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BlogHer 09 Roundup

I'm still travelling, and my internet time is limited by the throbbing vein in Z's forehead, and before I get into getting rained on in Iowa, or how I celebrated my 29th birthday on a Mississipi paddleboat full of Texan octagenerians, or the train journey from Chicago to Washington DC, first the obligatory post-Blogher ramble.

BlogHer is huge. It's a massive conference, and incredibly well run, but the size of it and the prospect of throwing yourself into a crowd of complete strangers can be incredibly daunting. By the time I'd reached the heaving, teeming outskirts of the People's Party on Thursday night I was questioning my sanity and had I been Z-less I would have probably fled to some dark corner. Looking at the sea of faces of which some were familiar enough to make it like a hellish version of the Memory Game in which you're desperately trying to match face to blog through a haze of social anxiety and alcohol- but it got better. I saw some people whose writing I greatly admired, I met completely new people and bit by bit the whole experience went from 'Good Lord how quickly can we get out of here without actually running' to 'This is all right actually' to 'Unbelievably, I'm having an excellent time'.

Ultimately it was a blast, and I'm so glad I went, because between childcare and financial constraints I'm not sure when I will be able to go again. (There were loads of children at BlogHer who stunned me with their placidity, and made me suspect they were being drugged and made me desperately want to find out Which Drugs in order to take them home as souvenirs for my son).

BlogHer is a strange and deceptive world. People who look aloof can turn out to be warm and engaging, while others who seem approachable, fend you off with the polite determination I usually reserve for visiting Jehovah's Witnesses. The whole idea of a bajillion internet ladies being thrown together for a couple of intense days seems fairly unnatural to me, since as far as I'm concerned the entire beauty of the internet is enabling you to interact through the computer, thus eliminating anxiety about stylistic choices, small talk and eye contact.

My anxiety was certainly playing up (although subsequent experience would teach that if I had wanted to reduce it through perspective I should have spent more time in Amtrak lounges), manifesting in the desire to hide in my room, wishing that mood-altering medication came with the swag and saying many, many stupid things. A prime example of the last is my Sentence-Shortening Disorder in which anything from a single word to whole sentences never makes the transit from brain to mouth, just vanishing into the ether with so many lost hairpins and socks.

Thus, on my way to the Keynote my intent to say: "Black Hockey Jesus, I am hoping that you will lead me to the designated backstage room of the Community Keynote" comes out as: "Black Hockey Jesus, I'm hoping that you will lead me to a room" and the only thing that stops me from smacking myself in the head right there is an attempt to cling to the last tatters of my cool.

Now that it's over I feel a lingering sense of loss and the impulse to hand out my business cards to complete strangers. But I had a blast, I've met the most incredible people and I cannot wait to get back to the UK and expand my reading list until my eyes can take no more. Ultimately, making connections is what drew me to the Internet in the first place (from the long ago AOL chat, to livejournal, to the wider blogging community) and it's what continues to be my drug - finding people who draw you in with their voice and their writing,and finding your life has been enriched by that and you can't go back.

ETA: For a piece of the action Bitchin Wives Club is running a contest on her blog to give away a cool, cool prize.

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Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
trinity_gal
Jul. 29th, 2009 01:02 pm (UTC)
Aww, I am often bemused by very talented ladies suddenly becoming tongue-tied! (you!) What can be their possible reason?!!!!!!)

That's excellent choice of holiday!)
(if you find out that drug, let me know too))
(Anonymous)
Jul. 29th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
世界水泳で、Micheal Phelpsが負け続けている。
レーザーレーサーよりさらに高速のポリウレタンの水着が
できたみたい。
日本でも、北京オリンピックに予選落ちの選手が金メダルとか、
北京オリンピックも、ランキングも3位の選手がこの水着をきて
マイケル・ふぇるぷすに勝ったらしいけど、そもそも、みんなが
同じ水着を着れないのはへん。自由に好きな水着を認めていたのに、
いまさらworld recordの連発があまりにもすごいから、今後は
普通のfabricのsuim suitだけにしてください、というのは問題。
だって、誰もworld recordを破れないということになってしまう。
頭痛いよね。

(Anonymous)
Jul. 29th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
Another speech at conference?
(Anonymous)
Jul. 29th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
But you are not with axiety anymore.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 30th, 2009 04:23 am (UTC)
Lovely to have met you!
I was the girl holding the box of balls at the end of the Men of BlogHer panel. I was captivated by your keynote and by you in person as well. Glad you had fun at BlogHer and I hope to talk to you soon!
Karen
(karensugarpants.com and craftastrophe.net)
amysprite
Aug. 2nd, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
Huge, Overwhelming
and that is hilarious that you asked BHJ to lead you to a room. ;) I bet he liked it. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge!* Just kidding.

Thanks for the shout out! I have a couple good tweets that are going to win it all tomorrow, unless someone gets clever quickly.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 8th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
from kelly at ordinaryartblog
the keynotes were, hands down, the best part of the conference.

Kelly
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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