Friday, July 26, 2013

I'm On My Way

Nerthus is there already.  Little Cuter and I are making our plans for dinner.  I'm remembering to put a canvas tote bag in my giant suitcase so that I can carry around the swag I collect. BlogHer'13 is at McCormick Place in Chicago, and I am on my way.

Chicago is one of the few place to which I can fly without changing planes.  Luckily, my friends and my family are there, too, as are the Art Institute and the lakefront and the library building on Michigan Avenue.  There's deep dish pizza and flaming saganaki and the world's biggest and best margaritas.  Someday, I'll see Shakespeare on Navy Pier; perhaps I can organize an outing to Comedy of Errors which is opening on Friday night on the pier's South Lawn.  Of course, Not Kathy and Dr. K live right above the Pritzker Pavillion, and the music there might be tempting, too.

It Happened One Night is being shown outside, at Belmont Harbor, on Tuesday.  I have an early appointment in the city on Wednesday and will be sleeping on someone's guest bed Tuesday night. I think I've just found an activity to tempt my hosts.

After writing paragraphs like those, I wonder why I ever left the best city in America.

The conference will be inspiring and uplifting and exhausting.  I'll lay eyes on those I've only know by their words, and I'll reconnect with those who brightened the BlogHer's I've attended before. It's an odd feeling to have strangers approach you with questions about people you know they've never met in person ... TBG and the Cuters and G'ma will have their lives dissected by people who have read about them for years.  

I'll be motivated by Sheryl Sandberg and Ree Drummond and most of all by Lisa and Jory and Elisa who founded BlogHer in 2005. Their goal was to empower women.  If I am any indication, mission accomplished.

There's something inherently powerful in being a part of a syndication network that reaches 40 million readers.  There's something delightful about the synergy created when those writers convene in one space.  The San Diego Convention Center was filled with food and friendship and folderol when Little Cuter and I attended our first BlogHer conference in 2011. The distances we covered on foot were substantial; I rested by the Twizzler Statue of Liberty as we entered and exited the hotel on the way to the conference.

I was never tired or lonely or alone that weekend, unless I wanted to be.  There were writers I'd admired and women who made me laugh and a group of match-makers for Big Cuter that still makes me smile, two years later.  I found opportunities to write for print magazines. I learned about SEO's and meta tags and, although I will be at the Geek Bar for a follow-up lesson this weekend, more and more people found The Burrow thanks to the changes BlogHer suggested.

It's this intersection of people and information that appeals to me.  If the sessions don't entice me, there are seventeen interesting conversations happening in the hallways and anterooms.  There is no standing on ceremony.  Everyone has a big name tag and an even bigger desire to connect. There will be fashion shows and themed parties and shuttle buses which will travel on the mayor's secret road to McCormick Place. They will feed us and ply us with snacks and liquids and freebies, and we'll be surrounded by like-minded (mostly) women who have found a voice in the ether.

Last year, in New York City all by myself, I walked outside for dinner at 10pm, strolled half a block to the MOMA, took the subway.  This weekend, Little Cuter and I will see Austenland and listen to Gale Ann Hurd talk about producing Terminator and The Walking Dead.  We'll eat deep dish pizza and watch the lights on the ferris wheel at Navy Pier go round and round.  We'll reminisce and reconnect and make new memories.

We'll be together, with 5000 of our closest friends and associates, in the Windy City.  The plane can't take off soon enough.


  1. I love it when I can attend conferences in places I like. It makes it that much more fun.

    Cannot wait to hear what comes out of the event.

    HAVE FUN! :)

    Megan xxx

    1. Best conference. Best city. Best daughter. BLISS

  2. Could leaving Chicago have something to do with their winters? My parents were there for two years, and it took such a toll on my mother. I have always wanted to visit the city, perhaps one day we'll fly there for a few days. In the early 80's the traffic was at epic proportions, and it probably has not improved any.

    1. We left for a new job in California, but we didn't move back after retirement b/c of the winters. I am TOOOOOOOOOOO old to be SOOOOOOOOOO ccccccold!


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