The Hobbit: Chapter One (Post 2 of My Journey through Middle-Earth)

Everyone was right. You do get caught up in Tolkien.

I’m caught up in Tolkien, that’s for sure, but I am only allowing myself one chapter per week so that I don’t hurry through it. I want to move slowly, savor the details, and immerse myself in this new world.

“We don’t want any adventures here, thank you. You might try over the Hill or across the Water.”  Poor Bilbo. Those are famous last words, along with “we don’t want any trouble.” It never happens that way.

I had to laugh at Bilbo’s attempts to thwart Gandalf, which only led to thirteen dwarfs showing up expecting hospitality and talking of a great adventure.

So far I am thoroughly enjoying the story. Bilbo’s alternating enthusiasm and consternation cracks me up.  And Gandalf reminds me of my mother…

Diving Into Middle-Earth for the First Time

I’m losing my J.R.R. Tolkien virginity today. I’m 34 years old and a self-proclaimed nerd, and yet I have never read Tolkien, nor have I seen the Peter Jackson films.

It’s not that I didn’t want to. I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of a former co-worker, Wayne, who said that The Lord of the Rings was the “best book ever.”  I’d never read it, so I had no opinion on the matter.  However, he said that about everything. Harry Potter, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time…everything. Everything was the best ever. The. Best. Ever. It was so bad that I became resistant to reading anything he talked about, for fear of not being as thoroughly engrossed as he said I should be. (And then having to explain why I wasn’t as thoroughly engrossed as he was…)

That, and growing up in the 80s I was subjected to the 1970s cartoon version of The Hobbit (complete with Leonard Nimoy singing about Bilbo Baggins). That cartoon scared me half to death. I was scarred for a very long time!

At long last I have decided to lose my Tolkien virginity. And I want to write about my experience discovering this new world.  I think my journey to Middle-Earth might be just as interesting as the story itself, and I’m hoping that if I have questions, I can ask them here and have the support of the Tolkien legions of fans to help me.

And so it begins.  The Hobbit, page one….

Being an Eclectic Reader

I read a lot.  In fact, I read more than I watch television.  I only watch the shows that I recap and write about, and I watch a variety of sports. And movies here and there. But mostly I read.

I don’t discriminate when I read. I don’t judge a book by the advance press or reviews.  I read Anne Rice, Dan Brown, Deborah Harkness, Jean Paul Sartre and EL James interchangeably.  It doesn’t matter what genre the book falls into.

I enjoy seeing if trends are worth the hype. I read Twilight because someone gave me a copy while I was standing in line at Comic Con.  It was ok. Nothing spectacular.  I actually liked Fifty Shades of Grey but was irritated by the character of Anastasia Steele. (Most people think Christian Grey is abusive. I personally think Anastasia Steele is manipulative) The writing was lacking, though.

Christopher Rice recently published another horror novel at the same time he debuted his first erotic novel. I read both and enjoyed both. (Reviews forthcoming) 

As long as the writing is sound and the storytelling is great, I will read it.  I went on a nonfiction kick a few years ago and found books I couldn’t finish because they irritated me so much.  I can spot errors without trying (the result of years and years or proofreading papers) and so these things jump off the page at me. One or two is fine–we’re all human–but one every other page is not cool.

Tell me a story. Take me on an adventure. Make me forget about reality for a while. Classics, popular fiction, romance, mysteries, biographies–they’re all welcome.  I don’t discriminate.  All books are welcome.

Are you a reader? Do you stick to a genre or are you open to anything?

An Ode to my Coach

I have a business coach.  As you might have read, I’ve been having trouble getting my book done.  My book is tied to my business.  I explained my challenges to my business coach, and by the time we ended our conversation I had much more clarity, along with a clear vision of how to proceed.  My business coach is now my writing coach.

The benefit of having a coach is that he won’t hold back.  He told me to refocus my efforts and head in a different direction, which is exactly what I needed.  

A writing coach can be anyone, from a friend to a relative to a trusted colleague.  The important thing is that you find someone who won’t be afraid to push you or challenge your ideas.  The idea is to help you, not hinder you.  Having someone who will keep you accountable and focused on your goals will only move you toward your end goal even faster.

So…many thanks, Coach.  You’re the best!

Now…back to writing….