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eevee-shayna
7th March 2009, 02:18 PM
A Letter to TPM


Dear TPM;

Old Friend, there is so much to tell you. Call me a Nostalgic Reminicer – which I will not disagree to being addressed as – but I cannot help think of our History. Oh yes, you and I go quite a ways back indeed. I remember being a young Lass – this most have been Ten years precedent – when I first laid eyes on you. You were much different back then, as was I. We were so new at Life and we found each other at a critical time when we were both growing. And I must attribute you for much of my growth today. You were Constantly attacked by dreadful pirates we called Hackers in those Days, and all your loyal friends would always help you back up on your feet. You had many attacks like that, one that was so Horrendous that you moved to a new home. I am embarrassed to say I barely visited you until you returned to your old address.

In the year of ’01, a Mutual Friend of ours reintroduced me to you; a chance happening that has drastically changed my life. You do remember that old Friend? You were so accepting when she and I started to date almost 2 years ago. Yes, we have had Good times.

My Dear Friend, I also have you to thank for your Patience and Encouragement. My interest in written stories was only an Ember until you came along and fanned it into the Fiery passion it is now. You molded my craft like clay and sanded down the rough edges. That is not to say I am fantastic now, but you have brought me a long way from which I once was. And I am grateful; ever so Grateful.

That is why these words are so difficult for me to utter. I had noticed… a Change in you. Do not be startled, I mean no harm. As your friend I wish to speak Kindly and Supportively. I’ve noticed you have become Weaker in the past couple years. Maybe I have no right to say such things, as I have barely visited you during this time. When I speak to you, my main source of feedback is to know you have Viewed my words. An actual response to me happens only in a Blue Moon. You remember my birthday every year, so I know you still care, however, these past few Years have been lonely between you and me. You are like a dying Tree: there is still a vein of life flowing through your trunk and some of your limbs bare fresh leaves, but most of your branches are Dead and merely holding on by their skeleton they once built up. It pains me greatly to see you in such a state, and I wonder if you are on the verge of a Comeback or – as I feel is more realistic – barely holding on by a thread which could Snap at any moment. I try to give you my energy and make your branches Bloom once more, but sometimes I feel that this is an Abusive Relationship. I am the puppy that returns to her master only to be Stuck down time after time.

Please speak to me. We have been through so much! Tell me, should a hold on to a Friendship that once was, or should I bury you in your Grave? Are you too weak to continue? I would not blame you. No matter what you will always Live on in my Memories.

Your loving friend,
eeveeshayna
Shayna

Gavin Luper
7th March 2009, 08:43 PM
I like this. It's such a bizarre mixture of poignant letter and almost jocular form - I mean, who writes an emotional letter to a forum? - but that's kind of what makes it so cutting to read, because your audience is both your subject and a mutual friend of the subject. You're writing to a friend that we all know and, whether we're openly sentimental or put up a cynical facade, all of us love this place to some degree, too, or we wouldn't be here eight or nine years on.

You used metaphor well here; even if the idea of the forum being represented by a dying tree is probably a bit of a cliche, I can't easily think of a metaphor which would be more apt, to be honest. It works very well as a description without being particularly fresh or original, which is kind of fitting I suppose, considering you're discussing the demise of the forum's culture. I particularly liked the idea of TPM "sanding down the edges" of your craft: I feel that writing here really developed my teenage writing more than probably anything else could have - and for that, I'm really grateful to the forum too.

I don't really have many criticisms to make about this - it's such an inventive angle on the letter form that it really gives you license to do what you want, I reckon - but was there a particular reason for words like "Lass" and "Grateful" to be capitalised? If not, they ought to be all in lower case unless they are proper nouns or at the start of a sentence.

I'm glad you've written about this. We've all lamented the lack of activity before in the writer's lounge, but I don't know if anyone has ever written about it creatively. I think that if we all feel the same way - and I'm pretty sure we all do - then that's a good start. We need to reply to as much as we can, even if the replies aren't huge, to let people know that their work is being read and appreciated, and then they'll have access to a similar culture that we had access to eight years ago. We need to reply to our replies and get discussions going with our readers. We do have the opportunity here to create a more industrious writing culture here than we ever had before, even if we accept that it may not have the same level of membership that this forum once had. Also, us mods are always more than willing to get new suggestions and ideas from you guys about new projects and initiatives to liven up the forum - if you or anyone has any ideas, feel free to drop any of us a line.

