Open Salon is like a drug to me – both the reading and the writing. It pulls me in; it opens my mind; it points at my heart and says, “Ha! You thought you were alone?”
I joined because I wanted a place to put those wild ideas that come in the middle of the night. You know: the political “WTFs” and personal epiphanies that knock you for a loop. The connections you make that your friends think are brilliant, but you have no larger place to store them. A place to run something up the flagpole and see who salutes it. Or not. Or tells you it’s the wrong flag. Or that it’s upside down. It’s a reality check and open season on everything that matters. I can comment on another writer’s take; support someone struggling with the business of being human; laugh at a narrator’s wacky sense of humor.
If you look my blog over, you’ll see that I am not an over-performer. I can’t imagine how people manage to blog every day, or (goddess forbid) several times a day. I would love to be blogging several times a week. It would be good for me. I’m delusional enough to think that it might even be good for others.
And what about all of your blogs? I have learned a lot about writing from reading everyone’s notes to the world. I have learned about political realities and emotional struggles. It’s a rich little soup that I love to swim in.
Okay, so I’m in love with OS. That is not my dirty little secret. My secret is that I’m in the middle of an OS fairy tale. My own little how-could-this-happen-to-me tale. It’s a secret that keeps me from blogging, and keeps me from reading others’ blogs. It pulls me even harder than you all do, and that’s hard!
The fairy tale goes like this:
Once upon a time a girl wrote an essay. She poured her angst onto the page -- one word after another. The words captured her broken heart and her goofy world view and her way of righting herself even when things hurt. On the sixth day, she reread the essay, and it was good.
She sent the essay to a writer friend. The friend read the essay and said, “Where can you put this? Where can you place it where it will help you? Where can you show it to other people it might help?”
The girl thought of one place to do that. She thought, “Open Salon!” But her heartbreak was a secret, and OS was a place where people knew her. A few people anyway.
What to do?
She opened another blog on OS. She posted the essay. She breathed again. Somehow it helped to see it there. “Out there.” Where it couldn’t hurt her. Where it was real, and painful and funny and secret. Where other people saw it and said, “Wow. Cool. Ouch. Yeah, me too.”
Then, a funny thing happened. The editor put it on the cover of Open Salon.
“Wow,” she thought, “go figure.”
So more people saw it and said things like, “Oh man, that’s hard.” And “Hey, this is my story, only different city.” And “Did you read my diary or something?” and so forth. The girl was happy. Somehow it didn’t hurt as much.
Then, another thing happened. Her little secret essay was on the cover of Salon.com. Uh oh! There it was. Out in THE WORLD. On its own! More people saw it and said things like, “This is gorgeous, tell us more!” and “If this isn’t fiction you are crazy to throw away what you had!” or “I know how you feel, and it sucks.”
Then, one day, a note appeared in her little OS mailbox. It said, “I am an agent in New York. If you would like to talk about turning this into a memoir, please email me.”
The girl was shocked. And thrilled. And terrified. Oh my. What about the people she wrote about? What about her secret? What about her day job? (Never mind that she had asked the Universe to send her a sign about her writing. Never mind that this is the book she had probably spent her whole life getting ready to write. Never mind that this was supposed to be her little way of healing.)
What to do?
She emailed the agent. They talked about the secret. The girl wrote a book proposal and signed with the agency. The agent liked the proposal and is pitching it to publishers even as you read.
The girl would like to be blogging about things like helping her daughter think through the implications of a second trimester abortion; or how hitting your wife is the domestic terrorism that homeland security doesn’t touch; or how network television leaves her in the dust. But she has no time for that.
She spends all her evenings and weekends writing her secret book. She tries to make it funny, and truthful, and loaded with the kinds of discoveries that will make people say, “Listen to this…” and then read a paragraph out loud to their buddy on the bus. She is writing with her mind, and her heart, and her skewed sense of humor. She is like that little engine, muttering over and over, “I think I can, I think I can…”
Someday she will return to OS to write about weightier issues. Someday she will be back commenting on everyone’s great writing. Someday – and she is not kidding – she thinks she might have a book tour to write about. In the meantime, feel lucky that you have the time to blog. Oh, and send her some nice thoughts. Someday she will do the same for you.
Shhhhhh! Don't break the spell!