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INKTOBER 52 2023 Day #19: BEARD.

Mmmm…textures…Not gonna lie, there were definitely moments of “what did I get myself into?” on this one. It took a very long time, but I enjoyed every minute of it. And for those who might not figure it out, that is supposed to be Treebeard from The Lord of the Rings. Well, my interpretation at any rate.

I spent several days letting my Brain figure out what to do with this prompt while I did other things. I was trying to think of famous bearded characters, or maybe animals like goats and bearded dragons and whatnot. I’m not even sure what steps my Brain took to arrive at Treebeard, but it was very obviously the direction I had to go in as soon as it hit me. I have always loved trees (and I have never stopped wanting to live in one), so Tolkien’s Ents were some of my favorite beings.

I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I was a pre-teen or early teen, if memory serves. After comic books kindled my love for reading, I also started consuming books that were hundreds of pages each when my peers in school were complaining about having to read a 100 page book for a book report. I fell in love with Middle Earth and the characters, creatures, and adventures. The fact that the world was so fleshed out with languages and creation stories and a vast history fascinated me. The relationships, the peril the characters were in, the sacrifices, things not going as planned, and the epic adventure and a sense of nostalgia for earlier times all really impacted me and fueled my imagination. After Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings is probably one of the most important influences on me as a creative. It made me want to tell stories set in believable worlds with complete histories and cultures, where characters go on epic adventures. It was one of the first things I had read that made me intensely sad when it was over, the adventure had ended, lives were lost or changed forever, and some of the characters separated. There are so many books I’ve read, especially those I read when I was younger, that I want to go back and read as an adult to relive the adventures and see just how much I missed by being so young. It’s always a struggle to make the choice between reading something new that I’m eager to read and revisiting “old friends”, but I pretty much always chose to explore something new. I know there are people out there (like my wife) who reread Tolkien every year, or nearly so. I don’t think I’ll ever get to that point, but I do need to read these stories a few more times.