Brazen Princess

Loud and Unashamed
FEBRUARY 23, 2012 3:10AM

Letter to a New Reader on OS

Rate: 38 Flag

Most of you know I'm working on something right now.  Besides that, I have just a little time here.

 A friend wrote to me - a friend who is new here- and had a concern for the content.  What she had heard was that Open Salon was a community of writers.  What she discovered was a "cacophony of disjointed posts..."  Her comment made me laugh.... Then, she asked me why I stayed. "Isn't there a lot of garbage?" 

"Who is the best?" she asked, calling for my opinion.  I shuddered, knowing that she and I don't see eye to eye all of the time.  

 There is no such thing as “the best”.  The best rose, the best actor, the best food...the best friend.   With so many offerings in this world, there are too many to choose from.  Currently I am reading “Bleak House” by Dickens at the same time I am reading “The Tin Drum” by Gunter Grass.  It is impossible to say which is better.  As I settle into bed each night, I glance over at both and say “Which am I in the mood for?”  I choose based on what I want right then....  The same is true here on Open Salon.  

"If I were to give you a guided tour," I told her, "you would never find peace."    Then I gave her a list of my faves and told her why they were there(it is not saying –in any way- that this is the best of OS).  I told her to read carefully those who have a voice, follow rabbit trails, and look at the front page for samplings of what the editors like.  [ ~I don’t know...even editors have editors and sometimes there is a board-room decision meeting where the guy who doesn’t read anything except market reports says “We need more________ so start a trend!”~]

Below is the list I gave to her...forgive my synopsis...but it is what it is for the day I wrote it.   

 The Sages:  (quality writing, gorgeous prose, wise life experiences) 

Jan Sand – If you only have one favorite... this is the guy.  His writing is as valuable as his comments.  You’ll see what I mean.

Matt Paust- wisdom in most things.  I always sigh after reading him. 

Wendyo – a piece of Filet Mignon, when she’s here, when she posts. 

William Hazelgrove – Stunning, literally stunning flavors.

Snowden – I have grown to trust this voice – a surprising gift to readers here. 

Mark Trost – powerful.  All man. 

Marytkelly – Each post is different, but so much wisdom encapsulated in one page. 

Lauren B. Davis – a sage and a muse...a good writer to read when you are working on something....

David McClain (AKA Torman) – transports you from wherever you are to his porch on his ranch.  There he will teach you secrets of life and being happy.  Solid Gold. 


Down Home and Readable: (the mashed potatoes and gravy of pleasant reading – getting to know a someone through their words)

Toritto- Gorgeous and meaty every single time

L in the Southeast – life experiences with a twist: painfully vulnerable

Erica K- a great read every time.  Her mom has Alzheimer’s and there is so much fresh perspective here.  

Victoria Carlson – stunning portrayals of everyday life as a single mom. 

Jersey Girl at Heart – without a doubt, a natural writer.  Pretty sure that she’s younger than me, but a real gifting. 

Ande Bliss – Gorgeous and comfortable, like a blanket. 

Teresa Puente – Latina flavor...and an intellectual and careful writer.  A delight. 

keri h – it didn’t take long for me to make her a favorite...edgy but delightful. 

Nick Leshi – Broadway, movies, TV – an instant favorite.  His website (City of Kik) also a delight. 

Alison Rood – fabulous story-teller

Fernsy – Gifted, alive, full volume.  Gorgeous stuff... real life beauty and truth. 

l'Heure Bleue – vulnerable, delightful...a slice of life that I have grown to enjoy every single time. 

The Deliverers:  (Some of the OS favorites - every single time they write it’s good...)

Bellwether Vance – she makes me smile, and most of the folk here on OS.  Great stories.

Scanner – Easy, readable, lovely and creative.  Genius.   

Ann Nichols- read all the way through to get the full impact – don’t stop half-way and skim. 

Alysa Salzberg – An American in Paris...with a deep appreciation for beauty. 

Mary Stanik – every post is wonderful.  Think Mary Tyler Moore crossed with your best friend. 

