(3:33 a.m.) Consciousness. “Wake up, Karlmir!” It’s Arwen’s voice. I mutter something incoherent and and begin to fall back to sleep.
“Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” she insists, jumping up and down on the bed this time.
Did I hear her just before waking or afterward? No matter. I’m awake now and staring at the lighted numerals of my digital alarm clock. I recall spending the previous evening watching LotR videos on YouTube. This must account for my state of mind at this early hour. “Get up and make some cocoa, Karlmir,” Arwen whispers in my ear. “It’s time to create!”
I roll over and snuggle under the covers. “Not at this hour!” I think. “Arwen, go back to your poster. (There is a movie poster featuring Liv Tyler as Arwen on my bedroom wall.) I promise I’ll type a few pages over breakfast.”
“No, you must get up now!” she urges. An ethereal being, she has irregular sleeping hours, or maybe she doesn’t sleep at all. Who knows? “You know I’m not going to leave you alone until you do,” she simpers.
“Murmph!” I mutter, throwing the covers back and reaching for my robe. My youngest kitty Suzi mewls in confusion as she nearly falls off the foot of the bed. She ambles into the kitchen behind me and investigates her food bowl while I fill the teakettle.
(3:37 a.m.) My den is chilly. I stuff newspaper and kindling in the woodstove. The fire is already burning well by the time the water is ready.
“What are you going to write about first?” Arwen whispers eagerly as I prepare the cocoa. I think I can actually hear her rubbing her hands together in glee.
“I dunno. Give me a chance to think of something,” I reply groggily. My PC is booted up by the time I return to the den, sipping the hot cocoa. The cobwebs are beginning to clear from my brain.
(3:45 a.m.) The fire crackles invitingly. I add a billet of maple. This stove is one of two antiques that I acquired nearly four decades ago. A larger one, situated in the living room, heats most of the house. I love wood heat and it’s no surprise that woodstoves appear in my stories frequently, such as the cozy scenes of Elessar and his family sitting around a great cylindrical stove in their recreation room.
(3:50 a.m.) I check my Email page, surprised to discover that I’m way behind on my correspondence. I owe letters to Pink Siamese, Breia, Formegil and Lady of the Lake. “Must remedy that tomorrow afternoon,” I mutter, adding it to my list of things to do.
(3:53 a.m.) “Ooh! Are you going to mention me?” Liv Tyler squeals over my shoulder. I can always tell when my muse takes on Liv’s persona. Liv is bubbly. Arwen is formal—-well, most of the time.
“I last discussed your antics in my most recent letter to Breia,” I reply. “Spiced Wine wrote about her own muse a few times in her reviews and some of our correspondence, so I suppose it would be okay to write a similar commentary.”
“Ooh! Is that what you’re typing now?”
“Yes, now let me concentrate.” I take a few more sips of hot cocoa.
(3:59 a.m.) Suzi wanders in, jumps up on my lap and licks my hand. Several other authors on this website have mentioned cats in the stories, especially the fics about Hobbits. A full grown house cat would probably be as big to a Hobbit as a lynx to a Man. To a Hobbit child, a kitten would probably appear as big as a tiger cub. Although I’m a confirmed cat person, I’ve never thought of working them into my stories.
(4:05 a.m.) Arwen is now present, scanning my books on the shelves opposite my work corner. She’s invisible to the naked eye, yet I always know what she looks like and what she’s doing. “You’re never going to get enough of these tomes, are you?” she asks.
“Probably not.” A few years earlier I started investing in LotR books to do research for Arwen’s Journey. My collection now numbers forty-one. I recently spotted The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien on the Amazon website and added it to my wish list. Arwen’s Journey is supposed to be an historical novel and I’ve tried to keep it within the bounds of the Tolkien canon, hence the huge amount of research material.
“It is also apparent, from the size of your library upstairs, that you also merely enjoy collecting books,” Arwen remarks over her shoulder.
