Butterfly garden, Millennium Park, Chicago.
I started this post a few days ago, but things (firefox, my wireless modem) kept dropping out on me.
I know, excuses, excuses. . .
Nina asked to hear more stories about BlogHer.
I spent lots of time at the conference lightheaded and woozy because of my inner ear wonkiness. I stayed in a room on the 22nd floor, and every time I rode the elevator it made my ears pop. Chicago seemed sort of sci-fi and futuristic to me anyway with all the concrete and tall buildings, and the vertigo just made everything that much more surreal.
I find that all really interesting, now that I’m thinking back on it a week later, because before I went I called my grandmother to tell her that I was going to Chicago and she told me about the first time she went there. She was fourteen, and went to attend the World’s Fair. I don’t remember her ever telling me about it before, and during the whole phone call I found myself wishing I could record what she was saying. She told me that she was there with her family (my great-grandfather was always game for an adventure, he drove across the US in a model T when there weren’t even proper roads in most places) and a friend. She and her friend went exploring in Chicago, and it was the first time either of them had been out in public in *gasp* pants. Then, at the fair they saw the television demonstration, about which my grandmother said something like, "I know that this will sound silly to you, but to us that television was a marvel. My friend went into the other room, and I could see her on screen — it was magical!" I DO get it. I really do! Overall, I’m pretty grateful to be living in the time I am (I’d be in bad shape if it weren’t for penicillin and feminism and reliable birth control and Trader Joe’s) but sometimes I feel like I was born a few decades too late. Maybe the past always appeals to me because I’m sort of a sentimental romantic and it’s far enough back in time for just the good and shiny bits to be remembered.
But, listening to my grandmother’s memory of Chicago made me really happy to be going there. Some of those same buildings she looked up at in her sailor pants were the ones I walked by on my way to the Art Institute with Jess. It’s hard to believe that just 70 years ago it was exciting for a 14 year-old to get to stroll through a city in pants and be left in awe from an introduction to television. My oldest child is not quite 11, and while he’s still interested in new things and in learning, I don’t think his childhood has enough of that kind of wonder. I want that for my kids. For me, too. I think having so much information about everything right in our grasp has the potential to pull the wonder out from under us, if we let it.
Nina was at the first conference. This year we had about three times more people attend. I totally missed seeing a few women that I had really hoped to meet, and most of the blog posts I’ve read make me question if I was even there. Not in a bad way at all, but just because there was so much more happening it was impossible to keep up with even a fraction of it.
I didn’t even get to take a photo with Sue Bob’s Famous Red Stapler. Still pouting over that.
Of course, the higher numbers are good in lots of ways: BlogHersAct is going to pack a heftier punch, for one thing. And, I’m not kidding when I tell you that my involvement with BlogHer changed my whole life. (They already hired me. I’m not kissing up.) I love seeing that potential stretch out to more and more women. It was through BlogHer that I met most of the women I hold close, and I am certain I’d never have found a job like this anywhere else. (I don’t remember how much I’ve written about *what* it is I do with them, but if you want to join BlogHerAds send me a note and I’ll point you in the right direction.)
I went to the Food Blogging panel, and the StoryTelling one. Also, the Craft Panel, where I was super impressed with the bloggers who shone along with Amy Sedaris. She IS hilarious, but they were great, too, and I was glad to see them so involved. The Food and Storytelling panels were good picks for me. I was starstruck by so many of the women in the room that I had a hard time paying full attention, but I learned useful things about posting recipes (they are a method, which can’t be copy written, but the directions that go along with the method — the stuff in your own voice — is the writer’s own), and categorizing posts (don’t — just list your informatively written post titles somewhere for the reader to look through. still need to do that. . . ). I liked the storytelling panel, too. I’m hoping to go and read through the live blogged versions of everything at some point (ha ha ha — when? hmmm) and pick up on more information. Like I said, I was pretty woozy and worried I was going to pass out. Kind of like now, but that is just because I need to get some sleep.