So, unfortunately I was right that just because I'd reached the end of a piece, it didn't mean I was done working on it. In this case, the problem came when I did a practice reading of my essay and found that it took me twenty-four minutes to read aloud. That's a problem, given that each of us on the panel at Kalamazoo has about fifteen minutes.
So I've been trimming, trying to excise sections yet keep the argument as a whole coherent (and, hopefully, persuasive). Fortunately a practice reading of the Short Version today came out at sixteen minutes. That's much better. Some more polishing of the new transitions and another practice reading between now and then and we shd be good to go.
Oh, and I've changed the title of my piece, from "Valinor in America" to "The Lost Road as Faerian Drama".
Tarkus's contribution to all this is to prove the old adage that nothing makes a cat want to be in a room than a closed door keeping him out. Or then closing it to keep him in. Or not leaving it open after letting him out again.
current reading: the latest Murderbot book by Martha Wells (good so far but not as engaging or gripping as most in the series). After I'm done with it (shdn't take long) I plan to go back to Carpenter's book on The Lost Generation.