I had such a vivid dream last night that I have to share it with you…
I was rambling in the Lakes with friends and fell into step beside none other than J.R.R. Tolkien – he looked like himself from the pictures I’ve seen, but was tall like Gandalf. We talked about nature and the world, neither of us mentioning our work and the miles slipped effortlessly by. When we returned to our hotel, my friends couldn’t believe that I hadn’t tapped the great man up for advice on geting published.
Plucking up the courage, I went along the corridor to where Tolkien was roomed. Autograph hunters and Lord-of the-Ring-ophiles were hanging around outside his door. I knocked and Tolkien appeared with impatience etched on his face. It instantly mellowed when he saw me and he brought me inside. Around a table in the centre of an otherwise empty white room were seated a number of geeky looking men working on Warhammer figures from Middle Earth. Gandalf fired comments their way, advising on dress and colour, before turning his attention to me.
His face fell when I produced my manuscript; he looked disappointed and knowing at the same time. Instantly I wished I had not listened to my friends and I made to leave, apologising for spoiling the afternoon we had shared, one that he had clearly enjoyed, free as it was from the concerns of his work. Unexpectedly, Tolkien grabbed me by the arm. Some of the grandfatherly paternalism of his gandalf-esque demeanour had returned, but there was more than a little menace in his words.
‘If you’re going to go up against the book,’ he said, ‘then prepare to be doomed!’ His eyes twinkled and then he ushered me out on to the corridor where I stood twirling the manuscript with sweating palms.
Great – I get to meet the legend and end up being hexed! No more cheese before bedtime for me!