Well, I have interacted with him online - just not enough to say I know him. I've also seen him in a video. I hope I do run into him in RL one day, though. I've always thought very highly of him.
No, I never posted on AHWW. I came into the community in 1999. Most of the steam was out of AHWW by then. I posted on WereNet a lot back then.
I inherited the SEHowl in 2003 (I think). That's probably what you're thinking about the campground.
Thanks for the article.
Back before WWW, when AHWW was the "cyberpack" and we came together in that moderated online forum, even then, we all came to a general concensus that the internet was no replacement for reality. Even them when the Internet was limited to military, scientists, and students, and the rest of the world was primarily on BBS;s we knew the internet could not be trusted.
The concept of the first "Howl" Was borne out of that need to put faces to the names, and really solidify our bond into real world friendships.
To be among our own people.
We knew people had varying resources. We knew that travel was expensive. For a poor college student (At the time) I was particularly sensitive to the cost of travel. Even then, the site was still a 3+ hour drive for me to get to.
My original vision was to host ONE and ONLY one howl per year that everyone could save and travel to. The premise was that we could save our pennies, and "find a way" once a year.
I stopped doing them after 2 years because that idea of making it "special" and accessible by scarcity was a foreign concept to others, and seemingly overnight howls popped up all over the place. I essentially stopped going to howls because they ceased to feel "special" anymore because I simply could not travel to a different howl every month to see everyone. I truly wish there was a special were/therian event, but I think that ship has sailed, and by the time any one event got big enough to be the "one to go to" it too, would seem too big and impersonal.
Instead, I have been focusing on my own local family, pack, and friends.
Last edited by smash (2012-08-07 20:05:18)
That's really where I've wanted things to go. I want an established Were community that is seen by others as a legitimate part of society and it's headed nicely in that direction.
Yet, the SEHowl is still special to me. I need access to other Weres in real life. It physically hurts me to be too long away and I'm very isolated here in Selma.
It's true that it's nothing unusual for many Weres to casually meet frequently, but that's what society is. We are becoming (and have become in many areas) a real community.
The cancer that kills a community is conformity. When communities grow larger, differences in participants will lead to conflict, conflict leads to rules, rules lead to conformity. Even if you practice a community based on the concempt of "radical inclusion" there will still be instances where someone won't adapt to radical inclusion. I see this happen when egos get involved. One person's ego is too big to allow another to shine. In a wolf pack, this is enacted in a dominance challenge. The loser backs down, the "alpha" wins, and the pack is shaped by the alpha. In the case of packs that get too large, some wolves don't fit in, they become lone wolves, or they part the pack, and form a new pack.
When Alt.horror.werewolves was a small "cyberpack" it was a decent size.. but as it grew, so did the ego conflicts, and the "drama". Too many self appointed "leaders" vying for followers, and once the internet became more accessible to non technical folks, we splintered. This is the natural way of things. Young pups never want to listen to the wisdom of the elders, and all too often it was the youngest, most naive ones, that caused the most conflict, and ran off to star their own pack/website/forum/blog or whatever they needed to express their dominance to the world. Most of them became sad and lonely because for them it was all about themselves, and not about their pack.
I used to think An ideal unified pack was great, but once I realized the nature of ways, and how I really just wanted that old small cyber pack back, I realized that I needed to focus closer to home, and not be bothered with the 8 bazillion other packs out there in the world. Sure I miss the way things were, but they are not coming back. Instead, I have built a pack, and life of my own here in the mountains of Northern California.
Last edited by smash (2012-08-07 20:56:34)
Furthermore, if there was any sort of central event, or gather for weres, I would d love to do something ONCE a year. That is what a "Howl" was SUPPOSED to be. But the moment that institution tries to stick a label on us, or define us, I am out...
I'm thinking in terms of the usual meaning of "community", as in, "the Human community", "the community of Selma", "the American community".
Obviously communities do exist and they endure. What holds communities together are folkways, historical roots, a sense of commonality, a sense of purpose.
I don't think there is an agenda and I'm not really talking about something firm. Many Weres feel like there's a reason for us to be here. That's really all that's needed in a sociological sense. Most of the Weres I've run into tend to let things develop naturally so any agenda that develops probably won't be "anybody's" agenda. I have some ideas but I don't try to drag others into them. In fact, I'm very reticent to even mention them (although I occasionally do) simply because I don't want people taking my "agendas" as their "agendas" unless they come by it on their own.
