Me being me, of course, I panicked before I got on the train, when I was on the train, when I went to sleep on Tuesday night and when I was paying homage to Charles Dickens the next morning. I got a little lost, considered staying lost then, finally, pulled myself together and went to the conference. My paper wasn't until Thursday afternoon but there was a lot to keep me distracted until then.
The standard of papers was excellent, as were the plenaries by Dr Elizabeth Hurran and Professor Pamela Gilbert. I particularly enjoyed the guest speaker, Rose Collis, and her talk about 'Grave Matters'. With that and Hurran's paper focusing on anatomy, I came away from the conference a little overwhelmed by dead bodies.
It's difficult to say which of the panels I enjoyed most or, indeed, which individual papers. As I said, the standard was excellent and the topics were diverse. It was unfortunate that my panel 'The Male Body' was up against 'The Female Body (i)' as the papers in there were very interesting. But, really, choosing between panels over the two days was exceedingly difficult - that's a good thing.
And how did my paper ('Androgyny and Disability in Sensation Fiction') go? Well, here are the facts:
- I didn't flee the room
- I got through with minimal pauses and didn't stop for more than a few seconds at a time
- I didn't lose my voice
- The PowerPoint worked
- I answered a couple of questions without panicking
Take that as you will.
There is one other thing to mention about the conference - and that is how amazingly drunk I got on Wednesday night. Something to do with free white wine on an empty stomach. Nevertheless, it calmed me down a little and I started talking...and talking...and talking. I'm assured I didn't say anything I shouldn't have. Ahem!