Saturday, October 29, 2016

On the art and practice of writing

"I found not being able to use a pen or a pencil as defeating as the loss of her beak would be to a hen."

For several weeks, near the end of his life, Tolkien was unable to use his right arm. He had been used to spending hours each day writing...writing poetry, stories and novels...writing letters for business...corresponding with family and friends. 

I often imagine myself writing as diligently, as "old fashioned", as Tolkien. I can see myself sitting at a rolltop desk or finely crafted secretary, smoking a pipe, serenely composing a handwritten letter to my children, or drafting another chapter for my next novel. I can imagine Tolkien feeling joy as he writes. 

But it's not me. I don't enjoy writing by hand, at least not after a paragraph or so. For me, handwriting is for note taking, or rough drafts (short rough drafts). 

But I greatly admire Tolkien for his ability in, and dependence upon, handwritten letters and documents. 

Quote from The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Introduction, page 1

No comments:

Post a Comment