- Like Tolkien, was a Catholic. This became important in his first few short stories, which retold parts of the Bible (chiefly the story of the Nativity) from the point of view of Maiar familiar to Tolkien's readers (since Maiar are, after all, angels).
- He was a teacher of English as a Second Language. Some of his misadventures teaching boys in China led to Real Life Writes the Plot in his Elf, Interrupted stories when characters were learning a new language (most were Noodle Incidents briefly referred to, but there was one plot relevant scene where Finrod was teaching a Telerin friend Sindarin, and he committed a gaffe that had Finrod and his companions on the floor laughing.) Also visited Germany and taught there before returning to the United States, his home country.
Trivia / Fiondil