Saturday, July 10, 2010

Getting Somewhere

I'm now almost finished with my essay on using Tolkien to teach trauma theory (for the MLA's volume on "Approaches to Teaching Tolkien"). It's due Thursday, and at the beginning of the week I had nothing, but now I have a solid piece. Gary actually loves it and would like it to be longer; I'd like it to be longer, too, but the editor imposed a very strict length limit.

This project taught me a) that I really do know a heckuva lot about Tolkien, although I'm certainly not a Foremost Authority, and b) that I'm very good at editing to length. Also, I enjoyed working on it. It was fun.

I just sent the essay out to students I quoted to make sure they're okay with it. (Since they sent their comments specifically for this project, I hope they will be.) My remaining task is to find the edition of LotR I'm required to use and get correct page numbers, but I should be able to find it at a bookstore or in the UNR library.

After that's done, I really need to haul on cleaning and preparations for the party next week. Fran arrives Monday; my sister and nephew, and Dad's Mississippi friends, arrive Tuesday. My study's even more of a disaster than it was a week ago, since it's now strewn with Tolkien material. Yikes!

I reluctantly canceled my hospital shift today to give myself more breathing room. I hope I can make efficient use of the time!

Last night, Chaplain Stephen from Oregon called to tell me that the box had arrived safely and that all the paperwork was in order. I asked tentatively if there might be a chance of getting video or photographs of the ceremony; I expected a flat-out "no," but instead he said, "I'll work on that. What were your Dad's favorite flowers?"

After thinking a minute, I said, "Probably red carnations. Red was his favorite color, and he loved anything that was cheerful and inexpensive."

"We have a lot of generous merchants in this community," Stephen said, so I imagine he has florist friends.

Again, he's really going above and beyond, and I'm very touched.

On a comical note, I had a small kitchen mishap yesterday. I use soy milk in my coffee, and soy milk comes in one of those rectangular cardboard boxes with a pouring spout. So I reached sleepily into the fridge, grabbed a box from the shelf where the soy milk lives, poured it . . . and realized that I'd just poured chicken broth into my coffee.

Chicken broth also comes in a rectangular cardboard box with a pouring spout. When I told Gary what had happened, he said, "Now we're even. Remember that time I cooked the dumplings in soy milk instead of chicken broth, because I grabbed the wrong box?"

I drank the coffee, although it was a little strange. As I told my sister, "This gives the phrase 'tastes like chicken' entirely new meaning."

This morning I made sure the box I was holding contained soy milk. Today's coffee tastes much better than yesterday's. Fancy that!


  1. Congratulations on project completion AND on finding such a helpful and sympathetic person for your Dads ceremony. Now gung ho for that party. Your soy milk/chicken broth episode brings to mind a refrigerator joke that involved an old man in the doctors office. He said that he knew God loved him because when he got up in the night to go to be bathroom God turned the light on for him. The doctor was a little concerned over the state of the old guys mind so he mentioned it to the old fellows wife. "That old fool" she said, "he's been piddling in the refridgerator again". Kind of makes chicken broth look good doesn't it?

  2. marypeart789@hotmail.com8:05 PM

    as a trauma survivor and life long Tolkien fan, but NOT a professor, is there a way I could get a copy of the article you are finishing up? sounds very interesting!
    one of my ways of coming to terms with the trauma for me has been the whole idea of a life as a quest, a journey, where the importance of choosing wise companions and guides, listening to one's own heart, and continuing to push forward even when frightened or lost or feeling hopeless...these are all lesson i have found in tolkein, along with the sheer beauty of escaping to such a different time/space than our own.

  3. Hi, Mary! I'm still waiting to hear back from several of the students I quoted to make sure they're okay with the essay. If they are, I'll send you the draft. Thanks for asking!


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