Chucks + LOTR = Inspiration

People frequently want to know where writers get their inspiration.  Do we really have muses?  Where do the thoughts, the ideas, the words come from?  For me, a least, the general answer is a dramatic shrug.  Where do my thoughts and ideas come from?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere, in every forgotten corner and mundane action of everyday life.  It can be the name on a road sign, the little boy standing by a telephone pole, two grown men playing with a remote control car, a ride in a rowboat, an eavesdropped phrase from the strangers at the next table.  It can be seen in a TV show, heard in a song, smelled in the woods, tasted in the imperfect meal, felt in the first summer breeze.  Really, the only time inspiration cannot be found, is when you go looking for it.  It is an untamed creature that must be allowed freedom of movement and expression.  Try to trap it, cage it, give it a name and put a collar on it and you will get nothing.  Leave it free to creep, roam, wander and pursue you and you will be amazed at the places it appears and the content that it brings.

One of my most inspired moments came from one of the most unlikely times and places.  It was my Junior year in college, and one of my best friends and I were eating a late (and awful) Sunday dinner in the cafeteria, called Chucks (Sunday night dinners in Chucks were always awful as the only choices to eat were nearly-cold, mushy pasta or pizza that tasted – and I quote my old roommate – “like the bottom of my shoe”.).   I believe we had been studying for some test or another, and as had become our habit, we were using Lord of the Rings references for mnemonic devices.  This was the time that the Lord of the Rings movies were just coming out, and we were both fans.  I was raised on J.R.R. Tolkien books, and found the movies acceptable renditions.

I don’t remember exactly how it happened, or why it happened, or who started it, or when we decided to write it down (this is true inspiration at its finest), but over an hour or so, we hysterically laughed our way through the development of a list of guidelines that should have been posted at the entrance of the Mines of Moria before the LOTR characters entered.  (Disclaimer: if you are not a fan of LOTR or are unfamiliar with the J.R.R. Tolkien masterpieces, you will most likely not find the following amusing…stop reading now.)  This is the final product:

The following guidelines are for the safety of you and your tour guides while you travel through the Mines.

1.  No animals allowed; all ponies and huge, ferocious Watchers in the Water must remain outside.
2.  Please keep all jewelry concealed while in the Mines.
3.  Recommended garment for Mine travel: Mithril.
4.  All small hobbits must be accompanied by a Ranger or Wizard at all times.
5.  Please keep your hands and arms close to your bodies as we will not be held responsible for the loss of these items.
6.  If at any time you become separated from your tour guide, choose the path where the air smells better.
7.  Please do not make any loud noises as this may disturb the native inhabitants of the Mines such as – but not limited to – Orcs, Cave Trolls and Balrogs.
8.  If at any time your sword begins to glow blue, please make your way quickly and calmly to the nearest exit.
9.  Please refrain from touching the bodies of the dead as this may interfere with the natural decomposition process.
10.  Please do not throw any armored skeletons in inappropriate receptacles.
11.  If being pursued by a mob of Orcs that suddenly disperses up the walls, do not hesitate, but promptly proceed on to the nearest exit.
12.  Please be aware that some of the cavernous bridge crossings are unstable. In the event of a collapse, it may become necessary to toss your companions.
13.  Understand that Balrogs are temperamental creatures: do not attempt to tell them what to do.
14.  Please keep in mind that the loss of one or more of your companions while in the Mines is not an unusual event and should not be cause for alarm.
15.  Remember: when all else fails: “FLY, YOU FOOLS!”

We hope you enjoy your journey through the Mines of Moria

Thank you for visiting Middle Earth.

We wish you the best of luck as you continue your expedition towards the Land of Mordor.

-S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on March 28, 2012.

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