January 21, 2009

Overheard Conversation

I'm in the gym, doing gym-related activities (crying, groaning, staring at other fit people), and I happen to hear the following:

Woman: I just think that for someone with advanced education like myself, I have to push the limits you know. I'm really goal oriented. *does several push-ups* I should write a book about all I know.

Man: Oh, I'm a writer.

(It's important that I mention I started listening more intently here.)

Woman: Yeah? Well, I'd write my book from the psychology perspective. Y'know, how people think and stuff.

Man: Right.

Woman: What do you write?

Man: Advanced Fantasy, like Tolkien. It helps me center myself.

Woman: Oh. Well, I only read hard facts material. No fantasy, sorry.
*she turns back to her push-ups*
*guy gets up and leaves*

(I do one final stretch, barely suppressing a fart)

Question: why does every guy I run into, who claims to be a writer, work on fantasy? Yes, I get it. You like Carpathian forests with strange homo-erotic gnomes running around, rubbing themselves on whatever coarse-hided object happens to be in close proximity. Notice the girl's reaction, the wrinkling of the nose, the once-attentive gaze now looking elsewhere. Maybe there's a clue in there for you, buddy.

Like Tolkien. What does that even mean?

25 comments:

Sam said...

--Like Tolkien. What does that even mean?--

Umm, heavy on glossaries of elf language and geneaologies of horses, and light on story, character, plot, description and theme?

Katie said...

...
Like Tolkien. What does that even mean?


Fourteen pages straight detailing the intricacies of the bark on a single tree in the Carpathian forest.

Harry Tournemille said...

Yes and yes. But let us not forget that the trees talk, tall grey-bearded men shoot "frickin' lazers" out of wooden sticks, and nobody can properly pronounce elephant.

Anonymous said...

YOU KNOW NOTHING OF TOLKIEN'S WORK HE NEEDED 400 PAGES TO EXPLAIN THE ELVISH LANGUAGE BCAUSE HE MADE IT UP!!! COULD YOU EVER MAKE A LANGUAGE GUESS NOT!!!!! AT MY MARRIAGE WE RECITED OUR WEDDING VOWS IN ELVISH AND OUR KIDS ARE NAMED LEGOLAS AND BOROMIR HPW DARE YOU INSULT TOLKIEN YOU ARE A BAD MAN LORD OF THE RINGS IS BETTER THAN THE BIBLE....AND MORE TRUE!!!!!!!

Harry Tournemille said...

The very last sentence may be the only thing worth noting in that entire rant.

Caps much?

Sam said...

Anonymous: If I did invent a language, I'd also invent three-dimensional characters to speak it.

Doesn't LOTR--and all fantasy, really--seem horribly horribly racist?

Anonymous said...

DON'T U DARE CALL TOLKIEN A RACIST HE FOUGHT IN WW2 FOR YOUR SINS HOBBITS ARE NOT RACIST THEY ARE BEYOND RACE LIKE OBAMA SAM YOU NEED TO SHUT UP BEFORE I BRING DA PAIN

Sam said...

Anonymous: There's really no call for insults. I wasn't calling Tolkien a racist. But don't you think that dividing characters up into "races" with intractable racial personalities is racism? How is "all elves are blonde and thin and immortal" all that different from "all Canadians are nice but dumb" or "all Mennonites are shiftless lazy drunks?"

Anonymous said...

THAT IS SO STUPID ONLY A CANADIAN WOULD SAY IT GIMLI IS NOT A RACIST ARAGORN IS NOT A RACIST NEXT YOURE GONNA TELL ME THE TREES ARE RACIST HOW CAN A TREE BE RACIST YOU DUMB MORMONITE CANUCK TELL ME THAT HUH?

Sam said...

You really want to get pushy with me?

Relying on racial stereotypes allowed Tolkien to forgo creating real characters. Maybe one could argue that Bilbo is more than two-dimensional--2.5 at the most.

I think fantasy authors depend on "races" and "classes" so much because they don't understand other races and other classes very much. They confuse the influence of birthright with predetermination. All of Tolkien's "races" are merely exaggerated stereotypes of humans, and stereotyping is cartoonish at best.

