Monday, December 27, 2010

The Fellowship and the Lonely God

The Fellowship and the Lonely God

Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story--the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths--which I could dedicate simply: to England; to my country.
~J.R.R. Tolkien

One of Tolkien’s goals in writing the Lord of the Rings was to create a new mythology for England. He arguably succeeded beyond his wildest dreams: one man drawing on the tapestry of past civilizations to create a myth so deeply rooted in its native land it seems millennia old. The tales of Middle-Earth are firmly bounded on the rich soil of Northern Europe and resplendent with the virtues of fellowship, humility and unity. The leadership of Aragorn, the struggles of Frodo, and the guidance of Gandalf are amazing examples for us, yet I believe they no longer represent the spirit of England. Instead, the BBC TV show “Doctor Who” serves as a new myth for the British Isles.
“Doctor Who” is the longest-running sci-fi television show ever, running from 1963 through the present, with a break from 1989 to 2005 (not including a TV movie.) The title character, known simply as “The Doctor,” is a Time Lord from Gallifrey, with two hearts and the ability to regenerate into a new body after death. This allows a relatively seamless transition between actors in the main role. The current incarnation (11th) of the Doctor is played by Matt Smith, the youngest actor to take on the role.

Several aspects of the show reflect modern Western culture, from the range of settings to moral values. The Doctor travels through space and time in his TARDIS—Time and Relative Dimension(s) In Space—which is disguised as a police box from the 1950s and is bigger on the inside. He journeys throughout the universe, from the beginning of time to the burning of the Earth to strange planets and satellites. If, as Tolkien says in his essay “On Fairy-Stories,' one of the essential components of fantasy is “survey(ing) the depths of space and time,” then Doctor Who has a strong fantasy flavor.
But there are also contrasts between Doctor Who and Lord of the Rings. While Tolkien emphasizes unity and fellowship in the face of danger, the Doctor is an incredibly lonely man. In the revived series, he repeatedly speaks of himself as the last of the Time Lords—only later do viewers learn what lead to the fall of Gallifrey. Even though the Doctor finds companions to travel with, they end up leaving, some in tragic ways.
Furthermore, while Tolkien views fear as a conquerable enemy, Doctor Who tends to emphasis fears as genuine threats. The show has a reputation of being watched from behind the couch, with children peeping out in fright at the monsters. While some of the classic series monsters suffer from dated special effects, the show in general (especially the Steven Moffat episodes) is full of nightmare fuel. From angel statues to shadows, it takes ordinary objects and infuses them with terror. Don’t blink. Don’t blink.
In the episode “The Hungry Earth,” the Doctor says “Monsters are scared of me.” While the line is meant to be reassuring, other episodes show the Doctor’s dark side. In “The Runaway Bride,” a character says to him, “You need somebody to stop you.” Another episode, “The Waters of Mars,” unleashes a truly terrifying side of the Doctor as he declares, “We're fighting Time itself! AND I'M GONNA WIN!” The season five finale drives the point home with a surprising twist of events.
Another area worth commenting on is the romantic angle. The classic show had the Doctor as a celibate hero without romantic entanglements, but three of four female companions in the new series had crushes on the Doctor (only one was reciprocated.) Unfortunately, the new series also has some homosexual relationships among minor characters, but nothing more is shown on-screen than a kiss. Parents might want to skip over some scenes with young children and discuss it with older ones; thankfully, such scenes tend to be only token nods.
But the overall theme of Doctor Who is the struggle between pacifism and fighting. Despite all the enemies the Doctor faces, he is incredibly reluctant to pick up a gun. His trademark ‘weapon’ is not a laser or a pistol, but a sonic screwdriver. And unlike Lord of the Rings, where only some enemies (Southrons and Easterlings) are shown mercy the Doctor’s tries to give everyone a chance, even in cases where it seems ridiculous. His plans tend to have three stages:
1. Talk
2. Sonic
3. Run (often skips to this one)
On the other hand, if the villain rejects the offer, retribution is swift and harsh. One of the clearest examples of this is in the two-part episode Human Nature/Family of Blood. Without spoiling the ending, I will quote a character to describe the Doctor’s wrath.
“He never raised his voice. That was the worst thing — the fury of the Time Lord. And then we discovered why — why this Doctor, who had fought with gods and demons, why he had run away from us and hidden... He was being kind.” (Family of Blood)

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, a myth is “a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially : one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society.”
The Doctor is a lonely man, one who travels the universe but has no place to call home. He is constantly battling monsters and the dark side of himself, facing things that crawled out of humanity’s worst nightmares and trying to balance respect for all life with the dangerous nature of his enemies.
Tolkien’s mythology exalted lowly heroes like Frodo who succeed with the aid of friends. But the Doctor, who feels alone and caught in a never-ending battle, is an embodiment of today’s society. He is a new mythology built around the values of our time.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus" by C.S. Lewis

... and beyond this there lies in the ocean, turned towards the west and the north, the island of Niatirb which Hecataeus indeed declares to be the same size and shape as Sicily, but it is larger, and though in calling it triangular a man would not miss the mark. It is densely inhabited by men who wear clothes not very different from other barbarians who occupy the north- western parts of Europe though they do not agree with them in language. These islanders, surpassing all the men of whom we know in patience and endurance, use the following customs.

In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound they have a great festival which they call Exmas , and for fifty days they prepare for it in the fashion I shall describe. First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in their speech is called an Exmas-card . But the pictures represent birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred years ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwilling to say what these pictures have to do with the festival, guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. And because all men must send these cards the market-place is filled with the crowd of those buying them, so that there is great labour and weariness.

But having bought as many as they suppose to be sufficient, they return to their houses and find there the like cards which others have sent to them. And when they find cards from any to whom they also have sent cards, they throw them away and give thanks to the gods that this labour at least is over for another year. But when they find cards from any to whom they have not sent, then they beat their breasts and wail and utter curses against the sender; and, having sufficiently lamented their misfortune, they put on their boots again and go out into the fog and rain and buy a card for him also. And let this account suffice about Exmas-cards.

They also send gifts to one another, suffering the same things about the gifts as about the cards, or even worse. For every citizen has to guess the value of the gift which every friend will send to him so that he may send one of equal value, whether he can afford it or not. And they buy as gifts for one another such things as no man ever bought for himself. For the sellers, understanding the custom, put forth all kinds of trumpery, and whatever, being useless and ridiculous, sell as an Exmas gift. And though the Niatirbians profess themselves to lack sufficient necessary things, such as metal, leather, wood and paper, yet an incredible quantity of these things is wasted every year, being made into the gifts.

But during these fifty days the oldest, poorest and the most miserable of citizens put on false beards and red robes and walk in the market-place; being disguised (in my opinion) as Cronos. And the sellers of gifts no less than the purchasers become pale and weary, because of the crowds and the fog, so that any man who came into a Niatirbian city at this season would think that some great calamity had fallen on Niatirb. This fifty days of preparation is called in their barbarian speech the Exmas Rush .

But when the day of the festival comes, then most of the citizens, being exhausted with the Rush , lie in bed till noon. But in the evening they eat five times as much supper as on other days and, crowning themselves with crowns of paper, they become intoxicated. And on the day after Exmas they are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and reckoning how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine. For wine is so dear among the Niatirbians that a man must swallow the worth of a talent before he is well intoxicated.

Such, then, are their customs about the Exmas. But the few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas , which is on the same day as Exmas. And those who keep Crissmas, doing the opposite to the majority of the Niatirbians, rise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast. And in most of the temples they set out images of a fair woman with a new-born Child on her knees and certain animals and shepherds adoring the Child. (The reason of these images is given in a certain sacred story which I know but do not repeat.)

But I myself conversed with a priest in one of these temples and asked him why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas; for it appeared to me inconvenient. But the priest replied, “It is not lawful, O Stranger, for us to change the date of Crissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all. For Exmas and the Rush distract the minds even of the few from sacred things. And we indeed are glad that men should make merry at Crissmas; but in Exmas there is no merriment left.”

And when I asked him why they endured the Rush, he replied, “It is, O Stranger, a racket, using (as I suppose) the words of some oracle and speaking unintelligibly to me (for a racket is an instrument which the barbarians use in a game called tennis ).

But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For the first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper caps. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in. And now, enough about Niatirb.

