Archive for July, 2005

overstimulation buzzity buzz

A few more ideas to throw out, from the conference:

Take some historic/fictional moms and write their mommyblogs. It would be best done as if some of them know each other in Real Life like me and Squid and Jo and some of them are blog-friends. Imagine Caroline Ingalls cussing up a storm about having to move for the nth time out to MORE in the middle of nowhere with 5 kids, two of them in diapers. (Yes, five – Mary, Laura, Carrie, Charlie – the one who died when Mary went blind – and Grace.)

I think we could get ahistorical and have her be friends with Flora Tristan. Flora’s english-language wikipedia bio doesn’t explain well, and I’m too tired to go into it, but she was a kick-ass writer and socialist & she lost custody of her kids because of her public writing life.

Maybe a blog from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’s mom. Remember her? How she was a sucky housewife because she liked to read novels all the time? Let’s get the low-down on that situation.

Mary Shelley and her mom, both blogging. The drama between them when they discover each other’s blogs. Imagine Mary Wollstonecraft lecturing Mary Jr. on the flighty pointless evil of novels, and Mary Shelley’s pissed-off rebel attitude as she writes them anyway.

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cupcakes & aspirin

I’m too exhausted to do textual justice to the day. But – strangely intense conversations about family with Grace, at the bottom of the hill while the girls, little & big, leaped over the abyss on the rope swing. Grace – aka Dr. Laura’s Worst Nightmare – is very good at getting people to talk about themselves. With me it’s never hard, but I can tell the touch of the expert surgeon. She is a masterful interviewer, and makes things & people seem Important. I pictured her as a news anchor, tv reporter during some crisis or political thing, or with her own talk show… A blogging talk show, with photos and podcasting? But the force of her personality would come across better on video. Think of all the times someone has come up to you and asked a well-meaning but lame question about your life, your appearance, your work or art or career or past… a question that falls flat, and the only answer is “er… I dunno… maybe… Because that’s how I did it.” I can’t imagine Grace asking anyone a boring question. “Clearly in some ways a strategy to deflect attention away from yourself, but hey, you are REALLY really good at it…” If aliens visit Earth, they should contact her first.

Cupcakes… hanging around in a tiny bedroom downstairs with the light coming in the bamboo blinds, imagining living there. Ms. Jane was being silly with us… More cupcakes on a tray served by Grace – with a side of advil, baby aspirin, & sparkling water. Wow!

My head went sideways for a while as I cruised her rows of books. Her ex is a poet – I found – as I lunged for the dusty handmade book & booklet & she ran over and wigged out that I’d pick that of all things off the shelf. I savor the obscure, small & neglected little mag…

Grace also said something funny about my body and how I am in my body in this amazing way. I was like, WTF? I don’t think anyone’s said that to me before – I’m the most notoriously awkward and ungraceful person around. But I thought about it hiking up the hill & realized when I am not hurting anywhere I’m always appreciating it, and when I am hurting, I’m extra aware of my body and trying to make it so it’s not hurting any more. Because I used to just turn off any connection or awareness as much as I could so as not to hurt – but that has a terrible result because it made me neglect myself to the point where I fell apart! Er, anyway, it was just her way of noticing my somewhat nonstandard-for-a-girl body language…?

Moomin played well with Sophie! Rook played well with others too & then took Moomin off to his rpg – so that I could stay longer.

Then – Grace’s sister Terry drove me home & we went to her art studio. “come on over and see my lithographs…” Heh. It was fun & I liked her art & the giant metal machines & stuff. She was giggly and fun, & the sort of unstuckup person who likes to xerox her own butt. Totally!

To bed with Moomin and then I have to read the proofs for the Foetry Plash article !

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happy birthday!

Happy birthday Jo! her birthday cupcakes with rainbow bendy candles are piled high & everyone’s singing & there’s photos clicking as I blog it…

“Put the computer down, back away from the computer,” Jo says, giggling, to Rook…

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jaw drop

Well, knock me over with a feather. Jo Spanglemonkey’s daughter and Pam Beancounter‘s daughter read each other’s blogs. They’re 8 and 9. Paying each other courtly compliments on the stories they’d made up. That’s so cool!




where is my camera?

Wow – on the spot, live from Dr. Laura’s Worst Nightmare, for the BlogHer debrief. I had pictured Grace’s house as more run-down and hippyish. Instead it’s amazing and gorgeous! we’re in the hills, trees all around, on the side of a hill … yow, it’s beautiful. People who kind of have it together with the house decorating and not covering every surface with tattered paperback books! How I admire them. I love it when everything is made of shiny wood.

big windows & porches… a chickadeee sitting on a vine… I think that’s a fig tree! but mostly oak & eucalyptus. boogie woogie playing… blues and funk.

