Saturday was my last productive day at the Medieval Congress. At the moment it is Sunday morning, and I am sitting in my dorm room, all packed and waiting to meet a colleague for brunch. I had been planning earlier in the week to go to a session with two Lithuanian papers, including one by a scholar from Klaipeda University (where I taught from 1993-94), but my day isn't running as I planned those many weeks ago, so I'm counting 3:15 AM this morning (when the last person left my room) as the end of K'zoo 2007 for me.
Saturday began as a day of magic, and ended as a day of international scholarship. I started out by attending a Societas Magica session (which had three papers that, as it turns out, I knew nothing about), then hit the Societas Magica meeting. Societas Magica seems to be growing a great deal, making me realize that I've missed a lot by not attending the meetings the last two years. We* pitched our book, Curing Elf-shot and Other Mysterious Maladies, and we'll have to see how much publisher-shopping we'll need.
After that, my day shifted suddenly away from medieval magic to international medievalism. I went to a really excellent session in which old friends Tai-Won Kim and Ji-Soo Kang gave outstanding papers. Prof. Kang's paper must have been unbelievably wonderful because I loved it even though it was on Margery Kempe (who, as regular readers to the Wordhoard know, I can't stand). A fellow I didn't know at all, Peter H. Goodrich of Northern Michigan, gave a paper suggesting the use of the World System approach from economics to creating a global concept of the Middle Ages. I knew nothing about the World System approach, but found it interesting, so I'll no doubt be looking in to it this summer.
This was followed by a dinner where we presented a copy of Global Perspectives on Medieval English Literature, Language, and Culture to Paul Szarmach. The book is not really quite ready, but with the time delay with so many contributors in Poland and Korea, these things can only be hurried along so much. In either case, I'm looking forward to putting a copy on my shelf and putting it out of my mind for a while. The only disappointment was that none of our Polish colleagues from the Medieval English Studies Society could make it this year.
Now for the final score ... my mantra coming into the Congress this year was "don't over-commit." I've got a 4-4 load (two of which are freshman comps every semester), so over-commiting is very easy for me to do. Every year I come to K'zoo exhausted from the semester, and every year I leave excited about all of the projects I plan to do over the summer. This year's score of commitments:
Scholarly articles: 3
Popular articles: 1
International conferences: 1
Domestic conferences: 0
Bloggy commitments: 1
Is that over-commitment? Probably. But I commited to ZERO BOOK PROJECTS this year, so I'm doing better than I have in a long time. Hooray!
*By "we" I mean Kathryn Laity, with me standing behind her making supportive noises. Of course, looking at the cover page, I noticed yesterday that I had made myself first editor without thinking about it. Perhaps to resolve any potential dispute we can resort to cage fighting -- two editors enter, only one leaves.