Gerald Andersen – In a bad mood??  Read Gerald.  He always delivers a smile. 

Miguela Holt y Roybal – Never disappointing.  Like Peeling an Orange, she is a writer and an artist.  I love her posts and her comments.

Brassawe – a wild, strong soulful writer in Mexico.  One of my first favorites here...

dirndl skirt – when she posts it is amazing.


 If You Dare... :(Get Over yourself and enjoy edgy, witty writing that you may not agree with)

Con Chapman – His bi-line is a quote from Mort Sahl: “Is there anyone I haven't offended yet?” – that should give you a clue...

James M. Emmerling – Sometimes I laugh out loud when I read him... a diamond in the rough.  Kind of reminds me of Dito Montiel.

Helvetica Stone – I am so glad I read her posts over and over.  At first I found them too edgy for me, but I love how she phrases things and wakes me up.    

Kate O'hehir – gutsy, strength personified... never afraid to speak up.  She lives in China, brings a perspective in posts that are very enjoyable. 

Tom Cordle- not just your average, ordinary Nashville singer...his opinions make me cringe, then laugh. 

Beauty: (To see their posts, it’s like visiting a gallery or going to a reading)

Algis Kemezys – makes OS beautiful...

Greg Correll – dark chocolate – powerful, cogent poetry

PeelingAnOrange – delightfully light and breatheable.  Now and then she posts her drawings. 

Zanelle- an artist and a very good writer.  She reflects light....

Vivian Henoch – absolutely gorgeous photography

Romantic Poetess- Gorgeous, beautiful, aching poetry.  Even the font she uses displays her other-worldliness. 

  "Remember, ____, "  I finished my letter, saying. "Good readers read good writers.  People who appreciate beauty look at posts that are beautiful.  Seeing samplings of everyone inspires writers.  It keeps us alive in the way that we should be kept alive.  We are not born to agree, but to think. " 

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Thank you for the mention. We have much the same taste. Add one or two names and I could have written it, though no where near as well.
Nice list! I enjoy several of the OS folks you've mentioned here. As for the ones I have not yet experienced, well now I'll give them a read too.
This is so helpful. Thanks. I'm just finding my way around here as well as your friends, trying to find my focus, my why and my why not. This helps.
These kinds of posts are always helpful. Thank you.
Since I came here a stranger and found all of these people by wandering, this would be my advice...

Read what you like. When you're done, go to the list on the right of this page and see who's listed there that you would like to read and go read it.

Also, go to the popularity link on the cover page and go to the last page of the populars. There are some good people hiding back there who are new, like you, and would appreciate a nod.

Perpetually "new kids" learn to navigate.
Thanks for the shout-out. Where do I send the check?
Some of the people you listed are serial killers... be careful if they invite you to any meet-ups.
Brazen Princess, I wouldn't dare write this even if our tastes are sympatico! I only say that because my categories are different: Rampant Politicos, Erma Bombecks, Stream of Consciousness Poets, Old Hippies, Nutcases, Musicians, Magicians, etc. Thanks for mentioning me! Yeah, I'm in the Erma Bombeck group and maybe a couple of others. You, too.
First of all, comments on this post are delightfully appreciated -- my friend cannot believe I posted this! (In a way neither can I) so add you faves...

Scanner~ shout out your faves so my friend will see them. They are probably among mine, too.

Out on a Limb~ Thank you SO MUCH for commenting...You are also a delightful writer!!

Meghill ~ Sosososo glad you enjoyed it.

DH~ the omission of your name was an accident!

phyllis 45's ~ PERFECT!! comment...and I never thought to do that. Thank you so much for your comment!

con~ I rest my case...oy oy oy!!
spumey ~ you're right...not a chance :))

Miguela~ Erma Bombeck is one of my favorites... and I love her!! Can you believe I posted this letter???? You can tell I'm a glutton for punishment!
What a list. You name so many of my own favorites (with yourself highly placed on that gathering) and your descriptions are wonderful. And many, many humble thanks for listing me here too. I was almost overcome at the thought of being Mary Tyler Moore crossed with a best friend. Thank you so much, Brazen Princess.
You're a sweetheart, Brazen Princess. I am always thrilled to see a comment by you , and to read your posts. If I were to compile a list(and I wouldn't dare do that because it never fails that those who weren't meant to be forgotten ... get forgotten) you'd be on it.

