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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:06 am 
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[Note: this thread combines posts from the Bag End thread on the conference with some from my Red Book thread about Arda Reconstructed - VtF]

Well, I was a little late, due to RL considerations, and I missed the first talk on Goldberry, but Tom saw it and liked it. My first stop was the Harry Potter discussion. It was refreshing to be in a room with 40 adults who were very intense in there discussion of the themes of the books. People kept popping up with "oh, but in the interview on ___, Rowling said that ___" as the group teased out the nuances of some particular point. Sound familiar? :P

Then I went to the presentation of a paper on slash in its various permutations and evolutions. This included asides on "cannon" and "fannon", "fanfic" and "litfic" and "derivative fic". Slash started out, evidently, as fanfic by hetero women, concerning tough and unemotional guys, imagining what they'd be like if they'd just unwind and show their heart and soul (and perhaps body) to their male companions. The first slash was about Kirk and Spock, but then it branched off to the Sons of Gondor and elsewhere. Anyway, a very interesting article, by a very interesting gal with a large tengwar tattoo around her upper arm - Ithiliana - her online name.

Dinner was yummy and the company was very enjoyable - Tom B, Goldberry, Carneliana (sp?} from TORC, and N.E. Brigand (who was gracious enough to explain his name to me). I spotted the two red headed hobbits who have shown up in pictures from the gathering, but I did not meet them. There were others in costume as well, ranging from vaguely hippy to vaguely middle ages.

After dinner, I joined the bardic circle, and managed to pass each time the speaking opportunity came around to me. Perhaps tomorrow... Tom gave a very sweet rendition of Annie Laurie, which was especially nice for the two of us in the group named Laurie Ann. There was a harpist and a singer, and several accomplished poets, and an English professor who regaled us to the intro to the Canterbury Tales in Old English. Though I'm not a fan of reading poetry, I did enjoy listening to it. All of the speakers (Including Tom, impersonating himself) were quite animated and entertaining.

All in all, a delightful evening. I'm looking forward to two more days of this.

Voronwë, you couldn't ask for a more appreciative bunch of people. You'll have a great audience tomorrow and I know you will do well. See you!

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In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

~ Albert Camus


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:57 pm 
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Just wondering if he's back yet. :blackeye:

I know it's too early, but I'm on pins and needles.

Jn

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:31 pm 
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I'm hoping he's met some interesting people. Including some he didn't know before.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:33 pm 
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No, I don't think he'll be back for a while - I left Frelga, narya, Beth, and V as they were headed to lunch around 11:30. I'd think they're finishing up lunch now.

So, I'm just posting a driveby note to say that V was AWESOME - articulate, well-paced, and engaging. He had a good turnout, including full attendance of the Bay Area Halofirians (and beyond) - Frelga, narya, Teremia, Tom, Goldberry, and me. (I understand that there was another Halofirian - N.E. Brigand? - in attendance, but I didn't see or meet him, unfortunately. :( ) He had the audience's attention, and got some interesting feedback towards the end - some positive and some more critical (interestingly, though the crowd was mixed gender-wise, all the comments and questions came from men - though one of V's themes was the editorial choices made by CT as to the depiction of female characters in the Sil.) But I will leave further descriptions to others, as I'm in a rush. The slides came out beautifully. Frelga (believes she) captured the entire thing on video, for those of you following along at home. ;) Afterwards, we went to get coffee/tea and chatted - yay for spontaneous mini-mooting. :) Just wish I could have stayed for lunch - didn't want to cut too close to my commitment in SJ. :(

I was so proud of all that V has accomplished in his endeavor thus far and happy to be part of the group that came out to cheer for one of our own.

:love:

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When, when the fire's at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They're whispering, "You're out of time,"
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This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in, think again
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:38 pm 
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Thank you for the report, Nel!

Exactly what I expected to hear. :love:

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:43 pm 
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What nel said, and in spades! :)

Voronwë was articulate, clear, interesting, and even got some laughs from the audience. The illustrations were lovely. I think we all felt very, very proud.

