Is it true that strapping young men hand-fed Chicken McNuggets into the mouths of attendees?
I suppose you want details. Were there late night pillow fights? Drunken discussion, witless wandering, general jackassery? Is it true that at the closing party, strapping young men, henceforth dubbed McModels, hand-fed Chicken McNuggets into the mouths of attendees?
Yes, yes and maybe.
You know, at the (mostly) women’s blogging conference. That’s where your larger-than-life bloggers like Aussa and Samara collided (lovingly) and yours truly wedged herself in like a springy leaf of lettuce.
This is not about that. For that, I have video. I also have pictures – fun ones – that I’ll include at the bottom of the rant you’re about to read. Consider the pictures a treat resulting from the guilt I feel for where I’m about to take you.
What this might be about is…commas. We’ll get to why conference women in tiny dresses evoke a diatribe on commas.
For starters, where do commas actually go, the ones that fall outside of basic punctuation rules? In the phrase, “supposedly one day,” should a comma follow “supposedly”? Or does one leave it out as a stylistic choice to complement a conversational tone? But wait. By itself it’s a sentence fragment anyway, so why fret over the pesky pause? No wonder the little torturer looks like an upside down teardrop.
In the last paragraph, a question mark ended up outside the quotation marks because that entire sentence was a question. I confirmed this rule by looking it up. When it comes to writing, I’ll do whatever it takes to keep learning. Presumably, we also attend conferences like BlogHer to learn. Sure, there are myriad conference benefits, we’re told, like networking and opportunities for product growth, but by draping it all under the umbrella of “learning,” the conference markets itself to every level of beginner and expert.
While this post might be about pesky pauses that get in the way, it’s about the ones in the brain, not in sentences. It’s about perfectionism, that self-important mélange of obsessive nitpicking and vanity. It gets in the way of getting things done more than any other dysfunction. For example, I cannot sit down and wing a post. I second guess every word and punctuation, and then philosophize over the second guessing.
Why do I happily begin sentences with a conjunction or spurt out all those sentence fragments, yet work myself into a frenzy over a comma? I know exactly why. My internal subset of guidelines decides for me which writing rules leave room for stylistic license, and which should be treated like math. If you fuck with the rules of math, it’s not math anymore. When I’m not sure what rule befits artistry versus mathematical rigidity, I research. Learning is fluid and doesn’t end. Some resources are more beneficial than others, but seeking learning always yields results, even when it’s not what you expected. Which gets us back to BlogHer.
Last year was the first time I attended the conference. I like to try most things once as long as they don’t inconvenience me or clash drastically with my principles and health. Taking place in San Jose, last year’s BlogHer was driving distance and offered a reasonable student rate. Why not, I thought, so I attended and had a blast. But even though I participated in the sessions, I didn’t learn much. So when deciding to return to BlogHer this year, learning wasn’t a factor. Attending was again, merely convenient. This time it was taking place in NYC, my hometown, and as a benefit of being a Voice of the Year, my conference pass would be free.
A few blocks from where it all took place.
It makes sense that after a blogging conference, I would question what blogging even means to me. Once again, my inner subset of guidelines kicked in for me to understand my individual blog path.
“You’re a writer, not a blogger,” said one of my new friends at the blogging conference. I always thought “writer” and “blogger” were the same thing. At least, in my mind, they should be. It’s true that my blog allows me freedoms other forms of writing don’t. It gives me irresistible permission, like communicating directly to the reader and breaking the fourth wall. It gets to be self-referential – I can go on neurotic tangents while writing about neurotic tangents. But I simply can’t write a post without applying a self-imposed standard of craft. I might still want to tell you about my crooked toe, but it has to be framed within a more intricate, bigger intention.
I didn’t attend a single session at BlogHer 15. When my blog is the one place I get to apply my personal subset of guidelines, listening to a bunch of blogging rules by others defeats the purpose. The truth is, BlogHer is really for the powerhouse blogger looking to make money off of her blog. The thrown-in, cursory sessions can be useful for blogging newbies and first-time conference attendees, but the rest of us ultimately go because we want to get drunk with our blogging friends in real life.
Those who accept and understand these facts about BlogHer won’t ever be disappointed. But a perfectionist might expect “more intricate, bigger” results that the conference simply doesn’t offer. The fact is, if you’re an intermediate or advanced blogger who doesn’t salivate at the idea of initiation into some influencer cult, if you don’t inhale the word niche and exhale it out at as monetize, if you don’t orgasm at product placement, BlogHer won’t teach you anything that Google can’t.
On the other hand, once you work past your expectations and the outsider-looking-in complex that plagues most of us, you’ll find the women you meet at BlogHer to be embracing and outrageously fun.
With that, we reach the levity portion of this recap.
Geisha and Ninja reunite, and Ninja can’t contain her tears of joy!
In fact, everyone gets a little kissy, because…Samara isn’t shy.
Angelle makes a cameo appearance and gets hit with a pillow.
Geisha and Ninja separate, but manage to get photo-bombed in different parts of town.
The aftermath. Samara gives us pain relievers and massages.
Samara is excellent at making friends. The McModel is not hatin’ it.
- When you blog, you have license to tangent-off about commas and conferences all in one post.
- I might be sick of doing Cathartic Monkeyisms and from now on will partake only when absolutely compelled.
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