03 February 2010

National Storytelling Week, & The Prolific Blogger Award

It's the 10th annual National Storytelling Week! (The nation is Britain, but adopt it for whenever you are, why not?)  To celebrate I'd like to share one of my favourite parts of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, from the chapter "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol" in The Two Towers.

"I don't like anything here at all," said Frodo, "step or stone, breath or bone. Earth, air and water all seem accursed. But so our path is laid."

"Yes, that's so," said Sam. "And we shouldn't be here at all, if we'd known more about it before we started. But I suppose it's often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually-- their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on-- and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same-- like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren't always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we've fallen into?"

I love that bit because it says a lot about stories and writing, as well as real life.  And I love it because Samwise says it-- Samwise, who is one of the more innocent characters, who will never have considered any of this before he was landed in his own tale.  What sort of a tale do you suppose you've fallen into?

More about storytelling:
Re-telling our stories
99 ways to tell a story
"The Human heart in conflict with itself" (William Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech)

And I was going to leave it there, but hey, I have been nominated for The Prolific Blogger Award by the lovely (and prolific) Ev Bishop!


This is an award for people who "read voraciously, blog tirelessly and have made the blogging community such a vibrant place," to recognize their enthusiasm and achievement.  I'm honoured!  And I'm very happy to pass on the award to some of my favourite bloggers who keep me coming back-- not to kill time, but to learn, discuss, and celebrate the writing life.

So the awards go to:

Ev Bishop at Write Here, Write Now.  She nominated me, but she deserves it right back.  She's inspiring, level-headed, and positive about writing and she knows what she's talking about.  Her passion and experience come across in her posts.

Clare M. Caterer at The Letterpress, who takes a subject at the very heart of writing well-- grammar!-- and makes it fun and interesting, as well as useful.

Jodi Cleghorn at Writing in Black and White.  In the last year or so she's demonstrated what someone can achieve when they set their mind to their goals and dreams and refuse to give up.

Stephen Parolini at noveldoctor, with 20 years editorial experience and a way of blogging useful and well-researched info and opinions... and he's funny.

K.M. Weiland at Wordplay.  She been posting her experiences and the publication of her first two books with kindness and enthusiasm, and she adds a lot of soul to the blogging community.

Livia Blackburne, who writes "a brain scientist's take on creative writing."  Enough said.  It's fascinating.

Tony Noland at Landless, whose honest and humorous views of the writing life and terrific flash fiction make me forget I'm supposed to be off doing my own writing.

Each offers something that adds great value to the blogging community and I recommend you take a look.  The guidelines for winners of the Prolific Blogger Award are here, but if I've nominated you and you don't wish to play along, just take this as a demonstration of my appreciation for what you do.


  1. Jen, as they say at the Oscars, I feel honored to be in such good company. Thank you so much!

  2. Jen, how deeply awesome! Thank you!

  3. Congratulations! And what a great week to highlight, storytelling is so important to us as human beings. I personally believe that at least 0.5% of my DNA is actually made of stories passed down generations, seeping into the universal unconscious, now weaving my skin and bone ;o)

  4. Just stumbled upon your blog, though I couldn't tell you from where (maybe Mazzz in Leeds?). Congrats on your award, and thanks for turning me on to some other great writers. Cheers (and all)!


  5. Aww, thank you so much, Jen! You've officially made my day!

  6. Thank you so much, Jen! :-)

  7. You guys are very welcome!

    And Emma, thanks for the congrats! Right back at you. :) I adore your description of stories in your DNA.

  8. Hi Jared, thanks for coming by. Now I'm going to stumble right back over to your blog... :)


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Discussions are always welcome.

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