C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock,
"Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus"
(1st published in Time and Tide, 1954)

Flight of Shadows

Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer is the sequel to Broken Angel by the same, but it stands well on its own. Caitlyn and her friends have managed to escape the theocracy of Appalachia, but the world Outside is just as harsh to those with differences. What will Caitlyn decide about her deformity--to keep it and the risk that comes with it, or to get rid of it?
I actually pereferred this book to its prequel because it did a better job of getting inside the character's heads and giving the reader an emotional attachment. It is a beautiful blending of suspense and sci-fi--think the Maximium Ride series with a dash of Ted Dekker, but much better planned than Patterson's books. 4/5 stars
I recieved a free copy of this book through Waterbrook's Blogging for books program but was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mining for Pomegranates

One of the most wonderful things about being an author is revision--the chance to look at your work through new eyes and see things you missed the first time. This is especially true when it comes to NaNoWriMo novels, which are written at breakneck speed.
In a way, it's like miners trying to break through a mountain. They don't care about scenery or stability. But later, when the dust has settled and we have time to use the more delicate equipment in our toolbox, we start looking closer. Perhaps we'll open a new passage because one part is unstable and prone to cave-ins, or we'll widen one tunnel for easier access. But the best part is when the lamplight reveals a cavern full of sparkling gems. Each gentle tap opens up even more wonders to our sight.
It's also like making a fruit salad. You throw in whatever you can find in the cupboard and fridge, and only on the third or fourth helping that you identify that delightful taste lingering in your mouth. Pomegranate seeds? You don't remember putting them into the bowl, but it's so delicious you don't really care.
So as you sit down to edit a story--any story--don't think of it as a dull, boring task. Think of it as an opportunity to find something new.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Skin Map

"Had he but known that before the day was over he would discover the hidden dimensions of the universe, Kit might have been better prepared. At least, he would have brought an umbrella."
~The Skin Map, Stephen R. Lawhead
I recieved this book back in August from Tommy Nelson's Booksneeze program, which gives away books in exchange for free blog reviews. I only now got around to posting this review be honest, this book wasn't that good.
The opening sentence was incrediable, and the author did a good job of establishing location. Unfortunitely, a promising storyline got bogged down by the necessity of keeping track of five or six characters scattered thoughout the space and time of the Omniverse. I would have greatly appreciated a brief heading at the beginning of each section: "Egypt, x BC," or "England, 1600." Perhaps the next book in the series will better juggle the cast of characters.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NaNoWriMo Update #3

I won!
And actually, I ended the story a little early and went for short stories for the last bit, but still...50.5k. WOOT!
Now I will start typing up old stories so I can edit them

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NaNoWriMo Update #2

Sunday afternoon update
40k and trucking on. My characters got bogged down in the swamps of chronological confusion last week, but now they are introducing new relatives, doing interesting things, and being much nicer to work with. I hope to be done by Thanksgiving break!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

First NaNoWriMo Update

I reached 25k in seven days.
*breathes again* that's a new record for me, I think. And I'm not done yet. Just taking a break to get my speech assignment done.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Random Fifteen

The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

C.S. Lewis
J.R.R. Tolkien
BetaOmriconGamma (online friend)
Jeffery Overstreet
Bryan Davis
M.C. MacAllister
George MacDonald
Rafe Martin
Ted Dekker
Madeline L'Engle
Frank Peretti
L.B. Graham
Gerald Morris
Jane Irwin
Wayne Thomas Batson
The order of the authors really doesn't reflect that one has influenced me more than another, they're just the order that popped into my head,

On another note, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, so expect to see a lot of posts that look like this:
Wordcount: x
I got further

Friday, October 29, 2010


This blog will be closed through the end of November at least so I can work on NaNoWriMo.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Masters and Slayers

I got my copy of Masters and Slayers in the mail yesterday. It's an amazing tale. Just when you think Bryan Davis' stories can't get any better, they do. Adrian, Marcelle and Cassabrie, the three heroes of Masters and Slayers, are well-rounded characters wrestling with intense questions as they try to bring the slaves home.
Five stars.
For more information, visit


Fans of Bryan Davis' previous books should strap on their swords and prepare for a wild ride. Unlike Dragons in Our Midst and Oracles of Fire, Starlighter features evil dragons enslaving people to mine for them. The main characters are well-written with realistic dilemmas.

I Know Why the Angels Dance

I Know Why the Angels Dance by Bryan Davis is an amazingly heart-breaking story. It weaves two tragedies together into an amazing story of hope in the middle of loss. Two families; one Christian, one athiest; must face tragedy together.

The Bones of Makaidos

Over a million words after Raising Dragons, the great tale of dragons, underborns and humans drews to an end. The forces of Hades converge on Second Eden, pressing against Bonnie, Billy, Walter, Ashley, Elam and others. This book is a grand finale to Oracles of Fire, an epic great as Lord of the Rings or the Chronicles of Narnia. Many plot lines combine to make an amazing ending. Five stars--but it's even better than that.

Eye of the Oracle

Both old and new fans of Dragons in Midst will enjoy Eye of the Oracle, first in the Oracles of Fire series. Spanning a vast canvas from Noah's flood to modern times, Bryan Davis introduces new characters and reintroduces old ones in an amazing tale that reveals their history. One of the most amazing characters is Mara, a slave girl raised in the underworld by Morgan as part of a centuries' long plan to overthrow humans and raise demons from Tartaris. But Mara soon learns that she is an Oracle of Fire, one of two girls who can stop Morgan's plan. The story is amazing. One of my favorite books by Bryan Davis. Five stars

Raising Dragons

Have you ever had a dream that seems so real you wonder if you really woke up or if you're still inside it? Well, in Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis, Billy Bannister's dream is a foretaste of coming wonders. Billy is an average middle-school boy who loves drawing and hanging out with his crazy friend Walter. But he also has a strange secret--his breath hot. And why does the strange girl at school always where a backpack?
Raising Dragons is the first of Dragons in Our Midst, a four-book series, with some characters' adventures continued into another series called Oracles of Fire. The author is also working on a new book, meant to be the first of a new series called Children of the Bard.
Five stars

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tailered to Fit

The genesis of this post was a friend's status that said
"I don't need this! I didn't ask to fall in love with a vampire!" ~(name) "First Bite"
While I am a die-hard Twilight hater, I thought it sounded like a good enough line for a fanfic, so I asked the friend about it. Even though it seemed to be a self-insert story, I (against my better judgement) asked for more information.
To my surprise, she directed me to the site My first reaction was shock mingled with morbid fascination. The site is full of completely written novels, with blank spaces for character names and physical traits. Type in a few names, and you have a personalized novel. Or the height of self-insert Sueness.
Granted, lots of people read novels solely to fill their hunger for romance or wealth...but this takes it to new levels.
If people can get 'mind candy' that easily, would they bother with real literature?
Just something to think about.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Masters and Slayers Contest

Bryan Davis has a new contest going on. Go to


This is my 100th post. So...what is the significance of that?
I can't think of anything special to do, so I'll post a drabble I wrote:

First Flight: Skye and Kestrel
Sprinkles of light dot the distance ceiling and one great round light stares down at me. “Kestrel?” My words don’t bounce back at me, and I wonder how big this room is. Kestrel tilted her head to one side, as if listening to something—or someone—I could not hear. ”We need to be higher.” She walked along the side till piles of smelly stuff came into view. “Climb up,” I scrambled after her till we stood on the edge of something. “Now,” she whispered and jumped.
I stopped a scream. “Kestrel?”
But my vision had adjusted. I saw her sweep across the air. “What?”
“Flying,” The word rang out. “Flying, Skye.”
I swallowed and jumped. For a moment I fell, like in night-pictures. But then my wings moved me up! Up, not down. The ground was gone, and the ceiling was not seen. Kestrel? The picture-link came on, showing the careful motions I’d seen her practice. She knew this.
Flight. I wondered what the Masks would have to say.
Don’t! The word screamed in my mind. We’re not going back. This is the world, and that, she winced. That is wrong. That was not our homes

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect:
By Andy Andrews
This book shows how just one act can change the world--even the tiniest one. While it is difficult to explain what the book describes without giving anything away, I wil say that this is an amazing inspirational book. It even brough in historical events that are well-worth knowing about. The book itself is a beautiful work, almost like a scrapbook with page backgrounds.

Doctor Who

"What if you were really old, and really kind and alone? Your whole race dead, no future. What couldn't you do then? If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind.... you couldn't just stand there and watch children cry."

For the past several years, my list of favorite TV shows--meaning ones I cared about watching--had exactly one item: Extreme Makeover:Home Edition. Now I have another show to add to the list: Doctor Who, a BBC sci-fi drama. The show features the mysterious Doctor, Last of the Time Lords, journeying though time and space in his TARDIS (which, from the outside, is merely a police box.)
Several of my online friends are huge fans of this show, so when I found myself with nothing to do last night, I found some online episodes and began watching. Wow! The Doctor is extremely mysterious, but with a humourous side too. The episodes were well-plotted and suspensefully directed. One episode, "Time of the Angels," had the Doctor and his friends in search of a Weeping Angel. AS long as someone looked at it, it was merely a statue. But the moment you looked away, it could move and most likely kill you. To make matters worse, the Angel is hiding in a neocropolis full of angel statues.
I have never read or seen anything more suspenseful than this episode. It uses the old bogeyman fear of 'something moving in the dark' and masterfully embodies it. I have no plans to write horror, but this episode could teach writers lots about suspense.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

No Word Had Reached My Mortal Ears

Many fans of Tolkien's works are familiar with the twelve volume History of Middle-Earth series, which traces the development of Tolkien's works--including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion-- from the very earliest scribblings during World War I to the full-bodied tale of the Ring and beyond.
I had already read volumes I through V, with the exception of volume IV, The Shaping of Middle-Earth, and therefore was eager to pick up volume VI, The Return of the Shadow. While the earlier volumes trace the legands that became The Silmarillion, volume VI discusses early drafts of The Lord of the Rings.
The title of this post comes from a letter in which Tolkien was discussing the development of the Lord of the Rings.
So the essential Quest started at once. But I met a lot of things along the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner of the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than Frodo did. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothlorien no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there
In modern terms, Tolkien was a 'seat-of-the-pants" writer. He didn't start with an outline or ages of planning (although much deliberation sunk the Silmarillion in various accounts.) As an example, he began the first chapter, "A Long-Expected Party," with Bilbo Baggins hoasting his 71st birthday and simply vanishing--with no connection to Gandalf, Frodo, or the Ring. Later in the work, when the hobbits (then named Bingo, Merry, Ondo, and Frodo--with Bingo as the Ringbearer) reach Bree, they are met not by Strider, but by a hobbit named Trotter who wears wooden shoes!
Those who care more about the result than the process wouldn't find much of interest in these books. But curious readers--especiallly those who are also writers--will certianly enjoy tracing the threads of Tolkien's mind through many devolopments.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Four Degrees of Inspiration--Most of Them Tolkien's

