i Nili o i Ardanole Newsletter:
Your source for Lord of the Rings Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
Issue 6, Volume 1. July 13th, 2003.
Primary Contributor and Reporter: Xara.
Additional Contributing Writer(s): Prongsie, Gollum.
In this issue:
Headlines: Elves Exposed! by Xara.
The Art of Arts by Perian.
The Perils of a Ringer-Student by Prongsie.
The Fishdom of Feanor by Xara.
Writer's Block by Xara.
In every issue:
Quote(s) of the Week.
Letters to the Editor.
The Closet Tree-Loppers!
OUTRAGE! SCANDAL! Innocent reader be warned, what you are about to hear may cause great distress, people with heart-conditions are advised not to continue reading... the shock may be too much! Today is an historic day, as for the first time ever, this investigative reporter is able to exclusively reveal to you the shocking truth!
Elves, whom we have long been lead to believe are gentle, wise, friends of the trees...not so as I discovered yesterday afternoon when flicking through the pages of Tolkien's mighty work, unaware of the scandal that had been waiting over 50 years to be uncovered. I can do no better describing what was revealed than to relate the very words of Tolkien himself, who was clearly trying to give us a message about the true nature of elves, being too afraid to declare so more plainly, obviously under the intimidation of these masqueraders. "...near the top the main stem divided into a crown of many boughs, and among these they found that there had been built a WOODEN platform, or flet as such things were called in those days...".
You see? How else could the Lothlorien elves have gotten hold of wood if they had not hewn it themselves? Having no contact with the outside world apart from other elves whom we must now discredit as also being tree-loppers! Think of all the wooden bows and arrows, carved from trees slaughtered in the name of elvish warfare by those who had long pretended to be their friends. No wonder elves love to live in the forest so much! Not because they particularly enjoy it but because they can easily harvest the trees without detection!
And the Rivendell elves are no less guilty! Why, they did not even attempt to disguise their destruction of trees, or they would not have named their gathering hall "The Hall of Fire"! What is needed to sustain fire? Wood of course!! Exposed! And now today the information becomes public at last! Though at this moment Elrond himself may be calling his lawyers to begin proceedings to sue me for slander (All I can say, Elrond, is that you'll be the one who ends up paying me if you choose to take such a course of action), I can only say that what I have here stated is the truth, nothing more, nothing less. And I think we all agree that the public deserves to know the truth. I rest my case!
The Art of Arts
"I'm not an artist. I can't do it. People have tried to teach me all my life, and they have all failed. I would like to (write novels/poetry, draw, paint, sculpt, act, be able to make that parsley garnish look pretty on the lumpy taters I just burned), but I have no talent!"
How many times have I heard these and other explanations for why a person never pursued the hobbies, pasttimes, and careers they have dreamed of or even been vaguely interested in? (By the by, I still trying to accomplish fifth and last examples.) Despite these being among the most frequently voiced comments, I beg to differ with every one. You can. You are only excusing yourself from the task. First you need to set aside your thoughts of talent. Pretend you never heard the word. Pretend it doesn't even exist. You have better things to do with your time than lament over the fact that you don't have talent. J.R.R. T. didn't have the talent to write his books as soon as he had learned the English language. Alan Lee didn't pick up a brush and start painting masterpieces on his first go. Talent is, as far as I can see, a myth.
"So what is it? Do they slave over How-To manuals? Meet Sauron at a crossroad under the dark of the moon? Keep a lock of hair and a signature written in tomato juice in a mouldy pink sock under their pillow? Or is it simply genius?"
Nothing so complex, nor so simple. There are several factors, every one of which you can master:
1. Observation. Stop looking at objects and seeing only their title. "Huh?" Erm, yes, I suppose I should explain that a bit better. An old example: Don't walk into a forest and glance around thinking "That's an oak, that one an ash..." or even worse "Look at all the trees!" Observe, don't label. This scene is worth far more than a thousand words! Look at how the light falls upon the leaves, watch the motion of the branches as the breeze stirs them, stare at how little mosses and fungi connect them to the earth, and how their shadows cast shades of blue across the ground. You don't even need so inspiring a scene. Even the kitchen can be a lesson in observation. Watch the colours in a pan of boiling water, or the metallic curves of the toaster. You will begin to see beauty and symmetry everywhere (And be cursed out by your family for talking so long to make dinner.) With things such as writing and acting, however, you will also need to turn your observations from the visual to the emotional. The next time you fall in love, fall out of it, stub your toe, slip on a banana peel in view of your favourite LotR star, think as you react. Think about how you are feeling, not what you are feeling. Is your throat tightening? Your brow knotting? Your hand trembling? Then someday when you're bored, sit in front of a mirror and try to reproduce that.
