The News From California: West Coast Bitches had a Blast

The first West Coast Bitches Gathering was a roaring success.  About fifteen of us met at MissB2U’s home for a potluck get-together and within the first ten minutes you’d have thought we had known each other for years and years.

I follow several websites with intense fervor, and many of them have funny, astute comment threads that I enjoy.  But there’s something about the community aspect of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books that is unique.  We all talked about what a welcoming place the website is, and how easy it was to fit together as a group.  Some of us were long-time commenters but other were not, so we were all new to each other in every possible way and yet the sense of sisterhood was remarkable.  I was afraid that we would be a room full of shy people with nothing to say, which is the most absurd thing I’ve every worried about in my life.  I don’t know if I’ve ever felt such a sense of ease during a social situation with people I don’t know well as I did that evening.  It was truly delightful.

As we went around the table talking about our first romance novels, a common theme emerged.  Many of us had felt shamed for liking romance.  Some of us had shamed others for liking romance, right up until we discovered how much we loved it.  We had a common experience of feeling liberated when we said, “The Hell with it – I love this genre!” 

My personal experience was that I wasn’t just liberated as a reader when I embraced romance, but also as a person.  Since I started reading romance I’m more comfortable talking about sex and more understanding of myself as a sexual being.  I’m more comfortable and confident with my own curvy, scarred, and unpredictable body (thank you, Courtney Milan, Lois McMaster Bujold, Julia Quinn, and Jennifer Crusie).  I’m more thoughtful about relationship dynamics between my husband and myself.  I’m more aware of how gender discrimination and genre discrimination go hand in hand.  I’m less likely to exclude things (including books, music, movies, and people) on an arbitrary basis.  I’m more willing to leave the house to spend the evening with 14 other people who I’ve never met. 

This was an informal gathering that came together almost accidentally and now we can’t wait to meet again!  We have a very, very tentative date of February 6, 2015, which will be confirmed in September – don’t worry, I’ll post all the info, and yes, you are invited, whether you live on the West Coast of the USA or not!  We’ll be meeting somewhere in Sacramento, California.  I can’t wait to see these smart, funny, deliciously crazy people again!

And now – pictures! Of course there was food: 

A table of food - because obviously

And here we all are:

 

All of the West Coast ladies reading romances in the yard

 

And in this picture, everyone was asked to pick a random sentence, which is why we're all laughing:

Much laughter

Categorized:

General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Darlynne says:

    Thank you to MissB2U and CarrieS for their hospitality, generosity and planning. To Lisa and Dibs for sharing their books, which contributed so much of the hilarity. To SBSarah and Candy for starting it all by creating a place for those of us who read romance.

    I am a better person for having walked through the doors of the Hot Pink Palace. My horizons are broader, my wallet lighter and my bullshit meter more finely tuned. I am different now and grateful for it, humbled by the breadth of knowledge, skill and genuineness of the people I’ve had the privilege to meet here. That you all make me laugh is a lovely, lovely bonus.

    Let’s do it again, many more times, all over the the world.

  2. 2

    Best mixer I’ve ever attended. Thank you MissB2U and Carrie for putting this event together. It was a blast. (Special thanks to Lisa for all the wonderful shared books.) Only problem for me now—I have even more authors that I HAVE to read now.

  3. 3

    Wow, what fun! I’m jealous, but am so happy you got to have fun for the rest of us!

  4. 4
    Ellie says:

    Thanks, MissB2U for hosting this event and Carrie for helping get it organized. It was so nice to meet so many like-minded smart bitches. Looking forward to doing this again. Sarah, our patron saint, I hope you can join us.

  5. 5
    garlicknitter says:

    I’m usually uncomfortable meeting bunches of new people, but this occasion was definitely an exception to that.  As I was heading home, I realized something.  This meeting felt to me like some of the best knitting/crocheting groups I’ve been involved in.  (Part of me was waiting for people to start breaking out their needles and hooks to work on projects while we talked.)  I think it’s because of similar experiences:  knitting and crocheting are regarded as being “women’s stuff,” and participants are often made fun of for it – sometimes, in fact, because it’s “women’s stuff.”  It’s marvelous being among people who embrace it and talk about it knowledgeably and understand that people who mock it are the ones missing out.

