I’ve always hated conferences, but you have to go to the damned things. It’s how you get noticed when you’re climbing the career ladder, and how you make sure you’re not forgotten when you’ve reached the top and are in danger of becoming ancient history. The formula for conferences hasn’t changed in my lifetime: the lesser mortals get shorter slots and the big names, most of whom ran out of original ideas years ago and have nothing left to say (provided, of course, they ever did have!), get the longer slots and are classified differently as “keynote speakers”. I was a keynote this time, which I felt flattered by when invited, but the enthusiasm faded when I saw who else was on the programme – a motley crew of has-beens and wannabes, duller than a wet weekend in West Hartlepool.Considering that you are smarter/more socially adept/more dignified than everyone else there, why go? The panels will be dull, the food will be bad, the skies will unleash rain or the sun will shine too brightly and you will get your natty clothing all sweaty. The conference will present a dreary parade of everything that is worst about the profession: pride, sloth, lechery, enthusiasm. And so on.
As for me, I like conferences. I learn from the panels and from the informal conversations that follow them. I meet new people who inspire me, reacquaint myself with friends, behold those whom I idolize humanized. So I am very happy to announce that I am looking forward to Kalamazoo. I will also share with you readers that we, the Four ITM Co-Bloggers, so like each other that we are doing our first annual daytrip, to a Celery Farm. Yes, the options are rather limited in that part of Michigan.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the conference soon.
[image of medieval beer funnel from medieval version of Kzoo courtesy of Got Medieval]