“Stories unfold from our past. The books that we read. The fantasies we create. Images from near and far. They are saviors of the shadowed days. Blessings of the inspired evenings. Sources for numerous dreaming adventures. I would not trade one memory of a tale away.” ~ Maria Lehtman
Do you dwell into books when you need advice, inspiration, a calm-down or feel-good moment? Are there books that you can recall having changed your life? Perhaps one that even might have saved your life one way or another?
I was 8-years old when I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings. I was immediately fascinated by learning that he had created the Elven language using his linguistic skills combining several languages, including Finnish. Some of the sources Tolkien studied for the books came from his explorations of, e.g., fairy tales, Norse, Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, Persian, Greek, and Finnish mythology. I read the books in a matter of days from cover to cover even laying out the map each time I started. I followed every progress of the adventure from the geographical viewpoint, and also studied the language translations, the last pages of the book.
Some might say it was not a tale for someone that young. But you see, when you are a child, you are blissfully unaware of what should or shouldn’t be your reading material. I just knew that the story was everything to me. Even years later when I watched the LOTR film series directed by Peter Jackson (and if you tell me you never watched them, don’t get me started…) I still had tears in my eyes, seeing Gandalf take the fall (The Fellowship of the Ring). I knew he would return, but still…It took me back all those decades ago when I first came to that scene and read how my hero fell into the shadow and fire – thinking that was the end of a cosmic level character.
Why is fantasy in such a high rise today?
I know very well why I read fantasy and sci-fi books when I was young. Everything was not always ok at home, and I was a child with a wild imagination to start with. I did not think fantasy was any different than the dreams I saw or the stories I developed in my mind. As I grew older, books and music offered me the ultimate escape from reality when the world seemed to press in with all its weight.
Oddly enough, the people who at the time looked down on me reading these books became parents themselves and were entirely absorbed by J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and movies, James Cameron’s Avatar movie, and the most impacting area of all: gaming.
The more we are surrounded by the realism of our world, the more we seek outlets: escape! The social media and medium of all kind are pouring down on politics, finance, violence, the divide of various areas, let alone what happens in our vastly growing networks. No one can take 100% realism 24/7. Our mind needs inspiration, motivation, and worlds of imagination beyond our current landscape.
Most of the things happening today, the very technological changes in the world, are of no surprise to me. Why? Because ever since I was a child, I lived through the tales of the past and future. I read the stories written by people who were scholars and dreamers – who envisioned things that might come to pass. They might never happen, they might be illusions – but there was always the ‘what if’ in a child’s mind.
So I am not afraid of looking into the future, or understanding and trying out what we face in our digital realm. After all, I had all my spare time to educate myself on what might come. I felt the divide: how light and shadow would grow deeper again. And so I see it has. People realize they have to take sides. Some visions, dreams, and values need defending if we want to hold on to our ethics.
The visions of sci-fi writers: Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, even the satires of Douglas Adams from my childhood favorite authors, are coming through. The very fabric of space is now questioned – first shrinking, then expanding, and now space is considered being created continuously. The latter I suspected long ago. Just common sense. If there is something living, it tends to multiply and create more of it.
Did J. R. R. Tolkien’s tales change my life? They did. They gave me a profound understanding that a highly educated mind did not have to limit their life into scholarly papers. Fantasy was a real area to dwell into and just as important. Dreams feed the reality and the other way around. If you do not expand your mind, how will you understand the framework others are living in? What defines you? Your street address? It is only temporary. The legends. They survive because they are created to be larger than life.
I do not have as much time now to read as I did before, but I watch movies and binge read – any topics from fibers of humanity to deep space. In my mind, the dots always connect.
“Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings