Monday, January 11, 2010

Coded Messages

I've finally embarked on reading The Fellowship of the Ring, volume one in J.R.R.Tolkien's Lord of the Rings "trilogy" that isn't really a trilogy. (yes, I read the forward by the author) Even the forward was fascinating reading and I was impressed by the brilliance of writing and the mind behind this story as I realized what an imagination he has! To create a whole world, even language, for the pleasure and amusement of others. Actually, the language he created was for his own personal pleasure. It's really fascinating.

Yes, I'm in awe. I read a different book a few weeks ago called Why Johnny Can't Preach. In it, he cites a huge reason why most pastors cannot preach is because they, and many in our society, can't read text. He then went on to explain the differences of reading for information and reading a text; uncovering the style of writing, basically, getting the most out of a book. I personally call this "feasting". Some books are meant to "feast", meaning glean such enjoyment out of it you just can't get enough, so you re-read it and find you see things missed and delight in the brilliance of the author. Though I hadn't read it, I was convinced LOTR (Lord of the Rings) was like that: Meant to delight in.

I can't yet comment much on the book, as I'm only in the first bit. I've been warned that it won't be until the 3rd or 4th chapter where I am utterly and completely drawn in. Already, I'm enjoying it (but amazed at the immense world Tolkien has created)

I've always loved to read, but don't consider myself "truly" creative. The other day I received a facebook message from an old friend who said I was "always so creative." Was I? I'm not sure.

I do admit I have always been strange. I enjoyed so much growing up. I had so many interests. I collected rocks and had a rock collection. I grew plants. I loved experiments. I started secret clubs and wrote a "theme song" for it. I tried to create my own code, but it's not really fun to create a code if no one else is dedicated in learning it, but I was fascinated by codes and cyphers, reading books on the subject.

I think that's why I'm fascinated already by Tolkien, since he created his own language; not a code but a complete language, and did it for his own pleasure. Wow.

It's a long story but in high school I was part of a drama team that was rehearsing to do a musical. I was a little angel nerd, and all my scenes were with another nerd. (love story of the nerds!) My fellow nerd was a guy who was older than me, out of high school. Our scenes were fun and effortless. We learned our lines quickly, and since we were nerds had a lot of leeway on how we should act. We both enjoyed our roles and it showed. Subsequently, our scenes were considered unnecessary to rehearse for the whole group. The more difficult scenes were with more people or ones with more choreography, and as such they were rehearsed constantly, which left me sitting in a pew (we had real pews back then) bored and complaining to my youth pastor. (some things never change!)

In response to my complaints, my pastor took a tithe card, and jotted on the back a short note in code, and handed it back to me. He thought it would keep me busy. It certainly did! I worked on it during rehearsal, during evening church service, and through many of my classes at school the first half of the week. It turned out to be a simple substitution of characters for letters, but with a confusing twist that took me a little longer to catch on. Of course, I did figure it out and promptly wrote my youth pastor a note back in his own code. I continued to write in code, later also inviting a friend to join in with me, so I wrote quite a bit in code to either Alicia or Pastor Rick. Alicia and I especially wrote in code, all the time, and now and then I'd write a note to Pastor Rick who said that we'd developed our own "dialect" of his code. All I know is it was fun.

Fast forward to today: I still write fluent code, only I have no one to write in code too. In fact, it simply at times annoys my husband, as to keep up my "skill" I at times will write my notes in church in code. (I know I am very strange!) I guess it excludes rather than includes. Still, I enjoy this little exercise of writing in code. I think I've been writing in this code for 23 years. I need to ask Alicia if she can still write it.

Sometimes I feel like I'm still a kid, haven't quite grown up yet.

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