Well, can I just say that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed? I had a nice weekend, but upon returning home last night, I felt that I needed a weekend to recover from my weekend. But I did not get one. No, I had to face one of the busiest days of my semester so far. So I’m tired and a bit disgruntled.
I must say that although I enjoyed myself on Saturday once I got involved in the conference itself, traveling on Friday was kind of miserable. I used to love air travel; I loved people watching in airports, and I loved all the time to read on the plane. Now I just dread it all. I didn’t want to leave home, and I felt the whole trip was stupid — a stupid conference, a stupid paper, and a stupid idea to travel during a busy part of the semester.
But I perked up once I got there. I didn’t see much of Albuquerque, since most of my time was taken up with conference things, but I did get a chance to walk through the old town section of the city, 10 or 12 blocks of restaurants, cute shops, and historical locations. That was on Friday evening.
Saturday I spent the whole day at the University of New Mexico campus, listening to papers and giving my own. The conference was on eighteenth-century women writers, and the best part about it was hearing about books and authors I’m now newly inspired to read. There were a lot of papers on Aphra Behn and Eliza Haywood, both of whom I’d like to read more of, particularly Haywood’s novel The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, a book that is a predecessor of Burney’s and Austen’s novels. I also heard a paper on Sarah Fielding’s novel The History of Ophelia that made me want to get a copy ASAP. Both of those books are published by Broadview Press, a wonderful publishing company that puts out editions of lesser-known works; just check out their 18C selection to see how great they are. I came away from the conference with the feeling that there is so much good reading to be had from the 18C; compared to the average reader, I’ve read a lot in the area, I suppose, but there is so much more! And I’m still working my way through Dale Spender’s book, which has greatly increased my list of novels I’d like to read from the time period.
My panel went well. People laughed as I read my paper; I find this interesting because I never would have guessed that my paper was funny in any way at all. It wasn’t my writing that was funny, really, but rather the quotations from the novel I was discussing (Sarah Fielding’s The Adventures of David Simple). It’s fascinating the way that having an audience can bring out aspects of a paper I had no idea were there. I didn’t really get any questions about my paper (a part of the whole process that’s quite scary, as you have no idea what you’ll be hit with), but my panel (there were three of us) and the audience had a good discussion afterward, and I got some nice comments.
It was a small conference and very friendly — unlike some conferences where people are snooty and mean and only want to talk with the important people and take every opportunity to show off. So I hung out with some other conference-goers on Saturday night and we had a good dinner and a couple bottles of wine and I didn’t get enough sleep that night.
And now I’m here, back home trying to recover. Maybe I’ll have a chance to rest next weekend??