It's not been a good year, symbolized by the fact that I didn't go anywhere for the first three months, except constantly back and forth within a small radius. The year having begun with the death of a beloved cat, it then became far grimmer with the death of a beloved mother. Also there have been dead friends, and even more dead friends-of-friends. We do have a new and delightful cat, but other losses could not be so repaired. I did get to go to a wedding, but that turned out bittersweet. It's not been a good year. Did I say that?
And then I wrote ...
Nevertheless, some stuff got done. Volume 11 of Tolkien Studies was done ... very late ... the hard copies have just turned up, and reviewers will have their copies shipped out by slow boat very soon. I had three hard-copy articles published: a tribute to Tom Shippey in his festschrift, which I wrote about five years ago; a hefty article on Tolkien and his contemporaries for a large academic volume, which I wrote in a tearing hurry in the summer of 2013; and a short article on C.S. Lewis's opinion of Oxford's great entrepreneur, Lord Nuffield, which I wrote in early 2014, presented at Mythcon, and had published in CSL: The Bulletin of the New York C.S. Lewis Society, in July. I've been nibbling at another Tolkien article for a conference I'm attending in April, but that's been about it for fantasy scholarship, though my review of Hobbit III has, in its Blogspot version, become the most-read post I've ever put there, largely through my linking to it on the Tolkien Society blog.
On the other hand, I had 32 concert reviews and other articles on local music-making published in my two venues, San Francisco Classical Voice and the San Mateo Daily Journal. That's kept me very active and there's no sign of a letup impending. These included the challenges of reviewing a cycle of all six Bartók quartets, which I hardly claim to find comprehensible; and Mahler's Ninth Symphony, which I hardly claim to find tolerable. But the results were some of my better work of the year, and as a job it's a great gig to have. I got to two music symposia, one of which I covered for SFCV; two sf/fantasy conferences, Potlatch and Mythcon, and was introduced to the Popular Culture Association, which I may well stick with.
And then I went ..
Cities I’ve stayed in this year away from home:
Ashland OR (twice)
Santa Maria CA
San Diego CA
Of the 17 stays (36 nights), 8 stays (21 nights) were with B. accompanying me. That is a good percentage. This was an unusual year in that it included more visits to other cities within my own state than is typical. It’s also unusual in that I probably have never before traveled to as many states in one year that I didn’t stay overnight in, and certainly not within such a brief time. They were IA, MO, DE, PA, NJ, NY, CT, and RI, the first two of these being in an hour spent at the corner where they meet IL, and the last six being in one day’s unbroken ride on Amtrak.