Lovely conversation hour afterwards under a shady trellis with V, Beth, nel, narya, and Frelga at the local coffee/tea place. I'll be sad to be out of mooting range for a year! :(

But very grateful to have gotten to know all of these people.

Now I must run off to make lunch for my sister, who swiftly approacheth!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 9:14 pm 
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Excellent news!! :bow:

(I wish I'd been there.) :(

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:16 pm 
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Well, I'm back. :)

As nel and Teremia (:love:) indicate, it went fairly smoothly. I didn't even get too rattled by the fact that before I started it was pointed out to me that their were four linguists in the room. I decided at that point to take Andreth's advice and apologize for my poor Elvish pronunciation at the beginning, and one of the linguists promised that they would not cringe too loudly.

I think it is safe to say that I was more nervous than I seemed. The practicing really made a difference, as did the the repeated refining of the talk. By the time I got there, I really had it down to what I really wanted to say. The laughs were a bonus; I didn't really expect that. I had to look away from the Halofirian crowd when I mentioned that one of my complaints was that Christopher all but cut out Voronwë the faithful as a character in the book. ;) The slides were a big help, although Narya and Beth both independently made the same suggestion to me as to how they could have been improved (great minds, and all that).

Most of the people who asked questioned at the end weren't really asking questions; they were making comments. As expected, there were a few feathers ruffled by my criticism of Christopher. Interestingly, one person gave exactly the opposite feedback to that given by the 'reader' that had reviewed my manuscript, suggesting that I should present the raw material of the changes that were made, but keep my opinions about them to myself. I guess you can't please everyone. :spin:

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:33 pm 
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Well, you pleased the Halloffirians, and isn't that what counts? :P

V did great, confident and in command of his material. Slides were brilliant, each with an image representing the chapter Professor discussed so that the listeners got a recap without his wasting a word.

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‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:34 pm 
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Congratulations, Voronwë! It sounds like you gave a great presentation!

(as expected) :D

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:30 am 
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Voronwë, this was exactly the kind of news I wanted to hear after yet another stressful overnighter in the little Big City.

:woohoo:

I'm very glad that you're feeling so positive about the whole experience, and that, like a true maverick of the shiny persuasion, you caused the ruffling of a few feathers! Well done! :hug:

It was also good to hear that some steadfast Halofireans were there with you.

I wish I could have been. :love:

BTW, nice avatar. 8)

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 4:36 am 
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Thanks, Ath, and a big :hug: for your stressful overnighter.

That picture was provided to me by a dear friend, and it played an important role in my presentation. :love:

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:10 am 
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Way to go Voronwë! I was thinking about you today and hoped everything had gone well. And ruffling a few feathers ain't such a bad thing either!

I love it when "outsiders" invade the cozy, little fishpond of Tolkien Studies. Keeps everyone on their toes.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 8:06 am 
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Voronwë was smooth, confident, knowledgeable, articulate, warm, and well prepared. His audience was appreciative, and not just the Haloferian contingent. Before the talk started, Nel offered to read the paper for him in half the alloted time. If you've ever heard Nel, you'd know that this is quite possible for her.

I'll make the rest of my comments about Mythcon on it's thread here:
viewtopic.php?p=88723#88723

Voronwë, I'm glad you had the opportunity to present your paper here and hope that it is the first leg on the road to many great things.

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In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

~ Albert Camus


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 8:43 am 
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After a train and bus ride and brisk walk, I arrived just in time to hear V's talk at 9 AM. Thus began another packed day at Mythcon.

Voronwë's paper presentation I have discussed in his thread. Needless to say, he was charming and articulate.

The minimoot afterwards was bittersweet, because it was our last meeting with Teremia, who flies to France next week. She looked remarkable unfrazzled as always.

