Go Ahead and Let Yourself

A former student arrives to my office with a book of J.R.R Tolkien’s collected letters. She shares with me something so inspiring.

On March 2, 1916, Tolkien composed a letter to his girlfriend during his senior year of college. He writes, “This miserable drizzling afternoon I have been reading up old military lecture-notes again:–and getting bored with them after an hour and a half. I have done some touches to my nonsense fairy language–to its improvement. I often long to work at it and don’t let myself ’cause though I love it so it does seem such a mad hobby!”

I often long to work at it and don’t let myself ’cause though I love it so it does seem such a mad hobby!

We discuss how thankful we are that Tolkien did “let [him]self” work at what he so loved. This “nonsense fairy language” seeded the great books we now love, most notably, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

We talk about continuing on in the direction of our writing that we love. If it seems like nonsense or a mad hobby, maybe we’re on to something great.

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