My semester has been complicated, mostly by a search that is still not completed, some teaching challenges, and some department poly-ticks I won’t be describing in any great detail. So in a lot of ways, the CCCCs this year was more of a distraction than an event for me, and it was a rapid and somewhat unusual distraction at that.
Sure, I saw some okay panels. I thought the talk of the ghost(s) of Jim Berlin was interesting if only because he is now at this point a fainting (okay, fading, but I will keep that) memory for most of the upcoming scholars in the field. I enjoyed seeing some of EMU’s graduate students presenting about Writing Center/WAC stuff because they were some of EMU’s graduate students. I liked the panel on Latour I went to okay– certainly better than some of my colleagues– and it made me think that I really need to read some more Latour. Actually, that in general is a take-away for this year’s CCCCs for me: I really need to read more. Like a lot more. A LOT more. And while it was very cool to see Richard Lanham speak and when I could understand him he was great, he was so bad with the microphone that I’d guess that I only heard about a third of what he had to say.
My own presentation and my fellow speakers on the were okay. It was a bit of an exercise of “which one of these things is not like the other” because my co-presenters were speaking about hypertext fiction and digital poetry. They were both pretty young and new and there weren’t a lot of words exchanged between us, which was unfortunate. On the plus-side there were more people there than have seen the YouTube version of my video so far (as of the time I’m posting this, it’s 26), and there was some good discussion. So that too was okay.
And the more important non-presentation aspects of the conference were okay to good, too. I had some nice lunches and meet-ups with old colleagues, current ones, friends, and potential ones; I had a lovely dinner with old friends after the very excellent Bedford-St.Martin’s party at City Museum; had a lovely luncheon post-Lanham with a variety of folks and good friends John and Karen (who I’ll see again tomorrow, in theory); and I had quite the night on the town with Steve B. and then joined by John D. and Derek.
So while I had some good encounters and such and St. Louis was quite frankly a lot better than I thought it was going to be, it still falls for me into the okay category, and I think there might be two reasons for that. First, for reasons that are more complicated than it is worth to try to explain here, I traveled and stayed by myself. Now, that worked out better than expected because of an unexpected airplane voucher (let’s just say for now that after I get money back from EMU for my expenses, I expect to turn a profit on this thing) and I very much enjoyed my free internets in the otherwise dumpy hotel the Mayfair, but missed the camaraderie of my usual traveling and rooming companions. Second, I wasn’t really there quite long enough. I think it would have been a little better had I been there a little earlier– Wednesday night instead of Thursday morning– and/or a little later.
Maybe I’ll stay longer next year. Actually, next year could be really interesting with the Las Vegas locale. Annette and Will are thinking of joining me, but they would probably not come out until the end/the weekend part of the trip, which might then make the CCCCs 2013 a combination of family time preceded by a middle-aged and dramatically more tame version of The Hangover with my usual traveling companions. We’ll see.