Stephanie Burgis
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The conference yesterday was great. Bizarrely great, actually, considering how much I'd been dreading it! My paper was first on the program, it went really well, and it got enthusiastic feedback. (The Q&A session was actually kind of fun! Now that's a real 'first'...) During the lunch break, I had interesting conversations about it with a whole bunch of people I'd never met before, as well as others I knew and admired. There may even be a nice and unexpected opportunity coming out of it...but that's too vague and up-in-the-air right now to blog about!

Anyway, the moment I finished the paper, I felt the stress just flood out of me. And I'm talking MAJOR, accumulated stress from the past two weeks, too! This is worthy of celebration. So last night we invited a friend over and had drinks and chocolate cookies to celebrate the end of Hell Week Two, and the beginning of my winter break. Of course, this is a purely hypothetical winter break, since I'll be continuing to work on writing my next thesis chapter, etc...but I'll feel less hassled by it and I'll be free of teaching, job applications and all other external commitments. (And I'll actually really & truly take off the whole week around Christmas, when Patrick's off work.) So, hurrah for the beginning of the real holiday season!

And I can go back to writing now, with a huge sigh of relief. I spent Tuesday morning working on my fellowship application during our morning writing time (as did Patrick, BTW--he devoted all of his own writing time to helping me with it), and yesterday morning I was too wired about the upcoming conference to write more than a few lines of Chapter Thirteen (which I then promptly deleted this morning when I re-read them). I wrote about a page this morning, feeling dubious and self-critical throughout...I'll try again this afternoon. Every time I have an intense period of academic activity, it eats my mind! Something about spending all day AND all evening thinking about the academics leaves no room for the fiction. Bleagh bleagh. But now it's winter break, and the writing gods are invited to return to me. :)

Nika is settled on her throne (the big comfy chair, which of course has turned into her possession), sleeping soundly while the gas fire crackles and Spanish Renaissance music plays on the stereo. It's shaping up to be a good morning.

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