The English department had a symposium this weekend, which meant that I and most of my friends spent the last week going insane, writing draft after draft of our work and getting together to run different versions by each other. Which led to a wonderfully insane night at the library during which half the Writing Center consultants critiqued the other half, laughing and joking around, and made me feel waaaay better about presenting a paper on libertine poetry to the department. (I realized only after it was too late to back out that presenting the paper I was most proud of from last semester meant talking in public about masturbation!)

There was a blizzard the night before and the roads were a mess, but Teresa was incredibly kind and came to pick me up in time for my morning session. Much as I hate to admit it, there are times when an SUV is the right tool for the job–the roads were really hellish. Despite the bad weather and the early session, a bunch of my friends came to cheer me on, which meant a really huge amount to me. I have some seriously amazing friends out here, I can’t say that enough.

Overall, the sessions were fascinating: people presented on everything from Hawthorne to gym culture, from Watchmen to Moby Dick. James’ Stowe paper felt like a rousing pulpit sermon and gave me goosebumps. Shauna’s paper on House of Seven Gables sounded even better the second time around, and I love how she showed Hawthorne going against the grain of his contemporaries. Raul blew us all away with a mixture of lit crit and memoir. Justin pulled things out of Watchmen that I hadn’t noticed even after dozens of readings. And that’s just scratching the surface of a nine-hour, multi-track symposium. Great day.


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