This post was inspired by K.M. Weiland's post 15 Degrees of Inspiration
Well, I have a much shorter work where I can trace the history, so I'll stick with only four.
1. Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien is a delightful children's tale of a toy dog who journeys to the moon and the sea.
2. The rhyme "Why the man in the moon came down too soon," also by Tolkien; from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil or The Tolkien Reader
3. A friend's comment:
The moon is a good hermit-hole for contemplating things that happen on the world below, and the earth atmosphere tends to be a bit thin. And if you want a third reason, I enjoy chatting with the man on the moon

4. My exhaustion after a week of orientation activities

Produced the poem "Hermit's Hidey-Tower." I'll only post the first verse to reserve rights if I ever want to publish it:
One night I found on a grassy mound
a shining silver stair
I stared in awe at what I saw
resting on the air
No rope or rail if I should fail
but stretching to the stars
stairs of light amidst the night
and a journey far

Four Degrees of Inspiration

This post was inspired by K.M. Weiland's post 15 Degrees of Inspiration
Well, I have a much shorter work where I can trace the history, so I'll stick with only four.
1. Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien is a delightful children's tale of a toy dog who journeys to the moon and the sea.
2. The rhyme "Why the man in the moon came down too soon," also by Tolkien; from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil or The Tolkien Reader
3. A friend's comment:
The moon is a good hermit-hole for contemplating things that happen on the world below, and the earth atmosphere tends to be a bit thin. And if you want a third reason, I enjoy chatting with the man on the moon

4. My exhaustion after a week of orientation activities

Produced the poem "Hermit's Hidey-Tower." I'll only post the first verse to reserve rights if I ever want to publish it:
One night I found on a grassy mound
a shining silver stair
I stared in awe at what I saw
resting on the air
No rope or rail if I should fail
but stretching to the stars
stairs of light amidst the night
and a journey far

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One Consuming Passion

One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.
— E. M. Forster
One Consuming Passion
First of all, I must admit I am not sure if “passion” is the correct term for what I mean to discussion. Two other terms which came to my mind were “obsession” and “longing,” but a quick thesaurus search brought me to:
affection, affectivity, agony, anger, animation, ardor, dedication, devotion, distress, dolor, eagerness, ecstasy, excitement, feeling, fervor, fire, fit, flare-up, frenzy, fury, heat, hurrah, indignation, intensity, ire, joy, misery, outbreak, outburst, paroxysm, rage, rapture, resentment, sentiment, spirit, storm, suffering, temper, transport, vehemence, warmth, wrath, zeal, zest
Now, that list could fill an essay in itself, especially considering the opposing pairs, such as joy and misery. But for now, I must settle for the word “passion” to describe my hunger for words. I love books—instead merely tromping back to my room to exchange the book I had in my purse, I stopped by the library to grab four more. (In my defense, it was a shorter walk.) I love writing—I recently filled a 160-page journal in thirty-two days. I spend hours on online writing communities.
Certain books fuel my passion—the death of Aslan for Edmund, the beauty and wisdom of North Wind, and many more.But passion is a fire that cannot be shut up or even expressed in solitude. It must be passed on to kindle other hearts.
In recent sessions, people have touched on the topic of passion in our Christian life. We need to hunger and thirst for God, awed by his love for us. Mel Gibson’s blockbuster film was rightly titled The Passion of the Christ. From Adam and Eve in the garden to the New Jerusalem awaiting believers, Christ is passionate over his people, even to the shame of enduring the cross. I want that type of hunger, but my skills don’t seem to transfer to real life relationships.
One of my favorite authors, Bryan Davis, recently posted a link to a speech “Passion in Writing” he had given at the Montrose Christian Writers' Conference. I immediately uploaded it—and something clicked. Not because of his humorous quips on the difficulties of publishing, or inspiring stories—although the speech was full of them—but because Davis talked about the passion required to get his first novel published.
“Write your passion, not the reader’s expectations. Write what makes you burn with holy fire, not what sizzles through the checkout lane.” I had never made the connection between my writing and passion, between my desire and the fervor God gave me. God wants passionate preachers. God wants passionate nurses. God wants passionate mothers and fathers. God wants passionate teachers.
But God also wants passionate artists. God also wants passionate singers. God wants passionate writers. He wants people who have hearts that burn for him and cannot be silenced from speaking his Truth with the tongues he has given. In his eyes, a passion for feeding the hungry, a passion for standing up for justice, a passion for telling stories, are all of equal worth. We should be willing to accept new tasks from him, and perhaps discover new passions in the doing.
For example, I recently volunteered at Feed My Starving Children, assembling meals to ship overseas for starving children. Even though I had never done it before, the opportunity to get involved in a hands-on way fueled some latent fuel into flames. To me, ‘volunteering’ was primarily associated with children’s ministries, cleaning, washing dishes and construction—some of which I enjoy more than others. But when the news is full of catastrophes, those local ministries, although necessary, important, and even fun, seem like a drop in the bucket.
In The Return of the King, Gandalf says “It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know…” Yet when the “fields we know” spread across the globe due to today’s technology, “what is in us” seems far too small to be useful. Where does one start?
At Feed My Starving Children, I found one way to answer. Statistics say 18,000 children die daily of starvation. But in two hours, our group packaged enough food to feed eighty-seven children for a year. The organization hopes to package 123 million meals in 2010. That is something I can get passionate about.
Today’s culture seems hopeless and hostile. But I don’t have to challenge the entire world. I can start with just one person. I read a blog post once that ended:
Someday, someone will look up at you, and at how far you have come in your journey, and will be encouraged to keep trying even though it is far from easy.
Today, write for that person.

I wish to end this essay with the lyrics of a Steven Curtis Chapman song, “Magnificent Obsession.” The line
I want You to be my one consuming passion
gave this essay its title. Read the lyrics slowly; savor them. God will take your passions and give the Secret Fire.

Lord, You know how much
I want to know so much
In the way of answers and explanations
I have cried and prayed
And still I seem to stay
In the middle of life’s complications
All this pursuing leaves me feeling like I’m chasing down the wind
But now it’s brought me back to You
And I can see again

This is everything I want
This is everything I need
I want this to be my one consuming passion
Everything my heart desires
Lord, I want it all to be for You, Jesus
Be my magnificent obsession

So capture my heart again
Take me to depths I’ve never been
Into the riches of Your grace and Your mercy
Return me to the cross
And let me be completely lost
In the wonder of the love
That You’ve shown me
Cut through these chains that tie me down to so many lesser things
Let all my dreams fall to the ground
Until this one remains

You are everything I want
You are everything I need
I want You to be my one consuming passion
Everything my heart desires
Lord, I want it all to be for You
I want it all to be for You

You are everything I want
And You are everything I need
Lord, You are all my heart desires
You are everything to me

A Quick Challenge

Okay, I have to work out a schedule for myself, which (I hope) will have room for blogging updates, but until then, a writing challenge.

A woman is going to tell her boyfriend that she wants to break up--on the same night he plans to propose to her. What happens?

P.S. Based on a true story shared about the dangers of dating too fast as college freshmen

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Havah by Tosca Lee, Biblical fiction about Eve is a beautiful mixture of lyrical prose and heartache. Many passages reminded me of the Song of Solomon, but the tale stood out razor-sharp against the pain of a fallen world. Some passages were inappropriate for preteen children, but older teens and adults will enjoy this book

Legend of the King

The Legends of the King by Gerald Morris concludes The Squire's Tale series with the same mix of great characters and plot twists as the previous volumes. My only complaint is that it has to end. As much as I enjoyed the story, the breaking of the Round Table is a depressing finish to an otherwise hilarious series

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kestrel's Midnight Song Review

As a dedicate follower of Jacob Parker's blog, I looked forward to reading his novel Kestrel's Midnight Song.Since he got published as a teen, I wasn't sure what to expect. But Kestrel's Midnight Song( KMS), a truly original fantasy, has great characters, fantastic beasts, and unforeseen plot twists.
Micah, the main character, caught my heart at once. Most male characters are either overly aggressive or wimps, but Micah is both responsible and caring.
The author's website is and his blog is

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Masters and Slayers

Masters and Slayers stands leagues above cliched sterotypes with well-formed characters, a tightly woven plot, and heart-rending decisions. Can Jason's brother Adrian Masters trust the mysterious phantom of Cassabrie? Will Marcelle's bold moves compromise attempts to bring the Lost Ones home? Whose side is Arxad really on?