A slight tangent to my reply to your piece, eevee-shayna, but that's evidence of how much your piece stirred me into wanting to see action as much as you seem to - we can get the ball rolling if we try to, I think.

In any case, good work with the attention-catching title here; I'm sure you'll get much more than just viewing from the forum - and I hope you start to hang out here more often?

Cheers,

Gavin.

Lady Vulpix
7th March 2009, 08:57 PM
What Gavin said (I wish I could be half that wordy this late at night). Very interesting concept. I don't quite get the capitalization pattern, if there is any, but that may be because I'm just 4 minutes away from turning into a pumpkin. Goodnight, and I hope to see you again soon.

eevee-shayna
8th March 2009, 01:49 AM
Thank you very much for posting so punctually. Sometimes I think that when people read my screen-name they skip my posts. I love feedback; it feeds my writing. I've been thinking about writing this piece for a bit now. TPM is important to me, but it is such a struggle these days.

The random capitalizing is mimicking 1700's American printed writing, most notably Benjamin Franklin. He is renowned for his letters and when I thought of writing a letter I thought of him. I wanted to be formal.

If anyone else wants to write a letter to TPM be my guest. Monologues can be nice.

Gavin Luper
8th March 2009, 05:09 AM
Ah, so there is a scheme with the capitalisation then. That's a cool reference, too, and I think I know where you're coming from with those old-style letters. Nice work.

I think most of us have those moments of being insecure about our position in the minds of other people (or, at least, I know I have in the past). I remember posting a prologue a few years ago that no-one replied to and I thought "wow, these guys must really be sick of me then". But a lack of replies is not always indicative of anything being wrong with your writing. Sometimes people are just too busy to read or reply, and then they forget about it as the thread slides down the page. Other times, it may indeed mean that your piece wasn't attention-grabbing enough. But I don't think many people would not look at a fic just because of who wrote it.

Are you working on any other projects that you're thinking of posting here, then?

Chris 2.1
8th March 2009, 08:59 AM
Brilliant work. I've never read any of your work before, but characterising the forum as an old friend is such a great concept. Particularly because, if you believe your own words, you won't recieve a reply back.

It also reminded me of prayer, as if you had reached a fork in the road and needed a sign regarding which path to take.

Again, great work.

eevee-shayna
8th March 2009, 02:10 PM
I'm glad you liked this entry! It's wonderful to hear from forum members I don't usually communicate with. Wish I could have written a longer letter but I said everything there was to say.

Right now I'm working on my never-ending project of Tiponi; Daemon League Quester. I don't blame you if you don't want to pick it up now: I've been working on it since Middle School and I am a sophomore in college now. It is an excellent example of my progression as a writer though. Maybe when I'm finished with it I will start something fresh on TPM.

Lune the Guardian
8th March 2009, 02:11 PM
I could really relate to this letter. I used to care a whole lot about TPM, and sometimes I get a little nostalgic and wish that it could go back to what it once was. I miss a bunch of people and I laugh at the old days when I was a stupid teenager and the highlight of my life was being a mod on TPM. >_> My stupidity made me chase some awesome TPM friends away too, which is a pity. I know I'll never see them again, but I want them back. :(

I can totally see Benjamin Franklin's spirit in this. I think it's cool how you changed some of the font style as well, gives more of that old letter feel.

Thank you for sharing this lovely little piece with us. :) I know watching an old friend die is painful. This is going to sound lame, but if you keep the memories of this place in your heart, even if you let go, the old friend can rest in peace.

[EDIT]: Like you, I have one long term project that I've been working on since I was fifteen. I actually scrapped half of it and I've given it a new start now, years after I thought I'd abandoned it for good. My motives for writing it now are different than they were back then. It's a bit funny to go back over your old work. Sometimes I ask myself, "Wow, did I really write that? My eyes bleed just reading it!" Or I could spot something I really like that I'd forgotten about, and think, "Damn, that was pretty clever of me, coming up with that way back then."

