Leaf by Niggle
Another enchanting, captivating and instructive story by Tolkien.
Short, very simple and yet filled with wonders and a hidden complexity. It was like a very beautiful fairy-tale written for children who haven't lost the ability to see the world with all its miracles yet. The story of Niggle was like a painting itself.
I loved it from the first word and until the last one.
Niggle is an artist who paints just for himself. He spends a lot of time on his huge canvas of a tree with a fores ...more
This story has a twist I won't divulge here, but just know that little Niggle had me feeling so called out by the end of it ...more
Tolkien's story, which was something of an allegory of his own life as he labored to write The Lord of the Rings, turns out to be an allegory for all of us, particularly those who follow Christ and desire to live a life for His Kingdom.
Central to ...more
So I'm a competitive person by nature, and I've had it in my head to get ALL the Audible badges if it kills me. ALL THE BADGES. And then maybe the levels...but we'll see. It's ambitious, Cotton. We'll see if it pays off. So in an effort to get the "7 Day Stretch" Badge, I was calculating. I was cunning. I finished To Kill a Kingdom (review to come) and thought, hmmmm... it's a Monday. I can finish another one this week! I looked through my Wishlist for something moderately short, and I ...more
I sought this out because I’m struggling with my creative life...or lack thereof.
I understand, at the deepest level, needing to create but being pulled away from that endeavor by many more important interruptions and feeling the isolation that comes with feeling alone in that struggle. Or feeling rather ashamed of that struggle when there are more real struggles in the world.
I constantly forget, or maybe stubbornly ignore, that the interruptions of life actu ...more
My favourite passage is the first description of what would eventually become the Leaf painting:
It had begun with a leaf caught in the wind, and it...more
"At any rate, poor Niggle got no pleasure out of life, not what he had been used to call pleasure. He was certainly not amused. But it could not be denied that he began to have a feeling of-well, satisfaction: bread rather than jam. He could take up a task the moment one bell rang, and lay it aside promptly the...more
Niggle - basically "to spend too much effort on minor details" (as the character Niggle does in this story...literal name, eh?). Yep, its official. I am a niggler.
So Niggle has this painting. Or at least he wants to have it, but he keeps getting interrupted in his detailed, slow work, by his neighbor Parish ('nother literal name) and other interruptions till he is finally for the last time interrupted by the thing he has been dreading since the start (literally mentions this in the very first se...more
"Niggle was a painter. Not a very successful one, partly because he had many other things to do. Most of these things he thought were a nuisance; but he did them fairly well, when he could not get out of them: which (in his opinion) was far too often…"
Suddenly I feel like this guy and I are kindred spirits. Boy, can I relate to him!
I'm just going to say first that I hate the Parishes. I liked Niggle's character, though. That being said, this story was a pleasant, short read. I didn ...more
I thoroughly recommend the superb Harper Collins recording, read by Derek Jacobi (on the CD with “Smith of Wooton Major ...more
It's also one of those books like The Man in the High Castle or Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art that basically sums up my life's work. ...more
Anyway, this short story isn't fantasy, but a beautiful metaphor or allegory, if you will. It's about the condition of the artist and it will appeal to anyone who's ever tried doing something creative at least once in their lives. Loved all the hidden meanings, the half-spoken truths, the ov ...more
Certainly the themes are important: attempts at artistry, ...more
Niggle is a painter, mostly of leaves, but other things, too. Only life is so full of interruptions he can't get down to work at his real task of painting. Before he can complete his life's work, he is called away on the long journey he has always known is coming, but he is unprepared. However unprepared, the carriage has been called for and he must go on his journey, leaving his work unfinished.
But what are the interruptions and wh ...more
"...that story was the only thing I have ever done which cost me absolutely no pains at all. Usually I compose only with great difficulty and endless rewriting. I woke up one day (more the 2 years ago) with that odd thing virtually complete in my head. It took only a few hours to get down, and then copy out."
"I should say that, in addition to my tree-love (it was originally called The Tree), it arose from m ...more
A wonderful little story which sees Niggle achieve his ultimate goal and is a pleasure to read.