I've been wanting to write this essay since
early October of A.S. XXXIII (1998), but we all were rather busy on the 24th
with our Kingdom's first Coronation and thereafter life has kept busy. Still,
this message should be passed. I think it's still relevant.
Over the past few years I've written a fair
bit about Ealdormere as it has moved from Principality to Kingdom status. I've
also listened to what others have said and read some of what others have written
(whatever I've seen). In all this discussion and publication I have seen and
heard very little about an idea critical to our evolution into independence.
That idea is responsibility. As a separate kingdom, we are
responsible solely for the game we play.
For years we haven't liked parts of the game
we played, but we could always blame the Middle Kingdom for those (sometimes
with cause, sometimes without). Now we have nobody to blame but ourselves. No
convenient scapegoats, no ready excuses; we don't have Ohio to kick around any
more. As of 24 October we've had to look in the mirror, not on a road-map, when
we feel the need to allocate blame.
Now we don't have the Middle Kingdom to fall
back on when our internal politics get stupid. Yes, sometimes the Midrealm
meddled in our game. Sometimes it acted in a heavy-handed manner. Sometimes we
were pointed in the wrong direction. Sometimes we needed to have our heads
pulled out of the sand. In the event of future problems we could go to the Board
for intervention, I suppose, but talk about airing dirty laundry in public! No,
it's best that we straighten out our own problems for ourselves. There are no
Common-Sense Police; we are all released into the Great Game on our own
We all must play nicely. Don't hurt others.
Think before you speak or -- for the electronic among us -- before you post; at
least one person will be happier for it. We are all responsible for our own
actions; who else could be?
We now have an obligation to be positive.
Before Coronation I we could define ourselves in terms of being what the Middle
wasn't, which is a negative approach and set our identity in a negative
framework. Now we must define ourselves, measure our progress and plot our
course in terms of ourselves and ourselves alone. This is a great place to be.
Ours is an amazing version of the great game. We have a lot to be positive
about! If we want our Kingdom to be a happy place the only we can do that is by
being happy with ourselves.
We must evolve institutions that include and
empower, not exclude. We must make an effort to get to know each other. This
isn't easy in a corporate entity with as many players as Ealdormere, but we
cannot retain the sense of community that got us this far without more effort.
That sense of community, that sense of accomplishment, didn't just happen. It
took a lot of work by a lot of people to get us this far. It will continue to
take work to make Ealdormere stronger and happier and a better place.
We cannot coast.
I play the great game because it's fun. I love
this place because of all it's given me; friends, knowledge, experience,
recreation, an outlet for my arts. I want to pay back the people who have given
me so much, and the best way I can do this is by making sure Ealdormere is still
here tomorrow, so the next newbie can stumble in the same way I did and you did,
gentle friend. I want this place to be here in the months and years to come, for
other nice people to learn from and grow into, for our children to grow up in.
That's up to each of us to make happen, and the only way it will happen is if
people make a conscious decision to make Ealdormere work.
It's easy to talk about "the light of the
North" and "the shining jewel from the Crown of the Middle". It's
harder, but I think more important, to talk about "this great way to meet
pleasant people", "this wonderful opportunity to learn" or, best
of all, "this place I'm really comfortable in". What you learn, as
ever, is up to you. So is being a pleasant person or a comfortable one. That's
the heart of Ealdormere. Peer and peasant, newbie and King, we all have the
power to be pleasant people, to be comfortable and to make others comfortable.
That's what will keep newbies coming out. That's what will keep established
So let's all try to be nice to each other.
What a great way to define a Kingdom. What a wonderful responsibility to have.
Copyright A. McLean 1998. All rights reserved.