“Well, I suppose that's true too,” I reluctantly agree. I cannot live without books. My private library contains over 2,000 volumes.
(4:11 a.m.) I’m jotting down longhand notes for a humorous story about Evenstar’s handmaids. Arwen is still poking around in my book collection, so she’s not getting credit for inspiring this one. I suppose we’re going to have a row over this later. Time to make more cocoa.
(4:15 a.m., in the kitchen) I’ve never mentioned hot cocoa in my stories. Would Gondorians have acquired it by the Fourth Age? Cocoa originally comes from The New World, but so do potatoes and corn, both of which appear or are mentioned in the books/films. Could cocoa plants have been grown south of Umbar?
(4:22 a.m.) I make a quick trip down to the cellar for more firewood. Arwen is still looking over my books as I fill the den’s woodbin. The water’s still heating, so I return to the cellar to split wood into thin strips for additional kindling. Starter wood can’t always be gathered readily in the forest due to such things as the weather, so a countrified squire like Karlmir Stonewain had to learn the tricks for making proper kindling. Experiences like this are invaluable for fleshing out stories with real details of medieval life in Middle Earth.
(4:37 a.m.) Back to the den with a fresh cup of cocoa. Arwen leans over the back of my chair as I take up pencil and clipboard to work on the outlines of a few stories I’ve got in the works.
“Have you decided where your Middle Earth alter ego, Karlmir Stonewain is supposed to live?” she asks.
“Well,” I reply after another sip of cocoa, “although we’ve discussed several locations in and around Minas Tirith, I think a homestead or family estate in east Anórien is most practical.”
“But he’s supposed to be a writer and scholar,” Arwen notes. “Shouldn’t he live somewhere in The New City Quarter, or maybe within the walls of Minas Tirith itself? After all, he has to have access to the archives and libraries.”
“You have to keep in mind that he’s also a retired veteran,” I reply, “and a part-time member of the citizen soldiery manning the signal station on Amon Dîn. He has to live within a reasonable traveling distance.”
“Yes,” she agrees, “that does make more sense. I suppose his lifetime friend and fellow veteran Tom Goblet would likely be a next-door neighbor?”
(5:19 a.m.) I jot down more notes. Liv is back, humming the melody of Enya’s Aniron.
“You’re going to wind up in Middle Earth again if you don’t stop that,” I warn her. “I’m not planning on writing a second sequel to Elven Ears just yet, so if you suddenly find yourself in Anórien again, you’re on your own.” I scribble another note. “And stop switching persona like that. It’s very distracting.”
“I can’t help it,” Liv giggles, making herself comfortable in my spare office chair. “It just happens.” She leans back and puts her feet up on the table.
(5:26 a.m.) “Challenges, Karlmir!” Liv says abruptly, breaking into my train of thought.
“You promised Breia that you’d repost your old challenges on Faerie.”
“Thanks,” I reply, making a quick note. “I’d completely forgotten about that.”
(5:30 a.m.) “Oh!” Arwen exclaims in surprise. She lowers her feet and assumes a more dignified position. I’ve come to the conclusion that one persona doesn’t always remember what the other was just doing or saying.
(5:48 a.m.) I’ve finished most of the outline for another story about Tom Bombadil. My eye falls on my LotR DVD sets as I sharpen my pencil. I originally bought the VHS versions for about $80 US. After the DVD versions came out, the price of the VHS sets plummeted. Last year I bought three sets (theatrical version) as gifts for friends for less than $15 each.
A few nights ago I watched The Fellowship of the Cast from the LotR Platinum Edition. The male cast members became a closely-knit brotherhood during filming of the movie trilogy. I’ve often wondered if they’ve kept up their friendships through correspondence or reunions.
(6:49 a.m.) I’m tired again. It suddenly occurs to me that my muse has been silent for the last half hour. A quick glance around the room confirms that she’s gone──returned to Valinor or whatever world her poster is a portal to. That’s it! It's back to bed for me.
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