Shuppet Master
8th March 2009, 07:25 PM
eeevee-shayna, that letter sort of hit a chord with me. I feel the same way - it seems that the only thing in the forums worth reading is stuff written by Dark Sage, when a long time ago, this forum was much more interesting. I fully sympathize with you. :(

PancaKe
8th March 2009, 08:43 PM
You voiced how most of us are feeling.

I guess, the more old members come back, the more times I come in and see red pokeballs by posts - the more I cling onto the hope that the forums will make a comeback and will once be the lively places they once were.

Perhaps the reality is that we are dying, clinging onto a single thread of hope, and one day we'll log in and be torn apart because tpm just wont be here anymore.

That scares me.


Is there anything we can do?

Lady Vulpix
8th March 2009, 09:37 PM
Of course there is, Tara. Stay active, write, read and comment, play games, participate in discussions... You could try bringing some new people if you can think of anyone who would like the forum. We are TPM. It won't die unless we let it.

And Shuppet Master, since you clearly don't like what the rest of us write, why don't you try writing something yourself?

Thorne_Darkrose
8th March 2009, 11:38 PM
As long as it has been since I read something that stirring, I haven't many words in my vocabulary at the moment to respond with a more fitting reply, but standing on a highway for ten hours will do that to a person... anyways, all I can say is that I am thoroughly impressed with your use of the letter form. Not many people write in that notation anymore because they find it boring, but you made it seem like something that could be used as one of the best creative ways to express yourself.

Currently, I am working on a first chapter to a fanfic I am working on, and am thinking of posting it here, hopefully you will like it when I have it up. I've only been on the forum for about a week, and already I am impressed by the people here. I used to come to this site back in 2001. I also visited a chatroom by the same name, which was where I had hundreds of good friends. It was because of the forum and chatroom that I got the confidence to talk to people.

I have been a writer and forum goer most of my life, and as of now I am hoping this place becomes one of my most frequented forums, and I think everyone here loves this place. The way I see it, most people who come on forums are one of two kinds, the ones who care about the forum deeply, and the ones who are here for no other reason than to waste some time because they are bored. I think those of us who care should make the place the best we possibly can.

mistysakura
9th March 2009, 02:25 AM
Shuppet_Master, are you serious? Out of all the fics on this forum, all that is worth reading is stuff by Dark Sage? Well... wasn't this piece worth reading? :P

Anyway. Awesome letter. I, uh, have never read Franklin, but the capitalisation makes more sense with that explanation. It's interesting because in these days (boy do I sound old), when "letters" are either bills or dashed-off e-mails, they're not associated with creativity so much as with utility, as Thorne_Darkrose said. It's great that you've given the letter such life.

What can we do to bring back TPM? Gabi's right; we are TPM. It's actually kinda weird to participate in conversations about TPM dying (like a tree, for example), as if it were an independent entity. Truth is, TPM is Shayna and Gavin and Gabi and Chris and Karin and Shuppet and Thorne_Darkrose and me, and everyone else who posts at fanfic, and everyone else who posts on the rest of TPM. And the bond that joins all of us. That's all there is to it, really... TPM won't die. Even if one day, Kevin forgets to pay for the domain and the forum goes up in a poof of cybersmoke, TPM won't die. As long as we talk to each other and share with each other, TPM will still be.

eevee-shayna
9th March 2009, 02:35 AM
I'm honored that so many of you connect with my letter. I was just writing on behalf of my feelings, but to hear that so many of you feel the same way makes me feel not alone. This community has been my home on the internet for a long time, and it seems that you all consider it your home as well. I am also happy that I started a conversation about this topic. I think the first step of reconstruction is to address the issue. What TPM needs is more communication between the members. I don't know half of the people in Fanfic alone. I read Smiley Town, but only a fraction of people gather there ad not often. We need more energy. Conversations that get the whole community involved. I love when people post open ended questions in the Writers Lounge! Those I find interesting. And I loved when I was asked to judge the writing contest because it forced me to get involved and keep active, and in the end I was proud of having been a part of that process. In order to have more participation on this forum you need something for people to participate in.


