that bottle

In response to Jenna St. Hilaire, Worlds Crossing Paths

Over the Hedge --

Lembas is now available for purchase in the general market. Lothlorien Enterprises announced earlier this week that they are partnering with General Mills Inc to get their perennially popular gourmet waybread onto grocery shelves and into the rucksacks consumers alike.

‘We believe this will be a great advantage not only to both our organizations, but to the questing public,’ a spokeself for Lothlorien said. ‘It has always been our goal to bring wonder and beauty into people’s lives. Lembas is part of that—it brings beauty to a quest.

‘There’s no reason why ordinary consumers should cram themselves with inferior product just because they aren’t elf friends. The last you thing you want to worry about when you’re on a perilous quest is whether you’re getting proper nutrition.’

The waybread will be marketed under General Mills’ Nature Valley brand. To appeal to a broader market, the Quenya word lembas will be translated into its Common Tongue equivalent: ‘Roasted Almond.’

‘Well, no, that’s not what it means exactly,’ the spokeself admitted. ‘But if we translated it exactly, we don’t think it would market well. Or that anyone would believe us.’

When asked for comment on the new product line, a representative for General Mills asked what the [edit] we were talking about.

If you’re thoroughly confused, go back to the link above and re-read Jenna’s article. It’ll make sense then. To quote a relevant passage:

What does all this have to do with writing? Well, for starters, we writers are mostly a bit nuts.

Right. That.

For seconds, writers imagine. We create worlds, dialogue, arguments, themes, and other worlds. Not necessarily when we’re sitting writing—it can happen at the least applicable moments.

Next time one of your writer-friends vanishes into abstraction when you’re trying to talk to him, pardon his weakness and feel free to call him into the present reality. Don’t take his rudeness personally. Worlds cross paths at odd times and places for us, and getting lost in another world is sometimes our way of getting found.

What catches us into that imaginative world? That’s nearly as bad as asking where ideas come from. I don’t think anyone knows; it just happens.

It’s the bane of a creative life, really—you create all the time. My musical friends assure me they’re constantly either listening to or composing music in their heads. With hardly any provocation, my photographer friend will begin describing how he’ll photograph any given object or scene. I’m always happy to explain what, exactly, I’m researching at the moment.

As John Lennon sang, ‘My baby don’t care.’

Creativity is solitary whether we like it or not.

I mean—seriously? Do I want to know about the novel that you may never write but sounds really cool at the time? I may want to know why you’ve been smiling and nodding at me for ten minutes and haven’t managed to hear a word I said, but—you’ve had a novel idea. Everyone does. Deal with it.

I’ve never actually met anyone quite enough to say it like that. In fact, most people I’ve met seem interested enough in hearing ideas. A few just wanted to stamp them to bits, but most wanted to encourage, and then share ideas of their own.

Creativity isn’t solitary, whether we like it or not.

Tolkien suggested that subcreation is part of being human. That would suggest that everybody does it to some extent. At the very least, most people have—or should have had—the childhood experience of ‘pretending.’ A spatula looks just like a broadsword. It really does. Plastic is diamond. It really is. The back yard is long ago and far away. It really was.

Creativity cuts to the deepest paradox of being human. We are alone, everyone an individual. We are never alone, everyone a community. We share life with everyone else, but we live it ourselves. That’s how creativity works. That’s what creativity is.

I think I understand that. I think I try to understand that.

I think I do it whether I understand it or not. And so do you.

But that’s a story in itself.


One thought on “that bottle

  1. Haha! Okay, I swear Nature’s Valley didn’t pay me to say that. 😀 It just seemed to fit the moment.

    That cartoon made me laugh out loud.

    I really like what you have to say about creativity. Another paradox, of course. As an eternal Chesterton fan, I like those a lot.

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