This will be a very nice treat for the new OSer. Of course, thanks for the mention. It is clear that you really like to support others . It's just lovely.
Nice list, with a few I haven't discovered yet, but will check out. It is really quite the smorgasbord. Every time I'm here I find someone else I like.

I am so honored to have made your list. Thanks, darlin'. You made my day.
Thanks for including me among the Deliverers, and thanks for leads to some good reads. R
Despite people who dispute that OS has good stuff, I have found quite a bit.
Some of my favorite people who write interesting things poetically here at OS:
La Gringita, Nusser, M.C.S. , Spike the Chicken, Inverted Interrobang, Catch-22, JP Hart, AIM, consonantandvowels, Divorce Bard, Scupper, Renatta Laundry, Blinddream.
Mary!~ Your name is even like hers...:))

Toritto~ blush all you want...your latest post is amazing!

fernsy~ I agree, there is so much of a blessing to read others' work!! Thank you for the comment.

jlsathre~ LOVED your bookstore post!! Thank you for commenting!

Victoria~ a blessing to be able to read your stuff!

Gerald~ You know you are!! You were one of my first "6 squares"

Rita~ SO AGREE!!!! It's like I said, I haven't blogged in awhile and I just decided to post this letter and the reasoning behind it. Even so, it is missing a lot of my faves... I agree, the list could go on and on. This was done kind of spur of the moment!
"We are not born to agree, but to think." Love that, and thanks for the list! R
A wonderful Who's Who of the OS community. Good list!
You picked some of the best starting points I can think of - great taste! It's always so dicey making a list, but you're right about these folks being an excellent springboard to the good stuff.
Thanks for the shout out, Princess. Your list is terrific -- well-categorized and described. It's length is indicative of the wealth of good reading material available to visitors of all tastes. You, BTW, would make my list of top commenters on OS.

But you forgot satire!
Tinkertink69 and Zinged by Zook are amazing... Just my opinion, of course!
Wow-thank you! I do think this might be the first time I have beendeacribed as "down home."

You need to add Jerry Denuncio to the Deliverers!
Reflecting on History - thank you so much!! I'm so glad you "got it"!!

Darla~ Believe me, there are so many more. I was trying to tell my (literary loving) friend to not give up at the EP's lately. This was purely to share what I thought with her... thank you for commenting.

OWL~ Cannot believe I "forgot" to list you, a deliverer...but as you can see, I left so many off!!

L in the Southeast ~ So wonderful to have you post here...thanks for the comment.

onislandtime~ you don't miss much, do you? Want to know a secret?? (that I'm sharing here, out in the open...) My friend had a problem with the satire here. She felt it was like a"club she wasn't allowed into" (my translation of what she wrote. You are correct, though. The satirists are wonderful here...very edgy.

keri H ~ I think you are "down home" to me because you write so personally. I laugh where you would laugh, tear up at the pain, etc. You are so wonderful!
I need to hire a PR agent.
Keri is right, people... I forgot so many!!

Just went through my "favorites" and left so many I said, this was done in a rush and off the top of my head.
As a new member of OS, I agree with a lot of your recommendations, and I'll have to check out the ones I've never even heard of, so thanks for compiling this. However, I'd like to send out a shout out to a few not on on your list:
--Abrawang: Who always shares amazing stories about his exotic travels, especially in Latin America (a place I adore)
--Margaret Feike: A skilled writer and original voice. Very funny.
--FusunA: Heartfelt, kind, global perspective. A true lady.
--Jonathan Wolfman: Thought-provoking dispatches on the world's pressing issues. He calls 'em as he sees 'em, and always gives us food for thought.
--Beth Mann: Sass, style and lots of verve. High energy!
--Joan H.: Compassionate, thoughtful views from D.C. Elegant.
--Fingerlakeswanderer: Poetic, informative, enlightening.
--Sally Swift: Knock-out writer. Intriguing viewpoints.

