May 2017

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For over a year now, I have been working on writing and revising an article for the Journal of Tolkien Research. While I've published a few Tolkien studies articles, this was my first for a peer-reviewed journal. Well, after much work over the last year, the themed issue Authorizing Tolkien: Control, Adaptation, and Dissemination of J.R.R. Tolkien's Works is now available!

Aaaand, here is my article:
Attainable Vistas: Historical Bias in Tolkien's Legendarium as a Motive for Transformative Fanworks


This paper grew out of the work I've done with the Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey and my long-running interest in The Silmarillion as a pseudohistorical text written from a deliberately biased point of view. It also inspired the research that Oshun and I presented at the New York Tolkien Conference because, as I investigated how authors on Tolkien fanfic archives did or did not seem to use historical bias as an inspiration for fanworks, I first observed that different archives often had different results.

An excerpt from the abstract:

Tolkien's construction of his legendarium as a pseudohistory, complete with fictional narrators or loremasters, offers one means by which some writers of Tolkien-based fan fiction extend their authority to critique and change the details of the texts. As this paper will show, Tolkien employed fictional loremasters and wrote his books from their distinctly biased perspectives. Pengolodh, as the primary loremaster of The Silmarillion, was given a background that leaves him particularly susceptible to bias, and analysis of how characters and realms are discussed in The Silmarillion show that this bias reflects subtly in ways that even readers unfamiliar with Pengolodh's personal history are able to detect. Correcting this bias by showing other perspectives on the story becomes a motive not only for writing fan fiction but for extending the fan writer's authority far enough to allow alteration of details of the text.


The paper initially included A LOT more evidence and data to prove the historical bias of The Silmarillion. The editors suggested that a lot of this material could be moved to another paper, and I jumped at the chance to do this and so ended up cutting out a large part of the paper that dealt more with historical bias in the canon. I had felt, when writing, that the paper responded to the paper on historical bias that I hadn't yet published in scholarly channels, but since this paper didn't exist, I felt I had two cases to prove. (Y'all have been listening to me yammer about historical bias in fannish channels for years now.) Once I settle into my new job, I will be looking around for opportunities to publish what I cut out. It's essentially, at this point, a full paper that's basically ready to go.

Finally, I owe a huge thank you to Oshun and to Bobby, who read and offered excellent critique of the very first draft and cheered me on when I was at that point of writing where I wasn't sure I really had anything of importance to say. Thank you both so very much! I am grateful also to the volume's editors, Robin Reid and Michael Elam, as well as the anonymous reviewers, who offered such helpful feedback on later drafts.
Well, when it rains it pours, in a good way this time. Some of you might remember a few weeks ago when I had mad deadlines for things and was biting my fingers till they bled (how I react when stressed out!). Both being due simultaneously meant that they were both published within the past two days.

My article "Fictional Scholarship: How the Peter Jackson Films and Fandom Archives Make Tolkien Fan Fiction Writers into Competent Critics" is out in Mythprint 52:1. It is a shortened version of my Mythmoot paper (which will eventually be available for free online in the proceedings) but does introduce some new data and expands on some of the points I couldn't really delve into in my Mythmoot paper because of time. Unfortunately, I don't have a link for this one, but Mythopoeic Society members will get it as part of Mythprint. There were no strings attached on this article, so I can reprint it wherever and whenever I want, and I will post it on the Heretic Loremaster in a couple of weeks. I just want to give Mythprint the courtesy of having it first for a while.

And my article In a Stone House by the Sea: The Founding and Governing of the Silmarillion Writers’ Guild is available in Signum University's Eagle. (Here is the entire March edition of the Eagle.) The timing on this was perfect because, believe it or not (and I am still having trouble believing it), the SWG's tenth begetting day* is tomorrow.

*Just like an Elf, the SWG has a begetting day and a birthday because I set it up on March 15 and then chickened out about doing anything with it until later in the year, having been utterly unqualified to start anything of that scope, even as I imagined it then. Uli pushed me in the summer to try to actually, um, get people to join, so I count the end of July as its birthday.

Finally, I wrote an essay, We Are Fëanor? Thoughts on Reading Moral Ambiguity into the Characterizations of the Fëanorians, which I posted to the Heretic Loremaster and also Tumblr. (Also a reminder that [syndicated profile] heretic_lore_feed will display HL posts on your friends page. I don't use the HL very much these days but it [and the entire Midhavens site] will be getting a facelift and some renewed attention once my MA is done and then I hope to have regular updates from me and People Not Me.)
Quick note before I get to work for the day ...

My first article has been published on Suite101. It is on sustainable vegetarianism (written at the same time as I wrote my post on the same subject the other day.) I will be doing a series on this topic, as well as a series on setting up an online fiction archive and odd articles on Tolkien's mythology. (Of course. ;)

Anyone who cares to read it can find it here:

Sustainable Vegetarianism: Eating Sustainably without Meat

Now back to work! We're seeing Scythian tonight, so I need to finish my articles on time!
A while ago, I wrote about having my short story "Cogs" accepted into the forthcoming anthology Magic and Mechanica. Well, M&M is no longer forthcoming ... it's here! It's out! And I'm in it!

Magic and Mechanica book cover
There is always the worry with fiction anthologies that they will disappear into the great, wide ether of well-intended-but-never-printed work. I was consoled that my contract with Ricasso, at least, let me free if the book didn't appear in two years. Not that that would dim the disappointment, but at least it would not tie my story up for years for while I waited for a book that was never going to come.

