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19 Jul

Welcome To The Basement

It’s been five years since I started inviting people down to the Basement. The beanbag chairs are well-indented and crunchy with cookie crumbs and there are tumbler rings from sweaty rum and cokes on the side tables. Pillows have been tossed on the floor for curling up.

There has been much story-telling and advice-seeking and support-giving and hug-dispensing, and the guests who have been sharing their stories have really felt the love. You all are wonderful friends, the kind of friends that one knows she can turn to when things are dark or rough or confusing or embarassing or all of the above. The kind of friends who will laugh heartily at a dirty joke and then whip out a hanky to dab away the mascara streaked by unexpected tears.

You might have noticed that we’ve switched rooms down here. That room where we were before, over there, just wasn’t big enough for all of us. Our stories still live there – you can still go visit them – but from now on we’ll be doing our storytelling here. Want to join us?

Some guidelines…

The door is always open here. There are beanbag chairs and a couple of old sofas and some pillows on the floor. I’ve tried to pretty up the wood-panelled walls: there’re some old Duran Duran posters, and the poster for The Breakfast Club, and a weird-but-cute velvet painting of a big-eyed puppy. (You’re free to stick up your own posters – use tape or thumbtacks.) There’s a liquor cabinet down here, and some ashtrays (tho’ if anyone objects to virtual smoke, you’ll need to enjoy those Dunhills by the open window, with a fan), and I’ve got an electric kettle in the corner if anyone wants tea. BYO cookies; I have trouble keeping them in stock, because, you know, cookies

This is a place for you hang out with friends and talk about all of the things that you maybe don’t feel totally comfortable talking about on the front porch or living room or kitchen of your own blog. Stuff that is maybe too revealing or painful or embarassing, stuff that might hurt or compromise someone else, stuff that is too messy for the spaces in which you strut and fret your daily life.

Anyway. I wrote more about the kind of stuff that you might want to talk about here. Check it out, if you haven’t already.

So how does the Basement work?

If you have something that you want to talk about – that is, post – e-mail it to me and I’ll put it up.

If you’ve done a Basement-ish post at your own site, and you’d like some girlfriend support on your own turf, you can send a call for visitors, with a brief description and link information, and I’ll post it here too. Sometimes you wanna just curl up in your bed and draw your girlfriends near for support. The Basement support circle does house calls!

You can post anonymously, or pseudonymously, or under your own name or your blog name. It’s up to you. If you want to stay anonymous, I will totally respect that and no-one will ever know who you are, no-one, not ever.

It might take a couple of days for your post go up. (If it’s really busy, it might be longer. It got to a point at the old page that it could take weeks and weeks, when there was a backlog.) I’ll leave each post up at the top for at least a full day, so that there’s ample opportunity for people to visit and chat with you, before putting up the next post.

If you want to post a response to your commenters, or a follow-up, that’s great: just send it to me and I’ll put it up.

Hangin’ and commenting:

Commenters know that this is a safe, comfortable place, for sharing secrets and troubles and giggles with friends. Norms of blog civility apply in spades here: be nice, be respectful, be a good friend. Be honest and open with your advice, if it’s asked for – it’s one of the best things about this space – but give that advice as you would give advice to a dear friend. Sensitively, with a hug.

Trollage – heckling, calling names, being hurtful – will be deleted immediately, and offenders will be blocked from commenting. (And, hunted down and beaten and mocked mercilessly.)

This is a space for friendship and support. Come by anytime.