San Antonio

The ABC conference went surprisingly well. I will never again drive to San Antonio, or any other conference more than a few hours’ drive away. 11-13 hour drives are too much for my creaking bones and it is near impossible to sleep more than 15 minutes after such exercise. It also ate up two days when I could have been reading.

My Friday presentation was scatterbrained and impromptu as usual – maybe I just should give up and use Powerpoint like everyone else – but a small group stuck around, good-naturedly disagreed with me, and asked good questions. I met some nice people. For example, a fellow I sat down next to at lunch turned out to have a degree in religion and we had a long talk on citations in the gospels. It’s pleasant to meet someone that has read everything I have and knows what I’m talking about.

I was also invited to the rhetoric SIG, which was interesting, and I tagged along with a large group of Iowa State (or was it Ohio State?) & Utah State PhD students to Chili’s for dinner. That was also interesting, but for a different reason – it was a social gathering that would be nigh impossible here in Memphis. Counting me, there were 9 people there eating, and I can’t ever recall a time when 9 PhD students from the UofM got together and shot the shit. Outside of a class, that is, I can’t recall ever hanging and having a reasonably elevated conversation with more than 3 others simultaneously. There are just way more MFAs here.

They were shocked to learn that I take 4 and teach 2, which I found amusing. All of them were 2 and 2, a fanciful proposition ’round these parts.

I was only there for the day, but my impression of ABC was that its focus was mainly on business writing as opposed to more lofty “technical” writing, and it catered equally to non-tenure-track folks.

Another thing emerged from the experience that I did not anticipate – I should probably try to publish my termination letter work. Until now I didn’t really have the drive to write it up, article-style; now, I really want to make the case for more humanistic composition. I knew of course a long time ago that no one has said much on this stuff – but I have not realized the full implications until now. I wonder if one of ABC’s journals would take it. There is certainly a hunger in some of the folks there for rhetorical analysis. We’ll see.

To close, here’s a picture (missing, 3/29/07) of the very impressive monument in front of the Alamo. It is nearly as iconic as the relief of Col. Shaw and his men in Boston. I was starting to get chills inside the church, but one look in the Alamo gift shop neatly released any awe (not to mention the Pizza Hut across the street and the huge 3-story mall a block away). Alas, the monument is the only part of the surroundings that the ending of Preacher got right, until a lot of landscaping has occurred in between.


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