Saturday, February 19, 2005

the Lord of the Flings

I bear a secret.

Sounds exciting eh? Well, it's hidden because I fear the cheese factor. I am a huge Tolkien fan - and I'll unabashedly admit that I loved the films. Seems a bit passe to be referring to last year's "thing". I guess I am not a Tolkien purist - I thought both the book and the films were brilliant. So what am I getting at here?

I usually have a good hour, two if I am not lucky, between the time the kids go to bed, and when I collapse in utter exaustion. It's too late for me to read (unfortunately my eyes have seriously deteriorated since graduate school), so I "veg" and watch the tube. Being that I only have 2 out of 4 possible channels - the choices can sometimes be bad, like Fear Factor, or worse, like Sue Thomas F.B Eye. I find this happens with a great amount of frequency - so I usually pop in a DVD of my own choosing. I have been trying to make it through Troy, but I am only capable of making it through the first hour, until I realize that it's 3am and the Main Menu has been flickering for god knows how long. So, this week, as a reward for surviving the horrors of singleparenthood, I rented The Fellowship of the Ring, Special extended version extravagganza. Better than chocolate, ice cream and sex. I did admit that my obsession is cheesy, remember.

It's not that I swoon over an actor, although Jackson (or his wife) did choose their beefcake wisely, its that I feel something sublime. It's hard to describe. This feeling comes deep within my being, located somewhere around my solar plexus to be precise. Whenever I watch any scene in The Two Towers featuring the Ents, tears inexplicably stream down my face. It's not that I am sad for their plight, but I am overwhelmed by the story, the character, their legendary significance - I'm not sure what it is. It's more like I am overwhelmed that they were ever created. A creative process traced through the films, through Weta workshops, through Peter Jackson's vision and inspiration, to the work of Alan Lee and John Howe, stretching back to Tolkien himself and all that happened to him to inspire this story...the chain of influence goes ever on. Maybe I am trivialising or oversimplifiying it. A professor once told me that he cried the first time he read Ovid in latin. Maybe we were experiencing the same thing.

I don't know what "that" is - but it's exactly "that" which I want to do. As I watch the special features which explore the special effects and art departments involved in these movies - I am completely awestruck. The amount of collaboration, the attention to detail, the passion to achieve the very best that could be accomplished - that is what I want to do. Tolkien was the same way, in fact. He did not set out to write a novel, he did not consider himself to be a writer. He spent over a decade working on a story that he felt so intensely driven to get out of his head and onto the paper. I've read some academic ponderings on Tolkien the writer - and his style and form were not all that remarkable. What I am fascinated by, is a committement to detail, not because it was a requirement or an expectation, but rather because it was possible.

What frustrates me to no end is that I feel that I am spending far too much time thinking about these things, and not actually doing them.

I am not talking about writing a fantasy novel or directing an epic film - but rather finding something I feel so passionately about that I can direct "that" energy into it. The problem is, that I have spent far too much time thinking about it, that I have wrought so much doubt in myself in regards to the doing.

Herein lies the essence of my stuckness.

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