I still ask myself on a regular basis; why do I write? I always come up with three reasons (besides the fact that writing is the only thing I’m any good at), three authors whose works have inspired me so much that I wanted to become an author myself.
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Before we get to the first of these three gentlemen who are to thank (or blame) for this obsession of mine, I must give credit also to my mother, who read tons of books to me when I was little. She’d take me to the library, we’d pick up the books together, and she’d read them to me in the evenings. So, I was already more than familiar with the written word when I went to school and learned to read and write myself.
I started writing stories as soon as I learned the alphabet. My first “book” is written with hyphens which means I was in the first grade of elementary school when writing it. It’s about ponies. I was obsessed with ponies back then.
At this point I wish to point out that this is not an author nor book review. This is rather a part of the tale behind a tale.
So much for the rambling. The first man to thank (blame) for my decision to become a published (fantasy) author is none other than John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. His work has inspired tens of thousands of fantasy authors, artist, and musicians, so I’m just one fish in the sea. Still, his books are the reason why I write fantasy.
I read Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was around 12. I loved it. It was amazing, inspiring… The best book I had read so far. It was also disheartening. I wanted to write a book as brilliant one day but was convinced that I could never do it. I wasn’t good enough. (Well, obviously. I was twelve and just finished my second “novel” about ponies and ponygirls.
(Un)Fortunately, I was damnably stubborn already back then, and instead of ditching the pen and finding another hobby, I kept writing. I didn’t write much fantasy, for I knew I could never be as fantastic as Tolkien. I created imaginary worlds, though, drew maps, and invented creatures and characters. I also weaved stories in my head but rarely put them on paper.
During the three years of junior high school, I read every Tolkien book I could find in the local library and bookstore, most of them twice or thrice over. I read tons of books from other authors, but Tolkien remained the one to whom I kept returning. I’ve re-read my copy of LotR, so many times its cover has been broken.
Then I went to high school, and we make a time jump to the present. I still don’t think I could one day write like Tolkien, but it doesn’t keep me from writing fantasy anymore as it did when I was a kid. Still, his influence is evident. It lances through my world-building, plotting, wording… When writing, I catch myself rambling page after page about small things that even I’d find irrelevant and tedious as a reader. And that’s saying a lot, for I love, love, love details! It’s more than a little irritating, and though I was determined to write like Tolkien when I was twelve, today, I struggle free of his influence. Not all of it -I enjoy myself in a Middle-earth type of world and like the archaic language- but I could definitely jabber less.
Nonetheless, I owe John not just my passion for writing fantasy but also my interest in folklore and mythology. He showed me the door to a world that I might not have discovered otherwise, at least not at such an early age. Of that, if anything, I’m grateful.
Lastly, to close the circle in a way, something else Tolkien-inspired that has inspired me (Yes, there’s a lot of music behind my writing even though I cannot play a chord myself. I will be returning to the subject at some point, for music is the fuel that keeps me running.):