Four days to call my own to write and read and learn and talk and meet other writers and dress fancy and party? For me, BlogHer 09 was a great vacation and creative shot in the arm. (Well, at least it felt like a shot in the arm - I'm not so sure if I can call it that good for my writing if it's taken me two + weeks to get it writ down.) The three keynotes were worth the price of admission for me, especially the Community Keynote where twenty-one bloggers got up and bravely read their own pieces. I'm talking brave here. At the front row round table where I sat to watch and listen, the weeping bounced from woman to woman, depending on the piece. "5" by Black Hockey Jesus, who, sadly, shut down his site a few days later, and Issa's "Uncle Marky" were two that got me in the gut.
Yes, there was some marketing overkill, bad behavior, and hurt feelings, but the fact that I found it all so much folderol doesn't mean the issues weren't deeply important to those who want to both profit from their blogging and do so with integrity. The word I had heard most often from attendees before the conference was "excited" which means to me the risk for disappointment was potentially high. My expectations, on the other hand, were super low - hand out a couple of cards, say hi to some friends, hear some intelligent talk and all such were met. The rest of the circus passed me by. I'm a D-lister and a proud amateur in the root sense of the word from the Greek, "lover" or "enthusiastic pursuer of an objective."
The lovely and talented Kim Moldofsky, was a fun and coincidently synchronized roommate and also my guide through the more complicated themes of social media and marketing that surrounded us this weekend. Kim brought me a welcome present, the Harlequin Romance "Legendary Lover" and we laughed and laughed over the first line (emphasis mine, baby, all mine) "From her crouched position in the underbrush, Tessa Jane had no trouble spotting Cord" and the graceful metaphor "her heart (fluttered) like a barnful of frightened chickens." An appropriate beginning, I think, for a weekend about writing that was also often not so much about the writing.
Drove downtown with Angela and Susan and though the rain and the traffic stretched our short drive into over an hour, the time flew with Angela's stories of her rock 'n roll camp and Susan's general hilarity and good sense.
Partied Thursday night with a whole flock of friends from the Chicago Moms Blog, including our new member, the awesome Cynthia, who agrees with me about the Olympics and lovely Tracey who gave me the biggest compliment of the weekend when she said, "You don't write enough." Met a bunch of friends for the first time In Real Life, including Sara and Marcie and made new friends from the other SV Moms Blog regions, including sweetheart Amy Ransom of Occupation: Mommy and the Philly Moms Blog and charming Ilina Ewen (a fellow NU grad!) from Dirt and Noise and the Deep South Moms Blog and the dynamic Melissa Chapman-Mushnick from the New York Moms Blog, whose upcoming gig to interview Tina Brown, a hero of mine ever since I read her brilliant The Diana Chronicles, made my mouth water.
More Chicago party girls: Alma, looking lovely in new lipstick,
funny Shannon, whose dress I was coveting, sweet Farrah, beautiful Catherine, MJ, who was hosting parties left and right on no sleep but still had time for a good talk, perennially cheery Lori, and adorable Melanie, who snorted at my story about infant scat.
It was so good later during the conference to run into Jen and other CMB moms, including Carrie and Caitlin who carried their own adorable little babies!
Other marvelous women I met:
"Jo" the writer of It Ain't Meat, Babe - met at the Geek Lab and talked pie crust. She sez Earth Balance Margarine has no trans fats. I'm trying to avoid palm oils, which it contains, but if I wanted to go fully vegan, I might try this.
Naomi Shapiro from Superdumb Supervillian has posted great pics of the unicorn cake at the Sparklehorse party and me and Kim in the limo on the way to the infamous Nikon/Carson Kressley event. Naomi was splendid that night in a beautiful lime and purple dress. Mwah! Her husband shows at Ann Nathan gallery along with my friend Christina! What a small world!
Darryle Pollack of I Never Signed Up For This and the ingenious Cluttercast.com.
Renee Blodgett, founder of www.weblogtheworld.com and www.travelinggeeks.com.
Local blogger Julie DeGraf of I Do Things So You Don't Have To read a piece at the Community Keynote!
Jennifer Almeida of Toast on the Ceiling.blogspot.com
Green LA Girl "Urban eco living by the beach"
Cinnamon Cooper creates local, cute and responsibly made purses.
Colleen Allison of freshvintage, (whose awesome site sent me to the hilarious decorating snark of Moggit.com) had the cutest table of tag sale finds at the BlogHer swapmeet - I wanted everything. Settled on some adorable vintage coloring books for the girls and a tiny pair of wooden drunks sitting on a park bench for Randy.
I met two young women from Modcloth at one of the parties and I was so happy to tell them I recognized the company name from their ads on LOLCats. Cute vintage-inspired clothes. They sell actual vintage, too, but currently it's ALL sold out. What is up with that?
Jodi M. Schaap of JodiMichelle. Love her tag line: "I tell stories."
Michelle Hong of wifeandmommy and the DC Moms Blog.
Alana Reynolds at Momku, writes wonderful mothing haiku. And blogs with a few more words at letterb.com. As we're chatting in line to get our hair did, (never actually happened with my overpacked social schedule,) I discover her father worked as an animator at Randy's company way back when! It's a small, beautiful world.
Leighann Calentine of Multi-Minding Mom, formerly Soy is the New Black.
Cute Hollywood party animal Tara.
Jessica Bern makes funny five minute video stories "of a neurotic woman's journey through her weekly visit to her therapist."
The Safe Kids people are working to raise awareness and prevent the leading killer of children: accidents.
Linda Andersom (yeah, South Bend!) is reducing her use of plastic.
Vanessa Druckman from Chefdruck Musing and the New Jersey Moms Blog and her lovely sister Jessica Rosenberg dropped by the condo after BowlHer for some bad wine and good conversation with Kim and me. Nice way to end the weekend.
Oh, wait. The actual conferencing thing? Like the seminars and such? Mmmm, let me put that in another post.