The problem with Frodo is that he
1) fails his too-big Quest; his will gives up; he cannot go it alone
2) can’t live afterwards
And that may be why I did too. One of these days there may be some deeper than this thought. Now I content myself with waiflike words because I can, because novels and sentences are rather more powerful and more frightening to make than we sometimes think.
I burnt out on my biggest aspiration; which shouldn’t have been my biggest aspiration, but I fell back into the arms of my true biggest aspiration – God. And the literature exams went…. horribly.
But the day after when I woke up, after feeling dreadfully unemployed for ten minutes, consolation was there. I went back to a very little girl. I read ‘Little Women’. Today I saw a boy move out of his halls of residence carrying a giant teddy. ‘Little Women’ is more than that; I swigged it for consolation, and consolation there is in abundance. And tears, tears; never has a novel moved me so soppily and yet truthfully to tears: the talk of a Comforter pervades the whole spirit of the novel, Amy’s little chapel; Beth waving at the window in the place of their absent mother; controlling anger by looking at God. The pilgrim’s progress: in ‘Little Women’ they are inspired to live on faithfully through fiction, and I’m just another literary generation on, reading God’s fleshed-out word giving hope in the darkest moments of ‘what am I doing here, and will I ever be happy again?’
Getting back to the old favourites, the metaphysical religious poets, though it felt a bit like ascending a ladder at first. And even bewildering T. S. Eliot was kind, introducing George Herbert with some interesting little excerpts, like sugared water on a spoon for a pathetic butterfly, but how appropriate, now:
How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! ev’n as the flowers in spring;
To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.
And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing: O my onely light,
It cannot be,
That I am he
On whom thy tempests fell all night.
(George Herbert is a soul friend).