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Seattle, Washington,
July 28
I'm a nurse, living near Seattle, WA.


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JUNE 17, 2009 12:22AM

My Dirty Little OS Secret

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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  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.


The End.


Shhhhhh!  Don't break the spell!

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This is fantastic! I'm thrilled for you and please keep us posted on the book, etc. The girl deserves all good things to come her way!
Excellent news. I love happy endings.
Thank you Mary. The girl is terrified and tired. But earnest and writing.

Natalie, I hope it IS a happy ending! Chug chug chug.
Congratulations, how wonderful!
How exciting for you! Wishing you the best on this wonderful adventure. :)
Julie, Allie, Brie thanks for your good wishes.
Kate, I'm so glad at least one of us knew what we were doing on this book proposal thing! And I'm also glad you've finally spilled the beans. This kind of news will make us all work even harder...though I fear once word gets out about agents cruising through here, OS will have so many new members, the feed will move faster than the speed of light.
Your writing just pops with humor and personality and insight, it's no wonder even the Universe is willing to do you the occasional favor. Can't wait to see you dishing it up with Oprah!
Very exciting news! I am consumed with the desire to learn the title of this essay that attracted the attention of "the agent."

Have you ever wondered if your essay would have garnered the EP and then the Salon cover if you hadn't posted it under an alter?

I hope to be reading of writerly angst over book reading dates and the difficulty of being humble when faced with a slew of rave book reviews (so hard!).
The Universe has done me so many favors I'd hardly know where to start... thanks Lauren.

Let's BOTH jump all over our opportunities. Or at least have a virtual drink (clink!) and make imaginative excuses for why we didn't...
Yes, Ablonde, I HAVE wondered whether K8 would have garnered the same attention. Who knows. I'm not sure I want to know. Hell, I DON'T want to know...

Sometimes that would be just looking a horse in the mouth...

If I sell the book, I'll come clean on the essay.
This is so cool & I am so happy for you! This really is like a writer's fantasy so especially crazy & amazing & wonderful that it's turning real. Definitely scary but in a good way. I love your writing! & know you're going to pull this off & want to hear all about it.

P.S.: Can I be your & Laurel's friend? Maybe dinner with you guys & your agents? What do agents look like? I've never actually seen one, but know that many of them have excellent penmanship & are very polite & tactful... : )
Wonderful! Happy day for you!
Yeah, wait till the book sells and you're like on the talk show circuit and then just blurt it out!!! And we'll all be like, "Oh no she didn't!" and also be like, "Oh yes she did!!"


Congrats and stuff!!!
Since we are in the same neighborhood we must indeed crack open a champagne bottle or two to celebrate a milestone, maybe the publication date?

I'm so excited about this I can't stop thinking about it! YESSSSSSSSSS!
wow, this is fabulous news!!!! what a wonderful set of things to happen to this brave girl. wow, i am so thrilled and excited for you, even on the day that my agent fired me. again. i can't wait to hear about your book tour and if you will be coming to Powell's since you are in Seattle after all. this is just outstanding. love love love and gratitude for hearing such wonderful news which gives hope to all of us.
You're a total inspiration, K8! Lana Turner's got nothing on this story ;) And what a tasty addition to this rich soup...can't wait to read the book! Champagne's on me the minute it sells. There will probably be some on Freaky, too. Congrats!
This is great! You have lived THE EXACT FANTASY that every blogger on this site dreams about. Well ... my exact fantasy anyway. And it's nice to know that agents are prowling the internet! Keep us posted. I'll drink a toast to you tonight.
This is great! Congratulations!
Congratulations! Hooray!!
This is the kind of thing I like to read first thing in the morning. I hope that agent is smart enough to realize that there is great pool of talent here on OS. I'm thrilled that he/she decided to jump into the water with you! Congratulations!
this is so lyrical... please write some here too oftener and congratulaions
Suzie, I can't speak for Laurel, but yes you can be my friend. I need all the peeps I can get.

And Yet -- yes, a very happy day!

Tinkerertink -- Talk show circuit?? Can't stand the thought of all my pores showing on HDTV... Thanks for your good thoughts.

Ablonde -- you bet! I'll call a meeting of the Seattle contingent should I ever be so lucky to have a publication date...

Theo -- thanks for the kind words.

Donna, you should talk! (Actually, you should write... I know you are!)

Steven -- it's a long road from an offer to a book tour. But as they say, it begins with one step... (chapter, in my case...)

Osheepdog, Just Pamela, Marple, Rob and Gary -- Yes!!

Cartouche -- I think a lot of agents and editors take a peek here from time to time. There are a number of stories like mine... And yes, in the water -- up to my neck, as it turns out. Thanks for your well wishes.