While Starlighter serves as an excellent introduction to the twin words of Starlight and Major Four, Masters and Slayers provides a closer view of the dark life of the Lost Ones. Questions are answered in ways that will take even the most asitute readers by surprise.Both newcomers and fans of Davis' previous works will be pleased with this enthralling tale.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If Middle-Earth Entered the 21st Century

I recently joined as Vilinye--Quenya for 'I fly'--and posted my first story "If Middle-Earth Entered the 21st Century."
Read it at

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Since interest in Quenya is rare, I have decided to expand I Firie Eleni to general reflections on Tolkien's works, from The Hobbit to The Silmarillion to his more scholarly works. All posts on LotR will be there in the future

Potatoes and Trees

Just before the sweeping vistas of the Lord of the Rings and the distant mountains of the Silmarillion lies a little watercolor painting called Leaf by Niggle, a short story of Tolkien’s that may serve as an excellent introduction to the wide world beyond.
Niggle is an artist with too many ideas and not enough time to complete them, one who sees the leaves before the great Tree he is attempting to paint. On the other hand, Niggle’s neighbor Parish is similar to the potatoes he grows—rooted in the earth, but unable to glimpse Niggle’s vision.
In T.A. Shippey’s Road to Middle-Earth, the author proposes that this story symbolizes Tolkien rejecting the potatoes of scholarly articles for the trees of fantasy. While I take a different view of the symbolism in Leaf by Niggle, the phrase “Potatoes and trees” caught my fancy and ran off in several different directions.
Potatoes are merely roots, while trees are made of root, stem and leaf. Also, potatoes are dug up and devoured after a short season, while trees grow for years before being felled for timber or tinder. A famine of potatoes led to the devastation of Ireland, yet potatoes are a New World import. Finally, Sam’s ‘taters’ in Ithilien are merely substance, but the word ‘trees’ reminds me of the Two Trees in Valinor, forebearers of the Sun and Moon.
Potatoes and trees, however, are not opposites, but compliments. One cannot rest in the shade of a potato plant, nor can one serve up trees for breakfast. They fit together in the natural world to enrich our lives. Fact and fantasy, like potatoes and trees, need each other.


Since interest in Quenya is rare, I have decided to expand the reach of this blog to general reflections on Tolkien's works, from The Hobbit to The Silmarillion to his more scholarly works.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Firie Eleni

Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo.
A star shines on the hour of our meeting
As one might guess by my username, I am a fan of Lord of the Rings. My interest extends to the rather obscure world of Tolkien's languages. Therefore, I have begun a new blog, I Firie Eleni, about the Elven-tongue Quenya. Go to to read my first post.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo.
A star shines on the hour of our meeting.
Many fans of The Lord of the Rings enjoy the Elven dialouge of the movies. However, some don't know that there is more than one Elven language in Middle-Earth. In fact, the created languages of Tolkien are difficult to count, but two of them are attested with enough material to attempt to speak it: Quenya and Sindarin. The history behind these two languages is difficult to explain to those who have not read The Silmarillion, but Quenya is the older of the two.
An excellent site for those interested in Tolkien's languages is, which includes overviews of the languages, as well as a Quenya course.
Apart from the debate over whether Quenya can be learned, his course is well-written and moves at a pace fast enough to keep one's interest but slowly enough to be managable.
This blog, I Firie Eleni, The Dying Stars, is meant to provide a community for students of Quenya. The blog posts will initally follow the sequence of Ardalambion's lessons, as well some Quenya text written by myself to provide examples.
Nai haryuvalyë melwa rë

Saturday, July 31, 2010

JulNoWriMo Final Update

This is my final update on JulNoWriMo. I stopped counting words after reaching 50k, but I wrote probably closer to 60k overall. The majority of it was blind rewriting of Three Dark Roses, which is STILL unfinished and in need of work. But I also wrote a few short stories and random musings as well, which might show up here in the future. But anything written in WriMo starts out at draft zero and needs a lot of work. Hopefully I will be able to do NaNoWriMo this fall as well, with my idea Olympus Rising.
How'd everyone else do?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cast of Characters by Max Lucado

I have read and enjoyed other books by Max Lucado before, and Cast of Characters: Common People in the Hands of an Uncommon God is no exception. It takes characters as famous as Paul and as unknown as Abigail and fleshs out what their stories might have been. It really helped me see Biblical characters as PEOPLE, and identify more with them.
One of the most of the identifible chapters focused on Mary, Martha and Lazarus. It said that Marys tend to have "one foot in heaven and the other on a cloud." I feel like that a lot. It's hard for me to come down to earth and listen.
I recieved a free copy of this book through Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program in exchange for posting a blog review.

Curse of the Spider King

"When Kim Lee jumped from the window to escape her knife-weilding parents, she thought it was her only escape..."
In Curse of the Spider King, authors Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper join pens to craft a tale of elves and spiders. Eight hundred years ago, minions of the Spider King overran the capital of Breinfall and captured the seven offspring of the Elven Lords. But the Drifends fear the curse of the elves too much to kill the lords' offspring, so they instead abandon the children on Earth. But as the seven children reach their thirteenth year, Elf Sentials attempt to bring the children home to Allyra.
The book was very vivid and suspenseful, like a movie, with realistic characters, but it was hard to keep the seven children straight at first, especially because they were scattered across the Western Hemisphere. A few of the characters had dialects as well, which was slightly hard to read.
The authors also did a good job of keeping the characters realistic. At one point, the girls were discussing the boys' appearance while the guys were trading notes on injuries.
Four out of five stars

Saturday, July 24, 2010

JulNoWriMo Updates #15-23

And I am on vacation, so that is as much as you'll get from me presently.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

JulNoWriMo Updates #14-15

Well, I have reached a milestone.
HURRAH! This is a new record for me. In my first NaNo, I got to 38k by the 18th, so this is really good for me.

UPDATE: Total for the day is 41, 104

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

JulNoWriMo Updates #12-13

I am at 33k and climbing. And now, to reply to your comments:
Thanks Chrystal. Who are you on JulNo? I am Nenya_s Wings. I found your blog through K.M Wieland--Wordplay--and think its good. I was homeschooled until high school, but still consider myself homeschooled.
Gwen, I will have access to a computer, but probably not much. It's supposed to be a vacation, after all.
And Evergreena, thanks for the encouragement. Hey, how about updating the blog sometime?

Monday, July 12, 2010

JulNoWriMo Update #11b

30K plus one.
Well, now I should be able to relax a bit more about vacation. That should help me out some.
Also, Gwen and Maggie, I accidently delated your comments. If you want to repost them, I'd appreciate it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

JulNoWriMo Updates #9-11

I have not worked on today's section at all, but I am at:
25,601 as the total.
Unfortunately, we leave for vacation near the end of this week, so my wordcout will not be updated for a long time. That is, assuming I do write more on vacation.
And Gwendolyn, way to go. What's yours about?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

JulNoWriMo Update 8

Despite other activities today, I wrote 1.5k, bringing my total to

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

JulNoWriMo Updates #4-7

July 4th--family activities
July 5th--more family activities
July 6th--work
July 7th--(different) work.

Total for the first week:


How are you doing?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

JulNoWriMo Update 3b

Well, I'm done for the day. Between Write or Die and handwriting, I'm up to 10k plus 269. Not bad at all. Is anyone else here participating.
And here is my link for my Createspace novel pics

JulNoWriMo Update 3

Currently, I am at 9,068 words. My goal is to be at 10k by the end of the day, because I have a vacation coming. Granted, I threw in about a k or so of unrelated stuff and am working on a rewrite of my NaNo story, but I feel happy right now.
Plus, I got my Createspace novel in. YEAH! I have MY stories in an offical looking book. Coolness

Friday, July 2, 2010

JulNoWriMo Update #2

Well, as of 6:36 pm local time, my word count is 5, 118. Before you say I'm showing off, I'm just trying to build up a cushion because I'm going on vacation this month.
But, oh, how I love WriMo! I have an excuse to write every spare minute, and my plot bunnies are caffinated and sugar-high!
If anyone joins me, I'm Nenya_s Wings at JulNoWriMo.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

JulNo Update 1

Well, here's my first JulNoWriMo update:
as of 3:17 pm local time, I have
2k written
Three more characters added (but they're mythical, so they don't entirely count)
and a few (Jul)Noisms from pen going faster than mind, ie...
"...a young man who had never set foot on dry, solid earth and was rather tired of eating fish."
Further updates will come.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Can't Wait for NaNoWriMo?

Crazy writers, are you longing for an opporitunity to write 50k in 31 days?
Then join me at for JulNoWriMo, a cousin of NaNoWriMo with lower stakes. I am Nenya_s Wings there.
Come join me!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Evacuating London

Another round at this tag game: Put the music player on shuffle and answer questions.
Are you male or female?
Our God Reigns by John Waller
And he’s neither!
What do people feel when they are around you?
The Riders of Rohan from The Two Towers soundtrack
Does that mean they feel like hunting me down or like doing something valiant?
Describe your current relationship
Little Room by Matt Hoffland
No, I am not in a controlling relationship. There is “little room” in my life for romance right now.
Where would you like to be right now?
A Storm is Coming from Return of the King soundtrack
Well, I’d like to be in Middle-Earth…but maybe not right then
What do you feel about love?
Stand in the Rain by Superchic
Well, the lyrics are beautiful, but I haven’t had my heart broken like that
What's your life like?
You Are by Matt Hoffland
Okay, that makes no sense. I asked about MY life.
What would you wish for if you only had one wish?
Your Servant (Tarah’s Song)
It would be great to always be God’s servant
Say something wise:
Prodigal by Matt Hoffland
Actually, prodigals are foolish, but God’s love is amazing
If someone says "Is this okay. . ." You say?
The Battle from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe soundtrack
I wouldn’t start a battle over that!
How would you describe yourself?
Less than A Pearl by Enya
I could write a poem about that…
How do you feel today?
Let Forgiveness Flow by the Windles and Matt Hoffland
I can’t think of anyone I need to forgive though…
What is your life's purpose?
Dash Between Two Dates by Steven Petree
That one actually makes sense
What is your motto?
Le Chant du Depart
A song for departure? Well, I am in and out of the van a lot…What do your friends think of you?
Show You Love by Jars of Clay
Aw, that’s sweet.
What do you think of your parents?
Not Good Enough from Fireproof by Leeland
What? I love them! I think they’re good enough!
What do you think of very often?
Los Jilacatas: Panpipes from Chile
Certainly not!
What is 2+2?
Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus) by Chris Rice
I don’t know what it has to do with 2+2, but it’s beautiful
What is your life story?
Leaving Here Someday by Me in Motion
And going to heaven!
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Right Here by Jeremy Camp
I like this area, sure
What will you dance to at your wedding?
Last Time by Moonlight by Enya
Pretty, it would have to be a slower dance though
What will they play at your funeral?
I Need You to Love Me by BarlowGirl
That’s kind of appropriate
What is your hobby/interest?
When I Fall by Rachel Lampa
I’m not clumsy!
What is your biggest fear?
Remembering You by Steven Curtis Chapman
Oh, I could make a story of that too
What is your biggest secret?
Praise the Lord by John and Diane Windle
Why should that be a secret?

