Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blogging Across America Without Moving From One's Seat

I forgot to give the report.

Meeting Legal Theory Prof was a tremendous delight! It was fortunate that he was in town and had a free day. And because of my obsessive compulsive need to plan and script my days, I have the capability to be spontaneous within those parameters. Indeed, some might say that I have become as capricious as the Spring zephyr.

I'm unused to having people, other than my best friends, visit me, thus when called upon to provide some suggestions for nourishment and entertainment I was at a loss. And I live a really vibrant, fun college city. There are plenty of great bookstores and restaurants, but what to suggest unless you know your guest's proclivities? When TC visits, it's easy enough: something with pork and four stories of books. Because pigs are delicious, and books are even more so. But the potential for error surrounding a meeting a senior prof is great: it's half job talk, half socialization. I always end up choosing the wrong kind of restaurant: good food but too noisy to talk, and too busy to do so comfortably without feeling rushed out; or mediocre food but quiet enough to feel the awkwardness of the lulls and hear each other comment about how bad the food is; or I completely misjudge the parking situation in Liberal College City and the meeting starts off stressed.

So I mitigated that by entertaining at my house. And yes, I rose at dawn to bake a fresh coffee cake. Did you actually think I was going to serve burnt scones? Frittata and coffee cake ended up fueling almost three hours of conversation, which was lovely. It was most useful conversation--I got a lot of advice about when to publish, going on the market, the vagaries of legal scholarship and theory, institutional culture at schools, etc. And then we got to talking about really fun stuff: shared hobbies like photography, classical music, jazz, opera, and art. and then we ended up trekking to the local school museum and taking some photographs around campus--and before I knew it, the entire day had passed in a really lovely manner.

It's really nice to realize that you can have so much in common with another person. Blogging really shrinks your world in other ways. I get so caught up in being nervous about these blog meetups with more senior profs (seriously, sometimes they can be almost an interview and really stiff and awkward) that I forget how much fun it can be to hang out with them. As Hipster Law Prof says, "yes, we're superfun."

I'm getting a little bolder about meeting up with profs now. It used to make me nervous and twitchy. I used have palpitations about any type of blog meet up. But I'm definitely much more comfortable with contacting a prof in the area (usually a blawgger or commenter who has directly contacted me) whenever I'm traveling, and any prof coming to town (if you know where my current town is) should feel free to contact me. Blogging across America is awesome, especially if I don't have to hop on a plane to do so!