I haven't read the book yet, since I just got my contributor's copy this afternoon. But I'm on page 159. ;) I'll let y'all know how it is when I do read it. In the meantime, it's available from the Ricasso Press Bookstore or on Amazon.com.

And, for those on ye olde flist, the rough draft of Cogs is still up on my LJ (f-locked) if you want to read it in its nascent form.

*squee!*
About a month back, I was perusing the Duotrope Digest site (fan-freakin-tastic site for all you writers looking to publish your stuff) and happened to glance at the theme calendar and saw an entry for an upcoming anthology called Magic and Mechanica that was looking for high fantasy stories involving machines. Only a few weeks earlier, I'd finished Cogs (f-locked) for Bobby for our anniversary, and it pretty much fit the description of what they were looking for to the letter. So I thought, "Why the hell not? I'll send it in." Normally, I obsess over, angst about, and continuously revise stories for at least a year before even considering publication, but this seemed too great an opportunity to pass up.

The worst they could say is no, right?

But they didn't. They said yes!!!

I just got the email about five minutes ago! I had to first have a squeefest with Bobby, who--along with one other online friend--was the only person who knew that I'd sent the story in for consideration. I just wasn't up to the show of sympathy for my inevitable (I thought) rejection. This is the first story I've sent in to a magazine since my university years. And--aside from my fanfic in Aiglos and Olórë Mallë earlier this year--this is the first story I've had published since then. I spent several years disillusioned with writing and particularly with publishing and really only got back into writing original stuff last spring.

I was nervous, being as this was my first time testing the waters after numerous rejections of my literary (*gag*) stuff right after graduating university.

But I kept thinking, "The worst they can say is no, right?"

But they didn't They said yes!!!

I'm so excited! :^D

It's going to be a print anthology as well as a downloadable PDF. And this is not my first time seeing my work in print, but it is the first time I've ever been in a book.

SQUEEEE!!!
Maybe not good, but definitely better.

It started crappy, though. Well, it started last night. Maryland is in one of its wild temperature fluctuations again. After a week of high temperatures around 28F (-2C), suddenly the temperatures jumped today to 50F (10C). The good thing is that this started to melt the ice floe that Maryland had become. As of yesterday, I still could not punch through the ice and was getting rather tired of sliding everywhere. Today, finally, my feet crunched through just a teensy bit.

But it is bad in that the thermostats everywhere were cranked up to deal with 28 degrees...and suddenly, it was 50. Last night, I tossed the whole night, too warm. Then I woke up too cold. When I got up for work, I was soaked with sweat.

Work today felt like the deepest level of Hell. I had to put on the air conditioning in my office. Ridiculous.

Given the fickle weather of this state, you'd think we'd be used to dealing with it. Not at all.

But before I got to work, I went downstairs, got in my car, turned the key, and...nothing. Now my stupid battery was weak, I know, but dude. It lasted through a week of 28 degree highs. Today, it is 45 degrees in the morning, and the stupid thing won't start. What the hell, car?

So I called Johnny the Boss and he made arrangements to have Brian pick me up, which was cool, as Brian is a scuba diver, so we spent the ride into work complaining about the no-mask swim during dive certification.

Once I got into work, I realized that I had one tiny problem: The first day of the week, I always treat myself to a lunch out. By now, 9:30, I was already starving, as I had not had breakfast. And...I had no car. And...I had no lunch packed.

So I made a meal off of a Bowl Appetit, a microwaveable cup of black bean soup, some two-week-old tortilla chips that I had lying in the fridge downstairs, and a half-glass of water. Meh.

One should realize that the 'gund requires frequent large feedings. Seriously. I can out-eat nearly anyone.

Around 11:30, my phone rings. It's my mother-in-law. She'd shown up at the apartment to babysit Alex and realized that the apartment key must have fallen off somewhere between Here and There. So she couldn't get in. And I, of course, had no car to drive home and let her in. Luckily, my father-in-law was with her and, luckily, Bobby had listed him as an emergency contact on our lease, and so they agreed to let him in. During that time, because it was so warm and everything was melting and slippery, his truck got stuck on some ice in the parking lot (that Howard Crossing did a shitty job clearing, I might add), and they had to pay someone to pull him out.

All this before noon!

At 3:30, Bobby shows up an hour early to pick me up from work. Why? Because he's sick and got sent home early. So we go home, I tuck him into bed, and he sleeps for the next two hours.

We went out for Italian for dinner since Dawn doesn't cook and Bobby didn't feel like it. That was nice. Meanwhile, because Bobby was so miserable, then I forced myself into cheeriness on his behalf. I've noticed that about myself: When everyone else is miserable, then I get really happy to try to change the mood. Luckily, it worked.

And...when I got home, my copy of Aiglos was in!

"Dawn, you got something crazy," Bobby said, which means that it comes from overseas, likely from one of my online friends. It took me a minute, then I realized. Aiglos! A few months back, Kasiopea wrote to me and asked if she might translate my story "Constellation" into Polish to publish in Aiglos. Naturally, I agreed, so there I am: a story I wrote in a language I can't begin to read (the only words I know in Polish are the naughty ones, go figure!), with a gorgeous illustration by Kasiopea. It's good to see my name in print again, even if just my pen name. :)

I'd like to make a habit of that, I think!