Hello, everypony. Boy, it’s been a long time since I’ve done this. Let’s see if I remember how...
To be honest, I’m not even sure where to begin, having been asked to come back and make this last post. It’s been so long since I’ve been away; leaving all this in the extremely capable hooves of Fetch, Flurry, and Jez. It’s like coming back to where you grew up, and finding it’s moved on without you. It’s a strange combination of bone-deep familiarity... and a sense that everything has changed forever. I have so many thoughts and feelings about all of this - pride and regret, happiness and sorrow.
In a word: it’s incredibly bittersweet. But I suppose endings often are.
It’s been a journey; an incredible journey, upon which I met so many people along the way - many of whom are now some of the most important people in my life. And it was a journey I’m proud to have shared with so many of you. The route wending like a river; many ponies coming together to walk the same vast road, eventually breaking off into a thousand meandering paths, each going their own direction, each changed by the time spent together.
At least, I know that I have been; and I hope you were, too.
I’m not doing a very good job of this, I realize. Trying to come up with the right things to say, I went back and found my first journal entry. Maybe me-then could guide me-now from the past, reaching out across the years (years!) that separate the two of us. I’m not so sure he can, though. I found there someone younger, more energetic, more upbeat - qualities I could try and mimic now, but they would ring hollow.
Plus, I don’t really know that now is the time for pep and hijinks. Seems like it would be in poor taste when writing the last post of such a wonderful group.
And it really has been a wonderful group. I mean that, from the bottom of my heart - I know I’ve not been around in ages, but all the time I spent with this group are some of my proudest and fondest memories, and I have all of you to thank for that.
And to think that I never even intended to be a part of anything like it! Obviously, Phoe was the catalyst, starting and running the first NATG, providing prompts and encouraging artists. Then Nullh came along, and was the madman daring enough to set this group up after I’d told him it was a good idea as a way of keeping everyone in touch after the NATG ended… And he promptly made me an admin for it, whether I liked it or not. He was the Gandalf to my Bilbo, shoving me out my door into a wonderful adventure… And we all have him to thank (or blame, if that’s more your style) for getting this party started. Without his prodding, none of this would have happened, and I know my life would have been the poorer for it.
It was a crazy time, running this madhouse alongside some other great admins thrust into the role. Sometimes it was hard, or frustrating; sometimes there was friction behind the scenes. But no matter what, at the end of the day, I enjoyed it, and was glad to have the co-admins I did. I always felt we had an amazing group of people doing the job, and I was extremely lucky to have them along for the ride. Thank you, all of you.
And now, to see that those entrusted with running the group for so long after I left have run it for so long… I don’t even know what to say. You all have done an amazing job - and for far, far longer than anyone could have possibly asked. I can’t thank each of you enough for keeping this ball rolling, the themes thought of, the wrap-ups written… And the group living. Thank you all, so, so much.
And speaking of wrap-ups: to those of you who participated in this, our final week; thank you, and well done! The gallery can be found here: Wrap Up Blog! There’s nothing quite like a good final battle to really wrap things up in a story - everything else is just the gathering of whatever loose threads remain.
So now… It’s time to gather those loose threads here, and close the doors of the MLP-ATG-Alumni.
And while it's hard, and hurts, that's okay. There were so many things I loved about this group, but most of all, I loved watching the same folks submit week after week, growing in confidence as artists… Even while knowing that someday, they would no longer need us. That they would spread their wings and leave the nest for good. And now… Enough of you have flown, soaring aloft unaided, that it just doesn’t make sense for us to keep that nest occupied, so to speak.
But, despite closing the doors on new themes or new submissions, the group will stay up - able to be visited at any time, it’s galleries still available to browse. It will stand as a testament to all of you who ever participated over the years it ran - your effort, your skill, your growth as artists. Whenever you’re in doubt of how good you are, we’ll be here for you to see where you came from, and how you’ve grown. Also, a bunch of us have gathered on Discord as our home away from home. As ever, we’re happy to have you come join us, if you’d like.
And finally: all of you artists… Without you - each and every one of you, over the years - none of this would have been possible. It would have just been a hoof-full of us chatting about the first NATG, or putting themes up for no reason. It was all of you that really made this group what it has been; and I can never, ever thank you enough for the time, effort, and most of all, heart that you all put into this place. It would have been nothing without you, and I am so glad to have been able to be a part of it. It's been a beautiful ride.
So here’s to you: each and every one of you - artists, admins, and contributors alike - who who made this mad, wonderful group happen over the years. May your pencils never dull, your erasers never smear, and your inks never bleed…
And may you always have an idea for what to draw next.