Recovered Writing: Handwritten Notes from 1st International Philip K. Dick Conference Dortmund, Nov 15-18, 2012

Conference group photo from PKD Dortmund Conference.
Conference group photo from PKD Dortmund Conference.

This is the thirty-first post in a series that I call, “Recovered Writing.” I am going through my personal archive of undergraduate and graduate school writing, recovering those essays I consider interesting but that I am unlikely to revise for traditional publication, and posting those essays as-is on my blog in the hope of engaging others with these ideas that played a formative role in my development as a scholar and teacher. Because this and the other essays in the Recovered Writing series are posted as-is and edited only for web-readability, I hope that readers will accept them for what they are–undergraduate and graduate school essays conveying varying degrees of argumentation, rigor, idea development, and research. Furthermore, I dislike the idea of these essays languishing in a digital tomb, so I offer them here to excite your curiosity and encourage your conversation.

In this Recovered Writing post, I am bringing my analog writing into the digital realm of cyberspace by scanning the pages of my notebook from the First International Philip K. Dick Conference, Dortmund into a PDF. Instead of copy-and-pasting my writing as I have done on my previous Recovered Writing posts, this one has be downloaded as a PDF below.

In addition to my record of all of the sessions and keynote speeches, you can observe my degrading handwriting (I’m so far removed from my days as a draftsman-in-training or as a high school student receiving commendations for his penmanship), trouble with spelling jargon and names, and rough sketches of Laurence Rickels’ theatrically performative keynote presentation.

I was so busy during the last bit of 2012 and all of 2013 that I never returned to collect my thoughts from the Dortmund conference in a blog post. This wasn’t because I thought it wasn’t important. In fact, it was tremendously important and enlightening to me. In my 2012 retrospective post, I wrote, “November 15-18: I attended the first international Philip K. Dick conference at UT-Dortmund in Dortmund, Germany. I delivered a heavily revised version of my SFRA 2012 paper, “Philip K. Dick as Pioneer of the Brain Revolution.” The conference was a fantastic experience. I promise to write more about this in a separate post. In the meantime, you can see my pictures from Germany here.” Unfortunately, the demands of teaching, research, and job hunting took precedence over my desire to “write more about [the conference] in a separate post.” It will have to suffice for now to post these notes for any and all who have the time and ability to decipher my scribblings. If you are so inclined, good luck!

You may download my notes from the First International Philip K. Dick Conference, Dortmund here: ellis-jason-pkd-dortmund-notes.pdf.

Scanning, Recycling, and Reflecting

Yufang and I purchased a Canon CanoScan LIDE 100 flatbed scanner, because we wanted to cut down on all of our cooperatively accumulated clutter of papers, notes, and other school-related documents.  The past few days have been an interesting experience for me as I worked through notes from Georgia Tech, the University of Liverpool, and the past two years at Kent State.  

First, I am amazed at how much my handwriting has transformed over the years, and even from semester to semester.  In fact, if I did not know that I wrote all of this stuff, there is no way in Hades that I would believe the same person wrote all of these notes.  

Second, it is interesting how my note taking hasn’t changed that much over the years.  Anyone who has taken a class with me knows that I write down everything that I possibly can during class.  As a result, I have volumes of handwritten notes for all of my classes.  However, there are some subtle changes with the way that I cluster information on the page.  For example, my earlier notes are essentially one thought per line, but my later notes contain chunks of information with the first line against the margin and subsequent, related thoughts are listed beneath the first line with a hanging indent.  I’m not sure why I began doing this, but it seems to be a more recent development in grad school.  

Third, I’m surprised at how many notes are missing.  I know that I tossed a lot of material when I left Liverpool, but I’m missing a considerable amount of material from Kent State.  I have moved a couple of times since beginning school here, so it is possible that I accidentally threw some things out that I didn’t want to, or a box of school-related material may have been lost or left behind.  This is of course unfortunate, but there isn’t anything that I can do about it now.

Currently, Babacar’s African-American Literature class has 110 pages, Pendleton’s Semeiotics class is second with 100 pages, and Raja’s Postcolonialism course comes in second at 88 pages.

Another project that I’m working on right now is scanning all of my Star Wars and Star Trek clippings.  I’ve accumulated a small collection of magazine and calendar images of spacecraft that I’m currently assembling into a digital archive.

And, I have a deal for my KSU friends–I will trade you my class notes in exchange for yours.  After I finish scanning all of my class materials, I will let you borrow the scanner to digitize your own notes.  Let me know if you’re interested.