16 March 2014

Guest Post: 'Tookish Dreams'

by Anne Marie Gazzolo

The first time we meet Bilbo he is in a rut. He has long abandoned his previous dreams of adventure for the safety of a mundane life. His Baggins side has overcome his Tookish bent for excitement. But after Gandalf and the dwarves upset his ordered life, his Tookish side gains more control. He begins to live, not merely to exist.

Are you in a rut too? Has your Baggins side taken over, but you have a Took inside that is dying to express itself? Do you realize that your dreams have risen in you because you are just as “chosen and selected,” as Gandalf says of Bilbo? Without abandoning your true responsibilities, what steps can you take to get out of your rut and embrace your dreams? Before you think that you do not have the time, money, energy, or whatever, to bring your life to life, let me tell you do. There are so many ways you can find time, and your energy level will rise as you pursue your passions and not just a paycheck. Do not pay attention to any internal or external critic that says you cannot do what you always wanted to. These voices come from what Steven Pressfield calls Resistance, a malevolent force that will do anything it takes to stop you. Read or listen to his marvelous books, The War of Art, Do the Work, and Turning Pro, in order to help you recognize and defeat this force against you. There are myriad weapons at its disposal. Many of its favorites may be already well known to you: fear of change and risk, procrastination, the self-delusion that ‘Oh, I’ll just look at Facebook/Twitter/whatever for a couple minutes’, phones that have you jumping to pay immediate attention to each ding that announces a new piece of spam has arrived, and voices that say ‘Get real! You can’t possibly be thinking you are or ever will be good enough/smart enough/rich enough to do that!’

04 March 2014

Tolkien Reading Day 2014 – List of Events

March 25, aka Tolkien Reading Day, is fast approaching! Held on the symbolic date of the Downfall of Sauron, TRD celebrates the writings of Professor Tolkien and encourages people to read more of his work. This year's topic, as suggested by the Tolkien Society, is "hope".

How should I celebrate Tolkien Reading Day?

Simple – grab your favourite Tolkien book, or perhaps one you haven't read before, and dive in! Gather your friends, students, classmates, book club, etc. for readings!

Who is celebrating Tolkien Reading Day this year?


Brisbane – Join the Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship on Saturday, March 22nd at Logan North Library from 11-1 and enjoy readings, poems, music, and songs.


Copenhague – Join Bri – Tolkienselskabet i København at Faraos Cigarer as they celebrate Tolkien Reading Day. More info.


Hannover – The Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft will be hosting Tolkien Reading Day activities at Buchhandlung Hugendubel at 3pm on March 25. For more information, visit the DTG website.

Oberhausen – The Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft will be hosting Tolkien Reading Day activities at Buchhandlung Zweitbuch at 4pm on March 25. For more information, visit the DTG website.

Worms – The Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft will be hosting Tolkien Reading Day activities at Stadtbibliothek at 3pm on March 25. For more information, visit the DTG website.


Magyar Tolkien Társaság is hosting a celebration on March 25. More info on Facebook.


The  Sociedad Tolkien Peruana will be hosting a Tolkien Reading Day celebration on March 23. Visit their Facebook event page for more information.


Phoenix, AZ – The Serendipity Center for Informal Learning will be hosting a Tolkien Reading Day celebration on March 25 from 10-11pm. Visit the Facebook event page for more information.

Los Angeles, CATolkien Forever has been hosting a Reading Day since 2006. This year, they'll be meeting at The Last Bookstore on Saturday, March 22; visit their Facebook event page for more information.

Longmont, CO - Join the Grey Havens Group on March 22 as they celebrate Tolkien Reading Day at the La Vita Bella coffee shop. For more information, check out the event page on Facebook.

Forest Park, IL – From 7-9 pm on March 25, Defiant Comics will be hosting a celebration with Bulbo Wunkins (aka The Wobbit). Join them for book signings, costumes, prizes, singalongs, and more.

Albuquerque, NM  – The University of New Mexico's Hobbit Society will be hosting a Tolkien Reading Day celebration on March 25. Visit the Facebook event page for more details.


The Middle-earth News will be celebrating Tolkien Reading Day via contests and  giveaways throughout the month of March. For a full schedule of events, visit the Middle-earth News' webpage.

Are you hosting a Tolkien Reading Day celebration, or know of any event(s) I've missed? Please leave a comment below so I can update this post!

* Many thanks to Marcel (The Tolkienist) for these listings; be sure to visit his webpage for more international listings, all of which are on a convenient Google Calendar, which you can print or download for easy viewing. 

01 March 2014

Calling New England Area Tolkien Fans!

One of my dreams has always been to start my own Tolkien group or Smial. After doing some research, I was saddened to find there doesn't seem to be an active Tolkien society in the New Hampshire area.

So I've decided to take matters into my own hands and start one up myself! It is my hope that there will be enough fans in the area who will want to participate in whatever way(s) – be it online discussions/debates, local meetups, convention attendances, movie gatherings, etc.

Before Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, I always felt isolated as a Tolkien fan. All I had were my books and myself. Now we can more easily find and connect with others who share our interests, and I want to seize this opportunity and try to serve the Tolkien community as much as I am able.

I know there are plenty of fans out there, but they are not always easy to find. If you're a Tolkien fan in the New England area (or even just beyond; all are welcome), please consider taking a look at the following links:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nhtolkiensoc
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/granitestatetolkiensociety
Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/658740734162983/
Blog: http://granitestatetolkien.blogspot.com

Best wishes to you all,

LOTR & Hobbit Scene Maker

I'm going to let my girly side show just a bit here... Some of my colleagues at the Middle-earth News stumbled upon the Doll Divine Doll Maker "game" and got all of us hooked. It is pretty fun – I've actually used it a few times to come up with ideas for a future dress.

Although I typically see myself as more of a Dwarf, here is my Elven alter-ego:

Like I said, it's a good reference for dress making. After making this Elf, I decided I really love the dress, and am now considering making it in the near future.

But what I really liked about the Doll Maker – which again, I'm following my colleagues' lead here – is that I can bring my LOTRO family trees to life. I'm not the best artist, so I could never draw my characters by hand; but I've given a shot at turning them into 2D characters via the Doll Maker:

Here is my family tree for the Men and Women. From left to right: Beornara (Captain) and her husband Bregolad (Hunter); their daughter Brytja (Lore-master) and Bregolad's brother, Bregadan (Guardian). 

And the Elves: Brittanyia (Champion) and her daughter Beruthien (Rune-keeper). I have quite the family tree going for the Men and Women characters, but the Elves need some attention. All I have for Brittanyia so far is that she lost her husband, and it took many adventures in Middle-earth (until she reached the level cap) to realise he had been slain.