24 November, 2007

Post-Lecture Debriefing!

Yesterday went well.

I was up till about 3am on Wednesday working on the paper before I said "nuts to this!" and went to sleep. I woke up at about 10:00 Thursday morning, and a very fast shower was followed by 2.5 hours of frantic paper-finishing. I was having some trouble with the Latin of a key passage, and since my argument depended heavily on the translation of both individual words and the semantic sense of the whole sentence, I needed to get it just right. Eventually I gave up on the worst of it in the interests of time, and went to get myself ready.

When you're pretty nervous, looking professional is a big deal - you feel more professional. So I did what I could, with the makeup I so rarely wear, and the hair I bother to straighten even more rarely than I wear makeup. I put on my "grad student" clothes, far different from my current work clothes. I looked like the lecturers I used to go see.

Anyway, when I got to campus, Excellent David helped me sort out the tricky Latin. Fie on you, idioms that look like plural accusatives! Fie! Fortunately, the sense was exactly what I was hoping it was, so I could scribble it into the talk more or less seamlessly.

The Lecture
The lecture itself went better than I had hoped. I had the whole thing on paper, but I wasn't afraid to deviate. 4-5pm was the time allotted, including questions, and I spoke for roughly 50 minutes. Perfect.

I made some truly last-minute substitutions of examples in my introduction, but the end result was far better, for more relevant, and far more personal. I hope I managed to do honour to someone who is very worthy of it.

Reports afterwards were that I was shaky at the beginning, but managed to find my stride fairly early on. I certainly felt the stage-fright at the beginning and my throat was seizing up. I had to dig out the bottle of Pepsi I'd brought with me, but I was too nervous to open it. In the end, I just kind of rested my hand on it/held it, and that seemed to steady me. Weird, but it worked. I'll have to make sure I have a bottle of something on hand next time.

Or maybe I'll just have a beer right before.

Anyway. It was nice to have my little cheering section there - thanks, guys, even if you were the most disruptive members of the audience! You just can't get good roadies these days. There were at least five "strangers" in the crowd: not bad, given the disgusting weather and the obscurity of the topic. Two of them took notes, as if I was some sort of authority worth paying attention to! (I better not let that get to my head...)

Question period was good, even if there was only two questions. It was very bizarre, being asked for further reading and having to answer "There is none. You've heard everything that exists today."

I found as I was writing the sections which drew on medieval texts the most interesting (naturally). But I am very excited that I have begun drawing conclusions based on primary sources. Beginning to theorise a construct of medieval mental impairment. I am so stoked to see Dr. Turner's book when it comes out. I can't wait to see if she's been thinking along the same lines as me. But I digress.

After the lecture came the gorging. It's departmental tradition to take guest lecturers out for dinner afterwards, so off we trooped to find much food and alcohol! I was quite hungry, having been too nervous to eat prior to the talk. We found both much food and much alcohol. And much laughter. I enjoyed spending the time with the people who have spent so much time and effort getting me to the point I am at now. Good friends.

Many Many Thank-Yous!
Thank you to Excellent David, who may never see this but was the mastermind behind the whole shebang, and who helped me with last-minute Latin.
Thank you to Margaret, for her comments on the introduction, which were very helpful.
Thank you, Brent, for driving on the way up so I could practice, and on the way back so I could drink at dinner.
Thank you Ramona, for being so encouraging and for being my sounding board. Having someone who understands where I'm coming from when I approach the topic means more than anyone but you could ever know.
Thank you Joni for the laughter and the encouragement, and for all the Latin together.

Now I just have to make all the edits that came in during the actual talk to the paper version, since I've already had two requests for a copy, and I also I hate leaving things half-finished.


Elliot said...

Congratulations! It sounds like it was interesting. :-)

Eaquae Legit said...

Well, I certainly thought it was! Doesn't mean much from the presenter, though, since even the driest and dullest subject is enthralling to the person who takes the time to research their lecture.

Thanks! :)

Kirsten said...

Awesome! Congrats! I'm glad it went well!