and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint...

TORn is looking for the best Tolkien-based fan-art out there. I know some of your reading this (Ellynn? Dreamflower? *nudges*) draw some really nice pictures and make other pieces. And even if you don't, you probably know of someone who does.

So do, have fun with it! And drop a link here as well so we can all *ooh* and *ahh* over it.

another discussion post for the Boromir essay

I'd like some more thoughts leading up to the Boromir essay I'm working on. This time I want your opinions on a more general question. Specifically: What do you think is the "canonical" view on things like sex, marriage, gender roles, homosexuality, etc.? Not so much what you'd feel comfortable writing in your own story - how do you think Tolkien imagined these things playing out in his world, and where did you get that impression?

Please comment with your opinions here:

Boromir Essay Post #2: Let's Talk About Sex!

Boromir quotes needed

I'm developing an essay on Boromir (and other topics, like the way we view canon and Tolkien's views on sex), and I'd like some help with the research. What comes to mind when you think of Boromir? Are there any quotes that make you see him the way you do? What are your favorite Boromir fanons? (Also: icanhas link please, if you know a good story or two playing with that idea?)

I want to get all the comments in one place, so I'm closing comments here. But please do feel free to weigh in at my other blog:

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Just a quick reminder - I'm mostly blogging these days at marta_bee.

In theory, to my mind fidesquaerens is for religion/philosophy/politics and telperion1 is for more fannish things, but the way I think about fandom these days is more as an illustration of those deep thoughts. Meaning I'm actually not saying much that's purely fannish, though I still love fandom; it's just that when I talk about Tolkien it's quite often mixed in with real-word concerns. If that makes sense.

Plus, inertia being as it is... well, I'm almost always logged into marta_bee so it's just simpler to post there.

All of which is to say: if you're reading this and want to keep up with what I'm saying these days, please do "friend" the marta_bee account. If I actually write anything fannish (either a purely fannish blog post or actual fanfic) I'll also post it here. But 90% of what I say these days will probably go up at marta_bee these days. Don't want to lose track of anyone!

meta slash discussion is meta-y

Aliana has a very nice discussion of slash going on at her blog. Do drop by and feel free to weigh in. She's less interested in whether slash is valid or not, and more about how people read it, the issues with integrating a realistic look at non-hetero romance into historical fandoms, and the like.

Those are some big fancy words, and I don't mean to give you the wrong impression. It's mainly some of the "big names" in my corner of fandom (and some who are neither) discussing why they write slash and how it plays out for them. Do check it out. As a way of whetting the appetite, here are some of my own comments, slightly edited to make my point clearer:

My OTP in Tolkien fandom is Boromir/Theodred. I swear up and down it's in canon, even though the two never meet. It just always makes such literary sense to me: Faramir/Eowyn being about rejuvenating things that were long buried in the past; Eomer/Lothiriel about repairing the damage done and moving forward into the future; and Boromir/Theodred being about the loss of being caught in a kind of endless now. I never felt like I was inventing it, though I know other people didn't see it.

And later on down the thread:

On sadness in slash, I get what you mean. I guess for me there is an element of devil-may-care self-sufficiency to slash. As in: you know society will never approve of your love, so you find ways to move beyond the need for that? With no dynastic concerns, there is an element of finitude - the neverending now, as I said. That can be tragic and sad, but also can be liberating in its own way, and in a weird way it infuses the relationship with the meaning and passion I think the gift of death is supposed to do for mortal men (as opposed to the long defeat of the elves). I guess in my own writing of B/T I try to reclaim the relationship from the cultural expectations for it.

But don't comment on that here. Click on over and let the whole class see what you think, about my B/T assertions or the topic of slash generally.

MEFA goodies

Hey guys,

This morning I got to do one of my favorite MEFA-related tasks: emailing all the authors competing in the MEFAs who won an award, to give the good news. (Full results will be available to everyone in a few days.) So I thought I'd share my stories that did well in the MEFAs:

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I'll be making a formal post later tonight over at the mefas community, thanking our many volunteers who helped pull off the MEFAs. But I want to say it now, that I really can't thank aranel_took enough. She has designed us a site more or less from scratch, dealing with my frantic "I know this particular feature goes live in eight hours, but I'm not really sure it's doing what I intended" emails, and generally doing more to keep me sane and keep the MEFAs running smoothly than I have a right to expect of anyone, myself included. Praise her, with great praise!

There are other people who have likewise risen above the call of duty, my own reviewers not least of all. (I honestly am not sure when some of them found the time to sleep!) And many other people who have quietly but reliably gone about volunteering so that no one noticed things could go wrong. Can we say "team effort"? More on all that tonight in the official post. But thank you, all of you!

another year, another MEFAs

The 2011 MEFAs have been closed for nearly three hours now. I'm more or less the public face of this fannish awards program, though others do the lions' share of the work most days. (aranel_took jumps to mind, though there are certainly others.) I have sort of gone on politics safari this year, which combined with grad school and teaching meant that I haven't made time for the MEFAs both as a volunteer and as a reviewer like I wanted to. Since this is the time for New Years' resolutions, I can only promise to try to do better next year.

I did manage to write twenty-six reviews. Every year with the MEFAs there are stories that don't compete, either because the author chooses not to or because they aren't nominated for some reason, or simply because they've already run in the past. And this year in particular, there were many great stories that I just didn't get around to reading. Even so, I wanted to share the stories I did review - not because they're the best but because every one of them is well worth the read. Listed more or less in the order I reviewed them, which is no particular order at all.

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Every year I try to recognize one new author whose work really caught me off-guard and who I'll now be following more closely. This year I want to do something different, mainly because I made so little time for the awards that I didn't really read much outside my comfort zone. Instead, I want to spotlight an author I've been following for years (with or without reviewing regularly), but that I don't think I've given half the credit she deserves.

That person is Oshun. She is a long-term member of the Silm corner of the fandom, and consistently writes work that seems true to Tolkien's 'verse and at the same time not confined by it. But what really made my jaw drop this time around was the quality of her non-fiction. She writes a column for the Silmarillion Writers Guild most months where she spotlights a character and looks at a controversy or issue surrounding them. She always has her facts as far as I can tell and also has her thumb on the beat of canon. But even more than that, she shows why the characters are interesting. It's a shame that she writes so many in a way, and that non-fiction stories have to always compete together, because I think this may put her at a disadvantage. But I walked away from reading her Gildor column imagining a conversation between Pippi and Gildor on shall we just say Gildor's ambiguous family tree and have drafted the first half of that vignette. I can think of no higher comment for an author than to say her work has inspired me to take up the story's thread. So if you are not reading her fiction and in particular her SWG columns, I highly encourage you to start.

One last thing before I plough back into MEFA-related tasks. I wanted to offer a sincere thanks to my own reviewers. You know who you are, and I will try to reply privately over the next few days, but I also wanted to thank you publicly. On more than one occasion, the site of a motorcycle or a little boy with ears that stick out have quite literally reduced me to tears this last year, and a review on one of my stories has, well not made it all better but definitely earned a smile in spite of that. You guys have lessened the load, and you've also gratified me that some small bauble still affects someone. I appreciate that, too.

angry blog commenters vs. fanfic comments

Slate has an interesting article on the rise of the angry commenter on the Internet:

This made me think: do you guys see fandom as having more, less, or about the same angry commenters than the internet in general? Are there differences between the two types? Why do you think that is?

(Originally posted to DW; the crosspost thing failed again. Am emailing their support right now...)