So, today I turn 30 years old. It seemed somewhat poetic for me to relaunch Raptor13.com on my 30th birthday, as one rebirth parallels another. This site was born in a crucible of both high and low emotion, and I consider its completion to be a personal victory. It may only be one battle, but it’s something I can use to lay the foundation for my future. And today I begin once again to walk forward…
That said, this would not have been completed without the help and support of some important people. I know the concept of a “special thanks” has been watered down and mass produced in this day and age of award shows and shallow recognition blurbs, but I’d like to take the time to truly express my appreciation to the following people. Without these folks, I’m uncertain where I’d be today:
Maria and Kevin Clark. Your unwavering support, both in the serious and the silly, is unfathomably appreciated. Rarely do I see you all truly “take” for yourselves, and this is a trait for which I have nothing but respect. In the most recent weeks, you two have been anchors to help me work through that which has shaken my previous calm. Maria, the words “thank you” are far insufficient to express my appreciation for having you as an ear to listen to my broken ramblings. And Kevin, the burdens you have been willing to take upon yourself have lightened my day-to-day load significantly, and I refuse to ignore that contribution. To both of you, I give my sincere thanks.
To my parents and family, who will probably never actually see this site, I thank you. Times haven’t always been great, but you’ve given me a home… a true home… to which I can retreat if I feel the need. That which you give, not just to me, but to everyone you encounter, has never been overlooked. I thank you all deeply.
Suzanna Reeves, I also wish to express my sincerest thanks to you. For the past few years you have served as one of the few people within whom I felt I could truly confide. The long talks we have are always comforting and commonly inspiring. There have been ups and downs, but none of it would I choose to trade away. You have helped keep me on my path, and for this, you have my deepest gratitude.
To Kelly Aarons, knowing what I believe I know about your personality, you most likely don’t think you belong on this list. However, you have been a source of great emotion in these recent months. I consider you, like the rest of those mentioned here, to be an important person in my life, and for acting with more maturity and level-headedness than many I’ve known, you have my greatest appreciation. You have been creatively inspiring, emotionally grounding, and a true joy to know. Thank you.
These are not the only people in my life, but these have been the most influential in recent months. I love you all (whether you’re listed or not), with everything I can muster in my soul. Without any of you, I would not be who I am.
To all of you, I dedicate this site–this home of creativity and imagination, this place of of storytelling…
I cannot end this post without at least promoting the creative works of those mentioned above. So here is a list of where these special people can be found on the internet (assuming they have a presence, which not all do).
Maria Clark can be found at Warpriestess, her website dedicated to roleplaying in the World of Warcraft and other games. She is also a cast member on Hearthstone Tavern, our twice-a-month RP focused World of Warcraft podcast, and can be found on Twitter as @Arcania. Her husband, Kevin, chooses to keep a low profile, but can almost always be found at her side (even if he’s unseen).
Suzanna Reeves is a wonderful musician and vocalist, and she can be found at Stardancer’s Off the Beaten Path. She also produces an audio segment of the same name for the Epic Dolls World of Warcraft podcast, and is a cast member, hostess, and producer for the Hearthstone Tavern podcast as well. She can be found on Twitter as @Stardancerelf.
Kelly Aarons is currently best known as the artist for World of Warcraft, Eh? She spends her days and nights working herself beyond mortal limits, and bleeds off some of her stress by enjoying the World of Warcraft community on Twitter, where she’s known as @Cadistra. Her comic and Deviant Art site are included in my links section. I was a fan before I became a friend.