Blaugust, as envisioned by Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut, is a festival of blogging, a celebration of content creation of the written word variety, and a community-building activity for people participating in a medium that many consider to be dying or already dead. Although Blaugust awards are granted for established blogs who put out at least five posts during the month of August, I’ve set my sights on the Rainbow Diamond award, and am planning a post per day for the entire month.
This year, I’ve been having a pretty epic personal crisis of community. I suspect it’s a thing that has been a long time coming, but I haven’t had the slightest idea of what to do about it. I wasn’t great at making friends and maintaining connections during the years it was supposed to be easy – I’m completely flummoxed about how I’m supposed to do it as an adult. Add in a chronic illness and global pandemic, and it feels outrageously overwhelming.
Back in March, I put out a rather mopey and maudlin sort of post about it. I had initially just intended to explain why I was stepping away from World of Warcraft, but as I was trying to organize my thoughts, I realized there was no good way to separate the action from my feelings about it. And hooboy, was I deep in my feelings at the time. For some folks, emotions are fuel, and they can channel them so very productively, but that’s not me. I had to take some time, really process what it all meant, and what – if anything – I should be doing about it.
Eventually, I settled on the idea of creating yet another Discord community. I started brainstorming what I wanted that to look like back in May, and sat down and really started putting the pieces together in June. I spent far more time on it than it probably needed, but it wasn’t until the beginning of July that I was ready to actually open it up. For the first week or so, it was just me and a handful of folks who agreed to help me test some things out and give feedback on the organization of it all, and in mid-July, I opened it up to the general public, starting – of course – with people I was already regularly interacting with.
Building a community has to be a labor of love, or no one would ever do it. In a way, it sort of feels a bit like cheating to start out the way that I have done here – by pulling in folks from other existing communities that I already know somewhat and feel safe around. It’s been a bit of a crisis of conscience deciding where and how to advertise that I’ve cobbled together this space – I simultaneously don’t want to put people on the spot by sending personal invitations, but I also don’t always feel like it’s appropriate to plug a community in a different community, even if the purposes don’t entirely overlap.
We’ve had a few scheduled events, and a few impromptu ones. Some days, the text chats are active, and some other they’ve been fallow. At this point, it’s hard to tell how much of this is because my friends want to support me, and how much of it is that what I’ve cobbled together is actually meeting a need for some people.
So, I’m trying to let it happen as organically as I can now. If it is, in actuality, the kind of place I aspire for it to be, people will tell their friends, and those people will tell their friends, and it will grow in time. While I don’t expect we’re going to see another period where businesses are shut down, and people are being asked to stay home as much as possible, I do expect we’re fast approaching another point where that would be the most prudent course of action, and I admit that that is part of why I have pushed myself to actually do this now.
It seems like everyone is feeling a little lost and lonely in the world right now. There’s nothing I can really do to fix any of the immense problems we’re all facing every day, but I can carve out a little space, and leave the light on for anyone who needs a place to settle their mind for a few hours.