I decided to hot foot it over to Oxford for a dose of literary inspiration, where the Bodleian/Weston Library hosts the J.R.R. Tolkien exhibition until October. The Financial Times published a pre-exhibition review that tells it far better than I can – you can read it here.
But I learned some valuable ‘writers’ lessons from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings creator.
- Lord of the Rings, sequel to The Hobbit, took Tolkien a long twelve years to finish, ‘squeezing his writing into late nights’ after teaching and family activities.
- He pursued his creative endeavours (drawing, illustrations, writing) alongside his academic day job and family.
- But he had a ‘room of his own’ where he not only wrote his masterpieces but also met with his students, marked essays and carried out his professor duties. But it was also a hub for entertaining his children with evening stories too.
- His illustrations are quite beautiful and complement his writing perfectly. How I wish I could draw! Never mind, at least I can work on my photography.
- Tolkien was actually quite an extrovert. He formed a writers group with his mates which served as an excuse and a ‘safe space’ to down beers and read their written stories to each other.
- Nonetheless, he had a literary best mate, CS Lewis.
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth is at the Bodleian/Weston Library, Oxford
June 1- October 28 – tolkien.bodleian.ox.ac.uk