Day 1. Tolkien encouraging his son Christopher, away at war:
Well, there you are: a hobbit amongst the Urukhai. Keep up your hobbitry in heart, and think that all stories feel like that when you are in them. You are inside a very great story!
Day 2. Surprised by a new character in LOTR:
A new character has come on the scene (I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him, but there he came walking into the woods of Ithilien): Faramir, the brother of Boromir.
Day 3. Perfectionism in his writing:
I did a certain amount of writing yesterday but was hindered by…trouble with the moon. By which I mean that I found my moons in the crucial days between Frodo’s flight and the present situation (arrival at Minas Morghul) were doing impossible things, rising in one part of the country and setting simultaneously in another. Rewriting bits of back chapters took all afternoon!
Day 4. Good is stronger than evil:
A small knowledge of history depresses one with the sense of the everlasting mass and weight of human iniquity: old, old, dreary, endless repetitive unchanging incurable wickedness….And at the same time one knows that there is always good: much more hidden, much less clearly discerned, seldom breaking out into recognizable, visible, beauties of word or deed or face…far greater than the visible advertised wickedness.
Day 5. The name “Shelob”:
Do you think Shelob is a good name for a monstrous spider creature? It is of course only “she + lob” (= spider), but written as one, it seems to be quite noisome.
Day 6. C. S. Lewis cries at LOTR:
[I] read the last 2 chapters (Shelob’s Lair and The Choices of Master Samwise) to C.S.L. on Monday morning. He approved with unusual fervor, and was actually affected to tears by the last chapter.
Day 7. We cannot see how good will grow out of the present evil:
The future is impenetrable especially to the wise; for what is really important is always hid from contemporaries, and the seeds of what is to be are quietly germinating in the dark in some forgotten corner, while everyone is looking at Stalin or Hitler.