Hey, munchkins. Before anything else, I need to clarify a Tolkien point, to satisfy the geeks in the audience. Both Jed and Kevin wrote to me to contradict my last entry; they noted, variously:
Kevin: "Given the number of geeks online, I'm sure you've already received a ton of e-mail about this, but Tolkien's elvish is definitely not just a cypher. He was quite a linguist, and seems to have gone to some trouble to invent a real language (which, if I remember right, seems to most closely resemble Finnish). Anyway, looking quickly at google turns up: http://www.elvish.org which has many more details."
Jed: "I'm sure many other geeks will have written you to say this, but I think what you had in mind wasn't so much Elvish as Dwarvish....Only it turns out I'm wrong. A bunch of people on the Web note that the pretty Elvish script is Tengwar, and the runes (used for engraving) are Cirth, but both are Elvish; the Dwarves apparently never developed writing of their own, and just adopted the Elvish Cirth. In real life, the Cirth are loosely based on Anglo-Saxon "futharc" runes (see http://www.sil.org/computing/fonts/Lang/Runic.html for some fonts) and other related runes (perhaps Viking?)."
And I just gotta say -- they're both wrong. Much as I love my geeks, they overcomplicate things sometimes. Well, they're maybe not wrong, exactly. But my essential point is that there *is* a one-to-one corespondence between English and the runes on Thror's Map (in The Hobbit), and Lisette and I figured that out in high school and wrote messages to each other back and forth in the runes, and my 50th anniversary edition of the book actually has a page detailing this correlation:
"This is a story of long ago. At that time the languages and letters were quite different from ours of today. English is used to represent the languages...Runes were old letters originally used for cutting or scatching on wood, stone, or metal and so were thin and angular. At the time of this tale only the Dwarves made regular use of them, especially for private or secret records. Their runes are in this book represented by English runes, which are known now to few people. If the runes on Thror's Map are compared with the transcriptions into modern letters, the alphabet, adapted to modern English, can be discovered..."
So the point is that Tolkien goofed up, and they came up with a good cover story for it -- that for some reason, although the elvish and dwarfish elsewhere in the book isn't translated to English (though the common language that the hobbits speak is), the elvish/dwarfish runes *are* translated to English runes.
Oof. More than you ever wanted to know, yes? More interesting to me are the first lines of both K and J's letters, that attempt to disclaim their own geekiness by implying that they are only lesser geeks among the many that throng the net. But since they're the only two that bothered to write to me about this -- I guess we *know* just how geeky they are, yes?
I love geeks. :-)
Yesterday was sort of a hard day. I stayed up too late talking to Jed (somehow we got on a long discussion of which f/sf authors shouldn't be missed, that eventually led to my getting out of bed and going to my bookshelves...) and went short on sleep. Not a good plan on a Tuesday; I woke up around 8 and just worked straight through the day until I collapsed in my rocking chair at 10:30 p.m. I only paused for half an hour to have tea with Peter, and that was necessary crisis counselling -- I had gotten a rather nasty critique (it didn't mean to be nasty, I think, but it was very personal, and rather than criticizing the writing in that Karina piece, it spent half a page attacking gay and poly relationships...sigh...) and I wasn't doing so well. Peter was fabulous and helped me put things in perspective, as did Pam on the ride home after workshop. I'm okay about it now. This is Utah, after all.
Anyway, back to work; amazingly, I may actually try to write something today. I have a little BW work to do first; we're going to have the penultimate list meeting today, and I need to do word counts on all the stories we're considering. I should also send out rejection letters on the batch that didn't make the last cut; we're down to about 25 stories now, which means I have about ten letters to send. The not-fun part of the job. At least I can tell all these authors that they did write really good stories...that's something, no?
I'm going to California tomorrow; I'm leaving after classes and will be gone 'til Monday. Will probably be able to update, but it might be a little quiet. Just wanted to warn y'all.
Have a good day, munchkins. Wish me luck with the piece I'm writing!