What do you think of your friends?
Evacuee by Enya
What will you re-post this as:
Evacuating London
Is there a theme here?

A Belated Award

Stylish Blogger Award from Squeeks at Hidden Doorways

The rules of this lovely award are to list five random things and then award five other bloggers!
1. I made a video trailer for my NaNoNovel (See it on YouTube by searching Three Dark Roses)
2. I am listening to Till We Have Faces on MP3
3. My internet is not working consistently.
4. The last movie I saw in theathers was The Blind Side
5. I like to edit stories
This Stylish Blogger Award is officially going to... Trav, Araken, Mary P. Limwen,Inkyelbows and Evergreena.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Hate This Book...So Why Am I Reading It?

Part of the answer to the title question can be summed up as "small libary=limited options." Another answer is that it does have flying kids, even if said flying kids have worst case of Sue/Stu syndrome I've read in a published work.
But, there is something to be said for awful books.
They teach you how not to write a book.
For example, the Maximum Ride series has genetically enegineered hybrids who gain new abilities in the blink of an eye. For example, the youngest one, Angel, is in a submarine miles under the ocean when she decides to go swimming. But it's okay, because she has gills and the ability to NOT be crushed into a soda can of bird-kid.
I was reading a poorly written fanfiction the other day on which someone had made a comment to the effect of "there's artistic license, and then there's bad research." Or an overvivid imagination.
So, what have you learned from bad books?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

After a two-year wait, we can finally drool over the trailer for Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Though it has been out less than a week, fans are already dissecting and analyzing it. While it may be unfair to judge a movie based on 2:08 minutes, directors are counting on favorable impressions to attract viewers; so we may assume the clips are an accurate impression of the movie.
Based on the trailer, several issues immediately pop out. Edmund seems to have the same problem as Peter in Prince Caspian--an inability to re-adjust to daily life. Jardis is seen in a ghostly green scene, again mimicing the last movie. And a shot of Peter and Susan seems out of place.
Other issues include the presence of a minotaur on the ship, a flying map, and a glowing girl (presumably Ramandu's daughter.) Also troubling is the absence of any reference to the seven missing lords, who form the reason for the voyage.
I fear that this movie will fall prey to the same errors as Prince Caspian, dispite the replacement of Adamson as director.
I have been looking forward to this movie for a long time. It just seems that Andrew Adamson left too much of a mark on the previous movie for the new director to have the courage to return to accuracy, which made the first film such a success. Narnia is not and never will be LotR. Why can't the director appreciate it for what it is, instead of trying to pander to other fans? While I am a LotR fan, I do not want Narnia to imitate it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Letter from Kumalo

For my English final, I wrote a letter from Stephen Kumalo of Cry, The Beloved Country, to Hans Hubermann of The Book Thief

July 24, 1946
Ndosheni, South Africa
Dear Hans Hubermann,
Your last letter focused on the slowly growing evil in your country, a deep hatred of Jews fanned into flame by this madman, Adolf Hitler. In my country also there is hatred and oppression, but the people of my blood have become accustomed to inferiority, and the oppressors are not all united. For some see nothing wrong with the situation, and claim it is God’s will for whites to rule blacks, while others argue that blacks should be given opportunities for advancement.
But the situation in your land is quite different. For the hatred your leader has stirred is an ancient hatred, and the older the hatred the more justifiable it seems. And too, Jews and non-Jews are not distinguished as easily as black and white, and the suspicion of infiltration fans the flames of irrationality.
But it is just as wrong to stand by and do nothing as madman destroy your land as it is to join them in destruction. You asked me what can one cup of water do to extinguish the fire; how can one man stop a raging stampede?
The answer is not simple, but I shall begin in simple terms. In one sense, the answer is “nothing.” Nothing one man can do will stop the madness of our times, though the one man had all the gifts of wisdom. Only God’s mighty hand holds us back from utter destruction, though the earth may seem to stand on the brink.
But in another sense, one man’s actions might be just enough to tip the scales, the tiny bump in the path that upsets the overburdened wagon. For example, your friend Erik saved your life in the Great War by volunteering you to write letters on the day your entire regiment went into battle.
In the grand scheme of things, it made no difference in the course of the war if you lived or died. But on a personal level, Erik’s decision meant everything. He saved your life. Now, you have a chance to save the life of his son.
What is the worth of one human life? Only God knows; but the scales of men are often swayed to favor the powerful. My son Absalom shot a man, a white man, in fear during a robbery. The judge sentenced him to hang. Would he have delivered the same verdict to a white man who killed a black? I cannot say…
A life for a life, so the Scriptures say in the laws of Moses. But in this world, it is often a life for a mistake, a life to assuage the fear of men. In the eyes of the law, my son’s life was forfeit when he shot the white man. But there is a higher law, one that I do not dare hope that men follow; the law of God’s mercy. The Scriptures say, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Life for life; perhaps even life for death. You owe Erik your life, a debt you cannot repay directly. But his son has done no wrong, and yet is pursued by hatred and madmen. If you choose to take him in, your small deed may save his life.
One life. A small, small thing against the burning anger of the Third Reich. But one life is all anyone has. So how can we refuse to help because our actions will not make a difference?
It will make a difference to the one we help.
Go with God, Hans.
Stephen Kumalo

Monday, June 7, 2010

Book Tag

List twelve people and answer the questions:
I got really interested, so I did three of them.
List A
1. Bonnie Silver, Dragons in Our Midst by Bryan Davis
2. Milo, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
3. Ransom, C.S Lewis's Space Trilogy
4. Quinton, The Bride Collector, by Ted Dekker
5. Meggie, Inkworld series by Cornelia Funke
6. Kumalo, Cry,The Beloved Country by Alan Patton
7. Turin, The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
8. Auralia, Auralia's Colors by Jeffery Overstreet
9. Abigail, Three Dark Roses by me
10. North Wind, At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
11. Lucy, Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
12. Meg, The Time Quartet by Madeline L'Engle

List B
1. Koren, Starlighter by Bryan Davis
2. Smaug, The Hobbit, Tolkien
3. Adrwin, Birdwing, Rafe Martin
4. Benjiah, Binding of the Blade, L.B. Graham
5. Daryl, Echoes from the Edge, Bryan Davis
6. Caitlyn, Broken Angel, Sigmund Brouwer
7. Feanor, The Silmarillion, Tolkien
8. Dante, The Divine Commedy
9. Mila, The Music of Dolphins, Karen Hesse
10. Tabitha, I Know Why the Angels Dance, Bryan Davis
11. Cal-Raven, Auralia's Colors by Jeffery Overstreet
12. Justin, The Circle Trilogy, Ted Dekker

List C.
1. Grand Elusa, Lost Years of Merlin by T.A.Barron
2. John Mischief, Abarat by Cliff Barker
3. Don Quixote , Cervantes
4. Black from Paradise series by Ted Dekker
5. Peniel, A.D. Chronicles by Thoene
6. Shyllen, from Ander Collins by LoriAnn at ApricotPie
7. Goneff, Mossflower Brian Jacques
8. The Keeper, Auralia's Colors by Jeffery Overstreet
9. Robbie, The Door Within, Wayne Thomas Batson
10. Reepichep, Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
11. Wesley, The Princess Bride, William Goldman
12. Soren, Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Karen Hesse(?)

Who would make a better college professor, 6 or 11?
A. Kumalo or Lucy? Hard choice...but probably Kumalo. His perspective on criminal law would be fascinating.
B. Caitlyn or Cal-Raven? Caitlyn would have a unique perspective, but Cal-Raven would be more creative.
c. Shyllen, a dragon shape-shifter, or the Dread Pirate Roberts? Can't I have both?

Is 2 nice?
A. Milo is nice, but clueless
B. Smaug is not nice.
c. I'm not sure if nice is the right word for a seven-head man, but sure, Mischief's nice

12 sends 8 on a mission--what is it?
A. Meg sends Auralia to find Meg's missing father. Auralia calls upon the Keeper, who finds Meg's father in the Cent Regus Core, but the colors restore him.
B. Justin sends Dante on a mission? Well, considering that Justin's a Christ figure and Dante descended into hell...Justin would send Dante to one of the colored lakes.
c. Soren sends the Keeper to find his parents, but the Keeper returns with the Northchildren instead.

