Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Don't be hasty

"It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, and we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to."

Treebeard on "Old Entish" - The Two Towers, JRR Tolkien

That's the sentiment I'm musing on today - nothing worth having or doing is ever easy, they say. Whoever "they" are, their bedside manner needs a talking to. 

I (and other bloggers) often talk about the things you can inevitably no longer do when faced with long term ill health. We also turn this on its head and talk about the things that we *can* still do. However I don't think personally I've ever much talked about the middle ground - the things you can do but which take significantly longer to achieve. 

I think that's worth talking about. Understandable frustration aside, with things like that it's still perfectly possible to achieve your goal even if it takes two or three or twenty times as long as it may once have done. It's very easy to get caught up in the frustration of the process and lose focus on the identical end result. 

For me as a creative person, something I make which has taken a long time is just that little bit more special to me. The difficulty involved makes the achievement greater. 

This is highly relevant, because after many, many hours and much frustration indeed I finally finished my baby this evening: 

(Not going to lie, this was a little bit emotional.)

It's my gift to the other half and to our new house (which we will hopefully be in soon!) and it's the first time in a long time I've made something purely for me, or by extension us. I still have other things going on creatively speaking, but this was well and truly my baby because it was so personal and the source means so much to me. 

However, it wasn't without incredible frustration. I false-started three times with the initial pencil outline. My hands were stiff and particularly un-dexterous the first few times I sat down to begin, even with the aid of my heat therapy gloves. The third time I genuinely thought I'd never get started - I couldn't even draw the outline of the coast. 

Not to be deterred, eventually I managed to get started and in short stints the larger map took shape. The crowded spaces of Arnor and Eriador and then Gondor gave me endless trouble and many re-visits were needed. 

Interesting point: the map of Middle Earth doesn't scale into A sizes. At all. The observant among you will notice the bottom half of the map is actualy proportionately smaller than the top - but then I never claimed to be perfect and I don't create with the goal of perfection. Accuracy yes, but utter perfection is impossible and it wouldn't really feel like something I'd made if it was an exact replica of the source image. 

Some fifteen to twenty hours later, there you have it. The background is very pale because I love the pen colour and felt that it should be left to shine a bit. Mordor is shaded slightly darker and the opposite corner has a burnt umber overtone to it, just to give some depth and variance. I want it to look old after all. 

I will also point out this hurt my hands a lot throughout those hours. However, I accept when I start a project like this that this is inevitable. And yes, it would have taken me about a third of that time at one stage. 

Thing is though, the end result is still there. I still finished. and still created something I'm really proud of. I think given that it was worth the extra time and flaring up and tiredness.The frustration is a worthy price for the sense of achievement. 

Something that was worth doing in a set amount of time is still worth doing in double or triple that amount of time if you care about it enough. Petunia teaches me little that is useful, but patience isn't entirely without merit. 

So, don't be hasty. 

"Never is too long a word, even for me."

Treebeard - The Two Towers, JRR Tolkien

I promised a blog when the map was finished - now I'm going to go and sleep for about a week. Wake me when we can pick they keys up, would you?

Wishing you all many spoons xxx


  1. Wonderful what you can achieve when you're doggedly persistant. Well done you! It looks amazing xxx

  2. I'm so bad at replying to comments... must do better! Thank you so much Lisa and Leah :) xx