And there are others, and I'm sorry if I've left off some of my other favorites here. But let us all remember that this is just ONE person's opinion (mine) and that, really, what purpose does it serve in creating public lists like this?

People have varied reasons for posting/reading at OS. They are as varied as people's tastes in books, music and TV shows. Also, no one can represent the perspective of an entire demographic group. There are lots of different "flavors" out there.

In the end, really, only the individual reader can decide whose posts they find most entertaining, enlightening, thought-provoking and worth the read.
Deborah~ Completely agree.... Fusun is a DIE-HARD fave of mine... like I said, the list is so incomplete. I also enjoy your writing very much. Your list is awesome!!

"But let us all remember that this is just ONE person's opinion (mine) and that, really, what purpose does it serve in creating public lists like this?" I have to keep saying over and over again, my list was at my friend's request...and I think I might have been wrong to post it as a "post"... maybe I should have kept it to myself. BUT my friend is tracking this, and I'm glad she will see your list - a good group of folk I have left off!!
Wow ...thank you. Am honored to be on the list.
Thanks so much for including me in your list! I'm honored! I think this post is a great way to discover bloggers here on OS - I know there are several I will be checking out.
I enjoy the categories you have created! Very fun and informative...would write more, but need to start checking out some of these guys and gals... thanks :)
Thank you for including me, Brazen. You are one if my favorites too--the most romantic writer on OS. xo
Being a relatively new member here, the amount of material at my fingertips is a bit overwhelming. This list appears to the crash course in OS that I needed. Thanks!
Ha, I noted that you did not mention me, but then, that can be a good thing, it really depends on the mood I am in, what I write and what I read. This was well done and I hope your friend figures it out, there are people writing here, their talent runs the gamet. Seek and you shall find.
When I jumped into OS over 2 years ago, I posted before reading others. The comments (Zero, to start! Then I flounced, same day, not realizing what "meta-post" even meant, and who it brought forth), which helped me discover my favorites (as I was still doing most of my recreational reading NOT on the computer). I began to read more here (yes, the addiction crept in ) and found so much talent that I'd never have the nerve or energy to do what you do here, Brazen Princess :) But thank you for the mention (and category ~ yikes! :) OS is a wonderful forum if you have the need to express yourself, and there is so much water to splash in, swim in, and/or partake.
I wish there were more hours in the day to read & comment, is the only regret I have.
What a wonderful testimonial to all the talent here on OS! Thanks so much for sharing your favorites with all of us instead of just your friend/the new reader.
I'm insulted. I didn't even make the list as a sage? Come on now. And the funny thing is that most of my "friends" are here. You're only as good as your most recent post, because no one drills down into the archives and therefore all that great stuff on the lower shelves - mine, yours, ours - might as well not exist. We're part of the problem. Too much data, not enough information.
This is a great list!! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for the very kind mention here though my ole daddy would chuckle at the term "Sage" considering what a messed up teen-ager I was.
I often compare a new reader here on OS to the gold miners of the 19th century. They have to do a lot of hard work, sifting through a lot of rock and if they're lucky they will happen upon some real nuggets of gold. I am a reader of most of those you mentioned and I found them by searching blog after blog until I discovered those precious nuggets of gold that those writers produce.

