Storytelling Assignment One: The Hobbit and Me

In addition to Nanowrimo, I am taking a free online class on storytelling.

The first assignment for the week is:

Please think about which story you have read, seen, listened to, played or experienced has impressed you most in your life. … Which story can you still very well remember? Write down both, the summary of this story (what you remember of the story, not what Wikipedia says.. 🙂 and – on the other hand: – what made it so special to you that you can still remember it.

I am not going to spend a lot of time re-hashing the plot, but here is my answer.

It’s hardly under the radar these days, but one of my earliest memories is of my mother’s battered Hobbit LP, which must have been released in accordance with the animated version of 1977.  The cover alone absorbed hours of my young life-I think I must have known that Gandalf was a wizard, even then, but the Rankin-Bass illustration of Bilbo looks frog-like, maybe even slightly monstrous.

The story of a consummate underdog, who set off into adventure and encountered menaces like goblins, spiders, woodelves, and dragons (the trolls weren’t in the much abridged album version) cast its spell on me.

I did not yet know how to read, but the background music and the stills from the film were utterly captivating.  It was the old style, where you turn the page every time the chime rings, and the entire story must have been condensed to about 15 minutes.

It didn’t matter.  As soon as I could, at 6, I read the Hobbit and re-read it.  At 8, in 3rd grade, I discovered the Lord of the Rings.  Actually, that’s not true.  I had always known about them, but disappointed that they weren’t about Bilbo I had turned my nose up at it.  At last though, after a dozen re-reads, I realized I had no choice.

By the end of high school, I had read Lord of the Rings over thirty times.  It’s still my favorite book, still the story that is closest to my heart.  And it all started with that funny little album.

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