Well. So. I obviously shouldn't have been whining about my conference attendance. I had a rather glorious weekend, ye see. Notwithstanding the cold. It was lovely. I feel completely enlivened.
It was, first of all, the conference itself. What a joy. It was small and intimate. I didn't know many people besides Mentor, but felt just so warmly welcomed into this circle. I feel as if I made some real connections with people. Had one particularly fantastic conversation at the dinner last night with a person I'd met once before, in the summer at Congress - the two of us sat there til the restaurant closed, and then (rather unsuccessfully) moved on to a nearby bar. Such a good conversation about things that really matter.
The sessions themselves - I attended every timeslot - were roundly great. I felt challenged in a way I haven't in a while. It makes me realize how pedestrian my everyday intellectual life is these days. So teaching-oriented, and that ends up reducing complexity, so much of the time. Sad. This was a real intellectual rush for me, this event. It got me thinking in all sorts of ways - including some great ideas for teaching...(My paper? Meh...fine. Well-attended, received without argument, but felt somewhat out of place. And I had taken an extra-strength decongestant, which had dried me all out, so my lips were sticking to my teeth in ridiculous, constantly embarrassing ways. But it was fine, overall.)
And spending time with Mentor was wonderful...we went out for drinks, she and I and a current grad student of hers, at a quiet bar on Friday night. It's been ages since I've had such a lovely night - I felt in touch with myself again.
Then, too, there was the fact of being away from Scary City with Potential.* I didn't know this would mean so much to me. But yes - being out of here mattered. I felt free. (Hmmm. That's not good, really, in terms of what it says about my negative experience of this place. Anyway, this is a time for dwelling on good things!)
I came home bubbly and energized and chirped away on the phone to R for a long while. I want this feeling to last...
*Recent events have prompted me to an amalgamation of its two names.