Of course, in my case, some might call what I do "Fools Gold".
Dear Brazen...these are all good folks, with talent and they work very hard, but this is just the tip, of the tip of the tip of the iceberg.
yes diamond in the rough. thank god for the rough
so no one can track me down, ideologically or

ha. this guy i remind u of has my kinda luck;
"new band Gutterboy signed "to a $1 million record deal – an unheard of sum at the time. The band was dropped after its debut and was dubbed one of the most "successful" unsuccessful bands in rock history."
uh..but Paust aint what he seems.
He is seemingly sagely & wise and ancient,
but he thinks like a teenager sometimes, haw.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder FRed(tm)."
Thanks for the mention. I play in my sandbox and try to keep up to date. I grew up not only pre-internet but pre-television as well and welcome the ease of sticking a forefinger in the world and stirring it a bit from a very isolated life. This is not false modesty but I am well aware of my very severe limitations and that some people find me worth a look is rather surprising in this very variegated and talented crowd.
Although the site presents itself as a showcase for writing it seems to me it is more a community sharing delights and miseries and special insights, whatever the skill with words. But the people that really shame me with their extraordinary word skills and insights to people are Steven Axelrod and Dr. William Lee and Divorce Bard. They should not be missed. If I have one outstanding skill it is on the ease and pure energy with which I strew typos throughout my submissions. It is not an acquired skill but something inherent and I would really appreciate an upgrade to the site wherein I could retread my comments once I reread the kitchen midden of my typography after casually pushing the submit button.
Lol - a Deliverer . . . that is high praise! Lately, I feel like I'm not delivering - haven't posted in forever, and barely have time to comment in the manner to which I'm accustomed. Hmmmm . . . maybe I need to actually deliver . . .
Excellent choices for your friend... I've already Favoritized a third of your recommended blogs and I'll definitely be checking out the others. I just added your blog to my Favorites and invite you to peruse (what a lovely pretentious archaic word) my posts.
Thank you! I tried to explain OS but people don't grasp the organic quality of it. There is no BEST. geez. Those kind of questions drive me nuts. It is a growing evolving bunch of blogs that changes all the time and it is whatever you want to make it. To me that is beautiful. To others it is scary not to have a road map. Thank you for being you!!
"My friend had a problem with the satire here. She felt it was like a"club she wasn't allowed into""

Tell your friend, she is allowed into my club. If I had one that is!! :D

(If I did have a club, it probably wouldn't admit me!! :D)

Great list!
Yet another version of the OS favourites' list aka mutual admiration society. I could say more but why bother? It's one of the reasons a lot of people don't write here any more.
What the hell. What's wrong with being admired?
Jan, I wrote you a PM.
Well I'd add Scarlett Sumac, whose posts about her own back story or life in general, are always worth reading. Also Various Artists if you've ever inclined to attend concerts vicariously. It may be a narrower genre but no one does it better.
Tink, if there was a Club, you'd hit people with it, so there's a Clique.
Much safer.
Stim~ I missed you! I'm hitting your site just after commenting!

Ande~ sometimes I hit your site just to hear a good, warm, real voice. I love it!!

Alysa~ I didn't mention all of the people you have helped here!! We all are grateful for your editing touches....and your blog content!

Pensive Person~ (I love your name) thank you so much for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed it. I look forward to reading you.

Erika K ~ I am so delighted you saw this. You are a joy to "follow". I love your recent stories.

Couch Tornado~ I'm looking forward to reading your posts. Thank you so much for coming around here!

Shiela!!~ (Banging my head in forgetfulness!!) Thank you for your light-heartedness and your forgiveness. You are an excellent mainstay around here, and I have thoroughly enjoyed being challenged by you. You have a great voice...

dirndl~ A good way to synopsize things! I remember being brandnew here and "following comments" because I really admired folk like Brassawe and Gerald...whoever they read I would start reading, and so on and so on. For awhile I thought everyone on OS thought alike, then the "world exploded" when I started touching more sites.

Jennifer~ A FABULOUS and well deserved EP on your post about Rosa... Enjoyed it very much. Thank you for your comment. How true!

Sagemerlin~ TRUE!! You should be on the sage did I forget too many folk!! must be internet overload....I just read that somewhere....where was that?? :)) *wink*

Jaime~ Thank you so much, dear one, for also write very well!

David (can't stop calling you Torman) Glad that you can giggle at your sage status.... most sages worth taking seriously don't take themselves too seriously!

Gary~ I could not agree more. It is like I have a hold of one side of the tip of the iceberg!! My friend is very conservative and literary. Her question to me spurred an answer for "her"...and not for everyone. The truth is, OS is a gold mine of writers. Free reading of some of the most creative minds today....

