In the process of poking around in the dank and musty closets of my ancient Blogger account (for reasons which I will explain later), I found myself wandering the corridors of an old blog. For nostalgia’s sake, mostly; but I was surprised to find some real treasures on there, vivid bits of thought that still caught the light.
Thunder in the Attic–a name I still think rather brilliant–was a collaborative blog about writing. As I skim the archives, I find I can guess who wrote each post by the titles alone, almost always correctly.
We were all young. I realize, in fact, that we are all still young, even if we are graduating college, going to grad school, serving as full-time missionaries in foreign countries, and so on. But the energy and optimism we posted with then makes me smile. It makes me smile, also, to see the unique genius of each of my friends, that spark that belongs to them alone, given to them so that they, in turn, can give it back to the world.
(When I say genius, I don’t mean that each of us are or were prodigies out to change the world (though perhaps we thought we were, in a humble, youthful sort of way); I mean rather the mystery and miracle of personality.)
In February of 2006, I shared a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy Stories.” The beauty of it, and the mind behind it, still moves me. I would like to share it with you here.
But Language cannot, all the same, be dismissed. The incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tales are in our world coeval. The human mind, endowed with the powers of generalization and abstraction, sees not only green-grass, discriminating it from other things (and finding it fair to look upon), but sees that it is green as well as being grass. But how powerful, how stimulating to the very faculty that produced it, was the invention of the adjective: no spell or incantation in Faerie is more potent. …The mind that thought of light, heavy, grey, yellow, still, swift, also conceived of magic that would make heavy things light and able to fly, turn grey lead into yellow gold, and the still rock into a swift water. If it could do the one, it could do the other; it inevitably did both. When we can take green from grass, blue from heaven, and red from blood, we have already and enchanter’s power – upon one plane; and the desire to wield that power in the world external to our minds awakes. It does not follow that we shall use that power well upon any plane. We may put a deadly green upon a man’s face and produce a horror; we may make the rare and terrible blue moon to shine; or we may cause woods to spring with silver leaves and rams to wear fleeces of gold, and put hot fire into the belly of the cold worm. But in such “fantasy”, as it is called, new form is made: Faerie begins; Man becomes a sub-creator.