No one is home. That normally means this is the time for me to eat junk food en mass, but for two reasons I won’t be doing that: One . . . Ha! Junk food . . . in my sweet, sweet dreams of the past. And two, I’d rather write about BLOG OUT LOUD!
Yesterday Zsolt and I went to Ottawa’s very special event, Blog Out Loud. This is organized by a lovely lady named Lynn of Turtlehead, along with a group of volunteers and other bloggers to help her out, and has become a regular blogging tradition in the local area since 2009.
In past years, I’d see talk of this event pretty much always after it had happened. But this year, thanks to way more time spent on twitter than I should be spending, I caught the news! Not only did I catch the news, but I caught it in time to submit a post to the reading. 🙂
Amazingly the post was chosen (along with 10 other blogger’s posts) from over 60 entries.
Gosh, it’s challenging to choose a reading from 2013. Many of my blog posts don’t stand alone, and others touch on stuff that I just didn’t want to represent at an event like this. The part of me who is a “writer” needs space from the part of me that just . . . gets too much attention, I mean the cancer stuff.
Writer me is like, “no, cancer drama, you cannot play with Catherine today.” So I submitted a little post I wrote while on a train in Hungary about Zsolt’s friend. And it was picked.
Therefore . . .
Yesterday evening Zsolt and I rocked up to this beautiful church on Elgin Street, where the Writers Festival is being held. This year, BOLO has hooked up with the Ottawa International Writers Festival.
(A little side story about this festival. I used blog for the writing festival. Back in 2011 (?) when we first came to Canada, I really wanted to find the writing scene in Ottawa since we’d left my writing peeps in the UK. So, I volunteered to cover events and blog for the Ottawa International Writiers Festival. That was cool. Because of that experience I was able to attend several great events… I even sat right in front of Michael Smith while he went on about food porn, and grocery vs farms, and test kitchens. It was an accomplishment, in my mind, to be a part of this writing festival. Fast forward to yesterday night, and I was actually reading at that very festival. High Five!)
So, we get to the event and I’m stupid nervous. You’d think after attending about a million networking events with Sister Leadership, networking wouldn’t be scary. But it was. Maybe because I cared so damn much. You know, it’s easy to play it cool when there’s little to risk . . . but when you care, care, care about mixing and connecting and making actual connections with people you only see online, but really admire, casual cool just runs outta the room and leaves you there going, “ahhhugh?”
Therefore, we busied ourselves by looking at the books for sale. Zsolt was great. He is always great. We took pictures of covers that I liked, because it’s always good to notice eye-catching designs.
Then back to the mixing . . .
“Ahhhugh” was about all I said for the majority of the evening.
There were two rows of seats near the front, so I planted my butt down on the one with my name on it (AHH!) and relished that safe space.
BUT, I should say that I did meet a few people like Lynn herself (as warm and kind as I had anticipated), Tanya of Spydergrrl, (Tanya is doing a series on live tweeting at events, which I reckon is very useful and will be paying attention towards) and Laurie of Not Just About Cancer. (Along with many more talented and warm ladies after the event ended, and it was so much easier to mix. I don’t know why . . .maybe the live tweets helped? Thank you for the twitter hellos! They were really, really nice to read. Ottawa is awesome not just for its pockets of culture, but for the nice people living here too.)
I should also say that I was so happy to see Laurie – having followed her online through #bcsm and her blog for so long and admiring her and recently chatting with her via skype, to see her in person was such a pleasure. She was wearing this gorgeous red dress, and looked absolutely beautiful.
Anyhow . . . we settled in for the readings, and Lynn introduced us bloggers to a large room full of people one by one.
I was third. It went well. At some point a choir (this being a church) began singing in another room as I read. Maybe that’s a good omen? Anyhow, I didn’t pass out. That’s all that really matters.
(One time I was working at the library in England and this tour group comes in. My manager is away, so I need to describe the library services at the Avenue. As I begin to talk, I find that I cannot breathe in. I talk and talk, the breathe is going out and out, my voice goes up and up. I literally had to choke out the words: “Can’t talk anymore.” The tour guide took over and I hid in the office until they left.)
There is video footage of all readings, and as soon as it becomes available I’ll link it here for you to watch. The event itself wasn’t too long, so if you settle down with some tea and cookies, it’s really nice viewing to enjoy.
One thing I realized while listening to the bloggers read was that we’re good at being darn tootin’ vulnerable. Whether we are joking about parenthood, or discussing anxiety attacks, reflecting on loss or fear, talking mental illness, looking at judgement, or glorifying that moment of joy in a delicious beverage . . .
. . . the best of blogging contains stories of real life, and real, raw feelings.
Heck, listening to these blogs being read, I realized many of the bloggers I am awed by were probably struggling with the same nerves and social jitters. After all, blogging is a levelling field between extroversion and introversion, between shy and outgoing, between familiar and new. Sometimes that is hard to translate into personal encounters . . . or at least the first encounters.
That’s what I tell myself, this was the first time meeting so many of these ladies. Next time I’ll know them just that bit more, and will be just that bit more relaxed.
It was a good event. I look forward to the next one, and I look forward to meeting more of the fantastic talent this city offers. Geez, I just love blogging.
BOLO 2014!!! WOOOHOO! (Check out all the wonderful readers/bloggers and the BOLO event here)
Next up: Friday. eep.