Put hundreds of women writers in a room full of chocolate, vodka and rhinestone-studded crowns and the prize is going to the woman who had the foresight to wear a chocolate-colored dress. I am pretty sure it was Shakespeare who said it first.
It was surely no coincidence, however, that the woman in the slinky brown dress also happened to be the head bartender over at Mommy's Martini. Whose grip on the tiara and grasp of participial phrases never faltered, despite the best efforts of the man behind the bar. Never challenge an English major to a drinking contest. The perfect tense is complicated enough in sobriety. Try it when you have drunk/drank/been drinking vodka and lemonade and you will have your tiara handed to you.
But that is not all I learned in a day at the annual reading, writing and cocktail party known as Blogher 09. Among my other discoveries:
1. The blogging world is crammed full of some of the smartest, funniest, most interesting people I have ever met while wearing a tiara. Another favorite was Kamy Wicoff, founder of SheWrites.com At a panel on going from blogging to book contract, Wicoff stood up and offered a bit of advice that had somehow gone missing in all the questions about how to get an agent or publisher to notice your talent. "The really important thing here if you are interested in writing a book," she said, "is writing a book."
2. There are rednecks in Canada. Redneck Mommy explained this to me at the back of a crowded ballroom on Friday when I questioned her Redneck bona fides. Then she showed me her tattoos. You might be a redneck Tanis, but you write good.
3. Many bloggers still don't seem to understand that at the point you begin collaborating with public relations people or refusing to write about products that disappoint you, you are not really a reviewer. You are a shill. Period.
4. It is more effective, when delivering a lecture full of this kind of moral certainty to a panel on Brands and Bloggers, to put down the two bags of free, sponsor-provided stuff you have been hauling around.
5. There are a lot of really talented people out there with blogs and Rita Arens at Surrender, Dorothy knows who they are. Her new book, Sleep is for the Weak, is the product of a meticulous search by a first-rate writer and editor. I can't wait to read it and begin stalking her for inclusion in volume 2.
6. If the people around you at a blogger's conference emit a collective gasp when you ask one of them what she writes about, you have stumbled upon a blogging celebrity.
7. Speaking of which, Bossy was not impressed with the bell pepper and mushroom flower centerpieces at the spaghetti sauce themed luncheon. You'll never work in this town again, whoever you are.
8. One of my favorite bits of writing all day was delivered by a guy who writes as Black Hockey Jesus in a tribute to his 5-year-old daughter. "The very first thing you did was change everything."
9. It is possible to make a fabulous meal for $5. Erin Chase promises this is true and she looks like the kind of woman who could pull it off. She has also managed to pull off a cookbook deal.
10. The latest thing in blogging is this thing they called Tweeter or Twirler, or possibly Twizzler? I am not sure exactly what it is, but everybody is doing it. Can someone please tell me, in 140 characters or less, why I should care?