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Hand ta gawd, I'm here at Princeton, I'm workin' hard, I'm on my best behavior and I haven't once on these hallowed grounds uttered the c word (within audible range of anyone who looks like they wouldn't benefit from it). But Ann Herendeen's arriving soon, so I'm hoping to make up for lost c-word time by getting her to dish about her upcoming bisexual Regency -- the one she spilled 'bout on RBTB back in '06, "Pride/Prejudice."
Anyways, since you'll agree that all scholarship and no play makes Michelle a dull Bella, I came up with a fun (to me) little list for both your edification and mortification. Bellas and Bellos, I give you the
Top Five Things You Probably Won't Hear Uttered at the Princeton Romance Scholarship Conference (But Would if I Were in Charge...)
5. Hey, Crusie! Let's bag the feminism panel and hang at the pub with those hunky beasts from the rugby team.
4. Hi. Is this the registration table for the Mr. RomanceScholar Wet Boxer-Briefs contest?
3. Sheesh! What's a chick gotta do to score a little boy on boy 'round here?! Oh, my. Bill? Eric? I was talking about erotic romance books. But you two sure know how to fix a girl a delicious sammich...
2. Do you think Buonfiglio'll get funding for her new Male Gender Studies Program, "The Princeton Manhood Project?"
And the #1 thing you probably won't hear at the Princeton Romance Scholarship Conference:
1. Does this dissertation make my ass look fat?
Do you always say what's on your mind? Or do you have a working "social filter" that keeps you from blurting out the first comments that pop into your brain and sometimes can be, well, maybe a tad inappropriate? -- and --
What message from you would you like me to give the folks at Princeton who sponsored the romance conference to thank them for respectfully bringing the books we love to the Ivies?
***Thursday Nite Update: I've gotta run to get ready, but I want you to know that Ann Herendeen says hi, as well as Beverly Jenkins, both of whom I spent time with solving all the ills of the world. If only folks listened to us.
I also met a pair of smarty pantses -- one black, one white, both wonderful -- who write HEA, multicultural chicklit. They're going to visit us soon, cause they have so much to say about the new face of America and the stories that can and hopefully will be told – and they deserve for more folks to know about them.
Bill Gleason also sends his best and is a marvelous host for the conference and, I think, pleased as punch to welcome romance to Princeton.
Last night’s panel kicked off the conference fabulously with Eloisa James bringing the house down, talking about feeling shame about reading and writing romance as the daughter of an academic and a tenured prof.
Jennie Cruisie followed by declaring “I have no shame.” She spoke off the cuff about her experience with fellow academics trying to get her to agree that romance is “trash,” and not in the good way we know it to be, but she wouldn't give away her power. She also told the SRO crowd of students (go them!), scholars, readers and admin that romance is feminist and ticks folks off because it’s subversive in putting chicks at the center of the story, empowering them and allowing them HEA (which Cruisie terms Optimistic Endings, though to me that refers to some but not all romances and scares me cause it reminds me of Women’s Fiction, and that always makes me shudder when I remember how much I read in past– kind of in the same way I do when I remember those rainbow gauchos I wore in middle school). But we know what she means.
Tania Modleski gave a fascinating presentation and w/in spoke of a term which would seem oxymoronic, yet I would apply to our online community, the Intimate Public. It’s a group of individuals we speak to – or write to – assuming they think as we do. It totally resonates with me because of what we do here, and what I’m lucky enough to do with you every day.
And Stephanie Coontz -- historian and author of "Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage a book everyone's agog over. She's a huge fan of detective fiction as her escapist fantasy of choice, but read several romances to prepare her presentation -- and gave one of the best 'talks' I've seen, detailing the history of marriage and how it differs from our idea of romantic love matches. She spoke with an empathy for romance fiction readers, as well as those of us who adore the bastardly hero who's hot on the page, but not so hot IRL. She challenged authors to find a way to 'eroticize equality' of power in sexual relationships, which I later told her I believe often is evidenced in erotic romance fiction which strives to maintain sexual tension in ways other than the turn on of many types of 'fear,' not for safety, but for our emotions. Can you tell I adored her? (Apologies for missing shades of meaning of speakers' presntns. as my note taking can be inadequate).