|Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins with his sword Sting in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."|
I've been through a shit load of drama in the past year, from job loss to divorce to the death of a pet to major surgery. So beginning this book again was a bit daunting for me. Reading it from a far less innocent place made me wonder if I could sympathize with a character who could look forward to an adventure with joy. Sure, Bilbo was worried, but there was a sense of anticipation for the wonders he might see. I thought maybe I'd lost that. At least a little bit.
As I started reading (and continued far, far too late into the night), I realized a few things. First, there is a lack of description that stunned me. I seem to remember it differently. (It's much like "The Chronicles of Narnia" in that way.) As I kid, I must have visualized what I remember being in the book. It was a surprising pleasure to do that again, and to realize that the very act of imagination took me out of the stress of my life and plopped me right back into the child-like mindset I had when I first read it. It was glorious!
I re-read all about Bilbo's nervousness and worry. The humor of the Dwarves and their constant refrain, "At your service." His cleverness with Gollum. His intelligence and drive. The wonder that he never lost. In the middle of the night, as I started the scene with Smaug the dragon, something hit me. Maybe it seems strange to you all, but it made me want to go on an adventure again. It's been a long time since I've felt that. It gave me the drive to start over, once again and remember why I love what I do and who I am. So, was it the amazing characters Tolkien wrote? The thought of the little guy saving the day? Was it swords and a dragon and a guy who can turn into a bear? (Well, maybe it was a little of that, but ... ) No. In the end, what pulled me up short and made me put down the book (where my bunny promptly started eating it) was the realization that imagining a story was the thing that I was missing.
Maybe I'm a little more jaded than Bilbo (though he definitely has moments where he'd rather be having tea and toast in his little Hobbit hole than slaying spiders), but there is no reason I shouldn't consider job hunting and getting my ass out of the house to finally exercise after months of recovery and ... gulp ... dating as an adventure. I'm quite certain I've already gone on a date with a Troll. Quite certain. So ... grabbing my sword and off I go. Anyone know any good wizards in need of some work?