First, before anything, I'd like to thank my classmates at Henrico High School, some of whom were kind enough, a couple of years ago, to arrange a ceremony at our class reunion honoring me for my anti-bullying work, and all of whom apologized to me for deeds of omission and commission at school. I told them I'd mention it when I did my 15th-anniversary memoir for Raven Days, and I don't think now that Raven Days is going to have a 15th anniversary in its current form, so I'm mentioning it now.
Thank you all more than I can say for your apology. You healed something with that gesture that I hadn't even realized was broken. It was very kind of you.
Now, on to why I'm suspending the site, probably for good:
Most readers these days experience Raven Days as a static site, which it was never meant to be -- and it'll be a lot easier on me if it becomes one. Raven Days has always been a lungfish: a strange hybrid between a blog and a site with unchanging links. (That's because it *predates* the blogs. The word "blog" did not exist when Raven Days was created.) I add new links; I don't comment on them. I keep old links updated as best I can.
For many years, from 1999 to 2005, I updated the site almost every day during the Northern Hemisphere school year. At the time, Canoe, the Canadian newspaper chain, posted articles for only 24 hours, and I linked to them anyhow and removed the links the next day.
In the fall of 2005, things started to change. I had gotten pneumonia for five winters in a row, and it was obvious that something had to be done if I wanted to stay alive. So I began going south for the winter, renting a motel room by the sea. Internet connections there have never been the best, and it's been hard to update the site while I'm there. At first I was only down south for the very worst of the winter; now I'm spending nearly four months there.
I've tried to keep the updates going, but its gotten more and more difficult. The fewer updates I manage to do, the bigger the task when I can update again. For the past few years, most of the site updates have come as a big annual spring update, which takes me a month's hard work to do, plus a few little catch-up updates as I've tried half-heartedly to get back into the swing of things over the summer, when (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) my site is least needed.
A "regularly updated" anti-bullying website that is regularly updated only when most students are out of school isn't much use.
Furthermore, the Internet has changed a lot since 1999. I don't think many kids are finding my site. Parents and survivors, yes; kids, no. The kids are off on Facebook or Pinterest or some site I'm too old-fashioned to know about.
I'm going to do a final update now, in November, in my usual style, news links and all. Once that's finished, that's it. Those news links will get the six months' linkage that RFHS news links have always gotten, which will conveniently bring us to May and Raven Days' 14th anniversary.
In May, I'll decide how much of the site to keep. The personal accounts of bullying in "Words Out of Shadow" and "Lighting the Way" still have value, I think. I'm not sure how useful the links will be; I hate to jettison links that are still working, but I don't know how often I'll be checking for broken links, either.
If you're reading this, thanks, and I hope my site's been helpful to you over the years. Good luck and take care.
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