Food all around. Andrea from Bloghound is here, and Beth…. more in a bit… i must resurface into RL. All the way here for an hour Rook nicely listened to me describing every nook and cranny of the BlogHer conference. “Why didn’t you stand up and contradict the dude who stood up and said all that crap about terror of the Internet?” he asked me. “I dunno. People were focusing more on the positive and I figured I could flame him later. ” “Ah,” he said knowingly. “But I noticed that the room was dead silent. An appalled silence, maybe…”

***
The brunch party is jollying up. Jo Spanglemonkey is here! and Pam from Beancounter… with kids. Rox Populi. All slightly awkward, milling about, nibbling food, conversation. everyone wants to like everyone else. Pam is in the other corner from me, blogging busily.

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moments of pride and not

Last night right around the witching hour I was awash in what Minnie calls “the hot blush of shame.” Not regret or shame exactly, but doubts. I’m a brazen thick-skinned loudmouthed hussy and proud. But in the middle of the night when everyone around me is asleep, a funny sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. For once it was nice to get comment spam, because it linked me back at random to a comforting thought about pride, flamboyance, and loudness.

What is it Jo and I were saying the other day about affect broadcasting? I can’t remember!

I wish Squid had come with us… I missed her.

My dreams last night: I was in a strange, tiny apartment, cramming my bookshelves into a labyrinth that would leave enough space for a bed. I kept moving a stack of things, and underneath it there’d be something faintly rotten & messy, like spilled soup. Then varoius people came up to hug me and to say that they were sorry Rook had left me, but really, they were so surprised he’s so cuddly and interesting to sleep with. All my friends had slept with him after we broke up! And then Rook himself came to give me a consoling hug; he looked rather eerily like Mr. Darcy from the mid-80s BBC tv miniseries. We gave each other dramatic, tender speeches that I can’t remember.

Now, morning: equilibrium… equanimity… coffee. Rook’s got his computer in lap, writing his nifty academic article on rpg theory. Moomin is wearing my yellow and black leg warmers with the Batman pajama top. He climbs to the top of the cat tree… buuzzy buzzy buzzzy buzzzzzy (do the “nanananaa na na na na BATMAN song, but with buzzes) and then at the very end, leaps on to the couch. “When I spread my wings and leap, I buzz!”

It’s so peaceful. Our mornings… I think back to the many years (in every relationship I was in) of switching off who gets the computer or who gets the net connection. & lonely moments especially when I was sick and disabled, and the happy-modem connection noise. Now, I’m connected almost all the time and SO much happier.

I am still all emotional about yesterday and being surrounded by other people (especially other moms) who make that same choice & searching for that connection & scatter their dandelion fluff & pirate gold out into the world despite everything. It’s important!

Disengaging tentacles from blog & net, now, to play Bee witih Moomin, who’s waiting for me. Soon – off to Grace’s for bloggy brunch, perhaps some much-needed debriefing.

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did I say that out loud?

Maybe I shot my mouth off a little too obnoxiously about humanities profs being afraid to blog or afraid of the effects of blogging. I didn’t mean to point fingers and say “dirty assimilationist” or anything remotely similar. As if I could possibly claim to be on any kind of high horse.

Prof. Steed keeps pointing out I may not “belong” in academia if I’m so uncomfortable with it that I want to change it all around. But then other times she says things that sound like she has her regrets, wishes she could be a little more free, or that she feels ghettoized & limited by publishing lots about feminism and feminist theory.

Anyway, her advice to me was all very right…. I just don’t want to hear it or am incapable, at times… The way that the Onceler advised me years ago with completely correct advice to translate only very famous, very dead, public domain poets FIRST in order to get them published easily. And then later, when established, go translate the women whose work I like better, that isn’t public domain because they’re not DEAD enough.

You see why this is correct, but also why it’s orc-talk… And it’s advice that maybe if I’d had it when I was 17 or 18, it would have steered me into being more successful. But I’d rather have my life this way. Really! And I still think with great happiness of the “Feminist Research Methods” book by Liz Stanley & Sue Wise – a very brave book. I’d rather write like that – “Expose mistakes” – or like Dale Spender – than toe the line (partly) in the way that Prof. Steed does (though I respect her immensely and think she is more disciplined than I can ever hope to be – she is inspiring too.)

(And I’m still thinking hard about what d.b. and Ping said about a dept. like this being more the place for me. I’m feeling like that creature in Put Me In the Zoo, when Prof F. is telling me what I need to do to fit into their dept and I’m like… But, wait, isn’t it cool that I have these spots? and can change colors and… make them look like socks, and stuff!? Hmm. Perhaps… the circus is the place for me!)

I can’t remember who pointed it out – I think it was that woman with the buzzed hair and blogher tank top, and I looked all over the conference for her… but yes, it is easier for we who don’t have much of a position of “academic privilege” to say this sort of stuff compared to people who have a stake in the game for real.

This & other similar issues all were dealt with very well in Alanya to Alanya – the sf novel by L. Timmel Duchamp that I keep praising to the skies.

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home again

What a day! I’m going through my posts and cleaning them up, adding links, and saying whatever I can remember of what I was thinking while taking messy notes on the fly.

I loved meeting so many people… I have a pocketful of cards, though I can’t remember who everyone was now that I’m looking at the cards. Who was that woman taking photos of my socks? And was I too appalling to show her my underwear? Did she blog it? Was my maxi-pad showing?

