Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Blog Out Loud

With a glass of wine in hand, Claire Fowles of Foodieprints took to the stage for her reading of Wine Wednesday – Pretentious Twaddle, one of the 11 juried selections at the 2014 Blog Out Loud. She was  probably a third of the way into her piece when I realized she wasn’t just giving a hilarious introduction to her post’s topic: wine reviews. She hadn’t glanced down at her paper once, and it didn’t occur to me that she might not be speaking extemporaneously. But then she glanced at her notes before starting a sentence, and her “introduction” never transitioned into a reading...


The way a well-crafted blog can roll of the tongue the em dashes and italics adding their lilt and spice — is truly incredible. With each post constrained to a single thought, the event was a little bit Pecha Kucha and a little bit monologue series.     


Blog Out Loud  may be a new addition to the Writers Festival, but it’s not new to the Ottawa scene. Veteran blogger Lynn Jatania from the blog Turtlehead started the local event in 2009 for those “with BlogHer attendance envy.” But unlike the big stateside conference, Blog Out Loud was free — and male friendly. Sure, there were more momblogs than manblogs represented, but each of the bloggers deserved their spot on stage.


After all, the blogging life is not always easy.


“What is it about blogging that makes people so dismissive, so quick to judge the author's use of their time?” asked blogger Tanya Snook of in Crisis of Conscience: Why Do I Blog? You could feel the mmm hmm’s in the room as she continued: “Would you roll your eyes because someone keeps a journal and then turns it into a book? [...?!?!...?]]” <– (Why blogs read out loud are so much better.)


Written words weren’t the only focus of Blog Out Loud. Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Colored Glasses was featured for Shoveling Metaphors, a pithy post of prose and pictures. Here’s a taste:


“I tend to see cleaning with a toddler in the house as shoveling before the snowplow comes by and pushes all the #@&$ snow back in your driveway. In this case, your 35"-tall plow circles the block alllll day long.”



As Lynn reminded the crowd at the beginning of the evening, each post itself may be relatively short and limited in scope, but the collection of a blogger’s posts reveal much about who they are as individuals.  We didn’t get that at Blog Out Loud, but having singular glimpses into each into blogger’s repertoire was like being at the Costco on a Saturday.


We’d better keep our little toothpicks and napkins, because we’ll be coming back for more.


For a full list of the featured bloggers and posts, visit Blog Out Loud