Baby, You’re A Firework

March 2, 2012

Last week – almost a full week ago now, which kind of freaks me out, because, holy doodlebug, how long does it take me to post about this sort of thing these days, seriously? – I did the closing keynote for Blissdom ’12. Well, me and Rufus, and also Brooke Chaffin from Disney Interactive Media Group, although it was supposed to be me and Alisa until she got super sick and her baby got super sick and lo, the difficulties of being a working mother. Anyway, it was complicated, sort of, but we worked it out and the whole thing turned out pretty well, I think.

Except for the part where I tripped coming onto the stage. Which might have been because I was wearing four-inch turquoise suede heels, but still.

These shoes. (Thanks, @kristahouse, for capturing the moment that was not the moment that I tripped.)

Anyway. The story that I told was this: that we are all storytellers. Not just some of us, all of us. And that we are all, in our way, revolutionary storytellers. Epoch-changing storytellers, culture-shifting storytellers. You’ve heard this from me before. I’ve beaten you over your collective heads with it. But I do that because I believe it. This moment in history, the one that so many sneer at – the age of the ‘mommy blogger,’ the age of the ‘ladyblogger,’ the age of relentless storytelling about our children and our homes and our private lives and our private parts and our handbags and our diaper bags and all of that stuff that we previously only talked about over kitchen tables and backyard fences – is a radical moment because it is a cultural first. It is pushing a cultural transition. Women – and mothers especially – have never had a broad-based, widely-accessible, public platform for our stories. (We haven’t. Don’t argue with me. I did my academic research in this field, and I know my stuff.) Now we have that platform. And we are using it. We are lifting the veil on the private sphere and we are telling our stories, our own stories, in our own voices.

And it is epic. We are epic.

And so are our shoes. Well, mine, anyway.

(Here’s the video that I played during the keynote. Baby, you ARE a firework. We are fireWORKS. We are exploding EVERYWHERE.)

(In a good way.)

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    Gappy March 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Yes! I absolutely agree with this.

    I wrote on a post of mine ages ago that I wondered what social historians of the future would make of all this virtual diarising of women’s lives. It is so rich what we have here – so important – and I won’t listen to anyone who tries to tell me it isn’t.

    Nice shoes too, by the way.

    Frelle March 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I loved your closing keynote. I told you how much I loved your super-dorky moment and getting all fabulously academic. We are trailblazing and innovating. The way we connect and find community is new, the way we network and build businesses. We are innovators who are finding a voice. And I love the way you encourage us to own it, and “carpe the shit out of this diem”

    I love that video SO much and it has the same tearful and pride inspiring effect on me. I’m grateful that you shared that fact in your keynote and again in your recap.

    You have such a wonderful voice here, you speak with authority and passion, and it translates well into speaking. Your presentation was one of the highlights of my weekend, due to its relatability as a woman who is a mom who happens to write, and the great interconnectedness I feel to women who feel this same urge to own their space and find community in writing. Thank you.

    Heidi March 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    It is epic, and very exciting. :)

    red pen mama March 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm


    That is all.

    Okay, that’s not all. I really have to get myself to one of these blogging conferences. Dang it all.

    Cindy Reed March 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Your keynote was the highlight of the conference for me…so many notes scribbled in the dark about the excitement and power that comes with the public ascendance of women’s everyday voices. Epic indeed. Thank you.

    Lucy March 2, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    You’re right. It is epic. We are the change. We can change the world. It’s already happening. We have the most important jobs in the world, and now we have a platform to share, grow, expand and learn.

    Krista (@kristahouse) March 2, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    I’m super glad my shoe lust came in handy.

    And yes, your keynote struck a chord. It took me a very long time to come to the realization that my programmatically driven mind did/do/does have stories to tell. This, I learned while attending my first Blissdom Canada conference back in 2010.

    edenland March 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    WOW. This is such a bloody true and beautiful post – love your keynote video. Have really loved watching and reading you over the years, Catherine. Seeing you evolve and learn and change. And helping others do the same.

    Power to you.

    Maggie S. March 2, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    I always hated that song until Saturday.

    For just a moment, I stood on holy ground. In the library in my heart.

    I know I am a dork, but I had all I could do not to stand up and cheer.

    Love the shoes.

    Brie March 2, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    You are right. We are all storytellers and we need to stop being scared about sharing our stories.

