“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
A couple months ago, I binge read The Hobbit and came across the above quote. I started thinking about how when one’s writing tends to carry a somber mood, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that it’s unjustified and in need of explanation. I know this because as a generally hopeful person I think sometimes I am misrepresenting myself by writing in a way that, at face value, seems to speak less to hope than it does to despair.
If there’s a reason why my writing, along with many others, ends up on that path it could be that it’s the side of a personality that requires, as Tolkien said, “a deal of telling” in order to come to terms with. We’re always more interested in the things we don’t understand. It’s not about indulging in a selfish melancholy and it’s not a sign of weakness; it’s about being human, finding the self, and garnering a type of strength that can’t be shown off to anyone but is valuable to more than just the individual who possesses it.