What is 9's favorite book?
A. Abigail needs something about grief management and health
B. Mila would like pictures of the ocean.
c. Robbie loves the Scrolls of Allebe

Would 2 swear fealty to 6, or vice versa?
a. I think Koren would swear to Kumalo, because she's a slave.
b. Smaug and Caitlyn both have wings, but I think Caitlyn would swear to Smaug because Smaug breaths fire.
c. Mischief would swear to Shyllen, because dragons are more frightening

Would 9 or 10 make a better roomate for 5?
a.I think Meggie should room with Abigail and the North Wind--Abigail and North Wind would get along nicely, and Meg could tell them stories.
b. Daryl should room with Tabitha because Mila is used to sleeping on a island, not in a bedroom.
c. Peniel would room with Robbie, because Reepicheep is too short.

What would happen if 3, 7 and 12 went out for dinner?
a. I think Ransom would leave his wallet behnd, but Meg would tab up the bill and figure out how to pay. Turin, though, would start swinging his sword and insulting people until Ransom knocked him out.
b. Ardwin, Feanor, and, a winged boy, a crazy avenger, and a Christ figure. So..Feanor gets distracted by a jewelry store and charges in demanding the Silmarills. Ardwin's wing slips out from under his cloak and wounds someone. Justin gets them out and heals them with water and fruit. As a result, Feanor agrees to seek conseiling.
c. Goneff, a mouse, would be nervous around Soren the owl, and Quixote would attempt to spear cars, and no one would get to eat.

If 3 dueled 10, who would win?
A. Why would Ransom fight the North Wind?
B. Why would Ardwin fight 12-year-old Tabitha? She's too sweet...
c. If Don Quixote fought Reepicheep, I think Reep would win eventually

If 1 stole 8's most valuable possession, what would happen?
A. What, Bonnie didn't steal Auralia's cloak. She picked it up for safekeeping and gave it back.
B. Let's see, Koren took Dante', Virgil. She hoped he could guide her out of Starlight, but when he couldn't help, she gave him back.
c. The Grand Elusa, a giant spider, stole the people's dreams of the Keeper. The Keeper would...I don't know what he'd do.

Give a title for a story in which 7 and 12 get what they want.
A. Turin wants to escape fate, and Meg wants her father back. Because Turin's fate is tied to his father, the story is Rescueing the Father.
B. Feanor and Justin? Isn't it bad enough that they had to dine together? Justin wants to redeem his people, and Feanor wants his Silmarills back. But both are...Precious.
c. Goneff and Soren both want freedom and a role in life. Their story would be "Free"

What plot device would bring 1 and 4 together?
A. Bonnie Silver and Quinton? I think Quinton would try to take Bonnie as one of his "brides" and nail her to the wall...ew!
B. After the restoration of all things, Benjiah is sent to Starlight to help Koren rescue the slaves.
c. Black writes the Grand Elusa into his world, but the Grand Elusa eats him, thereby saving Billy, Darcy and Johanny much trouble

What happens when 7 visits for the weekend?
A. Turin? Oh no, lock away all sharp objects and hid from orcs.
B. Feanor? As if Turin wasn't bad enough, now I have a meglomanic human-hating elf prince in my house? Elbereth perserve me!
c. After Feanor and Turin, i can handle Goneff, a Prince of Mousethieves pretty easily. As long as he doesn't jump out at me.

What service would you want 3 to perform for you?
A. I'd just want Ransom to tell me about Perelandra.
B. Ardwin could tell me stories about flying.
c. I'd like Don Quixote to teach me swordplay

Does 11 like writing or drawing?
A. I don't know if Lucy does.
B. Cal-Raven likes sculpting, which is like drawing.
c. Wesley prefers piracy

If 2 had to join 4 or 5, which would s/he choose?
A. If Milo had to join Quinton or Meggie, he'd choose Meggie because she tells good stories. Plus, Quinton's a murderer.
B. If Smaug had to join Benjiah or Daryl, he'd try to burn them first, but Daryl would tell so many jokes he'd laugh to death.
c. I think John Mischief would rather join Peniel than Black, because Black is a murder.

What would 10's battle cry be?
A. The North Wind would sing a psalm about the end of sorrow.
B. Tabitha would sing, "Hallujah, I have found him"
c. Reepicheep would say "In the name of Aslan!"

What song characterizes 8?
A. Dante would sing, "I fell into a burning ring of fire..."
B. Auralia's theme song would be "Waiting for the World to Fall" by Jars of Clay
c. The Keeper's song would be "Lion" by Rebecca St. James, even though it's not a lion

What pickup line would 2 say to 10?
A. Milo would ask the North Wind if he may go out with her. Hey, it worked for Diamond.
B. Smaug would ask Tabitha to investigae his jeweled waistcoat.
c. Mischief would try asking Reepicheep if he likes cheese, but Reep would attack.

What would 5 be arrested for?
a. Meggie would be arrested for chaos from reading fictional charaters out of books.
b. Daryl would be arrested for interdimensional trespassing.
c. Peniel would be arrested on charges of religious intolerence

If 11 and 9 raced, who would win?
A. Abigail and Lucy wouldn't race, they'd have a leisurely walk and take so long the judge would go home.
b.Cal-Raven would ride and run better, but Mila could swim...wait, this isn't a triathlon.
c. Westley versus Robbie...Robbie would ride a dragon, but Westley can run really fast, so maybe a draw.

What was the lowest point of 1's life?
A. Well,Bonnie's mother died, she gets trapped in a stone, dies in Hades...I'm not sure
B. Koren's lowest point was in the cattle camp.
c. Grand Elusa has a low point of hunger

1 and 9 reluctantly team up to save the world from the threat posed by 4's sinister secret organization. 11 volunteers to help them, but it is later discovered that s/he is actually a spy for 4. Meanwhile, 4 has kidnapped 12 in an attempt to force their surrender. Following the wise advice of 5, they seek out 3, who gives them what they need to complete their quest. What title would you give this fic?

A. So, Bonnie Silver and Abigail team up against Quinton's evil scheme. Lucy joins them, but she's actually Quinton's spy. After Quinton kidnaps Meg, Bonnie and Abigail follow Maggie's advice and find Ransom. I would call it Rise of the Children, because all but two are underage.

B. Koren and Mila team up against Benjiah and his spy Cal-Raven, who have captured Justin. On Daryl's wise advice (Daryl? Wise?) they find Ardwin who defeats the villians. It would be called Somehow This All Works Out, because it's so upside down.

c. The Grand Elusa and Robbie team up against Black and Westley, who kidnap Soren. But Peniel tells them to find Don Quixote, who defeats evil. It would be called Sometimes Dreams Come True, because Quixote gets to fight

A Haiku

My busy summer
Started at church today, so
please expect few posts

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Question for You

I have been thinking about my blog:
Should I seperate my book reviews and other comments into two seperate blogs? Vote on the poll.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Upcoming Post

I just finished reading Cal-Raven's Ladder. It is


I'll post when I can.


The folk of a distant land came together to create a mighty statue. If all their gifts were woven together in the making, the statue would come to life, bringing great blessings to the land.
But one girl, nearly a woman, could not discover her role in the task. Her lesser gifts—cooking, cleaning, childcare—were valued and necessary, but her deepest, strongest gift remained hidden. And the girl’s heart ached, for the starlight of her true gift seemed shrouded by the candles of lesser skills.
Even when she found others gifted with the same craft, her confusion grew. Was she sharing her gift to enrich others, or merely seeking glory? Why was her role so difficult to discover? For she longed to contribute to the statue.
Although her parents attempted to support her, their need of explanations undermined their efforts. For a gift that must be explained is lacking in power and usefulness.
The girl never doubted that her gift had power, for it was this gift, used by others, that uplifted her heart in dark times. Yet of what worth is power without a purpose?

She sits alone in the midst of crowds
Waiting for words to give an answer
She sits surrounded by unclouded memories
Waiting for words to give an answer

Her craft is tightly woven
Of hopes and dreams and fears
Her works are clutched against her chest
Of hopes and dreams and fears

She sits alone in the midst of crowds
Waiting for words to give an answer
She sits surrounded by unclouded memories
Waiting for words to give an answer

Her dreams are vast, her life is small
Yet imagination lends her wings
Her hopes may have risen too high
Yet imagination lends her wings

She sits alone in the midst of crowds
Waiting for words to give an answer
She sits surrounded by unclouded memories
Waiting for words to give an answer

But she wonders if anyone is listening
For her hundred paper hearts
What is a story without an audience
For her hundred paper hearts

She sits alone in the midst of crowds
Waiting for words to give an answer
She sits surrounded by unclouded memories
Waiting for words to give an answer

Maybe they are meant for an audience of One
The Word made flesh who dwelt among us
And I will wait for the answer
The Word made flesh who dwelt among us

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Status Update Enter to Cchat with J.R. Parker, a teen fantasy author...and possibly win a copy of Kestrel's Midnight Song.

UPDATE: Due to technical difficulties, it has been rescheduled.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Something My Charries Taught Me

One night, I dreamt I stood outside on a snowy day, shivering with cold. Strangers stared at me with pity in their eyes, but their pity disgusted me. I did not want it.

On the way to school, I mused over the dream. In real life, I probably would respond to that stituation with pity, but my dream gave me a different perspective.

