Musings of an Author

Our Local Group of Writers

I have the privilege of “running” a small group of local writers who meet once a month or so. That used to mean hosting it at my homeschool resource center, but now that those doors have closed, we’ve been rotating it between various homes.

Refreshment and Encouragement

Even when there are only a few of us, I feel refreshed and excited about writing after each meeting. And while I’m generally the “veteran” writer there (it helps that I have been around for decades more than most of our typical attendees), I always learn new things from the others.

J.R.R. Tolkien

This past meeting I was introduced to a short story by J.R.R. Tolkien that I wasn’t familiar with – Leaf by Niggle. One of the other authors mentioned the story in the context of a “Fantastic Fiction” co-op class she will be teaching in the fall. I was intrigued by her description and promptly bought the Audible version of it. I enjoyed the story for multiple reasons, not the least being that it’s a very different type of story than what I usually associate with Tolkien.

I’ve been a big Tolkien fan for decades. But to me Tolkien equates to the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Period. I’ve been a C.S. Lewis for almost as long, and I had realized he wrote much more than just the Chronicles of Narnia. But for some reason I was limiting Tolkien in my mind.

Variety within Writing

In addition to discovering another fun story when I listened to Leaf by Niggle, it encourages me as an author.  In addition to reading lots and lots of books for their entertainment and educational value, I also read a lot about the art of writing. And in too many places the instructions to authors (new authors, in particular) are to find your niche and stick to it. In other words, the goal is generally to write in only one particular genre.

But as an author whose interests go much beyond one subject (history, politics, economics, Shakespeare, science, and more), it is very difficult for me to imagine only writing in one little corner. Even within history my interests (and therefore my books) are all over the map – Leonardo da Vinci, the American Revolution, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, just to name a few. It would feel like punishment to limit myself and my writing.

So, it is good to be reminded that some of my favorite all-time authors (Lewis and Tolkien have to be at the top of that list), did not stick to one type of writing either.  If Lewis could write non-fiction and fiction works and Tolkien could write more than just the fantasy style, I had pigeonholed him in, then, I can too!

Happy writing!



  1. Donna Parsons

    I was gonna tell you we went to see the Hobbit but then I remember seeing you there; seems like a lifetime ago now, doesn’t but really hasn’t been that long, but think what didn’t say, might not have even thought relevant then, but since you connected Tolkien and Lewis, I’ll mention it; got myself confused, was relating this play of Hobbit with the one had taken the kids to at Randolph, but even though same book not the same play, kept waiting for the same scene, wasn’t there, but more than that for some reason thinking had taken her before, so not sure if would have taken her to that one, if had, but she realized that what we’d taken her to was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at the AAA, I think, turning out to be a ballet, which didn’t seem to realize ahead of time, but also which thought had been to before but seems as if we’re remembering now that it was The Magician’s Uncle we went to; seems as if put on by a homeschooling family – do you remember anything about it or who would have been?
    but what really hunting you up for now is more about Shakespeare – do you know his play The Two Noble Kinsmen?

    • Catherine Jaime

      The CS Lewis book you referred to is the Magician’s Nephew. No, I don’t think we saw a local production of it, though I’ve read it several times.

      As far as the Shakespeare play, Two Noble Kinsmen, yes I’ve read it a few times. Not one of my favorites, but it’s okay. You can send me a WhatsApp message if you would like to talk about it more.

      I hope you are all doing well.

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