Baby, Baby It's a Wide World [ 2004-08-23, 1:56 a.m. ]

Four hours on a train gives a girl some time to reflect, even if some of that time is devoted to the new InStyle (What�s Sexy Now!? Well, skinny celebs without any clothes! Expensive shoes with really high heels! Boobs! Shocking!). Four hours on a train gives a girl some breathing space, particularly if said girl has just spent the last day and a half dipping her toes in the waters of this wacky internet journaling thing. Which said girl did, and let me tell you -- that slow train ride home was a nice, nice thing for me, considering that at some point last night, I drank a bright blue shot that tasted like Skittles and sunscreen.

Yup, I went to JournalCon. And you know what? It wasn�t scary and it wasn�t life-altering and it wasn�t Squee! and it wasn�t drama and it wasn�t geeky and it wasn�t cliquey. It didn�t make me cry and it didn�t make me stressed and it didn�t make me think that Hey, I�m really going to make some big changes in my life. It wasn�t too long and it wasn�t too short and it wasn�t too crowded or too jam-packed with activities or too touchy-feely.

So what was it? Imagine if you took Leadership Camp and mixed in that random seminar class you took in the Communications department for those last three credits, and then added some sorority girls, and also some of those quiet-but-kinda hot IT guys you secretly look forward to seeing when your printer breaks. Go to the grocery store or the DMV or The Gap or the airport and take the first 10 people you see because everyone � EVERYONE � has a story. Now quick, have a drink, and that�s the best way I can describe JournalCon. It was a bunch of people, who all happen to have this one cool (well, I think it�s cool) thing in common. And I had fun and made friends and drank silly drinks and slept like a baby in my giant bed.

I most definitely did not meet everyone there, and it was neither by design nor accident; I did the best I could and met as many journalers as possible, and in the aftermath of JournalCon, when links start getting thrown all over the internet, I will really still be thinking about the different ways that people use this tool I only recently discovered. I appreciate the variety in journals as well as in journalers, regardless of personal relationships I may have with other writers. It�s all good, y�all, and anytime I can walk into room full of 100 strangers and come out with one friend, I consider myself lucky. I lucked out and came away with many more, but I love that I met some people who made me feel like I�ve known them forever and others who made me realize that Wow, we have really different lives and I would enjoy spending time hearing about yours.

I didn�t dance on tables or get arrested or become an Internet Rock Star.

I went and had a blast and admired the great city of Washington D.C. and made friends and came home thinking that I know people all over this country. Which makes me feel happy and proud, and also, Popular.

This isn�t the kind of JournalCon entry I�m supposed to write; it should be a blow-by-blow with lots of pictures and links and funny anecdotes that make me seem really, really, REALLY cool and witty and not at all begging for site traffic. I swear I wore cute shoes and said funny things and that at some point, hijinx ensued. Trust me. I got hit on at the bar on Friday night, I had a great dinner with the Mathletes on Saturday (who did me proud the whole weekend), I squeezed the adorable Redheads, I dorked over sorority Squee more than once, and I drank wine STRAIGHT FROM THE BOTTLE, or at least until some good looking men came to my rescue with a glass.

But basically it comes down to this: JournalCon was fun. JournalCon attendees are much like non-JournalCon attendees, that is to say, diverse people with unique situations. Only, they know about things like Moveable Type and swag.

But briefly...

I got to the hotel on Friday evening and immediately spotted Dawnie with a glass of champagne in her hand and the sultry Rebekah by her side. Chiara was serendipitously checking in at the same time as me, so the whole �now I have to walk into a room of strangers� was significantly diffused. Still, I grabbed myself a glass of wine as fast as humanly possible and ventured out to the patio with Man-D. There were babies and puppies and cigarettes and wine and cool people and weird people, and then I went to dinner with Chiara and Dlishtrish and Man-D.

After dinner we stayed in the hotel lounge until it got lame, and for the first time EVER someone recognized me from my site! Carolina and her husband got in late but came up and introduced themselves and I am sooooo glad they did because I felt immediately at home with them. I room hopped a bit that night, hanging with the Redheads and then venturing up to the Room Where Really Seriously Cool and Famous Journalers Who Have No Idea Who I am were hanging. And eating candy. I may or may not have participated in a really baaaaaad live interpretation of some poetry.

Saturday I was a panel geek and went to all the sessions. Also, I really, really like Pineapple Girl. Like, a lot, and I was thrilled that she was so open and generous and smart and sincere.

Saturday night was the MATH+1 dinner, which went really smoothly. I had organized, so of course was riddled with anxiety over something going terribly, terribly wrong. But no�we had Ethiopian food at a great restaurant and I chatted with people I hadn�t spent time with yet, and when the bill came, everyone had cash and we were not short at all, not even one dollar!

Before heading back out on Saturday night, I spent some time with Chiara, Carolina and JohnConstantine in what I can only describe (geekily) as an impromptu panel. We were sipping wine in my room, but still�it ended up being a really great, really involved talk about writing and journaling and forums and the whole weird thing. Thanks guys, because I needed it.

And then just as I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, I might be convinced into performing �Pour Some Sugar On Me� for karaoke � with Man-D by my side � we learned that it was to be karaNOke, due to some power outage bullshit at the bar. SO instead, I drank and laughed and crushed on my new friends. Then went back to the hotel and did it some more. When I finally went to bed, my eyeliner had traveled from my eyes to just about everywhere else, I smelled like smoke and I found a crushed peanut M&M in my pants.

Good times. No really, it was. I hugged all my new friends goodbye yesterday and came home glad that I went.

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