Really, anonymous: grow up. Put down the nine-sided die and shave off that peach fuzz that only grows on your neck. Maybe read some real literature--Hemingway or Steinbeck, for instance. Or maybe, dare I say it, go out into the real world.

Anonymous said...

HOW DARE YOU...HOW DARE YOU...I HAVE A HAPPY LIFE WITH MY KIDS BOROMIR AND LEGOLAS AND MY WIFE ASLAN ITS YOU THAT NEEDS THE LIFE LESSON TOLKIEN WAS A SEXUAL TYRANNOSAUR IN HIS TIME HES TWICE THE MAN YOULL EVER BE INSULT HIM AGAIN AND YOU'LL BE THE ONE WHOLL 'DIE'...ONLY IT WONT BE NINE SIDED I WILL UNLEASH THE FORCES OF MORDOR UPON YOU

Sam said...

You can't argue the facts, you have to resort to name calling and now threats...real mature. LOTR is a bloated trilogy that could be cut down to one three-hundred page READABLE book. But it isn't, and it's inspired legions of moron fans like you to devote your lives to defending it on message boards only tangentially related to Tolkien and his stupid books. No amount of bullying will change that fact,

Anonymous said...

I TRIED TO BE REASONABLE I TRIED TO BE NICE BUT YOUVE LEFT ME NO CHOICE

CASTING UNHOLY BRAINWASH OF DRUTH'E'IUR FOR TWELVE MANA

NOW REPEAT AFTER ME

TOLKIEN IS BRILLIANT
TOLKIEN IS BRILLIANT
TOLKIEN IS BRILLIANT

Sam said...

No...must fight it...losing...control...hard to think clearly...

TOLKIEN IS BRILLIANT

ALL HAIL THE GREAT TOLKIEN

FRODO IS THE MOST FULLY REALIZED CHARACTER OF ALL TIME...

Anonymous said...

NOW WE'RE TALKING

ANYONE ELSE FEEL LIKE A DOSE? I STILL HAVE A DESERT ELEPHANT OF XXZZANOTHOS WITH +4 TRAMPLING BONUS

BRING IT ON

Harry Tournemille said...

Must make note to block Sam and his brother from commenting on my blog.

Harry Tournemille said...

Or maybe it's just Sam...

Joshua said...

Hey, I didn't do anything. And I'd take Anonymous with a grain of salt. I don't think anyone could name their child 'Boromir' and still be functioning enough to post on a blog.

Harry Tournemille said...

Yeah, all the posts came from Sam. I never knew he had children--poor, suffering beasts they must be.

S. Crouger said...

"I WILL UNLEASH THE FORCES OF MORDOR UPON YOU"

*dies laughing*

Sam said...

Okay. Sorry. But before you get mad, think of how many word verifications I had to enter for two sustained conversations, and realize it's all in fun, Evidently I'm years too early for the "Internet Comments Page Performance Art" fad. Me and Andy Kaufman, man.

Harry Tournemille said...

Oh, I laughed. Not mad at all.

Joshua said...

Nice work, although every real LOTR nerd knows it's a metaphor for the appeal of Frodo's virginity. Just saying.

flossy-p said...

Don't the fantasy writers do it for the cash? I've heard there's money in it, or maybe it's just because they can pump them out thick and fast. At least I've heard that illustrating big boobed women (with long hair and a dragon wrapped around her, standing on a rock in the mist) for cover art bring in loads of money!

Still hasn't swayed me though, as I sit here surviving solely on rice bubbles. ;)

P.S. I was loving the "Internet Comments Page Performance Art". I'll be on the lookout for Sam's work else ware :)

Harry Tournemille said...

I was at a writers' conference a few years back, with Dianne Dumbledor, or Gabbledawn or Gabaldon or something. Anyways, she's very popular with genre-fiction readers and, oddly enough, also sports ample cleavage.

She wore medieval gowns the entire weekend, complete with laced up bodices straight from King Arthur's era. I vowed never to read a book of hers.