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An Introduction to the 2008 4Cs Review: Thoughts, Memories, and Snapshots
By Christopher Dean
cdean@writing.ucsb.edu

It seems not that long ago I was hanging out at the Apple Cart on Frenchman's St. listening to "The Claim Jumpers." I sat there drinking an Abita, the rain thundering down, with the keyboardist channeling Dr. John. It was hard to leave NOLA for sure.

And the truth is that we probably haven’t really left NOLA in certain ways. What we learned in sessions at the 4Cs, in the hallways talking to friends and colleagues, and in the city itself, has stayed with us—at least it’s stayed with me.

For me, the Cs in NOLA was about jazz, great sessions, fine food, and even finer meetings with friends over food. It was also the films shown about the aftermath of Katrina, wondering how people got by day-to-day in NOLA, and wandering through the city on foot—as best as I could.

What our work here at the Kairos CCCC Review involves is looking at the conference sessions and trying to give you—those who attended the 4Cs and those who couldn’t—an idea of what happened, and that’s what the 40+ reviews this year do. They range from almost transcendental mediations on what it means to “conference” (Mysti Rudd’s piece) to what the Spellings Commission Report might mean in the years to come in the field of composition (D. Alexis Hart’s piece).

As for me, the person organizing this year’s review, I want to start our review with a few written snap shots.

Snap One: Dancing into the Cs

Chuck Bazerman dances into the Cs, whisking up Andrea Lunsford into a jig/samba/boogie. A brass band comes in, with Chuck, and the 4Cs opens with dance, “the hidden language of the soul” (Martha Graham). And then the conversation begins, but I’m left wondering, as Lucille Clifton wrote, will I remember “the dancer or the dance.” If I’m lucky, and this review is as good as I think it is, then I’ll remember both.

Snap Two: Opening Session

For the first time in awhile, I heard an opening speech make direct reference to pedagogy and the art of teaching. Pat Bizzell’s acceptance speech was for me (teaching geek that I am) one of the intellectual highlights of the conference. You can read more about this fine speech and the opening in the review itself.

Snap Three: Bourbon Street Haiku

Where the New South goes To get its dirty drunk on Like Vegas crunked up

Snap Four: The Bedford Party

In the upper floor of the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, I eat red beans and rice and watch Karen Lunsford take pictures of sea creatures.

At a touch tank, my hand gets nuzzled—as a ray flies up to my hand. Is it a deep connection, or the remnants of red beans and rice?

Snap Five: Meal at Dick and Jenny’s

On Tchoupitoulas Street, Will, Jan and I eat a meal cooked by a Grandma God of Southern cooking. A smoked porkchop that makes me almost weep—and that after the “best fried oysters in New Orleans.” I take in every bite, every word from good friends, every fine smell from the smokehouse, and every molecule of rich, thick Louisiana air.

Snap Six: The Presentation

My colleagues and I show up to a huge room—and it has a working computer and a projection unit. Things look good, but a huge room—sure to be empty on a Saturday morning.

But people show up, and they even talk, laugh, and listen. I end the session in good time, people ask questions, and within an hour of presenting my colleagues and I are eating beignets at Café Du Monde in the French Market.

Snap Seven: Midnight at the Apple Cart

I'm letting the music and Abita flow through and to me. In the Apple Cart, smoky air, blues, jazz, and drink merge. It’s the right place, at the right time, or so it seems at midnight on the last day of the Cs.

Snap Eight: Your Photo

I invite you to take minute and leave your thoughts about the Cs, read others good thoughts, and leave a metaphorical snapshot in the interactive review. Celebrate what we saw, heard, ate, drank, and learned in NOLA, and get ready to do it again next year in San Francisco. Next year we’ll be in the city that gave us the beats, and the 4Cs review will be celebrating its 10th year of tracking and commenting on our conference. Join us now for the 2008 review as a reader and commenter, and be ready to join us in San Francisco for the biggest review ever.

2008 CCCC Reviews Index

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