A Letter

Dear Friends,

I know I have not been as good at keeping in contact with you, individually, as I ought. And there are many excuses I could plead, some of which might even be acceptable ones, but they are only that: excuses. Guilty as my conscience is, I might offer such even if I had not done wrongly not to write to you or otherwise get into some kind of contact, but I did do wrongly, as I well know. So I offer my apology for letting it be so long since I have reached out to you; I hope you will accept it and that we can keep in touch, moving forward, but I will understand if you do not, if we cannot.

I have been working on several blogging projects, including this one; I still post poems at my personal blog, and I still post something that seems like scholarship or moves that way for the Tales after Tolkien Society. Here, of course, I have been working on my Hobb Reread–and I have been neglecting too many other things. Having left academe almost completely behind–I no longer teach, I only rarely tutor, and I have not been doing much in the way of research, having limited access to any apparatus–I should have a much more open schedule for things than I seem to do. But I do not do them.

Again, I make no excuses for it. I do note, though, that I am still working through my experiences, trying to make sense of them, trying to construct something like a cohesive narrative of how I fell away from my intent yet again–I was going to be a band director when I grew up, then an English teacher, then an English professor, and none of those seems to have happened and stuck–and arrived in my current situation. I do decently enough that I ought not to complain, as I well know. I have a decent job that lets me help people, I am engaged in my community (to some extent), and I have a good family; each is worth enjoying. But I cannot let go of some bitterness and hurt. I should, but I am not sure how–or I am not sure I will land well when I finally fall completely away.

There are senses in which I have let go of too much. For all the problems academe has–and there are many, many problems, not least of which are the systemic racism, sexism, and classism embedded within it, despite the lip-service paid to equality and parity by many–it did have transformative effects upon me, effects which depend in large part on continued involvement within it. I do not have access to information as I did before, or at least not as ready, and I do not have as much time to sit and take in that information as I once did, as much time to turn it over in my mind and make it fit into structures that only barely suggested themselves before. And I can feel my mind stultify from the lack.

But I have prattled on long enough by now. I hope you and yours are well and will remain so, and I hope that I will hear from you again.


Geoffrey B. Elliott

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