    Sharyl March 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing this great video…it’s what I needed to watch today!

    Angel March 2, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Awesome! I don’t care how many times you beat us over the head with it – I love your message of empowering women. We are taking over the world! Thank you! Now, off to change a poopy diaper.

    Laura @ March 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Yes, a thousand times yes. And also – Firework is (hilariously) one of my 5 year old’s FAVORITE songs (the others are Dynamite, Paparazzi, I Follow Rivers, and Don’t Stop Believin’, what can I say? She is eclectic), so much so that I often hear her singing it to herself when she doesn’t know I’m listening. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we – as women, mothers, peoples – were all able to stand solidly in each others’ corners the way we would for our own daughters (and sons). Reading other bloggers’ lives through their writing is one way we can simply support each other – and such a powerful support network it is. AMAZING : )

    Amber @ Crappy Pictures March 3, 2012 at 2:40 am

    Yes! The sneering and eye rolling over “mommy bloggers” or “bloggers” in general has always bothered me. I’ve never thought of myself as being part of a wider cultural shift, thank you for reframing it this way. Very empowering.

    Becky @ Sowing Little Seeds March 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I never considered before that I may have something important to say, or an important part to play in something much bigger, but I get it. This IS important. I have only been blogging for about a year and I have not really shared a whole lot of “me and my story”. I have kept my posts pretty surface level. I am a bit moved to write more than that now. To talk about the REAL stuff. The important stuff and what I have to say about it.

    Jadzia@Toddlerisms March 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Those shoes are indescribably awesome. Thank you for unpacking what’s behind the sneering at moms who blog–I am so tired of being stereotyped as a flibbertigibbet with nothing to say that the Very Serious People would be interested in hearing.

    Laurie Cates March 3, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing this video! I loved your keynote address. You gained a new fan. I was at Blissdom as a publicist and left wanting to start a blog of my own for the sole fact of storytelling. And…I loved the shoes!

    Andrea | Elimination Communication March 4, 2012 at 10:09 am

    It used to be journals and diaries but redundant servers and backups have taken over the immortalizing place of paper and per.. Instead of just passing down stories by word of mouth, we are now empowered with an even more social way of sharing our stories. Thank you for making us realize that we, the mommy bloggers, are right at the tipping point of change!

    LindsayDianne March 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Oh man…. I love how you can just…. say it.

    Jo March 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I worked as a professional journalist for a long, long time. And now I blog. Two days ago someone came to me and told me that my latest post, about the passing of my mother, has basically changed her life. There were tears. I’m in awe (the post was simply honest, nothing more, not a Pulitzer winner or anything). I never, ever, ever thought I could be able to offer people an opportunity to share their hearts and certainly working in mainstream media we never even tried to do that. Women who blog can. We will. Change. The. World.

    Blessing @ Working Mom Journal March 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    You captured everything about mom bloggers, working mothers, motherhood in general. I know that for me, being able to tell my story has provided some sort of sanity. It is myown DIY therapy and even my husband agrees. Women across the world have now found a collective ground to voice their own opinion, uncensored and it feels great!

    rose March 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Can you tell us what programme you used to make this video? I need to do something similar but am not so familiar with video making or animation!

    Becca March 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Everything in our life is a book. Good and bad things happen but we all learn from
    those experiences.,..nice post!

    The Mommy Psychologist March 6, 2012 at 4:25 am

    I’m new to the world of mommy blogging. My blog is in its infancy stage. I had absolutely no idea that this world existed! I am in love with all of the women breaking down the barriers of silence that have separated us for so long and beginning to talk about what our lives are really like. Now, if we could only do this in real time. Progress.

    Kristen March 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    No need to describe it as beating anyone over the head. Because you’re right. And we’re all so damn lucky to have the privilege of being a part of this all, in ways big and small. But all meaningful.

    And the shoes? DAMN, the shoes. Awesome, awesome shoes.

    Selfish Mom March 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I just got done reading a ton of vile comments on a post about mom bloggers and was amazed (not surprised, I guess, but still, the wonderment…) that people would spend their time that way, making those comments that really had nothing to do with the post they were on, just because they hated the idea of women with blogs. So this came across twitter at exactly the right time. I’d like to French kiss you now.

    Emily March 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Very inspiring and nice video. Thanks for sharing.

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