A Blogger Went to CCCC… And Here's What He Did CCCC

A Blogger Went to CCCC… And Here’s What He Did CCCC (Jerz’s CCCC 05 Notes)

The challenging acoustics in the Moscone Center seemed to work in Douglas Dean Hesse’s favor, as he opened his keynote, “Who Owns Writing?” by belting out an African-American spiritual.

During the opening session, when Sharon Mitchler asked attendees who are affiliated with two-year colleges to stand, about a quarter of the room did so. Many were wearing ribbons on their nametags identifying themselves. Interesting facts: 11 million students in 2-year college, and half of all composition students are in two-year colleges. I was motivated to find out more about a breakfast Saturday morning, in which the “Fame and Shame” awards will be given out for the best and worst media references to two-year colleges. (When I learned that the breakfast cost $20, my enthusiasm faded somewhat… I’m flying out Saturday morning, so I’m not sure whether I want to pay that much money to add another item to the last day of my schedule).

I was fortunate that my session Thursday morning was held in a mid-sized room with proper walls, as was the blogging session I attended Wednesday night.

One of the presenters from Wednesday’s night’s blogging session was among a group of young minority scholars honored with a travel grant during the opening session. Blogger and Florida State U University of South Florida graduate student Daisy Pignetti is studying how presidential candidates, especially Howard Dean, used weblogs in the lead-up to the 2004 election. I’m a regular visitor to her blog.

Is the role of “Digital Troubleshooter” new at the 4Cs? Maybe I just noticed it this time because two people I know were walking around with ribbons attached to their badges. The geek in me wanted such a ribbon, so I could wander heroically from session to session, sowing order and technological harmony in my wake.

Thursday afternoon’s “Writing Multimodalities within Literacy and ‘Electracy’: A Conversation with Gregory Ulmer” took place in a huge ballroom room with a vaulted ceiling, divided with a flimsy curtain maybe eight feet high. This meant that the very audible speaker on the other side of the curtain was also having an unplanned conversation with Gregory Ulmer. Both were using microphones, and both stepped closer to the mic and spoke up in order to be heard. Briefly the speakers even fell into a rhythm, one speaking while the other paused, creating a kind of Dueling Banjos effect. Amusingly disorienting, but impossible for me to process. Since the session was being recorded for a future podcast, I decided to duck out.

When I checked my e-mail, I found my academic blogging site had been hit with 300 comment spasm in the last 24 hours.

I was headed to a session in which Cynthia Selfe and Gail Hawisher were scheduled to speak on digital literacy, when I ran into an old friend with whom I had a long, overdue, and much-welcomed conversation. I’m sorry I missed the session, but glad I caught up with a friend.

I brought a half-inch stack of business cards, and they’re almost all gone. I wish I’d brought more.

I spotted Lawrence Lessig sitting alone in front of the room where he was scheduled to speak on “Is Writing Allowed?” Andrea Lunsford was to introduce him, but there Lessig was, sitting rather glumly. After 15 minutes or so, I asked myself, if I call myself a geek (and I do), then why am I just sitting here, while Lawrence Lessig is sitting there twiddling his thumbs and actively scanning the audience, almost as if he were seeking a little human contact?

When I approached to say hello, he did the “extending hand in greeting in such a way as not to prevent an involuntary furtive glance at the nametag” thing. I started off with something really eloquent and memorable, like “Um… I’m a blogger? And so, uh, I really like your work?” I have no idea how those question marks got into my voice, but there they were. When I told him that I had just seen Lunsford a half hour ago, and that she mentioned she was going to introduce this session, he seemed relieved that he wasn’t forgotten. Just then Lunsford herself showed up, so all was well.

I’m still at the conference as I write this. I’ll post more about Lessig, and also Hesse and some of the other presentations, as I can find the time over the next few days.