So, the past 3 days were my trip down to Philadelphia to drop in on the biennial Rhetoric Society of America conference. I hadn’t really realized that this was my first conference since the last time I was at RSA (2 yrs ago in Minneapolis), but there you go. I’d really been keeping my health issues a secret for the most part, and there were lots of people at RSA this go-round who hadn’t heard about my surgery last summer. I got my fair share of “you look great!” comments, to which I replied, mostly, “Thanks, but I wouldn’t recommend my weight loss plan.” For those of you who might not have heard (I haven’t been especially public about this), I had my gall bladder removed last August, followed by several procedures to remove some rogue gallstones that were taking up residence in the nooks and crannies of my digestive system. Besides a generally healthier lifestyle, one side effect was that I lost close to 60 pounds, a bit of which has filled back in, but most of which is gone now. Honestly, this is the probably the first conference I’ve felt like I could handle physically, and I only really committed to 1.5 days of it. So far, so good. June will mark another test of my energy levels (along with the added stress of presentation).

So there was all that. I have to be pretty vigilant about my intake, and so I really didn’t avail myself of meal invites and restaurant fare, and that makes me a little sad. I should have planned better. I did visit a raw bar for lunch on Friday, but mostly grazed on light appetizers/salads the rest of the time.

My conference experience was pretty regimented:

A panel: Reid, Rickert, and Hawk on Latour
B panel: took it easy, ran into folks
C panel: Rice, Grant, & Teston (subbing for Nicotra) on delivery
D panel: had a meeting
E panel: Jensen, Rollins, Muckelbauer, & Nealon on “gambling”
F panel: early in the morning
G panel: Leston, Richardson, Brooks, & Collamati on authenticity

Good panels, all. I live-tweeted the sessions, so I don’t really feel compelled to recap them here. In thinking about that process, I did end up (I think) getting swept up into a panel proposal for C&W next year about the relationship between Twitter and academic conferences. I learned that, in addition to the difference between writing to be read vs to be heard, there’s a difference between both/either of those and writing to be tweeted. Certain style papers lent themselves better to the live-tweeting I did–it’s not really a good v bad thing, though, just a difference that I notice as I was reflecting. So I may talk about that at C&W next year if the panel flies.

I also had a chance to spend some time with Laura, who’s recapped our conversation better than I probably could 🙂 It’s interesting to me to have “old friends” in Internet time, which is completely different from academic time or just general life time, but she is one, and I really enjoyed catching up with her.

Honestly, that’s about it. It was a good trip. I didn’t wear myself out, and the drive back zipped by as I thought about the stuff I’m looking to work on over the next few months.