2. PRACTICE! Hehe. Scared you, didn't I? But I'm serious. Invest in a few cheap supplies (notebook, sketchbook, pencil sharpener, vampire teeth or gelatin ears, whatever...) which you like well enough to not mind using every day, and which will get you into the mood (Personally, I have a full-sleeved sylvan artist's blouse which I would wear to pretend I was a capable poet). Find a comfortable spot, and make some little attempt at whatever you are pick as your hobby everyday.
3. Belief and Time. Trust yourself. Say to yourself each day after your practice attempt "Well, maybe I'm rewriting the Little Bunny Foo-Foo song today, but tomorrow..." Keep the works you do now, so you can look back and see how you have improved. It works. Don't give up. You can be famous/happy with your works/no longer slashing everything you doodle into teensie tinsie pieces someday!
The Perils of a Ringer-Student
My bedroom, my sanctuary, the eye of the tornado - a place where I am able to read, write, surf the internet and above all else - study ... erm, sorry ... attempt to study. Observe an evening in my life.
My 100 pound monstrosity of a text book lies open in front of me, demanding to be read. I've only been at this for an hour and already I'm bored stiff. I make the mistake of glancing around my room. My eyes fall upon my bookshelf. The temptation is too great - "Maybe what I need is a short break," I think to myself as I reach over and pull out The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The few pages turn into a chapter, one chapter leads into the next and before I know it, the hobbits are in Bree meeting Strider for the first time! I look at my clock - Good Grief! Where has time gone?!
I resolutely put my book away and return to the pursuit of academic excellenc-- oops, wait a minute, I've got mail. I eagerly check my inbox to find ... hmph! Spam! Oh well, best get back to studying - you know, now that I'm online, I might as well check the MBs on I Nili and All Things. Hallelujah! New messages! I quickly begin typing replies - and I keep on at it until ... yawn ... Blimey, I'm tired! All this work, you know.
I brush my teeth and say g'night to the folks. "Did you get any work done?" they ask. "Of course," I reply, with utmost sincerity. "May It Be" is playing on my stereo system and I sing along. How ironic is it that I've memorised the words to this song and not all the elements of the Periodic Table? I promise myself that I'll get more work done tomorrow.
And so ends another evening in a Ringer - Student's losing battle to 'Resist Things to do with Tolkein and Study'. Hopefully, I'll be more successful tomorrow.
The Fishdom of Feanor
J.R.R. Tolkien is famous for his invention of words and language. His works have inspired many to learn Elvish, or Dwarvish, and maybe even a little Black Speech. By simply reading his novels you can expand your vocabulary with words you never knew existed, and in fact, they didn't. But another talent Tolkien had, and one very underrated, was the talent to inspire other people to come up with their own new words. This is one such occasion. The word 'Fish', previously known only for its being a noun describing an aquatic finned animal with gills, has just recently taken on a new and altogether different meaning, inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. And not only that, a new meaning which is now used in everyday speech by no less than three separate people (none of them alter-egos).
The word 'Fish' now not only refers to the aquatic organism, but also to: Noun; A male fictional character whose outrageously stupid, selfish or evil behaviour leads to disastrous events in the plot. Adjective; fishdom. The invention of this new word was inspired by none other than Feanor, a character from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion (for those who have not read the Silmarillion, Saruman would also qualify for fishdom), who is now known as 'The Original Fish', by whom all other levels of fishdom are measured. Feanor, son of Finwe, is such an ingenious invention of Tolkien's, such an infuriating character that there was no word in the English language to describe him.
It is time to take Tolkien's talent one step further. This is the dawn of a new era, in which the people begin to realise that the English language is frustratingly lacking in descriptive words, and will therefore begin to invent new ones. 'Fish' is just the beginning.
I am currently perched precariously (don't ask me why, but I am unable to sit normally on a chair,) on the edge of my comfortable swively chair in front of the computer, the word processor is open and the page is blank (almost). It needs to be filled. That's very important. But with what? I have reached a crisis. The last two articles I submitted to our esteemed editor Perian were appalling and I could not face the shame of filling the screen yet again with such lamentable drivel. Something must be done.
