I recently presented a critical piece called "The List and the Story of Our Lives: Essaying History in Short Form" at the VIII Congreso Internacional de Minificción/International Conference on Microfiction, hosted by the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of Kentucky. A few thoughts, in list form:
- I was a little intimidated being one of only two people presenting in English to an audience of primarily Spanish speakers, but a little "Perdon, lo siento, mi Espanol es no bien" goes a long way in breaking the ice.
- My presentation went well, I think. The other person scheduled to present after me didn't make it, so after my reading I had a vigorous Q&A session about defining truth in nonfiction, the relationship of the essay to academic composition, whether nonfiction is by nature autobiographical ("Perhaps not, but it's definitely all personal" was my response), and other fun stuff I love to run my mouth about.
- I noticed that most of the native English speakers at my presentation were UK students; I think perhaps they were instructed by their professors to attend at least one session, and they saw mine was one of the few whose title was in English. To paraphrase Robin Hemley, I felt like the McDonald's of the micro-writing world.
- The most valuable thing I from the conference had nothing to do with my own presentation, though. Even though I only understood roughly 1/10 of the presentations I attended, I felt myself being sublimated to a tradition I hadn't even realized was my own.
- Speaking of which, much of the work I developed for the conference will soon be forthcoming in additions to my List and the Story work. I'm still figured how to integrate it, but I should have a new batch of micro-essays to add to it by the new year. Details to come.
- Even though I did my undergraduate and MA work in Kentucky at Murray State, this was the first extended visit I've made to Lexington. Great town, and my hotel was even next door to Rupp for Big Blue Madness! That's a lot of blue.