This week’s column follows, in full. I wrote it fast and dry and, one quick edit aside, I didn’t even read it. An apology for the ho-hum-ness passed to TPC. But … MB ran it with praise today. I read it and … he might be right. A blending of one of my pet issues with a little nuanced fiction, comedy even. It captures a glimpse into my recent foray into cultural anthropology, a little hidden German truth, and even some nature photography. Enjoy:
And, by fiction, for once I don’t mean a goofy political poem. A short, short story:
It was as delightful a late-October afternoon as anyone could want, cooler and quieter than most. Wendell “Dell” Hubbard looked out the office window as the leaves shimmered in a breeze, their autumnal transformation slowly proceeding. It was a great afternoon, a great Friday afternoon. So far as Wendell knew he was the last man in the building. Friday’s usually meant leaving a little early. And now it was a little late – five past five. ‘No rush,’ he thought as his gaze returned to the stack of files on his desk. His blushing bride and her sister were held up at the family beach house for the weekend. He could afford to take it easy. Stay a little longer. Get a little more done. Later, perhaps, a cigar and a little Scotch was in order.
*Is this the beginning of the Dell Hubbard chronicles? Who knows?
**TPC fans: the National Affairs shall return in force next week.
It’s a little old short story, a legend of sorts.
A Short Story Teaser
Once upon a time, and it was a time very long ago, there lived a Little Old Man. It was more like fifty – sixty years ago, if that makes it a long time. Anyway the Little Old Man lived way down South. South as in down where Georgia and Florida sort of melt together in a big, steamy, pinetree-ridden swamp…
So, it was long ago and deep in the South.
The Little Old Man lived in the not-so-unpleasant little old woods near the Big Water.
More to come, here, a little later today.
Literary fans, take note. A new Tolkien book cometh this year, 44 years after the author’s death. And the story itself is one of Tolkien’s oldest. At around 100 years in the making it predates both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. All of this makes me feel especially good about my slowness in cranking out new books.
Alan Lee / Harper Collins.
Beren and Luthien is the great love story of the legendarium. It tells the tale of Beren, a mortal Man, and Luthien, an Elvish princess – one of only three such “mixed” marriages in Middle Earth. They undertake the most daring quest in the long history of that world.
Some of you have read perhaps the short version of the story in the Silmarillion. From that work also came The Children of Hurin, which was released ten years prior to B&L. Christopher Tolkien’s editing and narration skills have increased dramatically since 1977 (and I never shared the contemporary criticism of his work, then). This book will be excellent.
And it would also make for one of the best Tolkien movies imaginable. That is, if Peter “Ruin Everything Possible” Jackson is kept as far away as possible. A movie with something for everyone – date movie, chick flick, fantasy, action. Come to think of it, TCOH, Tolkien’s tragedy, would make a fine movie. No Jackson.
The B&L legend soundly defeats one of the major (unjust) claims of Tolkien detractors – that of a lack of romance. In that regard, the legend was so important to Tolkien that he had “Beren” and “Luthien” inscribed as nicknames on his and his wife’s tombstone. This is a romantic epic of the highest order, riddled through with adventure. Sauron even makes an appearance, in person and in voice.
I highly recommend this work when available. If you must buy just one novel this year, this should be the one. It will probably be mine.
Now, I sincerely hope Christopher is already at work completing the tales of Tuor and Idril.