And the other person who was lying on the floor and taking pictures of us all handing each other cards? I must have taken her card, but I’ve forgotten her name.

I liked how very few people were uptight at this conference and in fact everyone was running around being a little bit obnoxious and joking about how they were upskirting us all. In retrospect it seems obvious that it was going to be a conference full of loud, mouthy, out-there women. How glorious! There were also the super professional techies and the law people, who were generally more circumspect than the trash-talking moms and journalists. But it wasn’t like… there weren’t hordes of scary slick marketing people running everything. Huzzah. Perhaps they were there, but studying us quietly and wondering what makes us tick.

I was SO hyper! I’m crashing and burning now, with a day’s worth of email to catch up on, and a mind buzzing with ideas & faces & overstimulation.

That was a great conference, especially for being organized so quickly & so much of it on the fly. Advice, if anyone’s looking: I would point to the WisCon Unsurpassed Perfectlly Organized Mother-of-All-Pocket-Programs as a model for scheduling and info.

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the closing thingie

***
Nice. Instead of boring official speeches, they are passing the microphone around. Yay! They are doing nearly EVERYTHING right at this conference. (The food is good, too…)

**

Massive thankyous all around. Passing the microphone. A whole bunch of people stood up to sum up their experience of the conference.

Mary Hodder (Napsterization): Let’s make a list, a serious effort, a wiki, something, let’s talk about it and let’s make it.

Someone else whose name I missed – suggests an open conference structure. People get together in small groups and decide what they want to talk about that day. I think I’d like this, but maybe as one day of a multi-day conference, with other days being structured beforehand (with flexibility.) I was also thinking that some 10-15 person discussion groups with whiteboards would be nice, the very quick round-robin introductions, then switch groups.)

Some journalist dude? (He says he came for the hot java-coding chicks.) He says he noticed a theme of people talking about fear or terror. Fear of being outed, stalked, speaking, etc blah blah. And we were especially brave for facing up to this and the solution to fear being blogging. er. An okay point but he sort of drove it into the ground and it was cheesy and a bit negative…. I thought even a bit condescending. I could picture the article that would be written about how women are bravely overcoming their fear of the Internet. Oh, spare me! Also, could he talk any longer… carried away by his theme, he pontificated with great authority… Greatly needs feminism 101 class.

Blither Blather Bloviate. This is the person who was talking at the academic panel about having a new academic blog, “Breathing History”.

Amy from Contentious was contacted by a (male) major conference organizer, asking her for names of women to invite… and she said okay, but let’s talk about this: let’s move beyond tokenism. Woooo! Go Amy! She asks everyone to mention this to organizers. (I wondered how you DO move beyond tokenism. I’ve tried myself with the SanJo nonprofit… I wasn’t very successful in helping the organization not be that way. Not tactful enough.)

A challenge (by someone with red hair – I was behind her and didn’t catch her name) to find 5 blogs by people who don’t look like you and don’t talk like you. Read it for a few months and stick with it, learn something. (And link to it.)

Some other guy saying he had a great time, maybe took a few hits for being male but whatever, he doesn’t mind, etc. it’s probably deserved most of the time. His advice to all the women there was to make personal connections with people. Send a note, make a phone call. Not an email. Just really get to know someone from this conference and it will pay off for you and will be fun and rewarding.

Alice -finslippy. She is cool.. She had a lot of good stuff to say in the mommyblogging panel… and was so right on. I haven’t read her blog but Jo Spanglemonkey says I would like it. Finslippy gets huge applause…

Someone else whose name I didn’t catch but who designed the logo for BlogHer. She gave a short thank-you speech to Lisa as it was apparently mostly all Lisa’s idea or effort. Lots of people stood up to clap and the clapping went on just forever… I think this was Lisa Stone of Surfette.

Mobile Jones. Mary’s idea of building a speaker list. Are we familiar with concept of smart mobs? Ooops, I thought she said “smart moms”. “Show up at etech with 300 of your very good friends. Mob them. Go to the next Blogger con. If we all show up. they’ll change their program.” hahahaha! What a great idea! She rocks! I love this sort of super proactive approach!!!!!

Liza (?) blog shero site, name, blog, bio. Please fill out the form. Okay… I’ll fill it out… especially since everything Liza said was great and right on… though I can’t quite wave with the name “blog she-roes.” It’s too cutesy. This, from me, a woman who wears knee socks with little pink bows on them.

Oh… I might take it back about the cutesy – look at the logo! damn! Cool! I would buy that tshirt.

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This is for you, NakedJen!

I loved the sign on the men’s bathroom that crossed it out & made it a women’s room – “men’s room around the other side of the building, by the exit…”

I had vowed weeks ago to take off my clothes somewhere more or less public & post a naked photo in honor of NakedJen’s lovely exuberance…. Every Friday she posts a photo of herself, full on nekkid, in some interesting place, by the side of the road… or photoshopped into Minnie Mouse’s bedroom…

(naked pic behind the cut)

(more…)

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