Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Surprised By Myself

On Thursday night or Friday morning someone (probably Cindy) asked me what I planned to do while at the conference. Part of my answer just rolled off the tongue unplanned, the truth laid right out before I had a chance to think about it. "I'm going to the Community Keynote for sure. That's the one thing that, if I miss it, I won't be able to count my Blogher a success."

Thanks for saying that, mouth, I hadn't realized but, totally true.

A few years ago at the conference, after hearing different kinds of keynotes, Eden Kennedy suggested to the Blogher Powers That Be that it would be good to hear from a bunch of bloggers, to honor their blogging in the form of a collaborative keynote speech. I remember reading post after post from the first year's presenters about how drunk or scared or vomity or star struck they were while standing back stage waiting to go on. The concept and the descriptions of its execution so thrilled me that I haven't even watched the videos of preceding years. If I couldn't see it live I didn't want to see it at all, I guess. Ridiculous but true.

This year I was able to be there in person. And, hand to god, it's probably the moment I said to myself, "You need to go to San Diego next year." even if I just get a one day pass so I can see the Community Keynote and fly right the hell home. I didn't expect to be so undone at seeing the creator of not only the CK but the "Writing well is the best revenge" t-shirt and NaBloPoMo right up there on stage but the minute she walked out I wanted to commando crawl between the tables and up to the front of the stage like I used to do at high school productions when I was a little kid. I wanted to see it all with my chin resting on the lip of the platform and an inability to see or hear anything else while it happened.

It's OK, I didn't.

I sat in my chair at a table full of new found friends and I laughed and cried and gasped and listened and watched and yearned for the all-too-short duration of 15 fabulous speakers. I thought immediately of my friend Beebott when Liz Henry tackled the question of "What is Geek?" Karen Green told an almost surreal story of serendipitously bringing together Holocaust survivors. Faiqua thanked her husband in an immigration story that should be handed to every congressperson. The whole, huge ballroom was utterly silent for the entirety of Stephanie Roberts' presentation about her travels with Jen Lemen and their project, Picture Hope. I hearkened back to some of my own linguistic battles when Dr. Lissa Rankin, a gynecologist, was told not to use the word "vagina" when talking about her work. And I sang along (very quietly) as Amy Windsor morphed a familiar Broadway tune into "The Popular Blogger" to close the ceremonies.

The takeaway message of the weekend for me was, "No matter what you call it or how you do it, what you're here to celebrate is important." The Community Keynote, filled with single, brilliant posts mindfully plucked from among the masses of posts streaming into the ether every day exemplified that message. It's a brilliant plan executed beautifully even as the number of posts submitted has increased exponentially. You can read all 90 of the posts nominated and I'm sure that somewhere there is, or will be, a video I just haven't been able to find it yet. The same way that I practice my Oscar speech in the mirror for the entire month of March, I'll probably be practicing my Voices of the Year entry for the rest of August.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Eden Kennedy on Friday night at a party to benefit the Gulf Coast clean up effort. I managed to convey to her exactly nothing of what I've just written here.

Go on. It's OK to be disappointed in me.

After I hit publish on this I think I need to compose an email. "Dear Eden, Maybe you remember me. I'm the girl who talked to you about your dead dog at the party?..."


  1. But, you ARE The Girl Who Talked To You About Your Dead Dog. (Can we use it as a tagline?)

    You are one of those people who truly get that for many of us, PETS are not "pets". You understand that the loss of a pet is a loss of a family member and you treat it as such (I wish I could say the pun was intended).

    It's impossible to hang at 117 Hudson for very long without realizing that about you. We know The Drill.

    I *adore* that that is what you and Eden chatted about. It's so you. And so here.

  2. It was wonderful to meet you in person, and I wish we'd had more time to talk. But at least I can find you loitering around here, right?


  3. You won't be able to get rid of me now, Wendi. Gum on your shoe has nothing on me! Great to meet you, too.