Miss jackiemania Lives For Six Days


Me, Brynn, Our Poster, Allison, and My Professor!

I had the most wonderful experience at the conference I attended! How did you guys know that Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day was the perfect book to bring on this trip?! It not only provided a squishy-heart lightness, laughs, and screwball charm, but I felt like a real Miss Pettigrew — a Cinderella story for the almost middle-aged — where gaining your true self and true life is the prize.

I arrived in Indianapolis as, well, me. A person who works full-time and takes a class every semester and loves to read and learn but doesn’t have too many outlets for it, just like Miss Pettigrew has gumption and skills completely underutilized by her governess jobs. But, magic! I left the conference a person who can present research, talk at a session or over drinks with brilliant minds in the field, and find angles into her own research from other’s work. I even was able to kinda, sorta hash out a 5 year plan which will let me do the work I love without being in Adjunct Hell or moving across the stratosphere. I even got wined  and dined by universities and publishers much like Miss Pettigrew gets wined and dined in her Cinderella story! I also experienced generosity — with ideas and mentoring — just like Miss Pettigrew experiences with Delysia LaForce and Edythe DuBarry (oh Edythe! My favorite character in the book! Talk about self-creation!). Neither my experience or Miss Pettigrew’s involved losing a glass slipper, but I did manage to lose one of my vintage half slips!

When I think about Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, it will forever be entwined with collaboratively writing a poem and having it read in front of Angela Davis and the scholar who coined the phrase Passionate Attachments two seats over, learning about Materiality and realizing it will be the perfect rhetorical frame for my Rose Valley project, hearing PhD students struggle with too much and too little material in their archival research projects, crying in a session after experiencing slam poetry that is so, so brave, drinking a house-brewed beer as big as my head whist teasing out just what emergent means in grounded theory with the author of an article I read this semester, talking with over 100 people about a giant poster we made on our research, and hearing Really Nice Things back, having an elegant publisher-given dinner in a museum where you could then wander the three story collection if you wanted to, playing Depeche Mode on a Waffle House juke box (really), hearing my project partners read their wonderful poems at the Exultation of Larks, playing charades and drinking a bottle of wine in our hotel room, putting my feet up in a grand hotel lobby with a cup of Earl Grey Creme, viewing Ansel Adams photographs with my professor and project partners after a great lunch in the museum, talking about Art and Life, and More.

I finished the book as we were going home, on the layover in Ohio, but the magic remains. As the last page of Miss Pettigrew states:

I will be a novice at first, but I will put my heart and soul into it. I will learn. You need not fear. I have cast out fear. I am a new woman.



  1. kaggsysbookishramblings

    I’m so please you loved “Miss Pettigrew” and also that you had such a wonderful trip! Sometimes a special book read at a particular time will always stay with you and be associated with the memories – and certainly “Miss Pettigrew” is a lovely one to have!

  2. Pingback: It Worked Out! | Life During Wartime Challenge
  3. Wallace

    Love this! I felt so excited and inspired reading your post. Those magical trips are the best ones. I am desperate to read Miss Pettigrew now! I’ve only seen he movie. Tried to see if Oyster or Kobo had an electronic version, but alas they don’t. Fitting I suppose. I will go to my local and get the proper hard copy soon. 🙂

    Looking forward to hearing more about what you’ll be doing in that 5 year plan if you decide to share! Nosy Me wants to know what exciting and inspiring You is up to.

    • jackiemania

      Miss Pettigrew is a Persephone book — it could be a little hard to get. I ordered mine directly from Persephone in London.


      My loose plan is to do an archival research project on the turn of last century utopian arts & crafts community Rose Valley and try and get it published in a scholarly journal (a little about Rose Valley http://www.rosevalleymuseum.org/history.html), apply to the MA in Liberal Studies program at my school, hopefully work with this really interesting and untouched archive of a local poet — his family gave his papers to my school when he died and I love his work!, finally start training to be a tutor for our local literacy initiative (the last training sessions were right in the middle of the day during my work hours. They should be in the evening in spring), and my school is opening a Writers House! http://writershouse.rutgers.edu/ If I could get involved with this in some way — dream job!

      Trying to make these things happen should keep me busy for at least five years! 🙂

      • Wallace

        Oh thanks! I’ll order mine from there too then. Sounds like a fantastic five year plan! Thanks for sharing it. Makes me want to make a five year plan of my own.

  4. KerryCan

    This. Is. So. Amazing. It’s been a number of years since academic conferences held that much magic for me but reading your post brought it all back! The intense exchange of ideas AND finding out that the stars in the field are just human is so cool. I’m glad for you and hope it gives you a big boost toward continuing what you’ve begun! (Then we can call you DR. Pettigrew!)

    • jackiemania

      Thank you — I hope so too! My BA is in Literature and I work at an Art school. Petty unkindness and competitiveness more than generosity most days, sadly. I’m finding rhetoric to be much more fitting to my ethos. We’ll see what happens — fingers (and toes) crossed!

  5. chezjulie

    This was great to read, Jackie. I could feel your excitement with every word. I’m glad you got to live the “life of a mind” and see a path forward with doing some of the things you love.

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