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Welcome, one and all. My name is Dawn. Most of you know me as Dawn Felagund. My real first name is Dawn; my real last name is not Felagund. This journal is my oldest extant online space, having been set up on 15 March 2005.
Who am I? Fannishly--I'll start there, since that's most likely why you're here--I am an author, scholar, and archivist in the Silmarillion branch of the Tolkien fandom. On 15 March 2005--yes, the same day that I set up this journal!--I established the Silmarillion Writers' Guild, a website and archive for Tolkien fans who wish to study and write about The Silmarillion. I am also the webmaster of the Many Paths to Tread genfic Tolkien archive and a moderator on Back to Middle-earth Month. I've written more stories based on The Silmarillion than I have an accurate count of. As an author, my first love was for the House of Finwë, especially the House of Fëanor, and many of my writings have concerned them. I am a self-styled heretic who prefers to look at the texts from the perspectives of characters who did not have their viewpoints represented in the published books. I view the texts--"canon," if you will--as a mixture of history and myth, subject to be analyzed as we would analyze historical, mythological, and scriptural works in the real world.
The vast majority of my Silmarillion stories can be found on the SWG. My blog, The Heretic Loremaster is where I share partly baked ideas. (My tumblr is where I share ideas that might still be raw in the middle.) My page on Academia.edu is where I collect my published papers and conference presentations.
In real life, I am a thirty-something English teacher who lives in rural Vermont with my husband Bobby, where we are working to establish a self-sufficient homestead. I am liberal, agnostic bleeding heart, initiated as a Druid, a conservationist, feminist, LGBT ally, and general rabble-rouser. My motley collection of interests include writing, reading, Elves, painting, calligraphy, mythology, old books, rollerskating, bellydancing, web design, flying on airplanes to interesting places, kayaking, beekeeping, cooking, eating, making my dogs' ears flick, gardening, flying a kite, hiking, cycling, playing outside generally, drinking tea and Vermont cider, naturalism, and making funny faces at people in cars. I keep busy.
If I had to find a single thread running through all the muck I just typed and you just read, it would be belief in the power of words to promote positive change and action oriented toward making it possible for people who often aren't heard to be heard. This underlies my work as a teacher; this underlies my work in the fan community. It is a theme in most of my own writing. I have a poster in my classroom that (among other cool things) says, "Know that no one is silent, although many are not heard. Work to change that." I am working in my small way to change that.
I like to think of myself as a nice person. People tell me I am. I truly welcome one and all to this space, to converse with one another. Since there's always a lot of anxiety surrounding "friending" and other issues related to that, I'll lay out some specifics below that will hopefully ease the minds of those who want to friend this journal or participate in the conversation here.
Stuff You Should Know
My friending policy is pretty straightforward. You can friend me. You don't have to ask. You don't have to have a reason. You don't have to sign up on any particular post, write a statement of intent, submit to a criminal background investigation, or sign a contract granting me your firstborn child. (I'm childfree, so I really don't want it.) I receive email notifications whenever someone friends this journal, and when I get one of these notifications, the first thing I do is read the person's profile who friended me. If you're part of the Tolkien community or a writer, or if you share some other significant interest of mine, I'll add you back. If we don't seem to share any interests, I probably won't add you back right away. Please don't take offense at this. If you'd like me to add you, just let me know.
I don't unfriend people except in serious extenuating circumstances. Since 2005, I think I've unfriended two people. So no, you don't have to comment on a certain percentage of my posts, post to your own journal on a regular basis, or show any interest in me at all to maintain the dubious honor of remaining my "LJ friend."
Locked entries are pretty common on my journal. Since I talk about a lot of real-life stuff, including my professional work and my family, all of that goes under a friend-lock. All of my original fiction and poetry goes under a friend-lock. Fannish stuff--stories, meta, other sundries--is left unlocked most of the time.
My transformative works or "fan fiction" are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. *whew* What that means in plain English is that 1) you can create work based on my Tolkien-based stories and, no, you don't have to ask first, 2) you may not sell what you create based on my work (although I think you'd have more problems with the Tolkien Estate than with me, if you tried), 3) I expect to be credited for anything of mine that you use, and 4) you must make your work based on my work available under the same license, i.e., people can in turn freely make derivative/transformative works of your works. Here's a nifty little graphic that should make it clear as mud:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
It's not required but much appreciated if you let me know if you create something based on one of my Tolkien-based stories so that I can read your work!
Original fiction, art, and poetry are different. I ask everyone to please respect my first rights to my work by not sharing, distributing, or using it without my permission. Public distribution of any kind "uses up" first rights and means that most magazines won't accept my work. Anyone who writes creatively knows that it doesn't pay much (if at all), but having my work published and read is important to me as a way to share ideas and start conversations on current issues.
I expect civility in my spaces. Full stop.
Conversations in comments to my posts are wonderful! People sometimes express regret for chatting back and forth with someone else on one of my posts. Don't feel bad about this! I love seeing conversations and sometimes new friendships arise on my journal. I'm usually watching the conversation with interest myself, but often just to busy to jump in.