Bright Wall/Dark Room: “Though I Do Not Know The Way”

Absolutely thrilled to share the piece I contributed to Bright Wall/Dark Room this month. “Though I Do Not Know The Way,” part of BWDR’s timely Survival Kit issue, is about The Lord of the Rings, mental illness, and fear.

Frodo’s fear, his pain, is not a flaw to be overcome or eradicated. It must be survived. He rings in me as true and harsh as a wet finger skimming a glass rim.

And it remains a process of survival, a continual struggle. Pale and wearied and hopeless, despite longing for home, Frodo forges ahead. He walks not around or above his fear, but through. The only deus ex machina is his resolve.

“I know what it is I must do,” he admits to the elf queen Galadriel (Cate Blanchett, ethereal and ancient), “it’s just…” Shame pauses him. “I’m afraid to do it.”

Galadriel bends toward Frodo, smile transcendent. She tells him: “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

An optimistic, uplifting sentiment we hope is true. We have little proof it is. But this is a story, so our smallest hero does just that.

For 16 years I have lain awake at night, heart emptied out, sculpting that phrase into a lifeline.

It’s the most personal writing I’ve done in my life, and I’m so honored they gave it a home. Especially in their 50th!

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