The word "pity" is a worn-down cousin of "piety, " but the original religious connotations have been rubbed away by hundreds of groveling toddlers and unprepared students begging for clemency.

That is not what comes to mind when I think of my characters. Kestrel and Skye are bold conquerers, escaping prison and exploring a new world. Abigail of Three Dark Roses endures severe trials--including the death of her entire family--, but even at her lowest point, I do not pity her. Pity is too weak a word.

Pity? Sympathy? Empathy? The distinction lies in our attitudes towards suffering people. Pity is looking down at something in disgust, like a half-crushed beetle underfoot. Sympathy is like a broken gem crushed in the mud, something precious ruined. But empathy comes from glimpsing the image of God in an individual crushed by life and feeling God’s love for him.

The first has no place in a Christian’s relationships. The second may tug our heartstrings half a dozen times daily. But the latter urges us to embrace the wounded and call down God’s mighty power in their lives.

In Lord of the Rings, Gandalf says, “The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.” But empathy can change the course of eternity.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fans + Fiction=?

“I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only places in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands wielding paint and music and drama.”
~Prologue, The Silmarillion

Once a work of fiction becomes popular, it is only a matter of time before fans begin to write stories based upon it. This deliberate imitation of a particular author is known as “fanfiction” or “fanfic.”
The above quote from J.R.R. Tolkien shows acceptance and even encouragement of fanfic, though Tolkien could not have foreseen the rise in fanfic due to the Internet and, in many cases, movie adaptations. Other authors, however, tend to discourage fanfiction, though squelching enthusiastic fans is impossible.
Some fanfic authors emphasize unity with the source material (known as ‘canon’,) while others claim to “fix what the author broke.” In my limited experience with fanfiction, I have come across more of the former than the latter, although even some of those take surprising liberties.
In my opinion, there are two broad categories of fanfic: character and setting. For example, a character Lord of the Rings fanfic might explore other journeys of Gandalf or the activities of Aragorn in the Fourth Age. A Lord of the Rings fanfic ‘setting,’ on the other hand, might invent a Rider of Rohan or an adventurous Took and send them on original quests. There is also the underappreciated category of fanpoetry—poems exploring situations or characters in the books. One of my online friends writes Lord of the Rings fanpoetry equally as stirring as any of The Lays of Beleriand.
Overall, there area almost as many approaches to fanfiction as there are authors of fanfiction, ranging from silly to serious, humor to horror. In my opinion, any approach can work as long as it remains respectful of canon. As the parody Official Fanfiction University of Middle-Earth says, “Thou Shalt Not Steal Characters, but Borrow, and Return Them Whole and Recognizible.”
Even parodies can follow this rule, such as The Silmarillion Gospels by Araloth the Random, a rewriting of the Silmarillion in a potpourri of King James and bally-girl English.
As an example, the original text of the Valaquenta concerning the Valar Yavanna reads as follows:
The spouse of Aulë is Yavanna, the Giver of Fruits. She is the lover of all things that grow in the earth, and all their countless forms she holds in her mind, from the trees that grow like towers in the forest long ago to the moss upon stones or the small and secret things in the mould. In reverence Yavanna is next to Varda among the Queens of the Valar. In the form of a woman she is tall, and robed in green; but at times she takes other shapes. Some there are who have seen her standing as a tree under heaven, crowned with the sun; and from its branches there spilled a golden dew upon the barren earth, and it grew green with corn, but the roots of the tree were in the waters of Ulmo, and the winds of Manwë spoke in its branches. Kementari, Queen of the Earth, she is surnamed in the Eldarin tongue.
The reworked text, on the other hand, reads:
And the spouse of Aulë is Yavanna, the Giver of Fruits, and Kementari, Queen of the Earth, and the One With Not As Many Names As Varda. She loveth flowers and growing things and mouldy stuff. Therefore all housewives call upon her name when cleaning out the fridge. In the form of a woman is tall and dressed in green, but other times she looketh like a tree. Ask thou not how the heck this doth work. Accept the word of the Mighty Professor Tolkien, Lord of Oxford, and question not his Righteous Awesomeness.

In my opinion, fanfic is to canon as pre-made bread is to homemade. Whether you buy it at the store or use a packaged mix, the end product can be used in the same way. Sometimes it even can pass for the real thing, and other times it turns normal ideas upside down. But if you’re hungry enough, it doesn’t matter.
Bread is bread, after all.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


As a huge fan of Bryan Davis' Dragons in Our Midst/Oracles of Fire series and the Echoes from the Edge trilogy (I spend more time on his forum then on Facebook), I eagerly anticipated the release of Starlighter.
One aspect of the story that will immediately surprise readers of DioM is the presence of inherently evil dragons. But instead of traditional treasure-hording, maiden-devouring beasts, the dragons of Starlight enslave humans to mine extane, a gas necesscary for dragons to breath.
Meanwhile, on another planet, stories of the "Lost Ones" who were stolen by dragons and taken to another planet are laughed at as myths, but the young swordsman Jason Masters is forced to make a difficult decision when he discovers the legends are true.
Although the twin settings of this book are different from the mixed modern realistic of Davis' prior series, I found both of the worlds delightfully fresh and exciting. The mixture of modern and medieval technology in Jason's world raises questions for the next book in the series, and the characters are well-written and lovable.

Confessions of a Wimpy Author

"If a girl's too wimpy, the reader hopes she dies."

~Bryan Davis at the Florida Christian Writer's Conference

After reading a blog post on heroines, I started thinking about my female characters. Upon reflection, I came to the painful recognition that my novella heroines are "wimpy." On the other hand, my short story heroines are both bold and loving. So I will quickly introduce them to prove that I can write strong characters, and then contrast them with my novella heroines.

In my story Sakuntala, Laia, a nomadic outcast from a desert tribe, stands up against a false religion at the risk of her own life:

Gripping the radona with both hands, Laia raised it above her head. “I am no longer Anista, the Cursed, or Sakuntala, one of the Lady’s Children. I am Laia, daughter of Adonai, the only true god!”Before the final syllable passed her lips, Laia brought the radona down upon her knees.

In my story Tiend, a young faerie named Aine is chosen as the tiend, the tithe, to the dark Seventh Lord, but her love and the love of her brother destroys the Seventh Lord forever:

A young man stepped forward, followed by an old woman. The Tiend poured forth from the oak like a gushing spring after the frozen winter. Each of their footsteps on the emerald grass added seven years of age to Saman’s face till it resembled a bony mask. Ainé rose to her feet, staring the Seventh Lord in the eyes. “Your time has ended.”

Finally, Skye, a potential novella-in-waiting, focuses on two half-human, half-avian, girls who escape from imprisonment in a lab. Even after one of them dies, the other returns to rescue their friends:

Go back.

Images of the past months—of life—burned inside. The ever-changing sky—platters of steaming cookies—Hannah’s wrinkled, compassionate face—

I can’t, I protested. I can’t—Lark, I have to leave. But I’ll be back. My own words blew against my protests. I promise. See the blue?''

All three of these girls--ranging in age from twelve to early twenties--showed courage rooted in love. One of my novella heroines lacks the courage; the other lacks just about everything, including love.

Loren of Fettered Wings, who I mentioned briefly in my post "Of Characters," is a sucidial, depressed cutter. While I can attempt to blame this on her mother (who is somewhere between a physcological disorder and demon possession,) Loren also suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has bound wings.

Well, maybe she's not "wimpy," but she's angesty and very difficult to work with:

“What is love?” Loren’s expression seemed to gaze into a past distant beyond count. “I don’t remember anymore.”
She leaned over the edge.
“DON’T!” Aurel screamed. She lunged at Loren, wrapping her arms around Loren’s legs just before Loren would have jumped.
“Let go of me,” Loren snarled. Her face twisted in rage, and I feared the demon of anger that held Mother captive had taken her too. She reached in her pocket and grabbed out a knife. Loren stabbed wildly at the air. “Let me go!”

So I switched to her brother's viewpoint for NaNoWriMo 08, but that's another story that might need its own blog post.

My other "wimpy" heroine is Abigail from Three Dark Roses. To be fair, she does have untreated anemia, and her entire family dies barely a fourth of the way into the story.

But it wasn’t home anymore. It was so empty now. If I opened my eyes, I might expect to see Mother leaning over me. If I listened, I might imagine Father’s cello. So I stopped up my ears and squeezed my eyes shut. Now my hands were cold, so cold, freezing like the snow and the breeze that had struck down the roses. At the same time fever ran through my veins, burning like coals and fire in my body. And where the ice and fire met the pain twisted my limbs from the inside. I screamed, screaming, but the sound might not have left my mouth. Elizabeth hugged my closer, rocking me back and forth like an infant. “Shh, shh…Abigail, Abigail, hold on. Hold on.”

On the other hand, her love is much stronger then her frail body, and by the end of the story, she stands up to evil despite physical torture.

Maybe one reason my characters are kind of wimpy is because I'm kind of wimpy physically. I'm a stringbean, all length and no muscle, plus allergies for over three-fourths of the year and sometimes sinus infections. But heroes don't have to be physically strong.

In the VeggieTales film The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, one character says, "The hero isn’t the tallest or the strongest or the best looking. The hero is the one who does what’s right."

That's something everyone can do.

No matter how wimpy.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I have discovered a giveway of The Victor by Maralyn Giron, but to qualify I must post about it on my blog.
Here is the Amazon summery:

A benevolant King...his sword of power...a ruthless traitor bent on revenge...and the faithful son who stands in his way with the woman destined to share his throne. Who shall emerge as the victor in this epic struggle between good and evil to govern the lives of hapless men?

