Okay, so it might be a bit late to finally get around to talking about CCCC, but I’m finally getting around to it now that the MLA Ong session proposal is in and now that I’m caught up on grading and reading.

This was my sixth CCCC, and the first one I’ve been to where someone didn’t make some comment about me being a literary scholar. There’s been one other year when someone didn’t say something to that effect to my face, but that year, as crazy as it sounds, someone felt the need to make sure others were aware that I was a barbarian on the wrong side of the Rhet/Comp gate and Barry Maid came to my defense, or so a couple of people told me. (I must admit to getting way too much pleasure out of knowing that some people find me so much of a threat that they feel the need to denounce me when I’m not around.) So maybe I was being denounced again this year, but if I was, I didn’t hear about it.

There were eight of us from SLU at the conference, with six of us in the program. Not bad considering there have been years when I’ve been the only representative from SLU.

As Donna’s already mentioned, I flew to Chicago first class, although, unlike her, I had to pay for it. The upgrade was so inexpensive, however, that I hit the yes button on the self check-in machine without really thinking about it. 45 minutes isn’t really long enough to enjoy it. Not like the time I got upgraded for free on a flight back from Iceland.

I didn’t get to as many sessions as I wanted to, but I got to more than last year when I had three gigs with Bedford/St. Martin’s (I demoed Comment twice and played Comment expert at a Bedford sponsored tapas and drinks gathering), a 7Cs meeting, a session playing digital troubleshooter, and a session watching the Computer Connection. My favorite presentation was by Bradley Dilger who gave a great introduction to web accessibility. My favorite session would have to be “From Panel to Gallery: Twelve Digital Writings, One Installation” (see Marcia Hansen’s summary). Gina Merys and I should post our presentation on developing a local digital culture, but we should touch base about that first and neither of us have had the time.

My favorite part of CCCC is getting to see people. I ran into Doug Eyman and some others before I even checked into the hotel, so I checked in, dropped my stuff off in my room, and went back down to the lounge to chat with them. I had some great meals with friends: diner with Tari Fanderclai, Tim Roach, and T.R. Johnson (Tari, Tim, and T.R. went to Louisville together), breakfast with Joyce Walker and Harriet Wald, breakfast with Karen Lunsford, lunch with Kathie Gossett and Carrie Lamanna, and a leasurely coffee with Gina. (Though Gina and I get together reguarly, it’s usually to work, or it’s with a group of friends, so we rarely just hang out and talk. In fact, about the only time we do just hangout is when we’re at a conference.) I also had a few dinners and a couple of lunches with various SLU people. I’m realizing that trying to list everyone I saw is unrealistic and so is listing all the people I didn’t see or didn’t spend nearly enough time with. I’ll just note that I regret missing Brendan Riley and Lisa Gerrard.

While memory’s still being denied (multiple reports of people saying memory has no role anymore), there’s a growing number of people who are paying attention to it and there was talk of collections on memory. Two different groups were out headhunting, though they may have decided to join forces. Kathie and I also talked about doing our own thing, which we’ve been talking about doing for years now (it’s always been a post-dissertation project for us, so nothing concrete yet). The truth is, there’s more than enough to memory to go around. At least I’ve got more than enough ideas to write a few single authored books, a number of articles, and co-authored book with Kathie. I’m most excited by doing a project with Kathie as we so strongly overlap (we’re both solidly rooted in medieval) but have different approaches and, I think, understandings. I might be wrong, but I think we’d even define the scope of rhetorical memory differently (Note to Kathie: maybe we should spend some time at C&W talking about our approaches and how we both define it?). Even though I have this sense we differ in some very real ways, I also sense that Kathie understands what I see in memory, and especially medieval memory, better than anyone else I’ve ever talked with. And I also think our differences, or what I perceive as differences, would be productive ones. But as I said (in case other memory people are reading), I’ve got enough ideas to go around.

I limited myself and only picked up three books this year: Johndan‘s Datacloud, Dickie Selfe’s Sustainable Computer Environments, and the Routledge book Introducing Metaphor, which both summarizes a number of texts I’ve found useful (Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things; Metaphors We Live By; More than Cool Reason; and Cognitive Poetics, but also a number of texts I haven’t yet read or come across. If you muck around with memory long enough, you’ll drift into the cognitive, and cognitive studies is vastly different than it was in the 70s and early 80s when composition studies last really paid attention to it. In fact, composition studies stopped paying attention to the cognitive right about the same time cognitive studies had a revolution. I think I could write a whole book on rhetorical memory based in large part on the works of George Lakoff, Mark Turner, and Mark Johnson. One of my many problems with my old disseration, I think, is that Shippey wanted me to stay away from the cognitive. I probably should have pushed this issue long ago, but I didn’t.