My headline is a blatant come-on. I know that. But I simply can’t resist shouting out loud in cyberspace about Cecil Woolf’s appearance at the Woolf conference.
I met Cecil Woolf at the 17th Annual International Conference on Woolf, which was held in 2007 at Miami University of Ohio, within driving distance of my Northeast Ohio home.
It was my first Woolf conference, and I felt slightly intimidated — despite my advanced age — as I stood by myself at the opening reception. There I was, surrounded by the brilliant Woolf scholars whose books were my friends, even though the writers themselves were complete strangers to me.
Drew Patrick Shannon, a young Woolf scholar from the Cincinnati area, sort of took me under his wing that evening. He and his friends were funny and bright, and they seemed to know everyone. One person they knew — and pointed out to me — was Cecil Woolf.
The next day, while browsing the book tables, I lingered at the one covered with artfully decorated softcover volumes published by Cecil Woolf Publishers. It was staffed by Cecil himself, and our conversation lasted right through the next conference session.
One conversation led to another, and by the time I drove home from Oxford, I had agreed to write a monograph for Cecil on Woolf and weather, a topic I had been researching and musing about for six years.
Drew, who congratulated me that day but wondered aloud what idea he could pitch to Cecil, is now writing How Should One Read a Marriage? Private Writings, Public Readings, and Leonard and Virginia Woolf. It will be published in Cecil’s Bloomsbury Heritage Series later this year.
So if you are on the fence about attending the conference, get off the fence and into the city. Even if you have to beg, borrow or steal the $45 for a one-day pass.
Besides all of the fabulous sessions on the conference schedule, believe this: You won’t want to pass up the opportunity to meet Cecil Woolf. You never know what may come of it.
Stop by the opening reception for the conference, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 4, where I will be signing copies of my monograph, Reading the Skies in Virginia Woolf: Woolf on Weather in Her Essays, Her Diaries and Three of Her Novels. Cecil will be there too.
The signing will be held in Fordham University’s Lowenstein Plaza Lobby, 113 W. 60th St. in New York’s Lincoln Center.