I’ve just returned to DC after a quick visit to see my family in Atlanta just in time for this year’s MLA conference, which happens to be here in town (maybe you’ve heard about it). This year, I’ll be interviewing for a tenure-track job and delivering a paper (8:30 AM on Friday December 30, Carolina Room, Marriott). The paper is almost done at this point, and I’m trying my best not to think about Ivan Tribble.
The holidays were nice enough, and I may try to write up a review of Walk the Line, this year’s annual family Christmas get-out-of-the-house movie, later this week, but I’m guessing most people who care have already seen it (I’ll admit that I liked it much more than I expected).
But what I’ve been thinking about this afternoon is the experience of having MLA in the town where you live. There are some distinct benefits of having MLA on your home turf. You can sleep in your own bed at night, and it’s certainly a lot cheaper. And, of course, you know your way around the city. But I’m also finding it more difficult than usual to transition into MLA mode. Traveling to MLA has become an annual rite. Finding a cab to the MLA hotel, checking into the MLA hotel, and getting settled in the hotel are all part of that routine, the deliberate decision to enter into MLA mode.
I’m not whining or anything. I’ll certainly be comfortable for MLA and I’ll be able to retreat to my apartment at the end of the day, but the distinction is an interesting one, especially given the degree to which MLA often feels like its own world, insulated by the concrete, steel, and reflective glass that keep the rest of the city out.
But if you’re planning to be at MLA, you’re certainly welcome to drop by my panel (it’s at 8:30 AM, so I’ll understand if you’re not awake). It’s probably a bit late to plan an MLA blogger meetup, but if you’d like to meet for drinks (caffienated or alcoholic), feel free to email me as well (chutry[at]msn[dot]com).