“You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”
From “Once In A Lifetime” by the Talking Heads. (This piece originally published on Open Salon on June 3, 2011)
It’s one year after my first posting on Open Salon and, as unfashionable as this is to say right now, I’m rather happy I stumbled into the joint and that it continues to exist.
As for how I discovered it, here’s a funny thing: I was aware of OS’s existence for close to two years without it even occurring to me to click on the tab for it. Why? I began reading “big” Salon in the late ‘90s and voyeuristically scanned the Letters that accompanied most of the articles. At times, I would be rather amused by the surplus of white-hot grousing found there but, overall, I became increasingly bored and saddened by it all. I found a significant portion of the regular letter writers to be one-note, marinating-in-hostility contrarians who appeared to have little else to do with their lives but sit a computer 24/7 trashing everything and everyone in sight for no apparent reason other than spite and their own unhappiness.
Many are still there and I wouldn’t dare mention their names so as to give them any further recognition. Lots of people on OS read those same letters AND YOU KNOW THE VARIOUS HOTHEADS THAT I SPEAK OF!!!!!! (wink)
I envisioned that this Open Salon place would merely be the Salon Letters pages writ large. And, as we all know, occasionally it is, but let’s not go there. Overwhelmingly, the people I have personally interacted with here are terrific.
I eventually ended up at OS via a Google link and, once I realized where I had landed, started digging around and was surprised and impressed by what I found. There was lots of interesting writing and entries with a variety of tones and perspectives.
Concurrently, I had been wanting to return to writing for some time but wanted a focus. It was when I discovered rosycheeks’ peerless blog detailing her fascinating life story that I got the idea of writing a series of some sort. I knew that I didn’t want to write a“What’s On My Mind Today” kind of thing because others are doing it and doing it well, so I really had my heart set on an ongoing project with a theme. I thought on it, waiting for the right idea to hit me, and then one day as I stood in our kitchen in the winter of 2010, I looked at my framed concert ticket collages and presto: there was my idea.
After spending a few months writing, researching, defining parameters, and creating a backlog, I felt pleased enough with the results to hit that daunting “Update” button for the first time. I now realize that this exercise is going to take years to complete, be it here or elsewhere. Oh well. I like a challenge. And besides, it keeps me off the streets.
My plan was to build things one step at a time, trying to come in through the textual back door as quietly as possible. I knew I was taking on a topic that did not have wide appeal but felt there would be a niche for a certain group of persons who might be interested.
The idea was that I would gradually inch into a groove and tone for the series as I went along and that, over time, the kind of person who would be into what I’m writing about would eventually stumble onto what I was doing and, if they enjoyed it, would realize it was part of a series and might go back and read the predecessors. Slow and methodical was/is my mantra. I think that slow and methodical are underrated.
It appears to have happened to some degree as it’s in the weeks and months after publishing that the numbers really start to accumulate, and they all seem to go up fairly in sync. I’m pleased.
It didn’t, however, go exactly as planned as I was stunned to get a comment on my Introduction posting right off the bat, courtesy of fellow-music-fanatic lschmoopie. I truly thought it would take multiple entries before I got any kind of feedback or views, so this pleasantly threw me off. When I got a few more on that post (a few of which are now erased with the members’ departure), I took that as an unexpected encouraging sign. So, thanks to rosy for the inspiration and thanks to lschmoopie for all your support (I think I speak for many here on OS in saying we’ve missed your writing and warm presence and are looking forward to your ongoing return).
I also realize that I may not be making the process easy. It’s said that blog writing should have an instantaneous, “in the now” pulse, whereas I am largely writing about the past with the idea that it will be read at some point in the future. There’s not a lot of “today” in my writing, but … sometimes I think we may just have too much “instant” in our world. In a home of hares, I stubbornly remain a tortoise.
