Two years ago this week (April 16 to be exact), I posted a little thing and asked what people thought of it -- the prologue to my first Boromir inkling. In a way, I am still telling that same story today, two years later! Unfortunately, I haven't always been consistent in my postings, and the tale has been sometimes drawn out longer than it needed to be. The following "conversation" offers a bit of an explanation of what it is often like in the Lin household, as she struggles to balance her duty to the Real World and her duty to Boromir, who gets very "proud and stern of glance" when the balance is not in his favor...... With apologies to Professor Tolkien and all attendees of the Council of Elrond, which is joined in progress...
Linaewen and the List of Doom
...All listened while Elrond spoke in a clear voice.
"Linaewen! What shall we do with her, the writer who starts inklings and never finishes them, who is so easily caught up in her Real World duties and forgets to leave time for her story-telling? That is the doom that we must deem. That is the purpose for which you are called hither. Called, I say, though I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands. You have come and are here met, in this very nick of itme, while there is still a chance that Linaewen can get another chapter written in spite of having to do Income Taxes at the last minute."
At this Boromir broke in. "So that is what became of Linaewen! I have heard of these Taxes, but I believed that she had seen to this duty long ago and was free now to move on to other things. So, she has procrastinated! That is tidings indeed, though not unheard of..."
"Alas, yes," said Elrond. "She has procrastinated, as should not have been. But she listened too often to your counsel, Boromir, and fiddled with story ideas instead of seeing to her RW responsibilities. There was a day when Linaewen kept to a proper schedule and did everything on time, and even had time to spare for doing important things like writing inklings. But now, to our sorrow, she has bitten off more than she can chew, and so her writing suffers."
He ceased, but at once Boromir stood up, tall and proud, before them.
"Give me leave, Master Elrond," said he, "first to say more of Linaewen and my efforts to keep her to task, for verily from the land of Lin I am come. And it would be well for all to know what passes there. For few, I deem, know of my deeds, and therefore guess little of our peril, if she should fail at last and get too busy to write. Believe not that in that land the ideas of Linaewen are spent, nor all her chapters and plotlines forgotten; yet that hour, maybe, is not now far away. The Nameless Enemy of Too Many Interruptions and Unexpected Guests has risen again. The Power of the Real World grows and I am hard beset to keep Linaewn distracted with my tale. This very month, sudden busyness came over Linaewen, and I was swept away. I am outnumbered, for the Real World has allied itself with what Linaewen calls 'Her Bane', though I do not know the meaning of this riddle."
Gandalf nodded sagely and glanced at Frodo.
"Bring out the List, Frodo!" said Gandalf solemnly. "The time has come. Hold it up, and then Boromir will understand the meaning of Linaewen's words, and the remainder of his dilemma."
Frodo felt a great reluctance to reaveal the List; he wished he was far away, so he would not have to reveal the depths of Linaewen's procrastinating. Nevertheless, he took it from his pocket and held it up for all to see. Linaewen's List of RW Things Yet To Be Done seemed a mile long and was a dead weight as Frodo held it up before them in his trembling hand.
"Behold, Linaewen's Bane!" said Elrond.
Boromir's eyes glinted as he gazed at the long List of RW Things Yet to be Done. "The Real World!" he muttered. "Is then the doom of Boromir inklings come at last?"
"The world is changing once again," replied Aragorn. "A new hour comes, and with it many more real world tasks and duties. Linaewen's Bane is revealed. Battle is at hand."
"Linaewen's Bane is revealed, you say," said Boromir. "I have seen a long List in the Halfling's hand; but Linaewen has long been known for making lists and not adhering to them. How do the Wise know that this very List is the doom of her? Why should we not think that the Great List has come into our hands to serve us in the very hour of need? Let us take it and destroy it, that Linaewen might forget she has things to do other than write her inklings!"
"Alas no!" said Elrond. "We cannot destroy the Ruling List. That we know too well. It belongs to the Real World, and can never be utterly destroyed, for another List will take its place. The strength of Lists of Things To Do are too great for anywone to destroy at will, save only those who have already accomplished the tasks on their own lists. As long as this List is in the world, then Linaewen will remain busy and distracted from her writing."
Boromir looked at them doubtfully, but he bowed his head. "So be it," he said. "Then in Gondor we must trust to such ideas as we have. And at the least, while Linaewen works away at the Jobs that are on this List, I will fight on, coming up with even more ideas and plotlines with which to distract her, in the hope that she will forget her List, and join me in writing a Boromir adventure."
"Be comforted," said Elrond. "For there are coffee breaks and lunch hours and days off that you know not, and Linaewen is an expert at sneaking writing time whenever she gets an opportunity..."
Suddenly, the Council session was interrupted by Linaewen, who ran in and grasped Boromir by the tunic.
"Boromir!" she cried. "I thought I told you to keep your speech nice and short! I've finished the vacuuming and I am now taking a coffee break, so I have a few minutes to work on our next chapter if we hurry."
"But what of Taxes?" asked Boromir, waving his hand towards Frodo, who still held the List of Things To Do. "And what of the other things on the Ruling List?"
Linaewen stepped forward and took the Long List from Frodo's hand. She glanced at it briefly, then stuffed it in her pocket. "I still have time," she replied confidently. "I will work better having had a Boromir... er, I mean, a coffee break. Besides, this isn't really a List of Things to Do... it's just a guideline......."
And so balance was restored for the time being; Linaewen and Boromir went off to work on a Boromir chapter, Elrond and the others went off to have a long-delayed lunch, and Mr. Linaewen wondered why he was being stuck with doing the taxes at the last minute.