Looking into the Messenger’s eyes they read his thoughts. He was to be lieutenant, and all that remained of the West under his sway; he would be their tyrant and they his slaves. Tolkein (1999: 194), The Return of the King.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the extended version of Lord of the Rings (on DVD), you’re missing out on the Mouth of Sauron, the coolest baddie ever. For his teeth and grin alone, you should get the DVD.
For my family, he’s a bit of fun to parody, mixing him in with Dramatic Chipmunk.
On the blog, he’s my grin of victory. A means of turning something bad or tyrannical into good.
Yesterday, the blog had its TEN THOUSANDTH visitor!! Hard to believe, when my blog isn’t anywhere near as seriously yoga-focussed as other people’s. I’m just a part-time yogini, and I’ll never, ever be a super-bendy yoga chick whose big toe touches her head in Natarajasana. But then, for the life of me I can’t understand how most people find descending from high plank to Chaturanga hard!
Another reason to for the Mouth of Sauron grin is to celebrate is the impending END of writing my thesis.
You see, the PhD has been like a tyrant sitting on my back for 10 years. Like the Black Tower of Mordor, it’s been there in the background, sitting. Making plans beneath the level of my conscious mind. Plotting my downfall. Trying to become “… something else she started but never finished …” A monument to the futility of academic endeavour.
The PhD was also something I was doing because I wanted to prove to my mother that I was good enough. And to make up for leaving High School at the beginning of Year 11 (also to prove to my parents that I was grown up). Ironically, I’m still trying to prove to my parents that I’m grown up – when my own daughter is now at university.
Yet the PhD, internally, is also for me. Simply because I like to write and think and use my creativity. I’ve persisted with it through a marriage break up and depression because of fear -I did not want Sauron to win!- and because I like playing in my head and turning thoughts into words.
The moment is almost here.
The culmination of ten years of research. I’ve done roughly 4 years of field work, and it’s taken 2 years to write it up. Now, now, now, I’m pulling all the threads of my background and data chapters together in the discussion chapter.
The feeling I get when I write is like finding my thesis (my argument) as I write, like staring closely at an individual mosaic tile, then moving back to see hundreds of individual tiles forming a breath-taking scene. When I write, it emerges, it forms, coalesces and becomes real.
Over the next six weeks , I won’t be posting very much. On 27 July, I fly to Canberra to spend a month working intensively with my PhD supervisor, pulling the thesis together and preparing it for submission. I don’t return to Alice Springs until 22 August.
When I try to look forward in my mind, picture my life post-August, I cannot. There is a comfortable blank, and within, a firm knowing.
It will be done.
The Towers of Teeth swayed, tottered, and fell down; the mighty rampart crumbled; the Black Gate was hurled in ruin; and from far away now, dim now growing, now mounting to the clouds, there came a drumming rumble, a roar, a long echoing roll of ruinous noise. (Tolkien, ibid: 270).