I've known E2 about half its lifetime, but this is my first daylog. Last night I was reading one of jessicaj's, and was struck by the last line:
This is a dying website...
Jess is by no means the first person to voice this sentiment, but it's found a particular perch recently. There have always been two set of E2 users: the readers and the writers. I've been a reader. Sure, this place holds some of my words; a few years back I even sprinted through an Iron Noder. But I've always been a reader. The writeups on this site, especially the old ones, have been a source of dreams and thoughts and sadness and mirth and fantasy and grounding. I'm young enough yet that my time on E2 is proportionately quite a bit of my life, and contemporaneous with the time we all spend discovering who we're going to be.
But I've always been a reader on E2. In our modern society we've conditioned ourselves to shy from risk, from the opportunity to try new things and from the opportunity to fail at them gloriously. We reward success to the exclusion of everything else, never-you-mind that what's really worth doing is failing over and over and over again until you have the memories, the understanding not only of what the right way is, but why. But the first step is to fail. And the second, and the third, and almost every step after those.
We've learned to shy away from putting things out there without knowing exactly what to do with them, learned to hide from the world until we're confident that a polished gem is what we've got to lay on the table. But we've been wrong. The only winning move is to play, because you don't know what's going to happen until you're right in the middle of it. It's time to get up off the sidelines, and write something. Does E2 have two communities? Yes. But it needs both, and that means that some of us readers have to eventually move in to being writers.
We tell ourselves that we're too busy with work, with school, that we don't have things to write about or that we're too out of practice to put down anything well. Could that be true, perhaps. But it doesn't matter. It's not about perfection in the first pass, or the second, or the third. It's not about writing ten-thousand-word epics. This place doesn't draw its power from perfect composition and gripping narrative; it draws its power from a body of people willing to put themselves out there, willing to turn up empty again and again because they know that it's not about victory in the first minute, but about playing the next minute, good or bad.
Turning things around is hard, and jessicaj is certainly pointing out some writing on the wall. But walls can be painted over, and I feel like trying. It's not really for E2, though I love this place. It's for me.