there’s a feeling i get when i look to the west

Posted: August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been listening to Led Zeppelin IV a lot while I’ve been writing, for no other reason than hey, I like Led Zeppelin. And really, when you consider that they’re kind of the godfathers of heavy metal (you can clearly hear that ancestry on “Black Dog” and the ending to “Stairway to Heaven”), there’s no good reason not to listen to them. Unless you don’t like metal. In which case, I don’t think we can be friends.

But one thing that strikes me when I listen to Led Zeppelin IV is, holy crap there are a lot of Tolkien references. I mean, I was aware of them before, on an intellectual level. But listening to the actual lyrics of the songs makes me realize how saturated with Tolkien the early seventies were. I should know, really, because at a certain stage in my life, I was Santa Cruz’s hugest Tolkien junkie. Between sixth and ninth grade, Tolkien was my personal god. My stories from that time (which you will NEVER SEE) are pretty much a preteen’s honest efforts to ape Tolkien. I was so deeply into Lord of the Rings that I made my dad read me the Silmarillion. I bought the History of Middle Earth books. I think I still have them somewhere, in a box in the crawlspace.

Why am I talking about this? Well, listening to “Misty Mountain Hop” and “The Battle of Evermore” makes me remember, back to those times when I was a kid who felt confined by my universe, by school, by parents, by Asperger’s Syndrome and my own brain, by the world itself. How my only escape was immersing myself entirely into this massive fantasy universe that was detailed down to the merest pebble. How I could sink into any chapter of Lord of the Rings and disappear out of myself.

Reading Tolkien eventually took me on a long path, growing my interest in tabletop RPGs and video games and cheesy fantasy trilogies and graphic novels. I could trace nearly everything I am today to when I was eight years old, and my dad read me that most famousest of first lines: In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit…

I’m probably going to write about Tolkien’s effect on my embryonic writer-self at some point. But not today.

I’ve got real writing to do.

And Led Zeppelin to listen to.

~ Ian

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