Well, it’s Wednesday night. In the past couple of weeks I have put together a paper for the conference I’ll be attending tomorrow, and we’ve somehow all managed to get through it without serious meltdowns, fights, financial distress, or crippling illness. I won’t be writing the paper on the bus, or while sitting in panels at the conference. And I won’t be leaving behind an already-stressed spouse who has nothing left to get him through the next three days of 24-hour childcare. As you might have guessed by now, the same can’t be said for many of our past conferences and deadlines.
It helps that this paper is not squarely in my area of expertise, so I’m approaching it with a bit more of a relaxed manner (and, hey, it’s on profanity in war literature, so a sense of humor seems to be in order). And it helps that, with the job market looming, this doesn’t seem like the scariest thing on our radar. But it’s heartening that we will, for once, be able to juggle family and work in reasonable shape. We’ve had reasonable sleep in the past few days, and I’ve even polished shoes for tomorrow and made pretzels to take as a snack.
So, off to join the commuters to London and to immerse myself in all things Ford Madox Ford. It’s a conference built entirely around the recent scholarly edition of his four-volume novel, Parade’s End, and the release of a new BBC miniseries version of it (in case you don’t have the patience for 1000 pages of fiction). So, imagine a room full of people all hugging the same book and gushing. I’m going to enjoy this.