2003 MLA Round-Up

I’m nearly recovered from my adventures on the left coast just in time to start thinking about spring semester in specific detail. The temporal dislocation associated with air travel and the self-indulgence of dining out are still taking their toll (and of course I’ll be attending a New Years party tonight).

First, the food was wonderful. I ate lots of seafood, and especially enjoyed all the yummy sushi I ate. Probably my favorite was a roll with salmon and thinly-sliced lemon on the outside (unfortunately I can’t remember the restaurant). Good stuff, though.

Despite all of the usual professional requirements that come with MLA, I enjoyed catching up with old friends and had a chance to meet several bloggers for the first time, including Steven Shaviro and Kathleen Fitzpatrick.

It was the first time I’d met someone I knew only through blogging, and while I didn’t feel terribly self-conscious about it, especially after George’s positive experiences meeting other bloggers and my own experiences (at least once, quite positive) meeting people through online dating services, I did feel a certain degree of nervous anticipation. I think George is right when he says that

sometimes the richest exchanges are the ones that happen face-to-face, and those are the very exchanges that are absent from the epistolary record. And so it is with blogging.

I also had the good fortune of meeting up with several old friends from my recent (and not-so-recent) gigs at Georgia State, Purdue, Illinois, and Georgia Tech. It’s nice to see the progress that many of my friends and colleagues have made over the years, and I look forward to continuing those conversations in future MLA conferences, if not in the blogosphere.

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