Jason (jcreed) wrote,

We do not, or need not, despair of drawing because all lines must be either curved or straight, nor of painting because there are only three "primary" colours. We may indeed be older now, in so far as we are heirs in enjoyment or in practice of many generations of ancestors in the arts. In this inheritance of wealth there may be a danger of boredom or of anxiety to be original, and that may lead to a distaste for fine drawing, delicate pattern, and "pretty" colours, or else to mere manipulation, and over-elaboration of old material, clever and heartless. But the true road of escape from such weariness is not to be found in the willfully awkward, clumsy, or misshapen, not in making all things dark or unremittingly violent; nor in the mixing of colours on through subtlety to drabness, and the fantastical complication of shapes to the point of silliness and on towards delirium. Before we reach such states we need recovery. We should look at green again, and be startled anew (but not blinded) by blue and yellow and red. We should meet the centaur and the dragon, and then perhaps suddenly behold, like the ancient shepherds, sheep, and dogs, and horses --- and wolves.
--- J. R. R. Tolkien, "Tree and Leaf"

Just read all of "Tree and Leaf" at the library, which consists of an essay and a short story, the latter called "Leaf by Niggle". Both parts are kind of overtly christian, but still quite beautiful as writing. Particularly I love the idea of the afterlife --- by which I mean heaven in particular --- being vitally mysterious, distant mountains, where unspeakably rich stories unfold, rather than, I don't know, a humdrum spot in the clouds where all the goody-goody dead hang about the water cooler and chat about what a relief it is they ain't down there. Never mind that I think neither obtains, the former is still a lot more romantic; it stirs in me some memory of the ending of C. S. Lewis's Narnia series, which I read as a child. Not so surprising considering the two authors' friendship, I guess.

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