Linaewen and the List of Doom
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
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 had 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
"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.