Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Woolf Camp

woolf camp
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.
Here's some of the crowd at WoolfCamp, a writing/blogging retreat.

Duuuuude! It was heavenly to hang out with those 30+ women and 5 men, most of them with laptops surgically attached to their bodies. All people who find it normal to listen while typing. In fact, typing during a conversation is a compliment; it means you're taking notes because the conversation is so cool you want to write it up in realtime.

We had discussions on ideas like:

- Who is your audience, and why do you care?
- Gender, blogging as a genre
- Blogging, business, and feminism
- tagging; thinking about tagging
- memoir

And demos/workshops like

- nifty bloggy techie tools
- art blogging
- videoblogging and podcasting

And there was a poetry reading. I swear, I had no idea people really *wanted* a poetry reading. They did, and lots of people participated.

Grace, Jackie and I wanted to mix up literary, arty, and techie people a bit, and bring together people who love blogging, in an unconferencey, informal way. We had a feminist take on the event, are closely connected with BlogHer and mommyblogging, and wanted to work hard to bring people into the conversation who might usually hang back.

One of my main goals was to bring people together. I was so happy to see everyone making personal connections, and I got to meet a lot of awesome bloggers! Intensity, and people who get excited about ideas, give me energy. I don't require people to prove themselves as some kind of big technical expert, or a zillionaire, or ask them where they work, before I listen to their ideas and take them seriously! The non-"legitimate" people are often edge-thinkers who don't just think outside the box, they live outside it. (That automatically includes most mommybloggers, especially the potty-mouthed and dirty minded kind.)

My own favorite conversations were in the "gender and genre" discussion, diva-ed by Amber Hatfield; I also loved the ideas thrown around in "Who's your audience" diva-ed by Emily!

Personal blogging had many strong voices in the mix. It was a given that personal blogging can be a political and feminist act. I liked what Emily said: "If I like what you write, I want to read everything about everything. Your kids, your job, your bowel movements. So I like it all mashed up, which is how I love to blog."

Chris Heuer answered with this excellent thought about the importance of categories and tagging in mixy-uppy blogging: "The whole self is very intriguing. But we don't have enough time to get to know everyone on that deep level."

It was also a given that blogging was a serious literary or artistic endeavor - or can be. That in itself was interesting and empowering. We were a group of people who share that belief.

I have more to say, and in more detail, but I've been flying on one brain cell for the last couple of days, and have a lot going on, for school, writing projects, and friends in crisis.

Can some of the people who took notes in discussions, post them raw?

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