Rolling -- Lyrical... thank you.
Dearest K8,
I entered Open Salon because of YOU!!!!! You probably don´t remember, but I was one day browsing the net when I came across your piece on 101 words to say goodbye (to a sister, if I am not wrong). Your art moved me deeply and I wanted to let you know, I wanted to leave a message but, in order to do so, I needed to become a member of OS, so I did, just to leave a "thank you" message for you... It´s incredible how destiny, or the Net machineries works, LOL!. For me, OS has been a journey of discovery, and to discover now that you will be published is the best news I could receive! Congratulations, and go for it because you deserve it.
A big kiss to you, K8,
PS: a few days ago I recommended this blog to an OS friend and I said: she doesn´t write very often, but it´s worth while waiting for her posts. Excellent!!
Oh, Marcela! You dear thing. I just took a moment to comment on your parakeet post. I love your writing too! Thanks for these encouraging words. : )
oh. that's so great. that's really great news. congratulations. please keep us posted.
Tickertape! Noisemakers! Parades!
Squirrel, I'm thinkin' that by the time your little guy is born, I'll be half done. congrats to you as well. : )

Thanks Chicago Guy. Maybe Chicago will be on my tour ; )

Verbal -- No! Yikes! Wait until someone really buys it... Then we can pull out the stops. : ) (Thanks!)
:D well go you! That is awesome.
"Congratulations," she said, green with envy. (But in a good way.)
Mazel Tov! This is fantastic. The best dirty secret I ever heard!
Really, really great!
WONDERFUL! zipping it now ... but waiting patiently ...

:) I'm very, very happy for you!
Jealousing in the best possible ways!! (congratulations)
Whoooo Hooooo!!!! good things happen--all the best!
Cindy, Owl and MAH, you wouldn't envy me if you saw my house, my diet and my blood pressure. Yoikes. I just don't know another way to do this, but it ain't pretty.

Sally, Sandra, 1IM, scupper and JK, Thanks for your well wishes and please keep your respective fingers crossed -- and not behind your back! (Please?)
Wow! Congratulations. And some really nice thoughts.
Excellent news!! Good luck and I bet it will be an awesome book. Keep us posted, that way I can make sure I go buy a copy.. Hugs!!
Congratulations!! And I can't wait till the secret is fully out!
Thank you, Tanpopo.

I take all the nice thoughts I can get, Maria.

Fireeyes, worry not. If it ever comes out EVERYONE will know... And despite Kerry's pleas I will probably pimp the blog that announces it...

I'll come clean with lots of the "mystery" some day, Silkstone. Thanks for the good wishes.
Congratulations, K8! What wonderful news. You'll keep us updated, won't you? May the words flow and the editors be kind. :)
Crap. I followed the link in the newsletter wondering if it was going to be Mac, Linux, or (most likely, since it was a dirty secret) Windows. Oooohhhh, Open Salon.

I really shouldn't even sit at a computer before at least two cups of coffee.
Well 2 novels, 2 short story collections, 9 screenplays, 4 stage plays, 1 essay collection and 1 poetry collection later I have yet to get your good luck! More power to you. However, I am not writing a memoir. My fantasy is to write a fiction memoir and send it out under a male name and see what happens--but I don't like to lie about the truth--I like fiction because you tell the truth about lies!
Good luck for you.
So happy for you! And thanks for posting part of the fairytale; can't wait to read the secret book someday. -Daisy
Ain't life a roller coaster??? I come here for the same reasons (don't we all) and found musical colleagues (I am a songwriter) and conversations lead to meetings...lead to international travel to work with new friends...lead to CDs....lead to...well I am still following the Salon Brick road. We all have our dreams and secret lives. Sometimes a girl just has to share her secrets with her girlfriends. Congrats to you, to me and to all of our girlfriends living secret lives here in this MOST wonderful space.
Pax in D Minor,
kate! kate! kate! congratulations! i'm so very happy for you :)
Congratulations! I agree, OS is like a drug. Since beginning to post a couple months ago, I've been keeping later and later hours reading and writing and commenting and meeting some really cool people and actually having real live people (you guys are real, right?) read my writing and leave some wonderfully encouraging words. An agent, a deal, it's a dream come true, yeah? It would be for me. Best of luck with the book.
I am so jealous my brain is gone.

This is what i want. A book contract.

Wonderful for you! sigh.

(btw, you write well, constant, intimate without being cloying, polished. so rats! you deserve it!)
I'm thrilled for you! Way to go. Keep us posted, please.

This is so awesome for you--congratulations. And, oh, not the least bit incidentally, this essay demonstrates why it happened. You have a distinctive style and your personality comes through everywhere.
K8 - sorry to be so late to the party but this post is wonderful. Save me a seat in the front row of your book signing.
'I wanted a place to put those wild ideas that come in the middle of the night."

Yeah, I had one of those episodes last night. "My friend Rick, the double murderer." (not kidding)

Best of luck to you. Seattle! Oh, my envy.
Late as usual...just came across this and have to drop my congrats. So, there's hope for us all! I wonder how many others of us have "Dirty little OS Secrets". I do. Rated to bump again and love your writing I'm intrigued....
Oh... WOW!

I'm so happy to hear that this kind of stuff actually happens in real life. Cuz if it was a movie, you'd be getting late night help from Aaron Eckhart by now.
This is wonderful!! Come back and tell us more as you can.
What an absolute pleasure to meet you and here this story in person. I wish I knew where the essay was, but will certainly respect your privacy (I know the importance!) :) Best, Best, Best wishes to you Kate.

Much love, Kate.