Saturday, July 29, 2006

Arianna Huffington & Susie Bright

photos by Linda Davick

My two favorite speakers at the BlogHer conference were Arianna Huffington and Susie Bright.

Interesting things that Arianna said:
• She believes in coincidence and accidents.
• We owe it to ourselves to be able to change our minds.
• Workaholism and sleep deprivation go hand in hand. She's worried about sleep deprivation and wants to start a sleep movement.
• Women take criticism much harder than men do; but it's only when we internalize the criticism that it hurts us.

After the talk, I went up and asked her if I could take her picture. I was puzzled about the thing she had said about women and criticism, so I asked, "How do you NOT internalize criticism–do you just decide not to???" She said, "YES." Then she said that she had written about this subject in her new book. She gave me her e-mail address and said she'd be getting copies of the book, On Becoming Fearless...In Work, Love, and Life, next week. If I would e-mail her, she'd send me a free copy. At that moment, if anyone had criticized me, it would have bounced right off. I was so excited that I completely forgot to shoot a picture of her shoes.

It was time for the cocktail party. I got in the wine line. It was long. The guy in front of me said, "I like your shoes." (perforated yellow Nikes with straps). "Oh, thank you." "They match the bag." He pointed to the logo on the complimentary BlogHer sack. I sensed that this was the beginning of an enchanting conversation.

But right at that moment I saw Susie Bright sitting at a table by herself with a plate full of hors devours. I excused myself and accosted her. She agreed to let me take her photo, and asked, "Who are you?" So I introduced myself–I always forget that part. She asked me where I was from and about my blog. When I told her I had started blogging in March, she asked how the experience had been. "It's changed my life. I used to have fear of leaving the house; now it's not so bad with the camera and the blog."

Then she asked what my blog URL was; so I handed her my business card with nine of the best personality disorder icons on it. She pointed straight to the sexual dysfunction icon and said, "That looks exactly like my new fireplace." Then she asked me if I had been in her talk (of course!) and if there was anything I wanted to say.

I told her that one of my biggest questions about blogging is: If you write under a made-up name–or anonymously–does what you write really mean anything? Lots of people think that you can blog under another identity and still be authentic. I'm not sure I agree.

My favorite thing that she said in her talk: We're all madonnas and we're all whores.

Susie's smart and kind and interesting. She's curious about other people. I realized that she had interviewed me instead of the other way around. I got back in the wine line, which was really long now. After five minutes, suddenly I knew that I needed to be home. I hightailed it to the car and headed back to San Francisco.