Quite a collection
I came away from the MumsnetBlogFest pondering the collective noun for a group of Mummy (and Daddy) Bloggers … the best I could come up with when I woke up at 3am the morning after, or rather was woken by Hope who wanted to discuss the conference with me from a baby perspective, was a Mummeration. Now almost a week on I really think I’ve stumbled onto something apt.
I’d been to Millbank tower before when it was Labour party HQ and for various civil service type meetings over the years but I’d never felt quite as anxious as I did last Saturday when I arrived with a pushchair full of Hope and timorously ventured up the ramp to the front door. Timorous isn’t a word I’ve ever used to describe myself before, but it is how I felt, fleetingly … once inside and bedecked with a badge (important to note at this point that it had not just my name on it but ‘Mush Brained Ramblings’ as well), a helpful smiley bloke gave me a hand lugging a small person in a pushchair down the steps and into the main auditorium. It was packed, and it was warm, and it was welcoming.
Sitting at the back allowed us to observe all the other bloggers; an eclectic mix of people, some very glam, others sporty, some very young, some older and most tweeting feverishly or taking notes .. somehow the Spice Girls came to mind! Actually thinking about it there was alot of telling each other “What I want, What I really really want” whether it was a publishing deal, more traffic for a blog, new skills or to share an opinion.
The day unwound in an informative fashion with helpful discussion on dealing with trolls (still makes me think of Garden Gnomes) … very interesting to hear @DavidAllenGreen talking about his perspective on this and warning away from lawyers … he is a good egg and the lawyer that helped with the #twitterjoketrial… good also to catch back up with lovely yummy mummy Liz Fraser and my fellow geriatric mother Cari Rosen and to see Tanya Byram again and hear their take on dealing with detractors, understanding publishers and life online. There really was an impressive range of speakers, I particularly enjoyed hearing from Mme Guillotine and Zoe Margolis about their publishing experiences and blogging openly, I was delighted when one of the sponsors, a chap from Skoda, gave me his stool so I didn’t have to juggle Hope, the amazing food and a glass of water whilst standing up and then someone from the Portland Hospital presented Hope with a Portland Panda which kept her occupied for ages during the session on Social Media. Listening to Caitlin Moran (in shorts and a checked lumberjack shirt hurrah for her) talking exuberantly about life, the universe and writing was inspiring and life affirming, a nice antidote to the cold cynicism shown by that woman from the Daily Mail.
The whole “Publish and be damned” issue was fascinating; how much to reveal and not reveal about your private life, what to say or not say about your children and also whether getting traditionally published really is all it’s cracked up to be or like Mme Guillotine it’s more sensible to go for self publishing online … it all really got my weary jetlagged grey matter whirring. Obviously I have been open about my life but I am very conscious of what I say about friends and family and think constantly about how Hope might view all this in years to come. Refinding the ‘voice’ of my blog after her birth was something I really struggled with, gone was the weight of anxious anticipation of disaster and burbling on about me, my feelings and my pregnancy …. now it was about me and Hope, her life and her experiences … of course there has been angst … around her tongue tie and breast feeding early on (one now cut and the other still going strong) and around the whole meningitis incident but on the whole I’m ecstatically happy now and happiness doesn’t sell … or maybe it does? Anyway, I did find a voice and here I still am.
As an event it was hugely enjoyable, with marvellous nourishment … oodles of cheese, scrumptious salads, perfect cakes and all sorts of wonderful other nibbles to be tucked into during those low sugar moments not forgetting the very welcome glass(es) of fizz at the end of the day thanks to Pizza Express (but sadly not a pizza in sight!). For me the highlight was the other bloggers, and would be bloggers, I met some wonderful people and caught up with two very special friends, and I use that word even though we’ve only met in person once before at the BritMums extravaganza earlier this year. Their blogs are http://older-mum.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://oldersinglemum.blogspot.co.uk … sadly another heroine, Lynsey, couldn’t make it at the last minute, her phenomenal blog the Disability Diaries makes for thought provoking reading http://lynseythemotherduck.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-disability-diaries.html. The buzz around the place was palpable, the air pulsated with the swapping of ideas, top tips, pitfalls and warmth … which made the whole absurdity of Liz Jones saga even more ridiculous … and you can refer to my post about that to see why I refer to my name badge earlier in this one!! Silly woman but someone who has made a huge huge success out of the art of thriving believing any publicity is good publicity … something to remember as a write I guess, though for me I believe moral values matter. Alot has been written this week on this, my personal favourite comes from a writer, mother and vicar’s wife.
Hope was amazing throughout the whole day although she did want to join in with the Caitlin Moran session which led to us standing rather wistfully in the corridor at the back until she dozed off, but other than that she sat up and listened keenly to discussion, gazed at all the people, chatted to anyone that even so much as glanced in her direction and waved at all and sundry … she even clapped at the end of sessions delighted that everyone was playing her game. My girl particularly enjoyed the refreshments during the evening session!! I’ve snitched the photo from the Mumsnet Facebook collection … credit to Anna Gordon for that but it did make me smile. She entertained commuters on the way home and then suddenly fell fast asleep, that kind of “I’m overwhelmed by such a big day” sleep that I think everyone who was a part of the event must have slept. You can read other people’s blogs about BlogFest as well via the BlogFest BlogHop.
The view from ‘trolls’ seminar at the top of the Millbank Tower was stupendous and gave you some inkling into one of the many drivers of the success of Mr Blair and co way back when they dreamt that all day all that would be theirs … and also feeds neatly back into my Mummeration (no not murmuration) collective noun … the noise of a collection of twittering, buzzing, chirping, excited people that birds must have been heard high above London that day and is now sounding across the country, when faced with attack everyone flew as one to defend their own … I know the phrase ‘Mummy Blogger’ isn’t embraced by all, but it is by me … I’ve never been prouder of any label than I am of being a ‘Mummy’ … I am one and I absolutely love it, and I am a blogger, a writer … and the experience I’ve had of Mummy Blogging has been tremendously positive.
So there … a superb day and I look forward to the next time the Mummeration flock together again … and next time I’ll remember to pick up the goody bag when I leave! (Gutted)