Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Utter Stupid Waste of War


"The utter stupid waste of war, not only material but moral and spiritual, is so staggering to those who have to endure it. And always was (despite the poets), and always will be (despite the propagandists) - not of course that it has not is and will be necessary to face it in an evil world. But so short is human memory and so evanescent are its generations that in only about 30 years there will be few or no people with that direct experience which alone goes really to the heart. The burnt hand teaches most about fire.

"I sometimes feel appalled at the thought of the sum total of human misery all over the world at the present moment: the millions parted, fretting, wasting in unprofitable days - quite apart from torture, pain, death, bereavement, injustice. If anguish were visible, almost the whole of this benighted planet would be enveloped in a dense dark vapour, shrouded from the amazed vision of the hearens!"

Letters, #64, page 75-76

I am able (allowed) to have sufficient duties (distractions) during my day to avoid remembering or dwelling upon the "sum total of human misery all over the world." I often wake, work, rest and sleep for days at a time without much heartfelt concern or even recognition of the evil that exists around me, whether next door, in my community, my nation or the world.

But when I do faintly remember or realize, the effect is truly staggering, deeply discouraging, horribly frightening.

But only for a moment.

I blink, and the moment passes, and I continue on.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Place Called Heaven

"There is a place called 'heaven' where the good here unfinished is completed; and where the stories unwritten, and the hopes unfulfilled, are continued." 
Letters, #45, page 54
Heaven is difficult (impossible for me) to imagine. The best I can do is to associate it with supreme joy, goodness, health and fulfillment. But Tolkien's reference here to heaven seems entirely imaginable, completely reasonable, wholly comprehensive. 
It makes me long even more for heaven.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Writer's Block

December 19, 1937 must have been a happy day for Tolkien. On that day he sent a letter to his publisher to say, 

"I have written the first chapter of a news story about Hobbits--'A long expected party'."

Two months later he reports,

"The Hobbit sequel is where it was, and I have only the vaguest notions of how to proceed...I found it only too easy to write opening chapters - and for the moment the story is not unfolding."

By July of 1838 Tolkien seems to have despaired of further progress:

"The sequel to The Hobbit has remained where it stopped. It has lost my favour, and I have no idea what to do with it...I am really very sorry: for my own sake as well as for yours I would like to produce something...I hope inspiration and the mood will return. It is not for lack of wooing that it holds aloof. But my wooing of late had been perforce intermittent. The Muses do not like such half-heartedness."

"Half-heartedness" describes well my own personal writing habits, as well as "intermittent". This blog is an attempt to "woo the Muse", but inspiration and mood strike me but once or twice a week at best. And even then it is in the form of short, quick notes like that which I'm writing this moment. 
Blocked.