SF/fantasy art/writing, horsemanship, tallships, kayaking, sleddoggin', environmental education, nature exploration, scuba, martial arts, living history, and random other stuff. See my website for more.
"Swordwhale" is another name for "Orcinus orca".
Orca, not orc...
I named a horse "Olori Eldalie", a dog "Legolas", a cat "Sindarin", my first van "Fearaf" (wolf spirit) and one of my kayaks (bright yellow and user friendly) "Finrod"... and the second van THORinDuil (which has a "you shall not pass!" bumper snicker)....nah, I'm not a fan...
First Lord of the Rings reading experience:
I explain it best there. (See bottom of page).
In 1977, a wild black mare was born on the high desert of eastern Oregon (I'd meet her, and she would train me, in 1985), another "wild black mare" was launched at Inner Harbor Baltimore (I'd sail on her sister, on Halloween of 2007), Star Wars hit the screen, and a fellow fan dumped a pile of reading material into my hands. "You must read this," she intoned. I stared at the stack of verbiage and paled. Lo!, in my copious free time, somewhere in the next millennium. The epic tome was J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
Somewhat later, I borrowed a tent from a second cousin twice removed, so I could spend a week on a desert island called Assateague. He told me about this game they played: D&D. I showed up, rolled up a character, waved the paper at the DM and said, "What do I make of this?"
"Play an Elf."
"What?" You mean like Hermie, in Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer?
"Read Lord of the Rings."
I did, in 1978. Thirty years, many fantasy illustrations, several "fanfics", essays and re-readings later, I'm still a fan of the original fantasy epic that spawned the rest (born the same year I was).
Favorite Tolkien character:
The elf archetype resonates with this tree-hugging critter loving environmentalist whose ideal of horsemanship is to ride "Elvish style" sans saddle or rein, and who wishes for "the Elvish Way with All Good Beasts". I also have a terribly bad case of the Sea Longing.
A kid in art school says: "you look like an Elf in that shirt." I stare at him uncomprehending...
A friend running a D&D game says "Play an Elf." I stare at him, uncomprehending.
A friend drops a vast pile of verbiage on my lap, "Read this." I stare at LOTR, uncomprehending.
Someone shows me an illustration by Judy King-Reniets, of the Fellowship; "who's the blond guy with the longbow?"
Something about that illustration resonated with me (beyond the handsome face), but I figured he could still be a dumb character. I read the book. By the time he'd mounted a Rohan warhorse "smaller, but restive and fiery", without saddle or bridle, I was hooked on this guy who exemplified "the Elvish way with all good beasts" and a deep connection to the natural world. His lines in the book still resonate with me 30-some years later. (And sadly, I'll have to watch every Orlando Bloom film because he did such a good job...)
Perhaps with that inspiration, I picked up a longbow, trained at least one horse to work without saddle or rein, paddled the swift forest river (and a few bigger stretches of water in my sea kayak), and sailed west, and east, across the mighty Chesapeake Bay under a full press of canvas. And I've sat under a few trees and just listened.
A friend of mine named her favorite Siberian Husky Strider. So my latest sled dog (an SPCA rescue) is named Legolas: loyal, pointy ears, runs on snow...