Vermont Softworks:

blog entry

2020 revisioned

It’s astonishing how quickly plans can change when faced with a pandemic.

Tolkien in Vermont conference at UVM

The 17th Annual Tolkien in Vermont conference at UVM was cancelled, of course. My Mordorkian friends and I have gotten together every year since 2011 for an extended weekend of nerding out — with the conference itself as centerpiece, followed by dinner at Sarducci’s in Montpelier. Every bit of this plan is (quite rightly) cancelled.

So next year, we’re planning to celebrate our 2nd annual 17th Annual Tolkien in Vermont conference.

Popular Culture Associate annual conference

By start contrast, I’ve never before participated in this conference; I’d been planning to travel to Philadelphia for the lineup of Tolkien-related sessions on its last day. This plan, like the conference, is cancelled. Next year it will be in Boston — ironically a little harder for me to get to from northern Vermont! — and I’m planning to attend.

International Congress on Medieval Studies

Both the ICMS in Kalamazoo and the preceding day’s Tolkien Symposium have also been cancelled; I was a last-minute replacement for a panelist in a discussion about Tolkien’s paratexts.”

Research trip to Tolkien archive at Marquette University

Kalamazoo is a comfortable two-day drive from here, with friends conveniently located at the end of the first day’s drive. Kalamazoo is then ¾ of the way to Milwaukee, where Tolkien’s original manuscript drafts of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are archived. I haven’t officially cancelled my research trip there yet, but as of now the library is closed to everyone other than Marquette ID holders. Even if that status changes, mid-May is feeling increasingly optimistic for travel. This will likely need to be put off; hopefully not so far off as to delay my book.…

International Medieval Congress

As of now, I’m still slated to give a paper at a Tolkien-related session at IMC Leeds in July. I’ll be very surprised if this conference isn’t cancelled as well. Karen and I then had hoped to visit friends in Wales, Brittany, and Rhône-Alpes. This is all looking pretty unlikely.

Silver lining

Though all of the various papers I was planning to give feed directly into the book I’m working on, it does take a lot of time and care to write” the papers themselves. Scare-quotes there are because the papers” are actually graphics-intensive slide shows that take a great deal of care to craft.

Instead, I’ll be able to spend a great deal of time on the book itself (and its graphics). Assuming I’ll be able to research manuscripts at Marquette before the end of the summer, this could mean I’ll get the book finished even sooner than otherwise!