MLA at Home

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).

6 Comments »

  1. Dennis G. Jerz Said,

    December 28, 2005 @ 9:39 am

    I’ve sat the last few MLA’s out, and this time I’ve got the very good excuse that I’m teaching a January class, so I need the time to prepare. I was fortunate that the MLA was in Toronto while I was in the PhD program there, and during that time it was also in Washington DC (I grew up in a suburb, and my parents and siblings are still inthe area). Having a place to crash and a reason to stay around really helps with the expense and hassle.

    Good luck on your panel!

  2. thanks for not being a zombie Said,

    December 28, 2005 @ 4:02 pm

    MLA 2005

    It’s time, once again, for the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association. “Blogging MLA,” by Clancy Ratliff “MLA: The Random Example,” by Scott Eric Kauffman “Nine These for the MLA Convention,” by John Emerson “Three MLA Observations, one of…

  3. thanks for not being a zombie Said,

    December 28, 2005 @ 4:15 pm

    MLA 2005

    It’s time, once again, for the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association.

  4. Chuck Said,

    December 28, 2005 @ 5:15 pm

    I’m enjoying having MLA in DC. I’ve been able to get back to my apartment and get a little work done, and I even have the added bonus of being able to stock up on books without having to lug them home on an airplane. And, yes, it’s a much cheaper MLA than usual.

    Thanks for the good wishes.

  5. Jason Said,

    December 28, 2005 @ 8:53 pm

    Chuck – let’s try to meet up for a drink tomorrow. I’ll be at the ELO informal gathering at 5 (see Matt’s blog for details), or we can try for another time. I think you have my mobile #, but if not, send me a quick email.

  6. Chuck Said,

    December 28, 2005 @ 11:01 pm

    Hey, I’m planning to attend the ELO gathering (much depends on how much work I have to do tomorrow evening), but I’ll send an email (I’m a little disorganized w/phone #s).

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