Perhaps there was some doom implied in picking Atlantis for our first book theme.
We aspired to something great, and were instead to be hit by a social tsunami. What started, far out, long ago and largely away from the forums, in little hits and ripples, grew with misunderstandings, resentment, perceived exclusion and loss of communication into a tidal wave that would utterly break down the trust and joy of the community.
Like Atlantis, we have fallen, a community drowned in doubt and bitterness.
Like Atlantis, even fallen, we have hope.
Though friendships have been strained and sorely tested, the bonds that we built together are still there. You cannot erase the good memories and the shared joys because you are angry. You may not wish to see them, because of the hurt you suffer and the doubts that that are so fresh. But if you look closely, can't you find as many things to feel joy from as you could find hurt in your own personal history at EA? There have been sour grapes, and unkind things, and thoughtless words that are often not meant as they sound, but there have also been acts of generosity and support that you wouldn't find in most communities. How helpful have the tutorials and tips been? How many times have you been able to ask the most specific, possibly stupid, questions and get a handful of replies from a host of helpful, experienced people who didn't mock you? Hasn't it felt good to complain about your rotten day and get a smattering of cyber-hugs and commiseration?
In Jess' own forward to Visions of Atlantis, she wrote of the forums as 'a wonderful group of like-minded, talented souls.' In my editor's notes, I spoke about the amazing degree of cooperation we had, and I didn't feel as if I were lying.
Even if EA is no more, if the forums are shut down tomorrow, you have those positive memories, too. You can choose to dwell on the negative ending energy, or you can think about what we did manage to accomplish together. Look at what was really said, think about how differently we could all perceive even selfless, innocent acts and take it as a cautionary tale into your life. Take, too, those tiny, insignificant-seeming acts of sharing and support that have meant so much to each us. Think about those, when you think about the forums, not the resentment and anger that is so easy to feel when tempers are hot and feelings are hurt. Things seem bigger when they are bad.
The power of Atlantis is not that it was a great land; throughout history, there have been many great lands. The allure of Atlantis is that there is still hope for it; that its legacy still lives.
What is EA's legacy? What we each, individually, choose it to be in our own heads. Choose well.
“There is only one magic left from our lost land that we can share, my children,” said the scholar, “and it is this; Atlantis is found within the heart of every true friend.”
I have another, longer start on more me-centric musings, but this finished itself first. Blah blah blah...
Now, I am exhausted by another long day at the bazaar (a good day!), my dog, cat and husband are all sleeping, I feel like I've got a little of my own confusion and frustration worked through and let go, and my smile-muscles are all rubbery from grinning all day. I think it's time for me to head to bed.