    In fact, our love of romance means we’re awesome, much as loving knitting and/or crocheting means knitters and crocheters are awesome.

  6. 6
    LisaJo885 says:

    Thanks MissB2U and CarrieS for putting together such a wonderful event! I truly wish I could have stayed longer, but I’m grateful that I was able to spend time with you lovely ladies. I’ve already downloaded books by Mia Marshall, and plan to get Selene Grace Silver’s next. What was Ellie/Jen’s title? I wish I’d taken notes on all the books we talked about, as I saw others doing. I’m pretty sure that if you’re one of the Smart Bitches, you’re an amazing author and I’m already pre-disposed to like your work. :)  I hope you enjoy the books, you’ve definitely helped to lighten my load. And now you all know what to do for next time: book swap!

    Also, everything Darlynne said above… she captured my gratitude perfectly.

  7. 7
    Elyse says:

    @garlicknitter I think a lot of women are introduced to knitting/crocheting/sewing by female family members the same way we’re introduced to romance novels.

    My aunt read romance and really got me started with the big authors—Garwood, Devereaux, Lindsey. My mom taught me to knit.

    Both felt a little like rights of passage—these were adult pastimes they were introducing me to.

    And I get shit for knitting at work by my male coworkers…until someone wants wool fingerless gloves for deer hunting. Now they cut me slack and one even admitted he quilts

  8. 8
    MissB2U says:

    Thanks to everyone who made the trek to join us on Saturday.  I know some of you had a long drive here and home again.  ( I’m looking at you, Mia.)  It was one of the most fun and relaxing events I’ve hosted.  Everyone was so warm and funny and we could have talked much longer had allowed. I kept marveling that a first meeting could be so comfortable! Darlynne said it so nicely above I won’t go on except to say I can’t wait to see everyone again. 

    And next time we’re doing the interpretive readings!

  9. 9
    Mia Marshall says:

    It was a wonderful day, and more than worth the drive. Thanks again to MissB2U and her unflappable husband for providing such a warm, comfortable environment. Really, I’m down for any event that includes both a cheese plate and a debate on the mechanics of double penetration. (Perhaps I should clarify that one had nothing to do with the other.)

    It was awesome meeting so many woman who put the smart in smart bitches. See you all next time!

  10. 10
    Sarita says:

    Here here! In addition to seconding all the other thank you’s flying around, thanks to Ellie for the driving me, Carrie, and Mia. It was a total authormobile, and as an aspirant to that title I felt privileged to be in on all the highway conversation.

  11. 11

    Waving to MIA MARSHALL, who was fun to hang out with at RT in New Orleans! Wish I could have met up in CA with all of you! (Hey, maybe next time…)

  12. 12

    Jealous!

    I hope someday there’s a Bitchery get-together in the deep South, perhaps at the beach or Orlando. So much awesomeness in one location doesn’t happen often enough.

  13. 13
    Mia says:

    Hey, Anna! Sorry you couldn’t make it, though that would have been a bit of a drive for you. I might be inspired to attend a northwest one in the future, particularly if it was in Portland, home of the mothership. Er, I mean Powell’s.

  14. 14
    CarrieS says:

    For anyone who wants to do a gathering in their part of the world,  this was an unofficial thing and very fun.  One MissB2U realized we lived near each other and were both interested in having a party, we just picked a time that worked for us, posted an invite here on SBTB, and waited to see who would show up!  The trickiest part was estimating how many people to expect because we had to make sure that wherever we had the party could accommodate everyone – hence the RSVP factor.  So anyone can get the ball rolling – just pick a place a date and a time, and be willing to share some way that people can contact you directly, and you’re in business.

  15. 15
    Liz (Bugetta) says:

    I’m bummed I wasn’t able to make it but so glad it was such a fun day and that you’re going to do it again. :)

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