“I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera.”
-William Butler Yeats
On the 1st of May I traveled to Oxford with friends to see Victoria Schwab deliver the sixth Tolkien lecture called ‘In Search of Doors’. It was wonderful and passionate and very moving. Fantasy has always been my genre of choice and it was so nice to hear someone put into words the things I’ve felt over the years. Books are absolutely my doorway and fantasy has been the doorway of choice since I was 13. She articulated a lot of feelings I’ve had over the years so well. I guess that’s why she gets the big bucks! 🙂
This is the second time I’ve heard Victoria speak and the second time I’ve met her and she is such a lovely person. She comes across incredibly genuine and respectful. As someone who finds it often times difficult to separate authors from their work, especially in the age of social media, it is heartening to meet an author who respects her readers, continues to be engaging and seems to be true to herself.
So I took this trip with two people I’ve met because of books. We met on Twitter/Goodreads a few years ago and have met up in real life many times. Fra is based in Dublin and is slowly encouraging me to be more extroverted. She isn’t a miracle worker but I now go to actual author events, and at times even speak to them, which I would never have contemplated doing 4 years ago.
Karen also blogged about our trip on Bury The Cheese which is one of my new favourite blogs.
Despite a rocky start (some missed flights may have happened) we had such a lovely time. I absolutely love and adore the non book people in my life but there really is something magical about spending time with people who love the things you love just as much. I’m so lucky to have a lot of these people in my life, and even though I complain about it at times, social media is to thank for these people. We probably sound like terribly boring people when we are out because we can chat about books and authors and plots for hours, we also do a fair amount of giving out about normal everyday things as well. Books though, books are the foundation of these friendships and I think that’s as solid a foundation as you can get for a friendship.
The above W.B. Yeats quote about sums Oxford up for me. How does anyone get anything done there? I mean I knew it was going to be pretty but it was actually just showing off. Everything was picture perfect and we were incredibly lucky with the weather so that just made it even prettier. I managed to get a photo during one rainy spell though and it was still picture perfect.
We had lots of food and drinks in the Head of The River which I’d very much like to stay in on my next trip there. We brunched in George Street Social, they didn’t have Bloody Mary’s but we made do, visited the adorable Story Museum and had a wander around the Ashmolean Museum where we spotted a fabulous and surprisingly glittery outfit as worn by T.E. Lawrence, the real life Lawrence of Arabia.
It was a jam packed two days and I can’t wait for our next trip. There is talk of Stratford-upon-Avon, Manchester and Edinburgh. We are also toying with the idea of making the Tolkien lecture a yearly event. Books really do take you places. 😀