I also have another cluster of giveaways: Bryan Davis's new book Starlighter has sparked several giveaways.

Go to and register to win an 8GB iPod touch from Zondervan.
Go to to register to win one of ten cloaks made by Bryan Davis's daughter.
for a chance to win a copy of Starlighter

And finally, be the first to answer Starlighter questions on Bryan Davis's blog
and enter to win a sword or cloak

Friday, April 23, 2010

What next?

What should I post next?

The 18" Mile
Confessions of a Wimpy Author
Something My Charries Taught Me...

Vote on the poll.

Called by Name: Of Myself

There are many other characters I could discuss, but more is not always better. I started this series with characters very close to me--my own characters--and so I will end with myself.
Readers of this blog will most likely know me as Galadriel, a name I chose upon joining my first book forum. Although I didn't really understand the character at the time, the name has grown--or perhaps shrunken--to fit. For Galadriel is a powerful lady, who remembers much others have forgetten, yet she herself is doomed to fade from a world that no longer recognizes her.
Related to Galadriel is the name Nenya_s Wings, which I chose for NaNoWriMo when "Galadriel" was already taken. For Nenya is the Ring of Adament that Galadriel weilds in secret against the One, while "Wings" reflects my flight-hunger, a desire to soar with the wings of a hawk in the sky.
For that reason, I chose Kestrel as my title on ApricotPie, a homeschool writing site. In Skye, the first story I posted there, the title character remembers her friend Kestrel who died attempting to free her imprisoned friends.
Another online title of mine is CrimsonWaters, which I use on Ted Dekker's Circle in honor of his Circle Trilogy, for the crimson lake in that world is a mark of redemption's sacrifice.
As for my birth name...I don't give that out online. While it may be easily used among face-to-face aquantences, giving it to someone online marks trust. It says, "I trust that you are who you claim to be, and therefore I will tell you who I am offline."
But the name I long for is in Revelations 2:17
And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who recieves it.
God has a special name waiting for all who accept him, one only he and you will understand. And no matter how well other names--Galadriel, Nenya, or Kestrel--may seem to fit, only that name will reveal our true self.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Called by Name: Of Turambar

A Turin Tuambar turun ambartanen: Master of doom by doom mastered! Oh happy to be dead!

First of all, let me apologize for the length of the last post. I didn’t recognize how long it really was until I posted it, but there was no good place to break it up into two shorter ones. I will also apologize in advance for this one; it will be just as long, if not longer.
I said in my previous post that Turin’s last names are the saddest, though they may not appear so. For Nargothrond marks the peak of Turin’s achievement, and the brink of his fall.
While in Nargothrond, Turin wielded Beleg’s blade, which gave him the name of Mormegil, the Black Sword. As a valiant captain, he became chief advisor to the king, essentially ruling Nargothrond in all but name.
Another name Turin receives in Nargothrond is Adanedhel, the Elf-Man. His upbringing in Doriath and his fair appearance led even the Elves to think of him as one of the Noldor, and even his temperament was as rash and foolhardy as the proud sons of Fëanor.
Finduilas, the King’s daughter, called Turin “Thurin,” the Secret, for through the sorrows he shared with her, she sensed deeper grief underneath his fair words. And she knew that though she loved him, he would not allow her entry into his heart.
But Morgoth’s curse fell like a hammer on Nargothrond. He sends hosts of orcs and the dragon Glauring to ransack the city. Glauring also bewitched Turin to think of his mother Morwen and his sister Nienor (whom he has never seen) living as thralls in his childhood home while Turin dwelt in splendor. Ignoring the pleas of the orcs’ captives, Turin departs for Dor-lomin
Unknown to Turin, though, Morwen and Nienor had fled to Doriath while Turin led his men in Dor-Cuathol. When rumors of the Black Sword’s fall in Nargothrond reached them, Morwen and Nienor rashly rode out to seek further tidings. Yet their errand failed, for Glauring came upon them, driving Morwen into the wild and laying a spell of forgetfulness upon Nienor.
In Dor-lomin, Turin learned that Morwen and Nienor had fled to Doriath, but he decided not to go and find them, for he believed they were safe. Instead, he joined a humble band of woodsman, where he took the name Turambar, Master of Doom, for he hoped to overcome Morgoth’s curse by living a quiet life.
Nienor came to the Crossings of Teiglin, where Turin found her and cared for her. He named her “Niniel,” Tear-Maiden, for she could not remember her name, nor her past, nor any words of language. Yet something in her stirred at the sight of Turin. After a time, they were married.
When Niniel was two months pregnant, Glauring marched on Brethil. Turin went forth and killed the dragon while it was still a ways off. But the death-cries of the dragon filled men with fear.
Niniel found Turin lying by Glauring, apparently dead. But Glauring spoke for the last time, and his words struck her like a blow.
Hail, Nienor, daughter of Hurin. We met again before the end. I give thee joy that thou hast found thy brother at last. And now thou shalt know him: a stabber in the dark, treacherous to foes, faithless to friends, and a curse unto his kin, Turin son of Hurin. But the worst of all his deeds thou shalt feel in thyself.
Glauring died, and Nienor remembered everything. In horror, she cast herself over a waterfall. But Turin was not dead, but merely swooned. When he woke, men told him all Glauring had said and the death of Nienor. Upon realizing the truth, Turin fell upon his own sword.
A Turin Tuambar turun ambartanen. Though I have only given a brief overview of the tragic tale of Turin here, it raises many questions. All of Turin’s names may be seen as attempts to ward off his fate, but as Gwindor said, “The doom lies in yourself, not in your name.”
Doom. What will we do with the doom that lies in our own names? For the doom of Christians is a free-dom, the weight of our own choices. A doom both lighter and heavier than any curse of Morgoth.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Called by Name: Of Turin

“The doom lies in yourself, not in your name.”
After several false starts on this essay, I have decided the solution lies in what Wayne Thomas Batson would call “Chapter Mitosis”—the splitting of one section into two. This particular essay will therefore deal with Turin’s life up to his arrival at Nargothrond, while the second half, “Of Turambar,” will stretch from Nargothrond to his death.
The tale of Turin, unlike the story of Aragorn, emphasizes names that mark an incident in his life, especially tragic ones. And Turin’s life is full of tragedy.
Turin’s father, Hurin, is captured by Morgoth, the Dark Lord, in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad ("Battle of Unnumbered Tears"). When Hurin will not give Morgoth the information he demands, Morgoth sets a curse upon his bloodline.
Thus, though Turin is a great warrior and of the bloodline of great heroes, everything he does turns to ill. Whether this is the result of Morgoth's curse or Turin own headstrong recklessness is left to the reader to determine.

(Summery courtesy of Tolkien Online)
Because of the invading Eastlings, Turin’s mother Morwen sends him to Doriath, under the protection of Thingol and Melian. While Turin is still on his way, Morwen, who remained behind in Dorlómin, gives birth to Turin’s sister Nienor.
Turin lives in Doriath until age eighteen, when he asks for weapons and goes out to join the struggle against Morgoth. Three years later, he is in Doriath to repair his weapons when an Elf named Saeros taunted Turin and his family. The next day, Saeros attempts to kill Turin, but Turin overpowers him and …set him to run naked…then Saeros fleeing in terror before him fell into the chasm of a stream. In fear for his life, Turin flees Doriath and joins a band of outlaws, where he takes the name Neithan.
Neithan, the Wronged, is the first chosen name of Turin. But as the Elf Beleg says later, it “is a name unjust,” for Thingol judged Turin innocent of wrongdoing. Yet Turin refuses to return to Doriath and be pitied. Instead, he leads the band of outlaws against orcs, and later, with Beleg’s aid, claims the land as “Dor-Cuathol,” the Land of Bow and Helm. He therefore names himself “Gorthol,” the Dread Helm, in honor of the Dragonhelm his father once wore.
But as the Lay of the Children of Hurin says,
“Morgoth was a king more strong/
then all the world has since in song
And if all the Elf-Kingdoms were powerless against Morgoth, what hope would a band of outlaws have? Eventually, Turin is betrayed and his men slain, but Beleg escapes. With the aid of an Elf named Gwindor, Beleg rescues Turin from the orcs who captured him.
But as Beleg cuts Turin free, his blade pokes Turin in the foot. In the darkness of night, Turin leaps free and slays Beleg Cúthalion thinking him a foe…there came a great flash of lightening above them, and in its light he looked down on Beleg’s face.
After Turin recognizes what he’s done, he retreats into silent madness for a time, but Gwindor leads him to Nargothrond. On the way, Turin is healed of his illness by the waters of Eithel Ivrin. When Turin and Gwindor reach Nargothrond, Turin stops Gwindor from telling his name, calling himself Agarwaen son of Úmarth; the Bloodstained, son of Ill-Fate.
Agarwaen son of Úmarth. Indeed, Turin is stained with blood—Saeros, Beleg and many orcs. And his father Hurin might well be deemed Ill-fate, for Morgoth’s curse of doom lay heavy on all his kin.
Turin’s names—Neithan, Gorthol, Argarwaen—are a list of sorrows. Yet his latter names—Adanedhel, Thurin, Mormegil, and Turamber, are interwovern with worse griefs. Well does Tolkien say this is called “the Tale of Grief, for it is sorrowful.’