Friday, February 25, 2011

Mansions of Words

"Is there any rationale for building entire mansions of words? I think there is, and that the readers of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind and Charles Dicken's Bleak House understand it: sometimes even a monster is no monster. Sometimes it's beautiful and we fall in love with all that story, more than any film or tv program could ever hope to provide. Even after a thousand pages we don't want to leave the world there. You wouldn't leave after two thousand pages, if there were two thousand. The Rings trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien is a perfect example of this. A thousand pages of hobbits hasn't been enough for three generations of post-World War II fantasy fans; even when you add in that clumsy, galumphing dirigible of an epilogue, The Silmarillion, it hasn't been enough. Hence Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony, Robert Jordan, the questing rabbits of Watership Down, and half a hundred others. The writers of these books are creating the hobbits they still love and pine for; they are trying to bring Frodo and Sam back from the Grey Havens because Tolkien is no longer around to do it for them."

This excerpt is from "On Writing" by Stephen King. This paragraph really jumped out at me. It perfectly describes my thirst for books, and why I am constantly looking for something to bring me back to the worlds of Tolkien and Rowling and Lewis. Gone With the Wind is one of my favorite books of all time, so I was glad he mentioned that here as well. I really can't say why I loved that book so much, except that when I reached the last page I wanted there to be more. Same with Water For Elephants. The list goes on I suppose... The point is that these amazing books build this whole mansion that you can feel, that you are caught up in, and when the book ends you want to go back to that mansion. You want to live in that world. This excerpt also describes why I love to write. There is this whole other place there and when I write I am trying to recreate it on paper. At this point in my life it is just beyond my reach. Hopefully one day I'll grasp it and I'll be able to build a "mansion of words".

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