How did Bilbo do it? How did he calm his thoughts enough to commit them to paper in a coherent and pleasing manner? Every time Frodo tried to sit and write, his visions, memories and nightmares stumbled over one another so quickly that soon the words on the page, and his thoughts, became a tangled mess. A tangled mess that always ended the same: on the precipice and his decision not to do what he had come for. Those were memories he hid under warm smiles and behind witty banter, memories that would chase him from the anonymity of sleep. Yet, the task was his to complete. Not only because the War of the Ring must be preserved, as a memorial and a warning, Frodo understood to allow them all to fester within his soul, without giving them voice, those dark hauntings would surely soon consume him as the Ring nearly had.
The study at Bag End had been his first choice in which to write. So many times, as an awkward tween, Frodo had watched Bilbo at the big desk, hunched over and muttering to himself about the nominative case of Tengwar or some other particularly sticky grammatical conundrum; it only seemed natural that he would continue the Baggins literary tradition in that very spot. For 5 weeks, Frodo had begun every morning in the same manner: breakfast with the Gamgees, a walk around the gardens to give order to his thoughts, a second cup of tea, then straight to the desk and his writing. Only there had been precious little of that. First it had been the quality of quills available; he needed to send out, and wait, for a new supply. Then his ink ran low, (all that scribbling with those old quills). The sun was in his eyes, so Sam had the desk moved to the far corner, but Frodo was unable to see to write. Preferring natural light now, Sam moved the desk back across the room and close to the window. Then the business of Bag End became paramount and Frodo was forced to spend his time leaning out the front window talking to Sam. When Sam began to excuse himself to tend to the other parts of Bag End’s gardens, the ones that had developed a shaggy and unkempt look, those away from the study window, Frodo left the desk completely, and followed Sam to the other side of the hill.
“Begging your pardon, Mr. Frodo,” Sam had said, one golden afternoon as he stepped over his rows of asters and marigolds and around Frodo for the fourth time in one day, “I know the business at Bag End here is important, and all, but you’ve been doing too much lately. You should go out. It’s been ages since you’ve drained one at the Green Dragon.”
“ I don’t feel much like company,” Frodo replied, handing Sam a trowel.
Taking it, Sam thanked Frodo, stuck the trowel in his back pocket and leaned down to get to get his pruning shears. “Then a stroll, maybe. Yavie has left Hobbiton looking like flames.”
“I shouldn’t leave you here all alone with so much work to do, Sam,” Frodo reasoned, “I can help with the weeding and such.”
Sighing, Sam leaned on the fence, and swiped his sleeve across a sweaty brow. “Can’t say that would look right, Mr. Frodo, the Master of the place on his hands and knees in the dirt. I can manage just fine, now. Always have.”
He looked at Sam, his friend’s expression as close to exasperation as Frodo had ever seen. Sam would never come right out and say, ‘Get gone, Mr. Frodo! I don’t need you here!’ but Frodo understood that Sam had reached his limit. “Maybe you’re right, Sam, a stroll around Hobbiton would be nice. I’ll just go and get my things.” As Frodo turned to leave, he thought he heard Sam sigh with relief.
With the Red Book under his arm, and a pocket full of new quills and ink, Frodo walked out of the gate and across to the Party Field. He choose a shady spot and, sitting down in the cool grass, he arranged his things around his legs. ‘Nor more excuses, Baggins, its time to produce!’
Straightening his back against the mallorn tree, Frodo took the Red Book across his lap and set his mind to the literary vein. How should I begin? he thought, pen suspended a hair's breath above the paper.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
No, Frodo thought, too oblique. He looked up, hoping to get inspiration from those glorious golden leaves.
"Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by the son of Arathorn."
Definitely not Hobbit-like in the wording. He tried again.
"Call me Frodo."
A trifle egocentric. Maybe a more practical recounting was needed.
"Frodo Baggins's journal. 23 Halimath Hobbiton: We left the Shire at 8:45 in the morning..."
Even after one sentence, Frodo himself found it boring. A more personal touch then.
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood..."
Much too personal.
He closed the book in disgust. This was not working. His head hurt from the mental effort and in his shoulder the faintest hint of the blade nagged in the background. Last week, on the 6th, it had flared up, frightening Sam and resigning Frodo to a wound that he knew now would never heal.
"Mr. Frodo!" Rosie's lilting voice carried across the Party Field from Bag End, "It's time for supper!"
He saw Sam's wife leaning over the gate, her belly casting a shadow on the stones below. That simple sight, of a family in the making, drew his dark mood aside. The Shire had begun again; new life had sprung from the ashes left by Saruman's rage. Closing his eyes, Frodo inhaled deeply, reveling in those smells that despair had caused him to believe he would never enjoy again. He heard the sounds of Hobbiton at work and play, the Shire living. His reopened eyes beheld the natural beauty of the land around him. This was his home, and this was all worth remembering. Forever. Taking up his pen, Frodo opened the Red Book, and finding the appropriate spot, wrote without hesitation this time.
"Mr. Frodo? Where are you?" Sam had replaced his wife at the gate. He stood there, gazing left and then right, anxiously searching for a sight of his former master. "Mr. Frodo?"
By Sam's tone, Frodo knew that he had lingered too long. Gathering up the Book and his pen, he called back across the field, "Coming, Sam!" It was a shame really, to be interrupted just as he had found the right words after his long struggle. But, he didn't mind. Frodo knew where to start now. At beginning of all things for him. The Shire.
Sincere apologies to the following: Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Herman Melville, Bram Stoker, JD Salinger and, of course, JRR Tolkien.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.