Too early on Thursday morning, I’m boarding a plane at LAX headed for Chicago, a city I’ve never visited before and probably won’t get to see very much of during the few days I’ll be there. They’ll be filled with activities related toBlogHer’09, this year’s edition of an annual blogging conference for women (and a few men) organized by BlogHer.com, which I’ll be attending for the very first time. There will be presentations, panel discussions, instructional sessions, informal conversation and networking, and parties. LOTS of parties. (And even more parties that are private or semi-private, so they’re not on the official party lists.) My attendance was generously sponsored by my mother-in-law.
I’m trying not to think too much about the parties. I’ve got a couple of invitations, and may stop by some a few of the public ones, but I really don’t know. I’m not good in big crowds where it’s hard to talk (it’s part of the introvert thing), I don’t drink much, and unless I can go in knowing I’ll have some people to hang around with, I’m not sure I’ll be brave enough to cross the threshold. And although I certainly hope I’ll meet people, right now I’m not really prepared with names and times and places to do it. I don’t feel as closely connected with bloggers from my area as I’d hoped to be by now – no one’s fault, but I’ve missed a lot of off-line opportunities with them, and our paths around the blogiverse don’t seem to cross as much lately. And I haven’t come across too many book bloggers who have mentioned that they’ll be going. In any case, I guess I’ll be winging a lot of the social stuff – and that makes me nervous. Nearly all of my anxiety about this weekend has to do with socializing, since I’m not the most adept at doing it in person. I’m definitely one of those people who is more outgoing online – offline, I’m much more comfortable when I’m prepared for meeting people.
I can prepare for some things, though. I started getting things ready for packing last night, and since I’m starting my vacation on Wednesday, I can pack my bags without too much rushing. I arrive in Chicago early Thursday afternoon, so I hope to have plenty of time to find my way to the hotel, meet my roommate, and relax before a pre-conference get-together with fellow Moms Blog contributors from all over the country (and Canada, too!). Also, registration check-in opens on Thursday evening, so I’ll probably try to take care of that then…you know, so I’ll be prepared for Friday. I’ve put all of the sessions that interest me on my calendar – and though it wasn’t premeditated, I’ve got something in there from almost every program track, so I should get a well-rounded experience during the conference days. It’s the after-hours stuff on Friday and Saturday that I’m really not prepared for right now – so at this point I’m prepared to be a wallflower, or to be surprised by who I meet and what happens. And perhaps I’ll be slipping away from the conference on Saturday evening and meeting up with a Chicagoland friend of the blog.
There’s lots of talk about all the goodies that people will bring back from the conference, but I’ll be leaving a few things behind. I’ve accidentally ended up with duplicate copies of a couple of review books, and I also have a few I never requested; I’ll be bringing those with me to leave in undisclosed locations around the conference center, hoping they’ll be found by willing readers! (I may not officially BookCross any more, but I still believe in it.) Of course, I will also be bringing a couple of books to read, and my Kindle – I’ll need something to do during my flights (and all those times I’m not socializing).
I’m not sure yet if I’ll have a post up this Thursday (I hope so, but it’s not ready yet), but TBIF and the Weekend Review are getting this week off, and I may not have a new post here next week before Tuesday. My laptop is coming to BlogHer’09 with me, but I don’t think there will be much time for drafting posts or blog-hopping while I’m there, so I apologize in advance for being a missing person around here for a few days!
If you’ll be at BlogHer’09, I hope I won’t miss meeting you! Please – even, or especially, if you’ve never commented here before – leave a comment to let me know you’ll be there, and hopefully we’ll find each other!