Friday, July 23, 2010

There, AND Back Again

So, yesterday came a most welcome parcel in the mail: my lost notebook. The good folks at the hotel in Dallas found it in our room after we checked out -- where, I can't imagine, but of course this means in future when checking out from a hotel room I'll check in drawers and under beds even more obsessively than before. The guy in charge of security (which includes lost and found) was away on vacation when Janice called (since we didn't realize it was gone until we got back here, several days following the conference, and even then had to wait an extra day while my lost suitcase caught up with us, all the while hoping against hope it'd be inside), but thanks to the information she got I was able to get ahold of the person filling in for him on the phone, who took my information, checked, and called back the next day with the welcome news it'd been found. They got it in the mail to me, and here it is -- never to roam again. Time it was retired, & in fact I've already bought a (somewhat slimmer, more easily packed in my carry-on satchel) successor.

So, just what's in it? Well, for years* I've kept a series of notebooks, since otherwise I find that any notes I take (say, when attending a conference or event) quickly get lost in the unsorted piles I'm continually trying to reduce into the order and accessibility of neatly-labelled files. So a decade or so back I switched to hardcover notebooks, which I cd cram more into and use for longer periods than the digest-sized spiral-bound ones I'd been using since about the time I arrived at Marquette (1981). The one I started about a decade ago (May 2000) got retired early, around the end of 2004, so that I cd use its remaining pages for my Reading List (#II.2221 through #II.2860 so far).** The first entry in the one just recovered, the 'Red Book', dates from July 2006 and the last from Saturday July 11th, almost two weeks ago now. During that time I attended three Medievalist Congresses at Kalamazoo, made several research trips to the Wade and Marquette, and took part in other Tolkien events and gatherings, all recorded in this book.*** It still has about thirty blank pages in the back, but I'm not going to risk taking it on another outing after this narrow escape. Though it did turn out that the title 'There and Back Again' stamped on its front cover did prove prophetic.

Welcome back!

--John R.

*starting with Mead 'Organizers' (anyone else remember them?) my first year in high school, about the same time I started keeping my Reading List (10th grade, circa 1975). I also keep a pocket notebook, but that dates back to at least 1971 and I've never found any way to organize them, though I do set aside the most valuable of them (e.g., from the 2007 Bodleian trip).

**DE NUGIS CURIALIUM [tr. 1924] by Walter Map (read May 6th-14th, 2000) and THE MARACOT DEEP [1929] by A. C. Doyle (read July 18th-22nd 2010), respectively.

***although more and more I find that notes from my visits to archives are getting preserved in Word files on my laptop, not in a physical notebook, since it's easier to add to electronic files on subsequent visits and to search them for specific points. Hence most such visits from the Bodelian research trip in Oct. 2007 and subsequent Marquette and Wade sessions aren't recorded herein.

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