A post-BlogHer-post is long overdue, and my reasons for not tackling it yet are manifold. The first is the practical one. Life is kicking my ass, what with The Move and only four weeks left at work and one million projects to tie up with a pretty bow before I leave. That and sell the house, sell the minivan, sell the other car, sell, give, sell, trash, sell, sell, sell our lives out from under us. (sobs...)
Yeah. It's that kind of post. I'm a tad melancholy. BlogHer was Awesome, Inspiring and completely Overwhelming. When I blithely (and a bit snottily) left a post last week about how I am not shy and I am woman hear me roar I was not fully prepared for how a situation like BlogHer can make the most extrovert among us get a severe disorder of the socially anxious variety. HBM has written at her place about how she feels a sense of regret and guilt about not being able to touch base meaningfully with people she knew. I have only a fraction of Her Bad community, and I still came away with some pangs over people I had not had a chance to really have a juicy talk with. Women who write so brilliantly, and who make me laugh and think, and who I am likely to never, ever meet again (because BlogHer from the UK is likely to be rather dear and not entirely easy to justify)--it felt like there they all stood among a sea of brilliants. And the sea of brilliants was busy yak yak yaking to one another. Noisy. (insert linky love here...)
(If you were not there, you should know that the blogher "speed dating" ice-breaker exercise just about put me over the edge, and I actually had to leave the room before my head promptly exploded off my neck).
By the time Friday night rolled around, the idea of chatting in a quiet room and eating pizza while the babies slept was extremely appealing. These were the gals who had started blogging at the same time as me, and we had all cheered each other on in those early months when you don't think anyone is reading and just about shit a brick when you get a comment. Meeting them in person was so fucking affirming. (Yes. I said "affirming." Piss Awf). Anyway, we were all quite giddy with it. Some of us to the extent of passing out. Well. You all know how that went.
But I feel I should point out in regards to that incident (and perhaps I should be ashamed to say this) I was not even drunken. I was actually quite sober, after determining that I would *not* overdo it like I did the night before, when I boozed so badly I ended up buying a pack of smokes [don't tell my husband] and puffing away enough to feel absolutely dreadful the next morning.
(Just so you know, I don't smoke, but apparently being completely ass-faced on an empty stomach around a bunch of newly discovered BFFs triggers me to regress to a teenage state of rebellion where I binged on all life's evils. There's nothing quite so sobering as a 7am hangover while you "pump and dump" as discretely as possible while your (similarly hungover) roomates lope around the room looking for painkillers. But what delightful roomates they were).
Anyway. Apart from a certain person (who was wasted, wasted tired, bless her) we were all quite clear-headed. It was the food of love, you see, that made us all turn into such idiots. And yes, we were idiots, giggling, crying, peeing our pants silly people. And it was quite wonderful. When Catherine said her only regret was that she was not actually "there" to be part of it, I sensed a real pang. She totally meant it.
Because, how often do we really get to be that silly? Not often enough. I love silly so so much. I want to be that kind of silly when I am a grandmommyblogger. Please.
So now I am suffering from what SlackerMamma calls it BlogHer Lag. So much talking talking talking about blogging blogging blogging, and the idea of coming back and trying to synthesize something in words feels just impossibly exhausting. (sidenote. I now know why people don't write a lot about blogher. Blogher itself sucks the very blogging lifeblood out of you in this regard...)
But I do want to make a few comments about the panels. I was both a speaker and moderator, and on Thursday afternoon there was a training session for all of us in that boat. (There I met my co-panelists, who were so very nice, and so very smart). During the training, a great deal of emphasis was put on interactivity. That the audience should have opportunity to contribute as much as possible. That each person in the room should come away with something, a sense that they were part of it all. As a teacher, I fully concur, and as an academic I can quite honestly say that there is nothing quite worse than being talked at by four consecutive panelists, but Karrie summed up the problem with the approach much better than I could:
"While many interesting positions were expressed in other sessions, the sheer number of bloggers present made it difficult to participate, and the discussions were (understandably)somewhat limited, since so many voices were clamoring to be heard. In my personal experience with larger groups, many people will sit waiting to pose a question or share a comment, and by the time their turn to speak comes around the discussion may have veered in a completely different direction, or the participant loses their train of thought."
If I had any complaint (let's call it constructive criticism, shall we?) it was that in the interests of including everyone, a lot of extremely interesting issues that were raised ended up getting lost in the chorus of opinions. As a moderator, I myself attempted to reach every hand that was raised in the room, eager not to leave anyone out. Though it was an excellent discussion, and the time flew by, I came away feeling that we only scratched at the surface, that we flitted about various topics but did not get our teeth into any one of them. Which is probably fine. I suppose that's what blogging is for.
But an exemplary incident of this was at the State of the Mommasphere panel, which was by far the most interesting to me. Mocha Momma raised a crucial question about diversity in the mommasphere, challenging the marketers present in the room to explain why women of color were not targeted for advertising dollars. Her comment was both bad ass and incendiary (God, I love that woman) and promptly lost as the next person got to voice an opinion--on something completely unrelated (though I should say that CityMama managed to pick it up again, if fleetingly).
This is no criticism of the moderator, Jory, who was working that room and creating a fabulous energy in the process, but an observation that as the community grows and passions escalate, at a certain point it's not necessarily possible or even desirable to allow everyone to have their soundbite, you know? [Aside--Mocha and Glennia from Kimchi Mamas have both agreed to write on this topic for BlogRhet.... so, I guess the conversation will continue. Stay tuned.. ]
So. A lot more to say. But I need to click on publish before this gets hopelessly out of date.