not. And it is quite true that we have no idea what another person's reality is like. I have a relative who is bi-polar and sometimes is simply just felled by the demons that exist inside. People who do not suffer from the malady say 'get over it', 'pull yourself up', 'stop being lazy'. They can't conceive what it's like (nor can I), never having visited that particular hell. We all have them, though (our own hells), so it's good to look with sympathy (if we can have no empathy) on other people.

Re our troops (or any troops)...I have a problem with people being sent to war, people killing other people, although I sympathize with the horrors that soldiers go through and come home with. On the one hand, I view military actions as laughable, the grown-up doings of bratty children who must make physical their disagreements. On the other hand, I see it as the most immoral thing ever, a heinous thumbing-of-the-nose at God. I believe that LOTR covered nicely my feelings about war by using a (relatively) weak non-combatant as its "hero". Of course, the interesting thing is that Tolkien also had the fighting troops there, the idea being that *right* could not and did not succeed without help from *might* (and the inclusion of Gollum in the equation can also be seen as 'might' of a sort). What does this mixed message mean? That Tolkien would have liked to have seen a world where the decisions were not dependent upon power, but that he knew, realistically, that it would never exist? Or was he saying, "you can have *this*, have a world where *right* makes the decisions, indepedent of *might*, if only you try"? The road to an answer begins with the posing of a QUESTion

In any case, I'm not sure how supportive I can say I am of any person who kills another, either because they feel their cause is 'just', or simply because it's their duty. (or for any number of reasons in between) They must make their peace with God for their actions, as must I. But I am sympathetic to any person suffering emotional distress. We are all soldiers in a war, really. Or players on a stage, whichever you prefer. May we acquit ourselves well.
antane at 2010-07-11 23:43 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, we must be sympathetic for the crosses others must bear, some of them so terrible. "There but for the grace of God go I" as St. Philip Neri said and which Frodo understands instinctively about himself and Gollum. This is such a great tale that so much can be drawn from.

I've heard of "The Little Prince" of course but have not read or seen it.

It would be nice if everyone could follow Luke's advice to his father, "Let go of your hate" or Frodo's "There must be no killing" but alas, that is not always possible in this fallen world where we have an Enemy out to destroy us with his terrible malice and has so many slaves that he whips up into a frenzy against those who would oppose him. Theoden wonders what can be done against such reckless hate and then does what must be done - oppose it and struggle to defeat it. What a world it would be if we could find our way to true peace, but at times war is necessary, tragic as it is to all of us.

May we indeed acquit ourselves well for we are all on a battlefield that we cannot leave until death takes us from it and the war is for our souls which is another one of the great lessons of the Red Book. Hopefully it won't be as intense as it was for Frodo on Amon Hen, but we are in the same battle he was continually engaged in. It was that battle that was the important one, not the ones out in the physical field, which Aragorn is saying when Eomer wonders why he doesn't go into Minas Tirith as conquering king and Aragorn says the final battle hadn't been won yet. So Frodo is a non-combatant in a physical fight but very much one in the spiritual one as we all must be and that's what I get myself from him as one of the central heroes. We should all pray we 'escape' as Boromir did and die in a state of grace as he did.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
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