This morning I started thinking about how fantastic it is to finally have Tolkien fans as friends. Growing up all of my friends either have never watched LOTR, never read any of Tolkien's books, thought the books/movies were too long and boring and not worth getting into. And it SUCKED. Of course, I had my dad but it was still lonely not being able to watch my favorite movies with friends. I still fantasize about having a LOTR movie marathon with a big group of friends, which involves a lot of junk food. It'll happen one day. Not sure when but it will. And we'll build a pillow fort, I HAVE DECIDED.
Joining Tumblr over two years ago was the starting point. I found the Tolkien community and I'm still really good friends with many of the people I met years ago, and I'm friends with others I just met this year. I can proudly say things like "Yeah, I have friends in the UK, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy, Germany..." I sound well traveled but really I'm just at home in front of my computer screen.
I've met a good amount of people from Tumblr, Rachel being one of them. And the best part is that when I hang out with them it was not awkward at all. Having internet friends wasn't something I ever aimed to have, and now many of my friends are people I have only interacted with online. I don't see them as much as I would like (I hardly do) but they're there like any good friend.
Little by little I started to venture out into the Tolkien world online, something I didn't dare do before. Simply because I was extremely intimidated. It's scary! I didn't feel "educated" enough to talk with the Tolkien collectors, artists and scholars and all of those people. I felt too young, too naive and too annoying. I still sometimes do., but I try to push those feelings out of my mind.
Being with Middle-earth News has helped me get "out there". I still can't believe all the people I have had the chance to talk to/meet. Corey Olsen, Noble Smith, Pieter Collier, Joe Gilronan, Emil Johansson, David Wenzel, Jed Brophy, Jemima Catlin and some of my favorite artists! It seems unreal.
There's no denying that the Tolkien community is filled with amazing fans. People still manage to do new and original things when it comes to the professor's work like Puck, the Middle-earth Transit Artist, and Emil, the creator of the LOTR Project site. One of the first people I talked to was Pieter, from Tolkien Library. I'm a collector, a beginner one, and some time ago I looked around online for help. I wanted to make my collection better but didn't know how and then I found the Tolkien Library site. I stumbled across the page with all of the collectors and happily spent a long time looking at everyone's bookcases. After a while I built up enough courage and sent in my own profile. I still don't feel "worthy" enough to be with the others, haha. I am the first female to have a profile there which I feel oddly proud of. It's good to break that stereotype that girls aren't fantasy/science fiction fans. Because that stereotype is a load of crap.
I'm happy to be given the chance to write and learn about the thing I love the most, Middle-earth. I'm happy to talk to people who share the same passion. Some I am able to call friends, and some I admire immensely... they're the kind of fan I hope to one day be.
Sappy post is over.