James~ Inbox me your address (unless you are moving out of your newly sober-ized place) and I will send you his "rant" called "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" It's so James!!

Creekend~ Amazingly true... I hope people have read the whole post...and maybe my comments so that no one thinks this is a top ten list or something. It is a casual suggestion to a friend to stick around and head down archives and rabbit trails to really see beauty here.

Jan~ Your comment proves my point. You are a sage to me, here.

Owl~ You talented, keep writing.

jmac1949~ I look forward to reading your posts. Thank you for the invitation.

Zanelle~ the only one I know that can bring depth and beauty to a rear-view mirror.

TINK!!!!!!!!!!!~ So excited to see you here! My friend can now see your comment...and perhaps "get" you more. By the way, late nights SHOULD be dominated by a cat!! ;)

EmmaPeel2~ You are an exceptional writer, and I'm sorry I've left you off here. Please re-read my post and see that I am blocked (while writing my first novel) and that my OS involvement has been rare lately, but awakened by my friend's inquiry. My "list" is more of a "START HERE" than it is a "TOP TEN" or top whatever... The comments of everyone here are more valuable than what I wrote to my don't assume the worst. We all have our faves, and we are all different. People who leave OS usually don't leave just because of offense --- and my friend was on the brink of leaving because she hadn't discovered what a wonderful place OS can be. EVEN IF you don't agree, there is beauty in the words....

Abrawang~ Agreed! Scarlett is a great writer, so are you. Have you seen the comments?? So many new is so encouraging to me. Also, you are mentioned as a fave. Listen up, folks!! OS is a multi-faceted jewel
Oh Yeah, and Matt??? After listing you as a "sage" you posted some farting post.... oy oy oy....
There are a lot of my favourites on the lists,too,but there is at least one missing.
Trudge and Scanner need to be mentioned ,also Seer for his comments and support,
and there is one lady I did not see anywhere.Her stories are full of life,have been written with great skill and show a deep insight into life.She has given her viewpoint here,which I totally agree with.

Deborah Mendes-Wilson,

and of the same genre,multi-cultural,with excellent writing skill,

Beauty 1947.
Scanner right at the top,OK.
One more thought:
Recommendations can be helpful,but for me it is important to find out for myself which I did in each one of my favourites.
I am so honored to be included on your list!! And I am young, really I am...young at heart!!! I would like to add a couple more recommendations:

ChicagoGuy - reading him is like walking on shards of glass sparkling in the that cuts you to the heart and holds up hope in the darkness.

Firechick - my new favorite action hero!! Brave, bold, and vulnerable.

AccidentalDad makes me lol!

Raymond Roske is an old soul that I love to journey with.

ManhattanWhiteGirl - an urban commando making it in the Big Apple with her son. They have some wild adventures!

IamSurley and CrankyCuss are my secret pleasures.

So many more but what a great reference library this is becoming!!!! A great place to send newbies!!!
@Brazen: Thank you for your comment and for explaining your reasons for writing this, not that you owe me or anyone an explanation. I didn't write what I did because I wasn't mentioned -- I haven't written much lately and I know that many people are new and don't know my work (also as emma peel but I can't access that account any more for some reason) -- but I appreciated your kind words. Lists like this just make me nervous no matter who's writing them. That said, I'm glad there are so many good, new writers at OS.
Heidi~ A great suggestion. I do love Deborah (and I ADORE the way people have posted their friend says she has been busy!!) Thank you so much for coming by and commenting. I think your suggestions are right on.

Jersey Girl~ I love your additions...they would be mine, too. We share the same heart...except I'm, from Cali...

Emma~ re-visited your site and DID see you have changed from Emma Peel to Emma Peel2 - did your work get saved?? I hope so!!

Kate~ How nice to see you here!! Thank you so much for saying that about being compassionate....posting this letter kind of makes me second-guess myself. Still, I have enjoyed all of these comments!!
This is a surprising voice from a market's report.
James Stuckey