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July 31, 2009

BlogHer '09: The Community Keynote, What Blogging Is All About (Video)

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It's several days later and I'm still recovering from BlogHer '09.   I'm still suffering from a lack of sleep, endless travel--I landed at JFK six hours after I was supposed to last Sunday--and trying to get myself back in the swing of my day job.

What I haven't forgotten however, was how much I enjoyed the conference and how mingling with so many smart and passionate women helped to energize my own aspirations and dreams for the future.

One of the highlights of my BlogHer was the Community Keynote.  The brainchild off Eden Kennedy of the blog Fussy, the speakers in the community keynote were a select group of bloggers whose posts were submitted in a variety of categories, such as travel, humor and rants.

Because I was a participant in the first community keynote last year, I had the honor of helping choose among the submissions for this year.  That's IMG_3520why when the time came, I camped out at one of the tables in the front of the Sheraton ballroom for a ringside seat.

All the keynotes were wonderful in their own special and unique ways but there were a couple that stood out for me.

Karen Walrond's thoughts and emotions on election night 2008 when she realized Barack Obama would become President of the United States reflected what so many black and multiracial citizens of this country felt that night. 

Danielle Henderson had us rolling with laughter when she told her story about the feminine hygiene product she thought would be her doom.  Ladies, a little advice, if you think you're dying, go to a doctor! 

We chuckled quite a lot during the retelling of Wendi Aarons' fairy tale romance with a soft drink.  As we did during Melissa Ford's description of a titillating yet lesser known aspect of infertility--that is until she choked up with tears, as did we.

But for me, the most moving moments came during Catherine Connors' "Lost Boy."  She began her speech with these words, "His name was William Frederick Hunter, and she only saw him once," and for the next five minutes, Catherine, who's also known as Her Bad Mother, kept the audience of several hundred riveted with her story of birth, loss and remembrance.

Toward the end of her speech, Catherine was so overwhelmed she paused and I was afraid she wouldn't be able to finish.  I wanted to yell out, "It's okay, we're with you!"  But I feared breaking the silence as we all absorbed the weight of her words.

I watched as silent tears rolled down the faces of the women at my table and fought to keep my own composure.  When Catherine reached the final line of her speech, and delivered it so eloquently, only then did I break apart.  It's a moment I'll remember for a very long time.

After the keynote was over, I went to her, threw my arms around her and told her how moved I was and how much I believed in the journey she's about to begin.

Here's a complete list of the keynote speakers, their blogs and the posts they read.  If you want to understand blogging and what BlogHer is all about, read these posts.

1. Georgia Getz, I Am Boss:  Dr. Seuss' Ode To A Blog Conference

2. Issa, Issa's Crazy World:  Uncle Marky

3. Karen Walrond, Chookooloonks:  Reflections on Why The Election of Barack Obama Affected Me So Deeply

4. Sheri Reed, Today Is Pretty:  Amends

5. Julia D., I Do Things So You Don't Have To: I Faked a Concussion

6. Mike Adamick, Cry It Out: Don't All Kids Play In Vacant Warehouses?


7. Pam Mandel, Nerd's Eye View:  Wheelie Suitcase Blues

8. Amy Turn Sharp, Doobleh-Vay:  On September 3rd 1973, at 6:28pm and 32 seconds, a bluebottle fly capable of 14,670 wing beats a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre

9. Black Hockey Jesus, Wind in Your Vagina:  5.

10. Danielle Henderson of Knotty Yarn, Stuck In The Middle With You

11. Tanis Miller, Redneck Mommy:  Dear Internet, I'm Placing You On Notice

12. Tarrant Figlio (pictured above),  Retro Food:  Love Song in a Foreign Language

13. Grace Davis, State of Grace: Forgiveness Where It Belongs

14. Melissa Ford, Stirrup Queens:  Updating the Donation Room Porn

15. Pauline Edwards, Classy Chaos:  Finding My Place in the World As An Immigrant

16. Wendi Aarons, Wendi Aarons:  Coke Dependency

17. Nina Gotua, Laughs! Thrills! Pathos!:   Memory Box 1

18. Kelly Graham-Scherer, Don Mills Diva:  Privacy? Schmivacy

19. Corynne Corbett (pictured above), That Black Girl Site:  When White Women Become Experts on Michelle Obama’s (And Our) Hair

20. Catherine Conners, Her Bad Mother:  Lost Boy

21. Heather Spohr, The Spohrs:  Known


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