Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
--Prospero, The Tempest
Why not Shakespeare? In a recent online discussion of my novel, The Con, I joked that, since the book quotes Jane Austen and The Book of Common Prayer (Chapter 28: "Azogo the Great Attends an Anglican LARP"), my best lines are consistently someone else's.
A couple of decades ago, I became involved with everything. Back then, the site was happening. It had a connection to Slashdot, itself so busy then that people talked about the "Slashdot Effect." The definition: someone posted about your site or page at a popular place online (say, Slashdot), and so many people clicked that link that no one could reach the site. The 'Net used to work that way, long ago and far away. Rip Van Winkle would wake and wonder what happened to his World Wide Web.
So yeah. Everything2. It was Wikipedia and social media before either existed, and a place for writers to hang. People popped in and out of twenty-four-hour chats. We taught each other about our areas of interest and the oddball corners of the internet we'd visited. Controversies erupted, raged, and sputtered out, often into irrelevance. Inside jokes multiplied like monkeys in a soy factory. Some contributors formed real-world friendships. We held gatherings small and large. A man proposed to a woman online here. They married and we applauded. She succumbed to cancer and we mourned. The broader media briefly used the site, post 9-11, as an example of how the World Wide Web was changing relationships and grieving. One still-active noder recalls how he and other e2 people local to him "would drop in and hang out like we were all wacky neighbors in a sitcom." The Ninjagirls sold merch.
The internet grew and the place got left behind, like a once-popular pub that has become a run-down old man's bar. Contributors faded into their lives. One worked on the revived Doctor Who and another became a professional editor and freelance writer. Users Lucy Snyder, Gary Braunbeck, and Guy Anthony De Marco established writing careers in speculative fiction, fantasy, and horror. One contributor hasn't logged in for nearly a decade, but I see her sporadically at SF conventions. And other old-timers drop by, now and then, to say "hi" to whomever might be around and to check their messages.
The original group skewed young, but that was twenty years ago. Those already older at the time have grown, well, old, and a few of those old-timers have since passed on.
Take Borgo. He was a regular, years ago. We used to talk here and, later, would exchange messages when he stopped in. We hung out, years ago now, in real life. He had heart troubles then.
They have ceased forever.
Rest in Peace.
I still check in. Besides, I have editor powers, and one or more of us has to stick our heads in and fix those things that are within an editor's purview. But the catbox often rests quiet for hours. New write-ups appear less frequently than restrained comments on Twitter. Occasionally, someone new will turn up, fascinated by the gems from e2's history and the strange little stories scattered throughout the site.
My own contributions trended historically towards reviews and write-ups on topics ephemeral and obscure. I have, however, littered the site with glimpses of my life. Lately, those have become my most common contribution, cross-posted variants of my writers' blog elsewhere. I recently reread those sporadic journals and linked them together. Those who might be interested should start at August 18, 1989. They skip around time before arriving at my chronologically-posted first few daylogs, which are rather death-obsessed, focusing as so many of them do on my parents' final illnesses.
The "Next" links initially take you, typically, to a crowd of daylogs among which you must search for mine. I take no responsibility for the content of the others. As we head from 2003 to the twenties, and as our numbers diminish, mine is often the only one posted on the particular day to which "Next" takes you. How long they will continue I do not know.
And the day will come when all our revels will have ended. We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.