Blogs are also supposed to be brief and immediate, but those of you seeking out something short and concise are SOL with mine! I guess I see each entry more as a chapter, although I’m getting better at divvying the larger ones up. Besides, long(er)-form writing is one of the specific components I wanted to explore with this project. I realize that I’m sacrificing some potential readers with that as a key ingredient, but that’s how it goes. I’d rather have a smaller audience based on what it is I do want to do rather than a bigger one based on what I don’t. One can’t be all things to all people and the project has to be satisfying on a personal level. Just call me the Anti-Twitter.
So for those of you who have stuck with me through some dense writing, I bow to your patience and support and am honoured by your taking the time to read and energy to comment.
I guess I could talk about the tiring dust-ups, the excess of meta, and an over-fetishization of EPs to the detriment of seemingly everything else, but … another time.
I will say this: it is my sincerest hope that I am successfully balancing the detail-oriented aspects with a warm, human touch. The head must be tempered by empathy, a generosity of spirit, and humour.
Especially humour. And plain old comic absurdity and irreverence. I think that a love or appreciation of the ludicrous and nonsensical—and sometimes downright playful silliness—can be a transgressive act of resistance against the tyrannical, po-faced forces of miserablism constantly working toward erasing joy from our world. I know that in real life, if you don’t have a skewed, developed sense of humour or cannot confidently laugh at yourself sometimes (which is a very different beast from self-loathing and self-hatred), I doubt we’re going to get along. Having a good laugh is a sorely undervalued and uniquely human experience.
Shout outs of appreciation also go to Yserba Berrington/Kevin, Scarlett Sumac, dirndl skirt/Sharon, Abrawang, ChillerPop, Algis and The Wizard of OS herself, Linda Seccaspina, for your support along with a number who were here at the beginning but have since left the site, and all else who have taken the time to read or comment. I also wish Patricia S. would return and write more art pieces. I’m an art groupie by nature and loved her entries.
Love’n’thanks also to Cublet, MZ, Ms. P, and VA Jr. for your help and contributions.
On a more serious note, Yserba/Kevin’s recovery is proving challenging so let’s keep him in our thoughts.
Here’s to Year Two.
And now, some silliness:
© 2011 VariousArtists
Comments From The Original opensalon.com Posting
Good post and through OS I made a new friend.
Thats what it is all about Alfie isnt it??:)
Abrawang: Thanks so much and please come back. Lots more to come.
Linda: Likewise linda. And a Bacharach/David reference is always welcome.
lschmoopie: So glad we discovered each other here and I’ve particularly appreciated your support right from the start. It’s cool that we’re heading into our second year here together. As for missing Iggy & the Stooges, oh damn. I’m dying to see the reformed band but haven’t been able to yet. So glad you’re back on OS!
Scarlett: Absolutely. Let me know if you’re going to be ’round these parts.
I am psyched to settle down sometime and take a look through some of your older posts. This is my kinda irreverence! (I tried to leave this comment early this AM but no cigar…oh! there’s the doorbell, it’s past dinnertime but Natty came anyway!) Cheers to year no. 2~
dirndl: “Here’s to Rosy” indeed — and to yourself. Both of your blogs are such evocate personal stories of a place and time. As for Little Peggy March … did you know I am H U G E fan of the early 60s girl groups and singers — and Brill Building pop overall? Please continue to follow along … I’m just getting started. Thanks so much.
Chicken Maaan: Thanks for the Congrats and I love your chicken avatar. And pleased don’t be embarrassed for having not visited … there is so much on OS I can’t get to either. There are only so many hours in the day and so much in life to juggle. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by.
Catch-22: Yep, irreverance is a good thing. And I’m so glad Natty Dreadlocks came back for dinner — tell him I said “Hi” (btw, that song has now been stuck in my head for the last few months after your reminding me of it).
Well Never Mind the Blogging!
VA, all I can say is I’m glad I discovered your blog. It’s been constantly entertaining and eerily relevant to some of my own experiences and music fandom. Let’s hear it for Year 2!