May 8th, 2005

Things I Have Learned This Weekend

- It's a small world, and it's a lot smaller if you know people in the SCA.
- People who say that all stories are equally good really annoy me.
- Everyone sounds smarter when they're talking to an audience rather than reading the full text of their paper word for word.
- I need to watch Star Trek. (Notice how I buried this one in here? But much as I hate to say it, I think I do.)
- One can make an academic career out of saying very obvious things, so long as the subject is obscure enough. Oy.
- Finding an ally or two at a conference can turn it from socially nerve-wracking to fun.
- Spanikopita is delicious.

I have more academic thoughts - mostly on the topics of authorship, creativity and collaboration - which are all out of my head and in my notebook already, so I don't want to write about them again. Maybe I'll post some ongoing thoughts tomorrow on the train, trying to distill the stuff I've been thinking about into a few major themes. I also came up with a bunch of interesting study ideas so I should go through and note those.

The best professional thing I did so far this weekend, though, was making contact with David Herman. He studies cognition and narrative, and his methodology and writings have been a big inspiration for me. He gave me a reading list and pointed me to someone doing work on role-playing at NYU (!!!), in terms of looking at moment-to-moment cognitive construction of stories. Rock out!
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Home Sweet Home

Home. Whew. Have to finish at least one paper tonight before I can sleep, though.

The paper today went well, I think. I had a whole crew of friends show up (plus my sister!!), and the academic turnout was quite nice as well. (I was hoping for more - there were only about twenty-five people there - but then again I was up against a Henry Jenkins talk . . . ) I spoke almost exactly to the time limit, got across most of what I wanted to say, and, most importantly, sparked a lot of discussion afterwards. I've already gotten a couple of emails from people who heard the talk wanting to discuss more, which is a good thing. Contacts contacts contacts!! Also, I finally figured out, smack in the middle of my talk, a good way to articulate why all this matters. So, for those who were there, all that stuff about "this gives us insight into how people make stories" was pretty much done on the fly - but no one called me on it, so it seems like a pretty convincing description of why my work is important. I did have to do a quick back-and-fill when asked for a copy of the paper - I'm submitting it elsewhere for publication so I don't want to post it on the conference site - but I think I'll try to put together an excerpt.

Not now, though. Now I edit my cognition paper until MY EYES FALL OUT OF MY HEAD.

(Special love to maastrictian who got up at 7:30 to come to the talk with his family, and to chaiya and hakamadare who got up less early but still get major props for hauling themselves to MIT on a Sunday morning. You guys are the best!)
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