Stephanie Burgis
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I'm off in a few hours for Oxford and the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference. My cool suits and impressive boots are packed; I've read through and panicked over the paper I'm due to present; I'm a bit nervous, as usual, about the prospect of socializing with so many (albeit interesting and intelligent) strangers for three days. But just now, a lovely memory from last year popped up--a wonderful, delicious French bakery-cafe I found only a few blocks away from St. Hugh's college. I remember getting the most amazing coffee and French-style hot chocolate, served by a waiter who called me "Madame"...and, a bit further away, in the center of downtown Oxford, a fantastic student-y cafe, with massive bowls of steaming soup and great big cups of Fair Trade coffee, and piles of newspapers everywhere to pick at and read for hours.

I'm feeling much happier about the trip!

I'm taking Music of the Stars with me. Change of scene, good change in perspective? Who knows? But I'm enough of a geek to love the idea of working on my novel in an Oxford coffee shop. May the ghosts of the Inklings (Tolkien, Lewis, Dorothy Sayers) surround me! :)

Have a great end-of-week, everybody.

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