Yes, it was 4 years ago today that I stumbled into Open Salon's swinging doors, and it was one of the luckiest days of my life. I didn't write anything that day, or for awhile really, but I did make a comment to Joan Walsh on her site about something. I have no idea what. I have quit OS a dozen times and have taken my stuff (I won't call it writing, especially the early stuff) down almost as much. I had no idea how to work a computer or the faintest idea of what to write, or how to write it. As I got better on the computer (the mouse was hell), I started reading some of the great writing from the many different people on OS. I am proud to say that some of the best things I have ever read have been here, on OS. People who laugh at this, should do so at their own peril.
Of course, being a newbie was hell, as everyone knows. I had one rating and two comments the first week, and one of the comments was to go somewhere and learn how to write, and stay there. I took his suggestion, I just didn't go anywhere. I started off writing about things that have happened to me in my lifetime. If nothing else, I have lived a very colorful life and have saw and done many things that would turn my mother's hair white(er) if she ever found out.
I was starting to get a few encouraging comments from some people, especially my buddy BBE, who tuned in and really made my day. I've had posts with EP's that were read by over 80,000 people, but nothing was as great to me as BBE and a few others, telling me I might not be much of a writer yet, but I could sure tell a story. Thanks BBE~
But, I was also mad at the cliques that were here at that time who would only read each others stuff. I decided to go to war with them. I started writing about politics, something I knew quite a bit about back then, and really pissed some people off. 'Death threats, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention', hah! We had some knock down-drag out-paper wars and some people were even kicked-off of the site. I had a few warnings from the editors, but then again, to few to mention.:-)
I was starting to get a following, but I was having to top each post everyday, and for awhile, I was sometimes writing 2 posts a day. Some posts were great and some were shit, but I kept putting them out there. I was having a blast, while screwing around with anyone and everyone who wanted to get into it with me.
My problem with insomnia at the time (it's back again, by the way) gave me all the time I needed to find something new or see something from a different angle and throw it on the screen. What I didn't realize was, I was writing shit. Taking numbers supplied by Google or Time or the Washington Post, and putting my spin on them. It was all bullshit and one day I just quit. I decided I wanted to learn how to write properly before I died.
I wanted to go back to that "Storyteller" person and quit bullshitting everyone. While I was writing my own stuff, I was also reading some of the best writers on the internet, and not commenting. I could make a list of the best writers on OS, but I won't. Many are gone now and the one's that are still here know it already. But, I began writing these fiction short stories and the people who read my political stuff were a whole different animal compared to the readers of my short stories and poetry or what have you. But I went to work, because my dad always told me if you want something bad enough, you have to work for it. No silver-spoon babies in my house, believe me.
What I have learned from you people is immeasurable. With every story I wrote, I was crucified. If I misspelled a word or used grammar in a sentence the wrong way, there were six of seven people who would nail my ass to the barnyard door. I kid you not. Again, no names, but you know who you are and I've thanked you and I thank you again. You went out of your way to take a man who had never written anything to speak of and helped turn him into a writer.
No, I am not through. Yes, I have many roads to travel and many miles to go before I even think about becoming a "good" writer. But, if a man with a limited education can become a good writer, keep an eye out for my name somewhere because I am not a quitter, unless you count all the vices I quit to get here. Peace & Love to you all, and for all who helped me along the way, a special thank you. Again, you know who you are.