Friday, July 18, 2008

Hotel rooms and cocktail parties

There's something soothing, stepping off the elevator into a wide, padded hallway, all the din and the ringing in my ears suddenly hushed and even my footfall disappearing into the silence of busy carpet patternining. Whoosh. The elevator doors close on all the partiers, all the women like me, with nice shoes and fluffed hair and happy smiles and raised voices. Now it's quiet.

I walk down the hallway and the all-encompassing quiet is profound and deeply, deeply calming.

Hooray, hooray, a dinner with my roomates, my absent friends and then a party! A party with giveaway bags and marketing reps but also with more absent friends and buoyed by Redneck and Motherbumper and Amy and Kyla and Bossy and Oh the Joys and Blooming Yaya and Jen and more more more friends I made last year, friends whose happy smiles and hugs of recognition make me comfortable enough to say hello to strangers, to extend my hand to people I've never met, never read, women at the edges of the groupings, clutching their drinks and scanning nametags. Hello. It's nice to meet you. Did you travel far?

I can't do that for long, especially on Pacific time after a mostly-sleepless week in Easter, and I'm tired. As I write this I hear a jazz saxophone echo down Powell street, and I people-watch from our fourth floor room. I let my fatigue settle. I think sleep might come easily to me tonight.

Here's something I'm thinking of: how do we get our selves in that perfect 'between' space, the one between no one is listening and so we don't bother to speak, and the one in which too many people are reading and we take care to moderate our voices? What's the sweet spot, where we are involved enough in a community to feel responsible to be honest and comfortable enough to be real but not so tied up in it that we start to hold back? Because don't we start, mostly, because those hard things, those whispered confidences and confessions, are the things we need to say? Because the social niceties and taboos are killing us?

That's probably not the best lead-out for tonight, but it's what I'm thinking about: how much I have gained from telling my life like it is, how much more I've gained from you all telling your lives as they are, your differences and your samenesses.

It's so nice to be here, here inside my blog and here, here in San Francisco with so many of my favorite bloggers. But the two spaces are different, this here and that here, and I'm trying to figure out how, complementary spaces, neither one the whole story, the full monty.

16 comments:

Omaha Mama said...

Whatever you do, don't hold back! I think the blogs that I've subscribed to, the ones that I read every post, are the ones where the writing is real. A slice of life to recognize. There are so many niceties where I live, to just get down to the bare bones is refreshing, even if it's only in print.

Jenifer said...

Hmnn. I am too tired this morning to come up with something really profound. I think it is the very nature of people and blogging to always have something held back, even a little something must remain only for you.

The balance you seek the honesty we all crave is there, I can feel it as surely as I read it.

nomotherearth said...

It's sort of like the difference between indie and full-scale movies, don't you think? Hm. I may have to work up an analogy with this one..

Wish I could be at BlogHer, but the babe's too little. Next year..

Beck said...

Argh.
That's all I can say.
Have fun.

Bea said...

I don't think the way I feel about blogging has to do with how many people are reading. I do care, though, about WHO is reading.

ewe are here said...

I'm so jealous...

Sigh.

Shelly! said...

So I'm in San Fran taking advantage of the hotel room and free food that comes with my husband's work trip. WISH I could be at BlogHer but it wasn't in my cards (or is that wallet).

Love hearing everything from it and have had the best time stalking the convention. Just sitting and watching the minds come and go has been a kick...

slouching mom said...

This is EXACTLY how I feel about this conference so far.

EXACTLY.

Oh, The Joys said...

I think about this a lot too. Where is that sweet spot?!!

Dawn said...

I'm so envious of your being there.

And I agree with Bea...It's not the how many, but the who that I struggle with.

My husband's co-workers read my blog and we've talked about how some of the things I write have embarrassed him, including my rant about why on earth he would have told his co-workers about my blog! He was just being proud, but still?!!

scarbie doll said...

You were awesome to meet. So glad I came out to SF. It's a weird medium to work in and I ultimately found that meeting people in person is important. It makes you care about their words and thoughts more.

About your query, I think that you are never going to make everyone happy, so you might as well make yourself happy.

If you are not hung up on privacy issues then you just 'print all that's fit to print' sorta thing. (See my categories SEX and The Truth about Cats and Dogs.) I rarely hold back. even though my mother and MIL are reading.

This is because I am aware of my audience and my goal has always been to inform, entertain and make the big things seem benign. I hope my readers feel less alone and sort of like, "If it happened to her and I could laugh about it, then I can find a way to laugh about it when it happens to me."

Does that make sense? The 'if you build it they will come' sensibility works for me.

motherbumper said...

Holy crap balls I miss you already.

kittenpie said...

The partying sounds so good...

But the sweet spot? I have to say, this is one of the reasons why I don't at all mind being a small blogger. Most of my readers are people I also read, and I feel comfortable saying what I want to say. I think the changeover for me would be more if I knew that there were people from real life reading it - then i would probably have to move!

Amanda said...

I was sobered by the strength of my introverted tethers. I froze, meeting so few as I watched them flitting about, and I mean flitting in the best, most envious way. Also, I felt inexplicably naked, meeting the people who've read so much.

Immoral Matriarch said...

I don't think I was able to meet you. But I ended up with your blog address scribbled down on a cocktail napkin. That must mean you are pretty awesome. So here I am.

I'm off to have a look around!!

Janet said...

The sweet spot has been on my mind lately, too. I hope I figure it out soon.

Can I also add that, as one who was often nervously clutching my drink and scanning nametags, I found you very genuine and friendly to chat with. So thank you.