I listened to several papers, some great, some painfully dull. The one on metaphors was interesting. The presenter studied LOTR in great detail, and found that the "good guys" tended to get their power through gift or cultivation. They were likened to plants and gardeners. They found their power to be troubling and burdensome, something they didn't really want, often times. The "evil guys" had no such qualms. They tended to take their power by force, and were more likely to be given animal attributes. There are of course, gray areas where this all broke down in the discussion after the paper. What about Boromir? What about the fact that Bilbo knew he had stolen property, the Ring, but took it anyway?

The panel discussion on magic attempted to define magic, and what makes a well written book about magic, but opinions varied widely.

I've been lurking on many a fascinating conversation, in the hallways, in the dining halls, and on the lovely grounds of the convention center. It has been an incredible experience to be able to sit down with people and chat, then find out later that these are people who have published five or ten books, or have founded organizations like the SCA. I had a particularly interesting discussion at dinner, and afterwards, with Jon DeCles, a pagan well versed in the Greek pantheon, who is quite sure he's been visited by a good looking, red headed guy - Hermes - on two occasions when he had car trouble.

After dinner we were regaled to numerous songs about LOTR set to Beattles music, like "I See Right Through You", "We Are Caught in a Willow Who Is Mean" (Yellow Submarine), and Help! They were hilarious. Then there was a skit about Harry Trotter and the Deathly Shopping List, with references to, let's see if I can remember...
The Philosopher's Scone, The Chowder of Sea Crabs, The Poisoning of Marzipan, the Gibblets on Fire, Order of the Fish Sticks, I don't recall the last one. The final duel had loud spells of "Fakus Latinus!" The skit was followed by Ellen Kushner reading and singing excerpts of Thomas the Rhymer. I enjoyed the book when I first read it, and enjoyed the lilting Celtic renditions of the songs tonight.

At the end of each day they have had a bardic circle, where a dozen or two of the convention attendees sit around and recite original poems or sing songs. I finally got the courage up to recite the only thing I had in my head that I thought others might like - the Tlingit Indian myth about Raven bringing light to the world. I don't know if they liked it, but they were very attentive and encouraging. Tom sang beautiful renditions of the Lay of Lethian and the song Sam sang about Gilgalad.

I was startled to notice that it was already after 11 PM while the bardic circle was still going strong. I made a hasty retreat to the bus stop and caught the second-to-last subway train of the night. Now it's 1:45 AM, and I'm still abuzz.

_________________
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

~ Albert Camus


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:48 am 
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:woohoo: :cheers:

I'm so glad your presentation went well V (not that I ever doubted it wouldn't :D). Hooray!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:08 pm 
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You are quite welcome, Voronwë. Glad my suggestion worked out. I do that ahead my talks just to disarm any language critics in the audience. I think if you say ahead of time, "Look, I may screw this up." you come across more humble and they have less to complain about.

I'm sure you are quite relieved it is over and that you can go back to working on "the book". I cannot say it enough how happy I am that I was told about this site and your work. It has opened up new avenues of thought and conversation for me.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:41 pm 
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Good suggestions, Jn and Mahima. Thank you both. Mahima, the question of the creation of the Sil is covered at great length in what I was previously calling the Foreword, and is now the Introduction.

Jn, as for the comments made after my talk, there isn't much to say. The one fellow who basically said that I should have kept my own opinions about the changes to myself (and mind you, I actually toned down my criticisms quite a bit) also made a somewhat snide comment to the effect that if I didn't like Christopher's version of the Silmarillion, I should create my own version. I thought - but did not say - that would be not only illegal, but immoral. One of his compatriots added that "they" (meaning, I suppose, the 'real' Tolkien scholars) used the HoME texts for doing research, but when they wanted to actually read the stories of the Elder Days, they always turned back to the Silmarillion itself. There were a couple of more supportive comments by some other folks more or less confirming my observations, but there really was very little in the way of actual questions that required answers. Perhaps some of the other folks that were there can recall some more of what people said; it is all seeming quite hazy to me right now. I did get a loud ovation when I was finished talking, and another one at the end of the question and answer session, so I do think that most people were favorably impressed, even if those whose feathers were ruffled were the most vocal. And (as I mentioned to you privately) all of the copies of the paper that I had brought for them to sell (for all of a dollar a piece) were gone by the time we visited the "dealer room" three hours after my talk.

