What Losing OS Would Mean – to me - in response to fernsy's open call.
I started reading and posting here a couple of years ago or so. I hadn’t had a lot of strangers read my work before. It felt hugely risky, but people were nice. People read and commented; said nice and encouraging things. I need(ed) a lot of reassurance and feedback. More than I could get from my friends and family.
Years ago an acquaintance said something profound. She said you can’t expect your friends to have your technical expertise or interests. Don’t burden them with a task they aren’t suited for. Find yourself some peers to share your interest with. That way everyone gets to be what they are good and share that. Don’t ask your friends to be peers, and visa versa. Let there be cross-over, sure, but don’t you be confused at the outset. Wow.
It took me about a decade to find a place where that could happen – where I could find some peers who could turn into friends if that’s what came of things.
Enter Open Salon. I posted and held my breath. That got boring so I looked around and found a few of you. Then I commented on your posts, and you commented on mine. It made me want to write more, and I did. I posted pieces that scared me to death to post – and you read and commented. I was inspired by your posts. By your grace, courage, gentleness – by your astute observations and keen perceptiveness in your lives, blogs and comments. The more I was here; the more I got out of being here. The more I wanted to contribute, with posts as well as comments.
Being on OS with you helped me come out of my shell.
The humanity of the people I’ve met here has refilled my sense of hope in the larger, anonymous world over and over again. Your honesty and truth, the sheer size of the hearts I’ve read here inspire me. The quality of the writing here blows me away; encourages me; inspires me. I don’t read modern fiction much for reasons that are important to me but don’t matter here. But reading you isn’t some bullshit marketing crap. Reading you is like reading Sappho, or Blake or Austen in the draft state – not for want of polish, but the intimacy, the humanity, the authenticity that seems to be outlawed in the Time/Warner world out there.
And – in an era where there is less and less “public space”, much less public space I feel comfortable or safe in, OS has been a great boon. Back when Obama was sworn in on that blessed day a few years ago, I went to the Seattle Center to sit with 200 or so strangers who gathered to watch the Inauguration. An Inauguration is a public event, a civil matter and I hadn’t felt part of my country since the war lords (white guys and good ol’ boys in suites) took our country hostage on Sept. 12, 2001 and started steamrolling us into the deep layers of hell and perversity. But when a good man won the election, I wanted to be with my people, fellow citizens. Corportwhores have stolen the constitution, civil rights, humanity, person-hood, the dimSupreme a-la-carte-Court (for sale, but not cheap!) as well as radio and even TV. (If Mary Tyler Moore were on air now, she’s have to be a whore with a heart of gold or some other one dimensional, 12 year old boy’s idea of a “girl”) Radio has sucked for decades, and radio (for most of my life) was where I got to experience, “well, vast portions of my culture sucks and is nothing I want to have anything to do with, but I can still listen to real, creative people making innovative and great music!” well, that’s been gone a long while, but OS brought back that experience. Well, YOU at os brought back that experience.
If people are the magic and not corp/organizations, we will always win. My faith is in you – human being people. You inspire me - to believe in strangers - to read people, not products - to risk more – to stretch and reach a little further/more often/higher.
But here’s something else I know.
Before OS and big S we were writing. Then OS came along and so did we. Now people are finding new ways to have community on the web.
Before OS there was the campfire, the well, the down square, the washing trough in the village square, the church, Main street, the Drive In, the malt shop, the coffee shop, and we will all continue on, coming together and attracting others, then that group gives way and falls apart, and other groups form and fall apart in time. Live is neither ebb, freeze frame; nor flow, freeze frame. Freeze frame is mechanical and never, ever occurs in nature, because in real life, nothing every dies (freezes, fade to black) nothing every dies, it just changes form.
That said I’m washing the car to make it rain, and saying goodbye to keep it going. If you can start wars and kill millions for peace, why not? Meanwhile I am following up on the references to Alt OS’s on the web and joining up!
Thank you for all your heart, you earnestness, humor, eloquence, authenticity, fury, rage, aliveness, camaraderie, vivacity, insight, wisdom, courage – yes, courage, brilliance, tenderness, critical thinking even, profundity, awareness, inclusiveness, extraordinary humanity and writing skills. Heart is more than technique, and OS writers have an abundance of both. Thank you for your kindness, comments, constructive criticism, and support in helping me come out of the writer’s closet.
OK – gotta see if OS will let me read/comment/rate your posts.
Thank you! I washed the car so I plan on keeping on seeing you around here too.