Most of us are aware of J.R.R. Tolkien’s great literary works most recently embodied in Peter Jackson’s silver screen adaptations of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as well as The Hobbit (Trilogy). I am personally a huge fanatic and I presume that many of you are as well. Yet as many of us may be aware of his literary works, I gather that a much smaller remnant are aware of—and actually implement—his theory of sub-creation.
Created to Create
Tolkien’s theory of sub-creation involves the ability of the human being to create within our own realms of influence much in the same way that we ourselves were created. Now if you don’t actually believe that you yourself were created then, hopefully, as a writer, you can at least imagine that you were.
Think of it: an entire people created in the likeness (characteristics) and image (appearance) of their Creator; endowed with His abilities and powers, one of those powers being the ability to create. Well my friend, if you consider yourself a writer in any capacity, then you have this ability! So how are you implementing it?
What Are You Creating??
The concept of sub-creation should be of particular importance to those who write stories. When you are a storyteller, you create your own world, your own rules, your own inhabitants and other creatures, etc. I have a little saying that I like to employ that states:
The story is true within the context of the writer.
In my book Faith and the Imagination, I open up addressing the issue that many parents—Christian or otherwise—are concerned with: are fairytales evil? In short, the answer is yes and no. Why? Because what is written reflects the character and nature of the writer. Look at the works of C.S. Lewis and his friend Tolkien: they’re works were good because the authors themselves were good men. Similarly, if you find yourself reading something by a deranged author, the work itself is likely to show hints (at the very least) of that deranged-ness.
As the author, you have the power to create whatever you want and allow your heart, your intellect, your morals, and your particular giftings to shine through. It is an amazing power! So what are you creating? What are you pouring yourself into?
My Business is to Create
In one of my favourite movies P.S. I Love You, Hilary Swank’s character “Holly” is in Ireland, at her dead husband’s (Gerry) parents’ home. She is reading one of Gerry’s letters and through it, she reminisces on how they first met. The movie then takes you to that to the endearing encounter wherein Holly is convincing her new friend Gerry that she knows poetry. She does not. She then, sadly, yet hilariously, butchers William Blake’s quote. The actual quote is as follows:
Again I ask: what are you creating? Too many of us are busy being “enslaved by another man’s will.” Others still are lost in reasoning and comparing themselves to others and it is not beneficial. When your business is to create, you compare yourself with where you were to where you are now, and more importantly, where you are now, to where you desire to be. You spend your time creating something beneficial, good, and relevant that helps to meet the need of another as well as to “have a little part of you outside of yourself so you know a little more about yourself.”
I will not ask you again what you are creating. Yet I will charge you to go out and create. Do it today! And if you are already creating, don’t stop there! Become better! Improve yourself in every way! You have the opportunity to make this year your own, to wipe the slate clean from last year’s mistakes, and to do better and more importantly be better than you ever were before. If you make this your purpose, what you do create will be just that much more amazing. Sub-create today!