Thursday, June 14, 2007

Unusual academics

There's one big difference between this conference and others I have attended: conference participants here look less like English professors than like whitewater rafting guides. There's none of that pale, pasty, haunted look that comes from too many hours of communing with the computer, none of that Anguished Artist Angst so common to creative writing conferences.

No, these people look wholesome and fit, as if they're accustomed to teaching classes at the top of mountains accessible only to experienced rock-climbers. They hike, they bike, they commune with the earth--and some are even camping in tents on the campus where the conference is being held. You'd never see that kind of behavior at the MLA.

I may be the least fit person here, but today I'll try to guide a few of them on a tour of some rivers of nostalgia in midwestern poetry. Hope my paper's not all wet.

4 comments:

jo(e) said...

Hey, were you at ASLE? I am finding out that all kinds of people were blogging this conference ....

jo(e) said...

And this might well be one of my favourite descriptions of ASLE:

There's one big difference between this conference and others I have attended: conference participants here look less like English professors than like whitewater rafting guides.

Bev said...

Probably the reason so many people were blogging this conference was that the meeting rooms were so cold that our fingers were in danger of dropping off and the warmest place on campus was the tiny three-computer lab next to the book display. I know I spent a significant amount of time just fiddling around on those computers while waiting for my hands to thaw. It made me feel a little guilty, because there were always people waiting to use the ocmputers, probably for very important reasons, and there I was fiddling around with my blog just to get my hands warmed up. Next time, I'm taking a sweater and a blanket and wool socks. Of course, the next ASLE conference is taking place someplace in the cold north, so only an idiot would neglect those items. I just didn't expect to need mittens in South Carolina in June.

wc said...

Thanks for the post on ASLE. It was great to read your thoughts as well as to read the sendup of trad conferences and conference-goers!

I also want to second your thoughts about the cold. Holy s*** the rooms were icebox level. Being a southerner, I'd actually prepared for the typical mid-summer weather. Who knew Wofford took a page from the cruise ship climate-control playbook. (freeze 'em out)!