This title was an attempt at some clever adaptation of Superfans.
Get it? Da Bears? Da Blawggers? Chicago?
Anyway. I went to Chicago! I went to BlogHer! It was grand!
I arrived Thursday and met up with Tracey and Dana at the hotel. I had had a gin and tonic on the plane, despite the scandalized glances of my rowmates, because a) my vacation had officially begun and b) the baby sent me off saying, “Bye, Mum! I hope your plane doesn’t crash!”
Safely on terra firma, I was still preoccupied with the vacation aspect and spent the rest of that day drinking and meeting people and forgetting that I met them. I remember at some point crashing some private event and yelling at the bartender, “GIMME A GREEN ONE!” and double-fisting frou-frou drinks at the SocialLuxe party prior to taking the stage to help accept MamaPop’s award for Guilty Pleasure Blog.
It was fun and sorely needed release, but I felt really stupid when I kept reintroducing myself to people only to have them blink and say, “We met on Thursday.” Granted, I met a LOT of people those first few hours, so I was a little overwhelmed regardless. But that convinced me to take it easy the next two nights so that I could actually experience the whole thing.
Friday, we woke up late and while my much deserved hangover wasn’t too bad, my uterus got wind of the 1,500 women on the premises and got the brilliant idea to sync up with its fellow cramp enthusiasts. I groaned through one session in the morning then kind of shuffled around until it was time for lunch, then shuffled around until it was time for one of the mingling breaks (read: more food), then made my way to the Community Keynote. I was really glad that I made sure to attend that.
I think/hope that the prescriptivist hand-wringing over what blogging is doing to writing has died down somewhat. Or said hand-wringers are too busy losing their shit over Twitter’s role in the demise of civilization. Because what I had the honor of listening to at the keynote was some astounding writing. And I mean your professor from your undergrad writing class, the one who first drummed showing-not-telling into your head, would have been dumbstruck…that level of good. A few pieces were funny, a few pieces were serious. They were all inspirational. And not in a corny, wind-beneath-my-wings way, but in a, “Wow, I fucking love writing and I can’t wait to get a moment to be alone with my words and shape them into something even remotely as fantastic as what I’m hearing,” way. I cried a couple of times and completely lost it during Catherine’s reading, which I think scared Jodi a little bit. “Um, can I hug you?” she asked, concerned, after the keynote ended. I gratefully accepted because I needed a hug and something to wipe my nose on…like Jodi’s shirt, for example.
Certainly all of the subjects that are covered by bloggers are not for everyone. I was never a victim of childhood abuse, but I couldn’t help but be stunned by Grace’s reading. I have never experienced the devastation of a child’s death, but Tanis and Heather’s readings gave me just a taste of that unimaginable grief. It really doesn’t matter WHAT we write about, just HOW we write about it. And if you can spin a yarn then you have my attention.
The (thankfully) few times that I’ve received a harsh comment here is when people (trolls) have bashed me for writing at all. They don’t care what some mom has to say about her life and I’ve wasted their time by even putting it out here for them to stumble on. The question of WHY someone would bother to read something that they know they will hate and then take the time to complain about it is not worth pondering.
Anyway, I’m getting off topic. Friday night was MamaPop’s Sparklecorn party and Tracey and Catherine had been running around all day getting ready for it. They asked us to meet them before the party, so we gathered in this beautiful bar in the hotel for drinks and appetizers. There they presented us with the most heartfelt gifts and thanked us for our hard work on the site. I was overwhelmed. The gifts, of course, were lovely but the thanks were so touching. I sat on the couch and glanced around at this goofy group of people, who were all dressed for the party and looked amazing, and realized that not only was I lucky enough to know them at all, but I had the opportunity to be WITH them in a gorgeous city amongst a thousand or so people who understood my compulsive reading habits and frantic scribbles of thoughts. I realized that I have it pretty good, that I’m a really lucky person, and I need to acknowledge that more often.
Now, all of that mushiness is fine, but there is, of course, a much goofier side to me. Somehow, Tracey and Catherine reached inside the collective MamaPop body and grabbed whatever gland it is that makes one ponder things like the feminist and cultural statements of Weeds. They took that gland, ground it up in a Cuisinart, and sprayed that shit all over one of the Sheraton ballrooms. There were posters of all of our favorite cult movies. There was glitter. There were tiaras and boas. There was a unicorn cake. There was rye. I wish I had thought to take video of everyone running around and freaking out at how amazing the place looked.
As the party’s attendees filed in and people got a few drinks in them, the dancefloor filled up. The DJ was fantastic and coifs soon became frizzy shadows of their former selves. It was a blast.
At the end of the night, the last track was Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me.” A small group of people put their arms around each other…then a few more joined them…and soon there was a gigantic circle of tipsy writers, thrilled to be in each other’s company, shouting along to the music. It was fucking awesome.
I’ll have to write more tomorrow because it’s getting a little long-winded as it is. Go get a Vengeful Unicorn. On me.