The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


BlogHer Roll Call

Okay, this might be my last post about BlogHer. (I can't make any definite promises.)

Before I get to the people, let's talk about the stuff.

BlogHer '07 swag

The swag, it was copious. And some of it was really cool! (Did you know that the word swag can be considered a "backronym" for "stuff we all get"?)

Now for the people.

One BlogHer accurately described the weekend as camp while another gave us this fun list of the top 10 reasons to attend BlogHer. But one of my favorite descriptions is Claire Fontaine's analogy to a dog park. She writes:

You Put 800 Women in a Room

...And it's kinda like the dog park. All a dog really wants is to be with other dogs. Even timid little Fifi cuts loose, squealing with joy, chattering from one pooch to another. They just talk and talk and talk. And talk. Women don't bond in duck blinds or on the golf course. We bond verbally, from the moment we can (ask any woman who's had a son and a daughter.) Which means we get to do it anywhere, with strangers in the ladies room (Love your shoes! Aren't they great! I got them last week at...) and, thank God for technology, online. We can yak with a woman in India about film theory or a gal in Vancouver about diapers or menopause. Or politics. Fertility. Iraq. Sex. Shoes and makeup. Wine. Arctic travel. Ricotta cheese.

Here's a round-up of some of the great women I met at the "dog park." Or camp, if the comparison to dogs is a bit off-putting.

While in the buffet line for Friday morning breakfast, I met the enthusiastic Tracey (of the soon to launch Shutter Sisters) and may have slighted freaked her out by saying, "I know you! Or at least, I know your name!" Then, on the way back to my table, I passed a woman saying the phrase Nerdy Renegade News and got to meet Lisa from Ohio, whom I'd met through her comments on this blog. I then proceeded to end up in multiple sessions with her, promising that I wasn't stalking her.

During the insane "speed dating" warm-up networking on Friday morning, I stood next to the passionate Cooper, of newly-launched The MotherHood, who had excellent swag like this and this. She's also helping to head up BlogHers Act and is a fellow Pittsburgher. Other Pittsburghers in attendance included sketchblogger Elizabeth and Etiquette Grrl Lesley, who sat next to me on the shuttle bus. I also speed dated Carey of Holtzbrinck Publishers who insists that This November You Will Give a Damn as well as Karin who is creating a Garden Variety Family Calendar to show the diverse nature of families.

My blog heroes Jen and Rachelle were just as full of positive energy in real life as they are online (and did a great job of making me feel like I wasn't a total stalker freak). Through them I got to hang out with the intriguing Krystyn and met the joyful Myriam, who I didn't talk with nearly enough. Oh, and it should be noted that Rachelle's husband seemed totally at ease hanging out with hundreds of women. Rock on, Paul.

At the Friday night cocktail party I received a snazzy shot glass from Kristen of Mommy Needs a Cocktail. (And let's face, don't we all?) And then at another party I met Laura, the Girl con Queso herself, who introduced me to her lovely sk*rt colleague Laurie of Leap Design.

On Saturday I attended a lunch session with about a dozen other BlogHers and personal fitness trainer Jillian Michaels of NBC's The Biggest Loser fame. I'm not a raving fan of the show and wasn't sure about attending the lunch, but am glad I did. I discovered that Jillian's TV drill sergeant personality is just one layer of a very caring and real person. The session turned out to be surprisingly edifying (recaps here and here), and I met many determined women including busy mom Carmen and the international Shauna. I also got some encouraging words from the sassy Jessica and connected with Sheila and Melissa of

The topics of the weekend were diverse! Anderson at Large schooled me in the ways of being a citizen journalist during a birds of a feather lunch, and Birdie shared her wisdom on writing good stories during a session and an Open Space round table. I met my new friend Misa Gracie at the eleventh hour, which made the Unconference totally worth it. The kits and I are honored to have made the BlogHer pets blog by chatting with Laurie on Sunday.

Who else? Who else? There were so many more! Can you see why my head was spinning? Did we meet and I neglected to include you here? Please correct my mistake in the comments! We can never have enough link-love.

Oh, and did I think to take pictures of any of these wonderful women? Nooooo -- I was too busy talking. But other people kept their heads together and took beaucoup de photos. Cruise the BlogHer Flickr pool.

And if you want more BlogHer, check out these session recaps, written by the live bloggers, brave ladies with very fast fingers. I'll be reading through these myself, since I missed some great session by attending other great sessions.


add to kirtsy | 1:05 PM


Blogger Krystyn said...

I love the dog park analogy -- that's so perfect! Except, well, I have a gay mini-greyhound mix who likes to hump other boy dogs at the dog park and... well... I didn't see much of that. Laughing.

The schwag was indeed awesome. I grabbed like three of everything so I could split it up for two of my girlfriends who couldn't make it. I got some funny looks at various tables and my shoulders hurt from lugging around all that junk, but damnit, it was FREE and I was going to get as much as I could!

8/12/2007 11:50 PM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

Krystyn: Your dog sounds like a hoot! And my shoulders hurt just lugging around my own swag. Guess I'm a lightweight.

8/13/2007 2:49 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Jennifer: Thanks for the shout out! It was great to meet you at BlogHer, too. And, tell Krystyn that I also have a mini-greyhound (Italian Greyhound and Whippet mix) who's 8 years old and likes to hump everything in sight. I like to say that he's "asexual" -- kind of like a starfish. He loves EVERYBODY. :)

8/13/2007 2:56 PM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

What's with these greyhounds? My neighbor has three greyhoundish dogs. And now that I think of it, one of them did seem overly excited to see me one day. Hmm...

8/14/2007 2:21 AM  
Anonymous Carmen said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out! It was great to meet you!

8/15/2007 11:18 PM  
Blogger Misa Gracie said...

See - that is why I have a cat. She barely acknowledges my existance, let alone humps my or any other persons leg.

Too bad BlogHer is only once a year... I'd love to hangout with everyone again just to talk!

8/16/2007 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Thanks for mentioning me as a highlight of your BlogHer experience! You are indeed the first person in the Universe to recognize me by my blog name :-) How cool is that?

8/21/2007 7:36 AM  

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