The BlogHer postPosted: August 11, 2011 | |
This was by far far far the best BlogHer yet for me. I had so much continuous fun that it caused me to look back and evaluate the last two years and see what I had done wrong. I have these observations:
I can’t believe I was crazy enough to go to BlogHer ’09 in Chicago by myself and think I was going to have fun. Thank god I saw some good art and got some good swag because that year was super overwhelming and I did almost everything wrong.
BlogHer ’10 in NYC was much better since
Calliope Dresden(!) was with me, but not perfect because I didn’t stay at the hotel at all and the commuting was unfun and also Wes was sick and made me come home from Sparklecorn. The poor man will never live that down, even if I tried to be zen about it.
The secret to finding a chance to speak to writers you deeply admire? Be nice. Don’t hide. Stop worrying about whether anyone knows your blog. And most importantly, keep showing up! Each year that I go, I know a few more people and those people know a few more people and suddenly we all know each other! Suddenly I am sitting at dinner or sharing a cab or riding in a limo with women whose writing I have been reading for years. I feel so grateful to my friends whose lives and jobs ARE social media because they very kindly bring me along for the ride.
Did you see that bit right there? About not worrying whether anyone knows the blog? That was the most freeing bit. Ditching the elevator pitch. Giving up on the blog being my money maker (I realize I am fortunate to have the freedom to give up that dream, though that freedom comes from a full time job that means less time for blogging – catch 22 much?). Not approaching anyone with the goal of getting them to read my blog, link to me, get me published. Just TALKING to people. Reveling in amazing senses of humor and depth of knowledge and wonderful stories. Sitting outside in the cool San Diego evening by a fire pit eating guacamole. Listening. DANCING. Oh my god, the dancing….
You know what this year reminded me of? My mother. I thought of her over and over again because she would have had a ball. My mother could definitely have been a blogger. She worked for one of the big tech companies and saw a map of the Internet back when such a thing fit on one (giant) wall of a conference room. She was in DOS-based Compuserve chat rooms and she loved her online life. She would have fit right in this year, dancing and drinking and crying at the good, good writing. And she loved San Diego.
So, quickly. What did I do?
I arrived Wednesday so I could get settled because my volunteer shift and meeting were on Thursday. I had a three hour layover in Phoenix, where I was born, and saw my two aunts and my cousin and her fantastic baby daughter. I stayed at a superchic modern place called Se Hotel (amazing Expedia deal) and visited my high school ex-boyfriend and his family, which was great.
Thursday I checked in to the conference hotel just in time for my volunteer shift putting badges in alphabetical order. A more perfect job has never been created for me. Dresden (WHOA is it weird to type her real name here!) arrived just when I finished so we headed for the pool. I met (and subsequently hung out with and loved) the person who wrote this very famous post, and I know you all understand how much that meant to me.
Later I was lucky enough to go to dinner with an amazing cast of brilliant and hilarious writers. This meal was so over the top good and the company was even better.
After dinner, we checked out the People’s and Queerosphere parties. Puppies and drag queens, my friends. Enough said.
I would like to say here that after a gajillion years of being online acquaintances, I was absolutely thrilled to have the chance to spend a whole heap of quality time with Cecily. It may sound dumb that I didn’t truly KNOW this after “knowing” her for so long, but holy crap is she great. Also, Katherine up there in that picture? She is amazing. People that hot aren’t usually so nice. I’d like to discuss her wardrobe with you at length, but perhaps you can find photos. HOT.
Friday the conference began. Breakfast, welcome, speed dating, session 1 (writing), lunch. I was solo for lunch since Dresden was geeking out at her lab but I was just astonished to be in the room when this happened:
You can make fun of me as much as you want, but this thing makes me cry every single time I watch it (as do many flash mob videos). Being in one is on my life list, for sure, but I’ve also seriously wished to just be present for one so… wish granted.
I was freezing in every room of the convention center (and our room, since my roommate finds 65 a required temperature) and though Dresden made MERCILESS fun of me, I went to the mall at this point and bought pants and a sweater. We met back up and quickly changed clothes (pink strapless! with a sweater!) for the biggest, most important event of the conference, the Voices of the Year keynote.
Soon, I am sure, BlogHer will have all the videos linked up so you can actually hear the voices of these amazing writers. In the meantime, please read their posts. There were so many amazing people, but to highlight a couple from my little corner of the blogosphere…
Cecily read this post.
And Eden, all the way from Australia, read a post which made me messy weep. You can see it:
Saturday, more sessions, more writing stuff. Thank heavens it has been infused into the conference because otherwise I would have to pretend to be interested in marketing and monetizing just so I could go hang out with my friends. Thank god there is still a space for writers. Keep it up, BlogHer, and thank you.
I went to a screening of The Help, which left me with a complicated range of reactions. I was glad we went because it was really good to walk away from the conference and be at the movies. The weeping, though. Shit. There was so much crying this weekend.
And finally, the Aiming Low party, where this happened:
Also CheeseburgHer. And more dancing. So much dancing that all my cards flew out of my badge all over the place and Vikki told me I shot my wad and I knew it was time to go to bed.
I didn’t leave until 10 pm on Sunday and I was really ready to see my family. And really bummed when I realized the San Diego Zoo cost $40 and I just couldn’t swing that. But it turned out well, as I had a whole day’s worth of fun with Cecily, Robin and Deb. And I was able to see a bunch more people around the pool at dinner time (OK, fine, one more link, which is to the insanely awesome Anissa whom I am so glad I got to meet and adore this weekend). And to take a free limo to the airport. And to fly home with a fellow NYC BlogHer I hadn’t met before.
Thank you to the amazing women at BlogHer for this incredible weekend. Can’t wait for next year.