Finished the first task…

Finished the first task on my long list -- doing a draft of a budget proposal for the Tanner Humanities Center. It's a little erratic, working on the conference in the midst of all this moving stuff (and Paul studying for his comprehensive exams, to be taken next week). But we do progress.

Once I'd done that, I rewarded myself with finishing Harpist in the Wind. Gods, I love these books. I'm not even sure I can tell you why -- something about the way she contrasts huge scope (thousands and thousands of years, an entire vast realm) with very tiny and human things. It really captures what I love about the best of high fantasy. Tolkien does that too, just exactly that. Sam's love for his garden, Frodo's simple desire to just go home -- that's what makes the whole epic battle worthwhile. And on the other hand, it's the epic battle that gives the story the power of high fantasy, as opposed to a charming little mainstream story about a man who loves his garden or his home... I don't know that so many others of the epic fantasists really manage that balance. And what's even better about McKillip is that she doesn't make it a simple matter of good versus evil -- it's about power, and what it can lead to, and even in the very end, compassion is at the heart of the story. Which I suppose you could argue that Tolkien does as well, when he has Frodo not kill Gollum, which allows for the ending to work out as it does. But somehow Tolkien's feels more accidental, less deliberately chosen, and he does still have plenty of Evil with a capital E going on too...

Okie. Next tasks: revise Due essay for Bleiler, start Ford interview. Shouldn't take more than an hour -- and then I have to get to the real work, drafting my rare books paper. Which might involve going to the library. Which would involve heading out into a snowstorm. Sigh.

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