I think long and hard, every writer must have experienced writer's block at some stage or other, but how did they get rid of it? Did they get rid of it? And then a thought occurs to me. I vaguely remember reading something about something in a Tolkien Biography at some point... Of course! Tolkein himself had writers block when he was writing Lord of the Rings! And it turned out all right! How did he get rid of it?
At this point there is a pause as I run to get the book and find the page. Let's see, let's see.. Ah yes! Tolkien started writing Lord of the Rings in 1937. And yes! In 1940 he left the fellowship at Balin's Tomb for over a year! So even the best writers get writer's block. But how did he get out of it again? "The reasons for this hiatus are not known. Tolkien's son Michael was seriously injured in January 1941; Tolkien's war duties intensified and he was more than usually distracted by academic responsibilities but he nevertheless succeeded in maintaining his interest in the story and was able to pick up the thread again in late 1941." Very well put, wish I could write as well as Michael White (the biographer).
But that's not the point. The point is that Tolkien too had writer's block, and he got out of it. But it doesn't say why, or how! Very helpful Mr. White! At this point I sit back and appraise my work. It could have been much better. It could probably do with a nice rounding off paragraph as well. I wonder how Lord of the Rings would have turned out if Tolkien had continued writing it during his writer's block? Like I am now? Best not to think about it, I take that back. Well, goodbye!
Quote of the Week:
"For there are certain rash words concerning the Lady of the Golden Wood that still lie between us. And now I have seen her with my eyes."
"Well, lord," said Gimli, "and what say you now?"
"Alas!" said Eomer. "I will not say that she is the fairest lady that lives."
"Then I must go for my axe."
Hobbitish, Part I.
Yes, this issue, and for the next few, I will be bringing you the words of the hobbits. An undervalued and truly unique language of Tolkien's, Hobbitish is bright and cheery, and can almost be used in everyday language, so much to the words sound like their meaning. Some of the original untranslated words are lost, however many remain, and the meanings of others are still retained in a semi-English form. And so, without further ado, our first hobbitish:
-a: (suffix) a masculine ending to names, and possibly words. Was translated to -o by Tolkien, making proper names such as Froda and Folca become Frodo and Folco, etc.
Aerie: (noun) a hobbitish poetic invention, denoting a legendary elvish land, not unlike, though certainly not the same land as, Faerie.
Afterlithe: (noun) called Mede in Breelandic Hobbitish, Afterlithe is their name for what on our calendar would be July.
Afteryule: (noun) January, also known as Frery in Breelandic Hobbitish.
-akil: (suffix) -ling, one of, as in Halfling, Shireling.
Astron: (noun) April, Chithing in Breelandic.
-azir: (adjective) wise. The untranslated name of Samwise, for example, was Banazir, Half-wise. Whether this word can be used other than in compound words, I do not know.
Letter(s) to the Editor:
I was most amused by your article in the latest edition about Survivors of the Deep, and I strongly agreed with it! Exams ARE an evil force to be reckoned with! I cannot wait to read the continuation of the Smeagol/Gollum interview. But I have to say I was rather surprised that you chose to add three of my articles to this fortnight's newsletter, clearly I'm going to have to get my act together and write more to keep up with that rate! But very flattered all the same. I was also ecstatic to see the elvish translation I requested (or close enough) as it has long been a dream of mine to be able to...er..well...express my frustration in elvish, sounds much nicer than the English versions really! I was disappointed to find myself all alone again on the letters section, but I live in hope of having some company in future!
I must admit, the use of three of your articles was a calculation on my part which I will try to keep to a minimum. I believe my actual thought was "I really am too close to the deadline to write any more articles ... what can I fill it with? Aha! So that's where I put my sticky-notes... oh, I know, some of Xara's articles are always good, and I do have one or two extra..."
Another modern elvish curse which you might like to look into translates roughly as "Go kiss an orc". I'm afraid I do not have the actual elvish version on hand, but perhaps someone would be kind enough to provide.
And yes, I hope our readers find it within their fingertips to join us in our quest for a long, enriching and quite stupefying newsletter...
We are sorry for not writing our article, yes, but we got an invitation from our friend Dobby, THE BLEEPING HOUSE-ELF, to spend a few daysess with him. We has much news when we return.
-Smeagol and ME.
Dear Smeagol and ME,
Thank you for informing me. I hope you both enjoy your vacation tremendously, and refrain from harming your friend. Give my regards to my rather irritable modern counterpart. Would you be kind enough to bring me back an issue of the Quibbler? And remind the Istari that it really was I who made their world possible.
PS: Please refrain from using the Fish-Post! Can't you talk someone there into letting you use an owl?