Except for when it's Gaskell.
I'm back from Santa Cruz, after a week of intensive listening, reading, and bonding. It's crazy how close I felt to the group of fellow female Victorianists. One afternoon we cut an afternoon talk (which weren't really pitched at us anyways, but rather to the elderhostelers, who were often grumbly and grumpy, and resented reading Gaskell so much that they wanted tshirts that say, instead of "Dickens Universe," "I survived Gaskell nation") to swim at the pool. We took over two lanes and paddled around, and spotted other Dickens Universe participants, but decided we were sufficiently difficult to recognize in the pool. At some point, sitting in the sun, after seeing what everyone remembered of cartwheels and round-offs, we somehow got round to girl talk (the "wait, who do you like?" sort of thing), and I *seriously* felt like we were at summer camp.
The highlight was probably learning the Roger de Coverley dance with someone dressed in period as a Victorian captain as my partner, and being "bottom lady" to a "top gentleman" in a period suit. So now I better understand the dance that seems to be featured in every Austen movie adaptation ever made. But at some point I gave up -- particularly on the waltz -- and watched from the sidelines and caught up with Kenny.
Kind of sad to leave. Although I totally appreciate my bed and my shower (because it doesn't remind me of trying to wash soap off while standing under a drizzling cloud). And I'm totally ready to read something besides Hard Times.