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Formendacil 07-19-2018 06:35 AM

Mind is like a Lumber-room
Posting this in Novices & Newcomers because it deals more with the reader's experience of the text than with the text itself, but if the mods deem it misplaced, please move it elsewhere.

Over in Chapter-by-Chapter, I had a thought about the word "mathom": how it is a word for a concept that is otherwise not defined by a single word in English. I compared it there to "weltanshauung" and "schadenfreude" as words borrowed from another language because that language has a word for a concept not expressed in our own.

This got me thinking about how Tolkien has shaped my intellectual landscape--it's a commonplace, really, among anyone who knows my fiction writing to say that it shows his influence (whether this is intended to be flattering or limiting, I shall refrain from speculating), but I think it's true that I owe more intellectually to Tolkien than just certain tastes or habits in fiction.

Obviously, the very idea of a "mathom" is one--and as someone with a few jackdaw tendencies ("hoarder" is such a strong word), it is useful for describing the stuff of those tendencies.

Other words, though perhaps with less daily utility, that Tolkien has given me include "eucatastrophe" and "mythopoeia." I'm sure there are more, but rather than finishing this thread, let this post start it. There are also metaphors or phrases that have helped shape my mind, even if the words are not unique. The thread title is one such example: Gandalf's words about Butterbur: "his mind is like a lumber-room: thing wanted always buried." This is a variation on Murphy's Law, but it's a useful variation. While Murphy's Law is all about the inevitability of the inconvenience of not finding or having the one thing you want (or the one thing going wrong), the emphasis here is on the visual metaphor: and a lumber-room is a product of the owner. In other words, Butterbur's lack of having the one thing he wants is due to his own actions, rather than some inexorable law. It's also a metaphor that focuses on knowledge rather than happenings.

Those are just the things that come first to mind, where my thinking has been shaped by Tolkien. What examples are true of you?

Galadriel55 07-19-2018 03:10 PM

It's the job that never gets started that takes longest to finish. Nothing new to the concept, but its surprisingly motivating in starting long unpleasant jobs, much more so than other inspirational sayings.

Very interesting thread by the way!

Inziladun 07-19-2018 03:21 PM

Not sure if I have it exactly, but as a fairly quiet introvert by nature, I like Turin's admonishment to Androg:

"Silence, if fair words stick in your throat, would serve all our ends better".

Boromir88 07-30-2018 03:50 PM

Good stuff. As a linguist, it's not surprising Tolkien's had this impact on his readers. For Tolkien, first came the name, or word, and then came the story. And it's significant when Tolkien leaves things nameless, like the Ringwraiths, or like Gollum forgetting his true name and just being called after the sound he makes in his throat.

Mine is "Entmoot." Anyone who's met me in person or through just facebook might have figured out I'm always a few days late to the most up to date major happenings and news cycles. It's not because I don't care about what's going on in the world, I'm just someone who's never understood the obsession with being "first"..."first to the debate," I remember the fad with people just commenting "first" as if being the first to comment was some type of accomplishment/your opinion means more because you were the first to splurt anything out. Anyway a phrase from Tolkien that could tell my story/shape my mind, is Treebeards about Entish:

" takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to."

Edit: Or also applicable:

"However, deciding what to do does not take Ents so long as going over all the facts and events that they have to make up their minds about."

So, one would definitely says my mind is like an Entmoot. :-D

Formendacil 10-06-2018 06:51 AM

With the CbC one-man reread continuing, I found another one that I not only use all the time, but that has become a category of thought: "dishevelled dryad loveliness." The beauty of an overgrown yard or garden, or the beauty of a utilitarian space made from nature, such as an orchard, is something I think I recognise the more and put a name to, thanks to Tolkien's loving description of Ithilien--and especiallu because of this phrase.

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