Three Days Three Quote Challenge – Day 1

IMG_1499

I was recently tagged by Meredith of Mezzalilly’s Teen Book Reviews to participate in the Three Days Three Quotes Challenge. I have done this challenge before, but there are so many wonderful quotes in the world I’m very happy to participate again. My first quote is from Tolkien, the master of Middle Earth, and it’s from Aragorn’s Riddle, All That is Gold Does Not Glitter.

‘Not all those who wander are lost’

I love these words. In the poem they refer to the Rangers, of which Aragorn was one, long lived guardians of the forests who protected the people of Middle Earth, yet who were looked upon with scorn by those who did not understand their purpose.

In my own life, I think they refer to the sort of wandering existence I’ve had, working different jobs and living in different countries, on a quest to discover what it is that makes me happy. While there have been times in my life where I have felt a little lost, I’ve never been too far from the path and have been fortunate to have events or people come into my life and steer me the right way again.

The box in the photograph was given to me by one such person, who is a very dear friend. At a time when life was dark she was a light – she knows it, because I told her so.

Now the rules of the Challenge indicate that I’m to nominate three more bloggers, but anyone who knows me knows I don’t always go by the rules. So, as I’ve done this Challenge before and did nominate three bloggers previously, I’m going to leave it open this time around. If you’d like to participate, please do.

And, a Camp NaNo update – Silver and Black is starting to take shape. I’m about three thousand words in and fingers crossed will keep going with it until the end of the month.

 

Wednesday Wander – Roses in Morocco

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing ‘Wordless Wednesday’, where I posted a photo each Wednesday with no accompanying copy. However, ‘wordless’ just isn’t me, so I decided to come up with my own way to describe my images. I’ve settled on ‘Wander Wednesday,’ as most of the photos I take are while I’m out wandering around, whether just in my neighbourhood or farther afield. Plus, it also ties in with one of my favourite Tolkien quotes, ‘ Not all those who wander are lost.’

So here we are for the inaugural Wednesday Wander. Please feel free to join me 🙂

IMG_1561

Walking Through Rivendell

This was the view from where I stayed
This was the view from my chalet. Pretty nice, hey?

About twenty-five years ago, I went on a trip around Europe. I was living in Canada at the time and this was my first big holiday by myself, so it was a Big Deal. The trip brought its own set of challenges and experiences, most of them positive, as well as some marvellous memories.

One of the places I visited was the valley of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. I stayed there for a couple of nights, lulled to sleep by the sounds of the nearby waterfall and the gentle chime of cowbells. It was an extraordinarily beautiful place, and I felt the spectacular landscape had a fairy-tale quality quite unlike anywhere else I’d been before. While I was there, I also took the cog railway up to the top of the Jungfrau mountain, taking photographs of the scenery along the way.

Ascending the Jungfrau
Ascending the Jungfrau

What I didn’t know at the time was that J.R.R Tolkien had visited the same valley in 1911, and was so taken by its beauty that he used it as the basis for Rivendell, home to Elrond and the Elves. (Apparently, on the same trip, he also picked up an illustration that inspired his description of Gandalf.) If you look at Tolkien’s painting of Rivendell (which I don’t have permission to reproduce here, so here’s a link), you can see the similarities between his fantasy world and the real one.

The glacier on top of the Jungfrau - the original Pass of Carahdras?
The glacier on top of the Jungfrau – the original Pass of Carahdras?

I recently wrote a post about the landscape that had inspired my own book, Oak and Mist. Though not quite as striking as the Lauterbrunnen valley and its towering mountains, the park near my childhood home holds both beauty and memory for me, making it the perfect starting point for my story. And this is one of the things I love about writing fantasy – blending the real world with the one I create.

The valley seen from the lower slopes of the Jungfrau
The valley seen from the lower slopes of the Jungfrau – look familiar?

I know you can visit Hobbiton and some of the other locations for the LOTR movies in New Zealand, and that they are spectacular. However, to walk through the actual landscape that inspired Tolkien to create Middle-Earth is quite something as well (even if I didn’t realise it at the time) 🙂

So how about you? Has your work been inspired by real places you’ve visited or lived in? Or have you walked in the footsteps of your literary heroes?


You can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.