Good afternoon, friends!
Karen just reminded me that I should let you all know that I had my six-month follow-up check-up at the end of June, and that there was no sign of any cancer. (I didn't send an update then, because they were concerned about elevated bilirubin levels — but it looks now as if these are due to a completely benign condition called Gilbert's Syndrome — so that's all right!) It'll be another 4½ years before they'll give me the "all clear," but for this particular cancer, the first year is by far the most likely time for any recurrence. So this is really good news!
As for the book chapter, I'm afraid I have to report that they had to go to press without me — I just wasn't able to pull everything together quite in time. This may turn out to have a silver lining, however, as there are many color graphics that wouldn't have come out very well with their available printing methods; so instead, I will shortly be submitting the work to a peer-reviewed on-line journal. If approved, the chapter will appear as an article there, with all the graphics available in their full high-res format. So that's good, too!
As some of you have seen on Facebook, I was able to go to England this summer to attend two conferences in Leeds (a small Tolkien conference and the annual Medieval congress, which has sessions relating to Tolkien and also to maps) and to do some research at Oxford University. All of this was very useful for the work I'm doing, of course, but just being at these places in England was both humbling and exhilarating — and, rather obviously, I was amazingly grateful to be well enough to travel and work abroad.
This next summer, the Tolkien Society will be hosting what I believe is expected to be the largest Tolkien-focused conference ever, in Birmingham, England, a few weeks after the annual Medieval conference in Leeds. I'm hoping to be able to attend both (and to give a paper on Tolkien's first map for The Lord of the Rings), and to spend the intervening time doing further research at Oxford.
I'll only mention it here on PostHope this one time, but if you might like to support my Tolkien research and tool development in a tangible way, please take a look at my new Patreon page.
I'll send a quick update in December after my one-year follow-up!