You have to understand the good in things, to detect the real evil.JRR Tolkien
This is my toast to Professor Tolkien on his 130th birthday!
What would Tolkien think of us fans if he could see us now?
Would he believe how important his words are to us? How inspiring his work is? How much we cherish it?
He spent most of his life working on his beautiful stories in the dark. He poured everything he had into them, hoping to be able to share them one day. Because stories only live, only breath, only have meaning if they are shared and he knew this.
Usually in the late hours, after all his duties as teacher, and family man, and friend were done, only then did he allow himself to go into Middle-earth and unearth its many stories.
Nobody read them. For a long, long time. And still, he kept writing because there was this strong drive inside him.
Maya Angelou said that “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
This is certainly true for Tolkien. He had a great story inside him, so great he couldn’t even tell it in its entirety. And even if telling part of the story was agony too, he persevered and wrote at least a little part of it.
We know it from his letters. Especially writing The Lord of the Rings was painful for him, so much he had to stop many times. But he knew he had to let that story go. He knew he had to share it.
In a way, he was a ringbearer too.
How lucky we are to be born in a time when we can read his stories. My only regret is that I cannot tell to him what his stories mean to me.
It was a long journey, mostly walked in the dark, full of uncertainlties. But it was also a great gift.
And on his birthday, I’d like to celebrate the gift that Tolkien made to us like Hobbits do.
Thanks so much for your gift, Professor Tolkien.