BlogHer 08: The beginning, middle, but not so much the end.
probably all the rest too if you search around. Bring Kleenex for the other ones. But not for mine because...well, ew.
Not your ordinary conference registration table
There's this funny thing I've discovered about comments on blog posts. You can spend hours crafting a long, heartfelt essay about falling in love with your baby, close with some offhanded line about oh...let's say, lime popsicles, and then 80% of your commenters will weigh in about lime popsicles.
I'm worried that this weekend's BlogHer conference will be a little like that.
There were so many outstanding moments, fascinating debates, interesting people, and now all anyone wants to yap about is some well-calculated last-minute drama. (And I freaking love Jennster from the bottom of my heart for always being the chick who's like Hey look! A big pink elephant in the room, and I think it's drunk!)
For me the highlight of the weekend (besides knowing that there are good people in the world willing to lend a sister their deodorant), was participating in Friday night's community keynote. If you missed it (and I'm told you can see it here, but I can't vouch for the link) it was part poetry slam, part open mic night, part thousand-person group hug. Eden Kennedy needs a Nobel prize for putting it together.
Scratch what I just wrote, it was one of the highlights of my life.
To the observer it may seem like I just read some silly post about the letches who come to my blog in search of porn, while other bloggers stunned the crowd with eloquence regarding suicide attempts or mental illness or the fear of having a daughter who would rather be run over by a truck than fat--the one that still has me in tears every time I recall Y's sweet voice at the mic and bare feet on the wooden stage floor. But for me, it was more.
It was validation not that I am good enough, but that this, this blogging thing, is good enough.
Saturday night was an essential reminder that we're all doing something worthwhile here. Whether it's cathartic, or healing or simply entertaining, it's not "just blogging". It's good. It's important. Even a post about pornographic Google hits, or so I'd like to think.
Plus, you were gracious enough to laugh at the right places. Oh, bless you. Bless you.
Because our blogging is important to us bloggers, I bristled a bit at the question directed towards Dooce and Stephanie Klein (who I think was like my husband in a past life or something) in the keynote about writing for yourself versus writing for others. Not that it was a bad question per se, but because there's always an implication with these kinds of queries that writing you're paid for, writing that finds an audience, is somehow less than.
Let's be honest here: We all write for others. All of us.
If we didn't, we'd be pulling an Ally Sheedy in Breakfast Club, furiously scribbling into a marbled composition book in some coffee shop in an unwashed black thrift store turtleneck in the middle of July.
Everyone who writes has a reader in his or her head, real or perceived--a parent, an admired author, Abbie Hoffman, the PTA moms. Sometimes, even today, I picture that tenth grade English teacher who hated my writing. 25 years later it would still be nice to get her wrinkly old thumbs up.
We don't have to be ashamed about what we do or why we do it. Whether we blog for money or friendship or approval or attention or magical beans. I said it in the first Momosphere panel and I meant it: It's all good.
Sometimes writing for an audience leads you to a ballroom stage in front of 1000 other writers so you can finally start to banish the voices in your head that tell you you're not good enough. But that's not the only place it leads. Maybe your writing leads to you a party where you meet someone who may end up becoming a dear friend for the rest of your life. Maybe it leads you to shake hands with a celebrity.
Maybe your writing leads you to a marketer who wants to advertise on your blog. Maybe it leads you to job offers. Maybe it leads to a conference where you engage in interesting discussions about SEO or camera lenses or why there's no damn protein at breakfast. Maybe it leads you to a front row seat for Rocco DiSpirito's very fine nipple shirt.
Or maybe this kind of writing leads you to contribute to a book. And subsequently, to meet dozens of fantastic women who graciously paid cash money to buy it. Yes, I know they're actually paying cash money because Alice and Amy are in it, but I was giddy to be along for the ride.
So giddy in fact that when Stefania joked that it was like a yearbook signing, I ran with it.
If you bought an advance copy of Sleep is for the Week Saturday night then wondered why the hell I inscribed something about having a blast with you in AP chem, now you know that I wasn't on crack. Just Chardonnay and copious amounts of joy.
Thank you to you for being the place that my writing leads. Because you were there. Or because you are here.
It's freaking hot in New York today. I could go for a lime popsicle.