I find your fear of commitment amusing. How can you expect to convince mundanes of the validity of your position if you refuse to present it for analysis by the rest of the were "community"? In a biological sense, the "reason" for anyone to be "here" (assuming "here" is used in an existential sense) is to transmit our dna to the next generation. If you mean in a spiritual sense, then your timidity to commit your rationale to something which you yourself suggest: a peer revue process, I find quite baffling. Perhaps you don't want your ideology examined? I've come to some conclusions about myself. But I'm open to having my system of belief examined.
Hey, there's a lot more biological reason - vultures clean up the place. Mosquitoes keep folks moving around.
Ideology, what's that?
Actually, it sounds as though we're on such different wavelengths that there's no common ground for discussion. Regardless, I'm really not that interested in examining your beliefs, nor of you examining mine. I'm doing things and they're working. That's quite enough for me.
You want me to express a purpose - if I did that, it would be my purpose. I don't want the Were community to work toward my goals. I want it to work toward it's own natural goals. I'm not going to impose a purpose on it.
I think it's happening. Weres just need to shift in their mindset from people who are isolated and only get to interact with other Weres online to people who want to see and be a part of the Were community. There are already at least two large, stable Were communities in the US. There's a website taking off devoted to the Idea of the Were who lives in the real world (I'll be bringing that out into the open when they let me know they're ready.) My own website is devoted to the idea of Weres in the real world and there are a few other - "a few" because Weres that live as Weres primarily in the real world, do not often care to have a strong Internet presence.
I cringe when I read people justifying Internet community by saying that there are Weres that only get to interact with other Weres online. Of course, there are - especially underaged Weres - but that's no excuse for seeing the Internet as the home of therianthropy.
To the point - people will do what the want to do. If they want to go to a Howl, they may not be able to right now but, once they set that goal, there's nothing to stop them from eventually accomplishing it. If they want to live near or with other Weres, options are out there, all they have to do is make the plans and then follow through.
Some planning and research are important - therefore, the online information is important. And for those Weres that think they're going to embed themselves into a group of other Weres and turn in to inanimate objects (I avoided using the term "lazy" quite deftly, don't you think?), I sorta wish they'd just stay in their little isolated worlds and not bother the people who are serious about building a Were community.
I think things are going pretty much the way the need to be going and I'm very optimistic that the Were community is solid and will continue to grow in the next few years, pretty much as it's doing now. I think humanity needs Weres and I think that there will be a time when they (or a significant subset of them) realize that.
Do you think it's possible for underage Weres to have contact outside of the internet? In fact, should it be possible? Because of the vast amount of underage Weres on the internet, do they present the wrong kind of community image to other people? (I apologise for the onslaught of questions in advance.)
(Good job on avoiding the term "lazy") Yet surely it can't be that easy to embed yourself in a Were group and then fade away into the background? You're going to have to interact with other people, and that in itself is promoting the community?
You're very optimistic about people's reception to the Were community, is that backed by experience? (I kinda assume it is XD)
Aye, but they need to be careful. There are bad people out there. Heck, there are bad Weres out there. I've never had a bad impression of young Weres. The reason we limit age at the SEHowl is for legal considerations. An accident at the SEHowl could shut us down. We do allow underaged people if the parents provide permission in person or in writing. We've had two underaged Weres at the SEHowl; both were great guys and were fine additions to the Were community. On was a local and was a couple of weeks from his 18th birthday. The others parents brought him to the Howl, talked to me about the Were community, and even came back and ate supper with us. My experience is that they do not present a bad image at all.
"(Good job on avoiding the term "lazy") Yet surely it can't be that easy to embed yourself in a Were group and then fade away into the background? You're going to have to interact with other people, and that in itself is promoting the community? "
True enough, but it doesn't stop some of them from trying. There have been some disasters when a Were moves in with another Were (or group) and just starts mooching. It sours people on the idea of community and, right now, we don't need that.
"You're very optimistic about people's reception to the Were community, is that backed by experience? (I kinda assume it is XD)"
Aye, it is. I've always been open in Selma about being Were and it doesn't seem to hurt my public image at all. Further, although I avoid "outing" other Weres when I travel, when I can get away with it, I discuss the Were community with others and find a, generally, positive reception. Then, the interviews I've done have been positive. If you want an example:
And the people who've read it and my website and talked to me about them have been favorably impressed. I rarely get negative reactions.
I'm not going to say that any Were can get away with that kind of openness but it certainly shows that a significant portion of the population is willing to give us the benefit of a doubt. That's all we need.
It's not that I've ever had a bad impression of young Weres as a whole (that would be pretty hypocritical, considering I come under that catergory), it's more the confusion between young Weres and Teen Wolves that occurs when you mention werewolves to most people.
