I read Mel’s post today and I realized that BlogHer ’12 was sort of my Hogwarts experience.
As a blogger, I often feel different. Not better or worse than anyone else, just different.
BlogHer ’12 was my entry into a magical world of unicorn cake, absurdity (toilet paper photos), incredible opportunities (President Obama, Martha Stewart and Katie Couric spoke to US!) and meeting other “wizards” from all over. At one point, Momo Fali introduced us to a blogger from Sudan, Maha El-Sanosi, who had just barely made it out of her country to attend the conference.
Instead of owls, we had Twitter.
And like Hogwarts, life was not perfect. I ran into my own Draco Malfoy.
But then I also had my own incredible community, my Gryffindors, at my back. Justine, my roomie, who was an Energizer bunny, crackling with life (she got up every morning to run at 5 AM!!) full of wry observations and down-to-earth advice. Lori, who was a calming and soothing and thought-provoking presence: just hanging out with her was like meditating, even in a room of 5,000 people. Kathy, who was so much fun and so articulate and sweet: like the longtime friend you always wanted but never had. Kristin, who moved me to tears as she told me the stories of generosity formed between her blogging friends. Emily: who was smart and sweet and lovely. Kir: hilarious, glamorous, sharp as a tack and kind. After reading her whole blog, I thought she would be like Meg Ryan but in person she reminds me of Tina Fey. And last but not least Mel, whose kindness, humor and advice I will never forget. She made me laugh and provided much-needed context to the publishing world.
Last year, I remember watching the Twitter stream of people writing about BlogHer ’11 and feeling left out. This year, I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about my fellow wizards who weren’t there. It tempered the joy with sorrow.
When I left and hugged everyone goodbye, I was holding back tears. It felt as if I was going back to the Muggle world. I love my friends and family and my awesome husband, and I missed them terribly. And I have wizard friends here. I am so lucky to have that. But it was as if this invisible, parallel world created by the stroke of a like-minded wand was closing, maybe never to return.
This month, along with R. Sativus, I will be doing a Commentathon. I want to read as many blogs as I can and just soak up the summer days. If you want to join me, please let me know. Also, am I reading your blog? I want to! Please let me know if you are a new reader and what your blog URL is.