Sunday, July 30, 2006

The written word, around a kitchen table

I came to Woolfcamp on a whim; I'd gotten an invitation from Liz at BlogHer. After all the preparation for the beginner podcast session (reader, I didst work my butt off getting ready!) it was wonderful to relax afterwards and attend BlogHer with little responsibility.

And even better to sleep in and have a leisurely brunch with Beth Kanter and then saunter a bit up the 101 to The Living Room of Liz for who-knows-what-all. I walked in to wooden floors and a big sumptuous chocolate-colored L-shaped couch. People sat on the couch, in chairs, on the floors. Laptops open, powerstrips on the floor cords radiating out toward these people sitting around the room.

A Blogher debrief was in process. And then lunch, and a choice to do writing exercises. Cool. I am so down with that. I wrote in my notebook. Pen in hand. My one rule of writing --especially for writing exercises-- is to keep the pen moving on the page. There is no wrong way to do it. Though I can type fast, I make more mistakes on the keyboard than I do with pen in hand. So I write. Pen in hand. On paper. Where I sense if the room (a kitchen) is humid and there's a little catch of my hand as it (doesn't) glide over the paper.

Writing, even when scattered, is an act of centering. I had some writing experiments on me, and we each chose one. "Are we going to post this?" "No, it's just for you."

Great words and thoughts and stories came out of our two exercises. Two half-circles of wood grained tabletop, computers and notebooks on one side, chocolate and strawberries on the other. Chairs and a warm steaminess. Colorful open shelves. Interesting food (rasberries!), a whistling teakettle, and posters and flyers taped to the bright blue wall. This is a well-lived-in kitchen. A hub of the home. And I admire Liz for opening things up so widely and with such open welcome to a large group of people.

I wrote on the topic of where do you want to go? What do you want to do. I won't write all of it here, but I will write the conclusion: I want to be more in the moment, and I want to bring the things I experience on this trip back home to my day-to-day life. I want to have people over, put on the kettle and trust that someone else will take it off when it whistles, and brew the coffee or tea. This is a gift that Liz has given me (to say nothing of a place to stay for the night). But where I want to go is home and bring back some of what I got from this trip. To my home. To my life.

. . . . .

On a separate note, Liz mentioned at the end of the day that it is a different experience to put on an event than it is to simple show up and participate. Amen and amen. I did the work to prepare for my sessions. I've put on a conference. And I've hosted a large group at my house for a meal. I know the differentness for the host. (it's one reason I'd go up to Lisa, Jory, and Elisa during the conference and cheer them on: One day down! ... Only half a day to go!) And I so appreciate how it was different for Liz... all the more because I needed this down day, a day in which I just simply showed up (late, even), and merely participated.


Blogger Liz said...

thanks & you're welcome!

Grace wrote today about her sweetest dreams. One of mine is to have the space and freedom to provide a mellow flexible crash pad & salon-ish living room gatherings, anarchist style, for people to connect with each other!

More blog-ins and cybersalons and co-work/live spaces and brainjams and barcamps and woolfcamps - all over, frequently - small and big - that's what I want!

4:20 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

At the "Gallery or canvas?" session, I sat next to a woman who mentioned in a room-wide comment that she had ran a salon.

I scribbled a note to her that I wished to talk with her about that. And so I shall. Perhaps it'd be a good thing to set up a groupblog or wiki, and call it salonwisdom or somesuch. It'd be a place to record experiences running things like this. What works, what doesn't. Stuff like that.

1:21 PM  
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