That makes sense. Are there annual Howls in other parts of the world, or are all the current one's in America?
I think quite often Weres expect worse reactions than they actually get. When I first told someone about it, I was terrified. And they took it incredibly well. It makes me feel like I misjudged people in general, that most people really are pretty accepting of it.
I'm really glad that you're here, because you're basically living proof that it's possible to be an open therian with no repercussions XD And I didn't always, or didn't 100%, believe that. It's interesting about the religious connotations of the old Weres, I never really considered that.
Last edited by walkingintheshadows (2012-09-25 14:01:48)
I've sorta lost track of what's going on globally, but there has been a good bit of activity in Europe. Utlah's Eurohowl was one of the first. I don't know if it's still going on.
"I think quite often Weres expect worse reactions than they actually get."
I think that's true but I guess it's better to be too cautious than not cautious enough. There are some crazy folks out there and I sorta stick my neck out being as public as I am but, up to now, I haven't had any problems. If a Weres wants to be public about it, though, I think they need to understand that there might be some risk to it. They also need to be well established in the town where they live. I don't get many invites to other people's home (I think the social transparency has a lot to do with that and I don't hold it against them - in fact, I'm not really much of a socialite, so I'm comfortable with it). But they like me. I get lots of smiles and waves and Rockwellian good vibes when I'm out walking, and they're not going to allow someone to come into town after their local Werewolf if they know it's happening.
I *think* I'm subscribed to the EuroHowls mailing list, so I'm pretty sure they still run. It's hard to find a definitive list of Howls and dates anywhere really.
It's reassuring to know you don't even get anonymous hate mail about it. How often do you get visited by other Weres? Haha, your town sounds lovely.
Actually, Selma is a cul de sac. It is a beautiful place but haven't had a single Were visit me here. I'm too out-of-the-way for that. They see me at the Howls so they don't have to come here to see me.
Yes, I do mind, but I can do more good for the Were community here for now. I'm respected in several influential communities here, have quite a few influential contacts - lawyers, politicians, judges, clergy, authors, etc., and am able to provide an example that Weres are not only not crazy people, but are capable of being very successful and productive. I'm far from rich, but that's never been a life goal. I'm involved with doing just about everything I've ever wanted to do.
Often leaving groups of Therians is like a surgical procedure especially when there's individuals that I'm particularly close to. Howls never did that to me and, until last year, when I started making these long trips to centers of Were activity, I was aware of being alone, but that never really bothered me. I tend to be a loner, anyway. But now I'm beginning to feel a really deep loneliness. I can't say I like that. Still, I don't have too long before I'm done here.
How long do you have left, before you plan to retire?
I can imagine that must hurt. How did you get such a good standing; did that exist before everybody knew you were a Were, or have you always been open and people have always known about that?
Oh, I've ordered Creatures of the Night ^^. I figure I should get a better understanding of the offline community, and books seems as good place as any to start. Any recommendations?
What's your opinion of cyberpacks and internet packs/relationships between Weres in general?
I can retire with acceptable benefits in 7 1/2 years. I can retire on my retirement plan next year but, then, I wouldn't be able to get Social Security (or medical benefits). That doesn't take effect for another two years. I'll be 65 in a little over 7 years and then I'll be looking to retire.
Selma knew me before they knew I was a Werewolf. That's one of the keys to being able to get away with it. I've always worked for the communities I've been a part of and they value me.
There aren't that many books about the Were community and the ones I've actually seen are really bad. I've heard that Lupa's "Field Guide to Otherkin" is good (barring the fact that I cringe every time I hear Weres associated with Otherkin). She's also quoted in "Creatures" and what I saw looked good. Your best source for the offline community is the offline community. I think the new Forest Horizon forum is going to be a prime resource. It's hosted by offline Weres for offline Weres.
I don't believe substantial relationships can be built online. you don't even know who you're talking to unless you've met them offline, and, even then, it can be suspect. Cybercommunity, to me, is an oxymoron.
I do have a question, if it's not too personal (if it is, don't worry about it). How did your family react to the idea?
It's hard to escape the association with Otherkin, thanks, I'll take a look. I'd love to be in contact with the offline community more, or even consider myself a real part of it, but as a teenager any ability to do so is pretty limited. I have to be patient for a while. Forest Horizon Forum? Thia is the first I've heard about it, but it sounds great. I'll wait for that to be up and running too.
Fair enough. I did ask for you opinion XD Personally, I believe with enough time and enough Skype calls, it's possible to be friends with someone who you've only ever contacted online. Or maybe I'm just deluding myself because it's not like I have much Were contact outside of that XD.