I Went to BlogHer '14 and Travelled Liminal Space, For Reals
This year at the BlogHer '14 conference in San Jose, I forgot to take pictures most of the time. For instance, I went out for supper with some of my GenderAvenger crew to meet them face-to-face for the first time — Gina Glantz, Susan Askew, and Victoria Chao — and I forgot to take a group photo of us. I did get to eat this delicious roll with them at Dan Izakaya, though.
And then I took this blurry photo of the view from my hotel room before I went to bed early on that first night before my roommate, Jen, arrived.
(Did I get a photo of Jen and I together? No. Just one of Jen? No.)
Unlike every other conference I have ever attended, I spent a lot of time alone. I enjoyed the quiet of my hotel room. I drifted solitary between events. I watched San Jose.
My BlogHer was made out of liminal spaces.
The photos I did get with people only happened when I was gently wrestled into position.
It's not that I wasn't social. I was travelling an interior distance.
My work has been evolving, my spot in the blogging community is shifting, my fourth anniversary of sobriety is coming up soon: I'm on thresholds.
My faith, though, still rests here. I believe in the power of personal narrative. If any non-animal thing ever moved into my life and made things so, it was blogging, social media, this not-really-so-virtual space we've built for ourselves.
Here is a perfect illustration of my liminal spaces and lack of photos thing: rather than take a photo of Polly in person, or a photo of Polly and I together, I aimed my lens at her lens.
Hello, Polly's lens.
Kristen Howerton, A'Driane Nieves, and I led a 2.5-hour session called The Future of Personal Blogging, which ended up being about how, why, and what we blog and how we deal with those things now, because we are the future. Is there a future for personal blogging? We all agreed there was. In fact, I think there is a slow swell, a return.
Even in a crowded elevator, I was solitary. I trained my camera at the ceiling in an attempt to integrate myself into the moment. It didn't work.
I spent my time in hallways and elevators and lobbies and crosswalks. Meals and sessions and parties felt like rest stops between the work of movement. I moved, therefore I was.
Because my timing is nothing if impeccable, my sense of wholeness began to return the morning before I caught my first flight home. I existed at breakfast with friends. I stopped floating.
And then I had the longest, 16-hour journey home you could imagine that took me through three airports in San Jose, Reno, and Denver, because I thought saving $100 with this ridiculous travel plan was somehow a good idea. It was not. At all.
I slept next to a baggage carousel just outside a Reno tourism booth that yelled stuff about how great Reno was on a continuous loop. No one needs to hear that at 3 a.m.
I think I have travel PTSD now. I still kind of want to burn the luggage I had to drag through all that damn LIMINAL SPACE.
See what I did there? I wove "liminal space" throughout this whole thing. My brain just gave me an award called The Thematic Continuity In Spite of Great Odds Award.
Also, here's some embedded floor art in a Denver International Airport bathroom that looks like old poop.