If I can think of more of the comments that were made, I'll post them; maybe nel, Teremia, Narya, Frelga, Tom or N.E Brigand will be able to jog my memory.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:16 pm 
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Voronwë wrote:
The one fellow who basically said that I should have kept my own opinions about the changes to myself (and mind you, I actually toned down my criticisms quite a bit) also made a somewhat snide comment to the effect that if I didn't like Christopher's version of the Silmarillion, I should create my own version.


That's an unscholarly attitude. :( It is always legitimate to ask the kind of questions you are asking in your book, and particularly in this case because the 'partnership' you are examining is so unprecedented.

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One of his compatriots added that "they" (meaning, I suppose, the 'real' Tolkien scholars) used the HoME texts for doing research, but when they wanted to actually read the stories of the Elder Days, they always turned back to the Silmarillion itself.


That's a rather disappointing comment, too. When I want to read Tolkien I go to LotR, but what's that got to do with the price of apples?

I'm glad the other listeners were more supportive. I was hoping that there would be more than one comment on the uniqueness of your work. Earlier today I was reading on TORC a discussion about the Avari in the book forum. Very interesting, but everyone treats Christopher's many transmittals of his Dad's work as if they came directly from the mouth of J.R.R.R. and the only question is to what extent J.R.R. contradicted himself, even though we know that this cannot quite be so. There is always a selection process; some dates must have been lost; some writing must have been illegible or simply difficult to place within the larger picture ... and to observe that a selection took place is not to diminish Christopher's work but to say that it is fair grist for analysis.

Anyway, I'm glad that the talk went well for you and was well-received by the audience. It must have been an eye-opener for sure. ;)

Jn

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:27 pm 
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nerdanel wrote:
...got some interesting feedback towards the end - some positive and some more critical

I wish there had been more questions, but I'd say the positive/negative balance was at about the same ratio as for most papers at most conferences I've attended, including this one. The general tone, as is typical, was encouraging but with caveats: "I like what you're doing, but perhaps X/Y/Z would make for a better approach?" (In 2006, Michael Drout sat in on just one of the eight Tolkien sessions at the Kalamazoo medievalist conference --he spends most of his time there at the Anglo-Saxon presentations-- and he was overheard before that session of three papers saying that he was in attendance because one of the papers' titles included the phrase "Beowulf and the Critics", and as the editor of Tolkien's Beowulf and the Critics, he felt it was his duty to "scowl menacingly". He was joking, of course, but he did push that presenter nicely but rather firmly to clarify some of her points during the Q&A.)

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interestingly, though the crowd was mixed gender-wise, all the comments and questions came from men - though one of V's themes was the editorial choices made by CT as to the depiction of female characters in the Sil

That is odd, and well-observed. I'll have to think about how typical that is at this conference. Most of the comments actually came from the linguists --and they really are THE linguists-- who do happen to be men. Perhaps their presence discouraged others from speaking up, not wanting to be caught in a mistake? Never having been in an audience with those fellows before, I've certainly been on my toes when asking questions here. Honestly, I was surprised that they were as impressed with V's work as they seemed to be -- I figured they knew it all already, even if they'd never worked it out systematically as he had. Given that, and my interaction after the presentation with a couple folks near the back who were desperately trying to make sense of their hastily scribbled notes on V's talk, I wonder if it was all a bit much to take in at one 45-minute paper -- it's important to remember that Mythcon is as much a fan event as a scholarly one, and that many of the fans have never properly digested The Silmarillion. The previous evening, I was speaking with one major Tolkienist who expressed a trees/forest concern that V's paper would be too much iteration of facts with too little interpretation (in the event, I'm not sure he actually made it to V's paper). Another person I spoke with later that afternoon said he wished that V had picked one or two of themes, like Christopher Tolkien's slighting of female characters, and focused on those to the exclusion of separate comments on every single chapter.

As V said, you can't please everyone, but I'll have some further comments on the response below.


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