Cavorting with a pinniped companion in Kalamazoo.
We should really be photoshopped into one image, but whatevs.
We're back from the International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo! Detailed blog postings will surely follow -- but (for now) each of us has selected one word to sum things up. Here are the words (in no particular order):
Mary Kate: HOPE
(Questions, reactions? Dish in the comments section below!)
My word about Karl's word: louche.
they're all talking about karl's moustache...
DH - I hadn't realized it, but yes it would appear so! - JH
Nice one, David.
OK, we're done. Kalamazoo 2013 was all about the 'Stache.
Let me BRIEFLY explain SLATHER. I come out of Kzoo feeling as though it's all been laid on VERY THICKLY, too thickly, always more than my considerable appetite could want. BUT it's also a word of delight (oh, I love that stuff. slather it on). It's also a word that suggests moving WITHIN a slather of stuff, of being made slower by the sticky stuff, since, as fast as I move at Kzoo (from 8am-2am every day, with virtually no breaks for 'alone time'), I feel as though I can never get up to the right speed. So the word gets at both my wanting more and getting more than I could ever possibly use. Kzoo is just so big. So fun.
karl -- just kidding of course, but i do love it...
and i agree. the too-muchness of kzoo is part of what makes it so overwhelming, inspiring, and cathartic year to year. this year it seemed especially so, all of the above.
I still protest, because that's what I like to do.
Yes, my word UNCONTAINABLE is partly suggesting that too-muchness. But (for those of you who couldn't attend the GWMEMSI Roundtable) Chris Piuma & I gave a co-presentation about things that OVERFLOW their CONTAINERS -- languages, nations, boundaries between "scholarly" and "poetic" scholarly identities... I found K'zoo so exciting when sessions encourage thinking "outside of the box" (yes an oddly dated term): we can have our containers/disciplines/bailiwicks but also move beyond them...
My word--hope--initially seemed almost too obvious to choose. It's so saccharine, so ridiculously nice. But the more I thought about it, the clearer it became that I chose it for a couple of reasons. This is the first time in about three or four K'zoo's where I felt hopeful -- about my future, about the future of our field. And yet at the same time, that hope seems ill-founded. In the wake of the various kerfuffles with MLA and MAA, things seem precarious for the field. For the people within it, more precarious still: I'm exiting the adjunct pool, and was lucky beyond measure while within it (more on that in an upcoming post -- stay tuned!), but I'm in the minority. Hope is as much an aspiration as it is a reality, as much a longing for what might never be as it is a promise of some kind of futurity (never arriving in quite the form its wished for).
And so for me hope is simultaneously an imperative -- "you there, HOPE!" -- a question -- "is there hope?" "can we hope?" -- and a feeling that bubbles up without real basis in reality or actual cause. It's also surprise, then -- uncontainable and effervescent, emerging where I find myself with friends and colleague, impossible (for me) either to comprehend or evade, and -- yes, like this extended metaphor -- slathered on far too thick.
And when I say "I chose" it, I kind of mean I sent two words to Jonathan and said "you choose." He happened to choose the one I wanted most. Well done, Jonathan!
Is it by chance that you chose that particular spot for the picture? I'm not talking about the statue but the subtle background - a custom tailoring shop!? Suggests a whole lot of metaphors of fitting / trying on / new clothes, new skin / etc.
MK: Thanks for that explanation of what HOPE means to you -- and you're right that we can actually insist upon maintaining it, even when the field of medieval studies or aspects of the profession as a whole seem dire/in crisis/etc. etc. And the fact that I felt the pull toward "hope" (vs. your other word "futurity") shows we're on the some spooky co-blogger wavelength here... Lovely artful integration of our "chosen words" in the end, by the way.
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