I have arrived in Geneva to present ‘Marvell, Maniban, and the Quest for Privacy’ at an Early Modern Authorship Conference.
This experience continues to be a mixture of anticipation and dread, for a number of private reasons.
One thing that has arisen, though, is how to present yourself to people you haven’t seen in a long time.
Old primary school friends, almost all of whom I have not seen since the age of 11 [and will remember me as a facetious little shit] have suggested a social event in July, which I would love to attend.
But I’ve no idea how to fashion myself at all; the thought itself might just persuade me out of it.
And then there is the academic crowd I encounter again tomorrow: the fair and wonderful professionals who stand strong where I was weak, and who represent everything I want to represent and yet cannot.
How do I reply to the old question ‘how’s it going’? To tell the truth, I fear, would just humiliate me beyond any further measure of respectability.
And yet, where’s the hiding place? Help me, Mr Marvell.
[Written in a 7 min limit.]