Travelogue: Somewhere between Bath and Oxford – Day 23 We — me, a colleague, and ten ducklings, as I've taken to calling our students — are presently on the train back to Oxford after our day-long excursion to Bath. We made the trip to visit the 1,500-year-old Roman baths that give the town its name. The incredible site and museum didn't disappoint. (In fact, if you're interested to read more about our adventure, as reported by my Creative Writing students, check our post on the program's blog: http://exceloxfordtuscany2013.goputney.com/2013/07/06/creative-writing-at-bath/)
In addition to marveling at the impressive pools, which are still fed by the same spring that made them the hot spot (haha) they were in 100 A.D., and the ancient artifacts, I walked around chuckling to myself because heads feature centrally in the exhibit and narration about the temple that once stood on the site. Why is this funny? Well, as some of you know (and/or heard) the title of the academic paper I snuck off to Manchester to present at the Narrative conference this last weekend was: "'To be the lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms': Heads in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest." Yep.
On that note, a brief word about the conference, which I'm happy to report was a big success, on all fronts: I pulled my talk together in time; I reconnected with one of my Dartmouth professors who now wants to write a letter for my dossier; I coerced myself into more professional mingling than I'm typically wont to engage in; and I got to spend quality time with some of my dearest far-flung friends (Mike B, Cécile and Marco) while also making new ones. In sum, I couldn't be happier about Manchester. Though I should have been a little less social that last night, which saw us staying out to soak up Northern British culture with the locals until sunrise — even though that was *only* 4:30am — since I got the first train back to Oxford the next morning in order to greet the arriving students.