Woolf Conference, 1: The Chronicle

I’ve just returned from the greatest four days of my working year: the Virginia Woolf Conference and I’ll be unpacking my thoughts all week. Why is this conference so important to me? How could an orgy of talk with other admirers of my favorite writer be anything else? Realizing that I have attended all or part of ten of the fifteen years, made me want to start off with a simple chronicle of some of the most vivid moments.

  1. 1991: Pace University, New York: eating cheese cubes in the lobby, straining to overhear the words of famous folks
  2. 1992: Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven: gamboling with my fellow panelists in a sunny field near the book barn
  3. 1993: Lincoln College, Jefferson City, MO: driving a borrowed black station wagon from the East coast singing to Liza Minelli with my dear friend (who has something I don't--a great voice!)
  4. 1994: Bard College, Avondale-on-Hudson, NY: touring Val-Kill and enjoying the strain of connecting Woolf with Eleanor Roosevelt
  5. 1995: Otterbein College
  6. 1996: Clemson University, Clemson South Carolina: listening to a friend discourse on the necessities and challenges of vegetarianism while trying to find a quick lunch in town
  7. 1997: Plymouth State College, Plymouth New Hampshire: smuggling supplies into the dorm for a great impromptu party
  8. 1998: St. Louis University, Saint Louis
  9. 1999: University of Delaware, Newark, DE: sitting on the steps, overlooking the grand campus boulevard, talking with my dear friend and her eminent, generous advisor
  10. 2000: University of Maryland, Baltimore County: having to go home early with flu and missing Michael Cunningham’s talk
  11. 2001: University of Wales, Bangor: runs through the hilly, mossy, rose-filled town
  12. 2002: Sonoma State University (opted not to mix early pregnancy with a trip to wine country)
  13. 2003: Smith College (reluctant to leave the beloved babe, even for Smith)
  14. 2004: University College, London—lunching in the British Museum, just feet from the round reading room where Woolf set her most famous critique of patriarchy
  15. 2005: Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR—The twin glories of Woolf and my homeland, the Pacific Northwest.