It's a bit funny to go back over your old work. Sometimes I ask myself, "Wow, did I really write that? My eyes bleed just reading it!" Or I could spot something I really like that I'd forgotten about, and think, "Damn, that was pretty clever of me, coming up with that way back then."
That is exactly how I feel when I reread my stuff ^_^


"letters" are either bills or dashed-off e-mails, they're not associated with creativity so much as with utility
I didn't think I was being inventive when I wrote this is letter format. It just seemed like the only way to tell the story. I needed to talk to TPM. And it is wonderful that TPM is writing me letters back.

Chris 2.1
9th March 2009, 02:36 AM
It's also worth noting that fanfic in particular is one of the more populated subforums. Look at Anime.

Mikachu Yukitatsu
9th March 2009, 02:55 AM
I was going to print this, but I was tired yesterday so I read this now straight from the web. It was touching and original, but you could have done it better, too. I'd like to have more references to other TPMers than just that 'Mutual Friend'. However, on the other hand, some would have felt excluded if they weren't mentioned. Also, it wouldn't have suit the style of this piece perhaps.


It's also worth noting that fanfic in particular is one of the more populated subforums. Look at Anime.

The subforum used to be active, but Hanada Tattsu and Animelee left long ago and Zak isn't interested in Pokemon Anime anymore, I believe. I have some serious feelings towards Pokemon Anime myself but I had to leave in 2004 because of the army and later because I was put into a hospital. It was a critical moment I had to leave. I have wanted to go Hanada Tattsu and post every second post in the forum, but fortunate to your minds, that seems unreasonable.

Lady Vulpix
9th March 2009, 10:35 AM
And I loved when I was asked to judge the writing contest because it forced me to get involved and keep active, and in the end I was proud of having been a part of that process.It looks like we've found a judge for the next contest. http://img49.imageshack.us/img49/1369/wink1wc.gif

Dark Sage
9th March 2009, 11:38 AM
Oh, come on, Chris. There's much more here worth reading than the stuff I write. Have you read Gavin's work, for instance?

As much as I like flattery, that's taking it a bit too far.

Sike Saner
9th March 2009, 06:49 PM
I like the sort of "old-fashioned" style of this, both with regards to the language and the more aesthetic touches like the use of different fonts. That it happens to have the subject matter that it does is pretty interesting, too--I've seen sentiments along these lines expressed before, but I've never seen them expressed like this.

Quite a creative way to get a point across. Nicely done. ^^

Thorne_Darkrose
9th March 2009, 07:18 PM
I think we as a forum could get together on a specific day or something, those of us who could make it anyways, and all join into a collective chat in a forum such as the writer's lounge. I personally will be posting my poetry up fairly soon.

PancaKe
9th March 2009, 08:10 PM
it seems that the only thing in the forums worth reading is stuff written by Dark Sage


Well that's a bit harsh. Have you given anything else a chance?

eevee-shayna
9th March 2009, 09:21 PM
Thank you new posters for you generous complements ^_^

Wow, people are harping about the Dark Sage comment.


I'd like to have more references to other TPMers than just that 'Mutual Friend'.
I wanted to make TPM a personified entity, rather than a community made up of people. The reason why I mention Samchu, the mutual friend, is because she is my girlfriend who I met on this forum. Not only that, but if I hadn't met Sam it would have taken me a loooong time to come out. And I am so grateful for TPM playing a key part in my life.


I think we as a forum could get together on a specific day or something, those of us who could make it anyways, and all join into a collective chat in a forum such as the writer's lounge. I personally will be posting my poetry up fairly soon.
I second this motion!

Gavin Luper
9th March 2009, 09:39 PM
I wanted to make TPM a personified entity, rather than a community made up of people. The reason why I mention Samchu, the mutual friend, is because she is my girlfriend who I met on this forum. Not only that, but if I hadn't met Sam it would have taken me a loooong time to come out. And I am so grateful for TPM playing a key part in my life.

Aw, I really like that. Go TPM!

mistysakura
10th March 2009, 05:19 AM
I second this motion!

Smiley Town real-time chat, oh yeah. :)

Austrian ViceMaster Alex
10th March 2009, 06:44 AM
Very original and well written, truly a fine piece of penmanship. Many a word of thruth is in your letter as well. It even starts off with an initial.