Well, it's been a roller coaster 4 years but that's the end of the final Paper Legends Merlin Big Bang and obviously I'm full of mixed emotions. When I set up paperlegends back in 2010, to take over as the Merlin Big Bang from boxofmagic, which ran for the first year of Merlin, I never imagined it would take over so much of my life. Although the good has astronomically outweighed the bad over the last 4 years of running this, I think that if I'd known how much stress and anxiety some of it would cause, how many tears I'd actually cry, and how many annual leave days I'd have to book off work to make this monster of a community successful, I might have had second thoughts! I'm glad I didn't, though, as I wouldn't have missed one moment of this experience for anything.
My first thanks must go out to deans_babe, my RL friend, Deb. Most of you probably don't even know who she is, but I simply couldn't have done this for the last 4 years without her. She's been there helping me from the very beginning, and was there for all the major planning which has taken place over the last 4 years. Every time there were huge planning sheets on my wall waiting to be filled, or the all-weekenders I would pull for writer/artist matching, she was there to support me, encourage me, and bring me coffee, cake, chocolate and laughs. I could not have done it without her support and in this, as in many other things, I am eternally grateful to her ♥
To my small BB filter: you've listened to me whine, offload, vent, freak out and worry for 4 years, and for that alone you deserve a damn medal! In the times when it all got on top of me, you reminded me to ignore the not-so-nice stuff and focus on the positive. You've been there to step in and help with coding, love and support. I will be forever grateful to each of you. You all did lots to support me, not least of all:
adelagia: Your illustrations for PL were inspired and delightful ♥
deans_babe: For all that I've said above, and more ♥
misswinterhill: Your words of wisdom (and indignation!) were always what I needed when it got a bit much ♥
mrs_leary: You're like the Gauis to my Merlin; you've been my rock and you are always there for me ♥
scribblemoose: My coding assistant and my friend, always ♥
heyhoolou & nahara: Despite the way it turned out, I have never forgotten what you did that first year, and I never will. Thank you so much ♥
There are many of you who deserve an individual shout-out, but you really are too numerous to mention. Some of you who read this will know who you are and what you did, but some of you, I'm absolutely certain, will have no idea that I mean you. I think occasionally I told you, when some comment completely lifted my day, or utterly changed my mood, or made me smile like an idiot, and if I did tell you what a difference your words had meant to me, then I want you to know that I meant every word. I wish I'd told all of you every time you lifted my day, as it was almost always unexpected and very much welcome every single time ♥
I am in awe of each and every one of you who have participated in this Big Bang in any way over the last 4 years. You have made it what it was, and I know I've said it many, many times but it's true: there simply would not have been such an amazing Big Bang if it weren't for the hard work and dedication of you guys. I know it's been hard, but I like to think we've supported one another along the way, made new friends, lifted each other when it got tough and all worked together like the true community we are. So I'd like to say that I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of you for making it through to the end; it is a remarkable achievement and I want to thank you for making this such an enjoyable Big Bang to run, for your participation, for your understanding and flexibility, and for your amazing hard work and dedication over the last seven months. In fact, over the last four years. There simply wouldn't have been a Big Bang without you guys and you have made them all, every single one of them, absolutely amazing. Thank you ♥
I was not prepared for how the final few weeks of this Big Bang would make me feel. Not at all. I certainly wasn't expecting to feel such a sense of loss, of being tearful a lot of the time, of dreading posting this final 'thank you' post and that being the end, the final time I would interact with many of you. In hindsight, I suppose I should have known, as I've put so much time, and so much of me into this community that it's hard to believe it's now over. I'd started thinking a couple of months ago, before it hit me just how much this ending was going to affect me, that I'd honestly just like to give each and every one of you a huge hug and say thank you face-to-face. So, despite the fact that I am a complete introvert and social anxiety sufferer, I would like to say this: for the very first time, Deb and I are actually going to the London Comic Con this October. If any of you are going and would like to be hugged and personally thanked by me, please PM me. And yes, I really do want to hug and thank you, as you've no idea the difference you guys and this community have made to my life.
Whilst it was the show which originally brought us all together, Paper Legends became (and I know always will be) a huge part of my life, as I'm sure it did for many of you too. But every good thing must come to an end, and whilst this part is now over, I know that the Merlin fandom will continue to create, grow, share and prosper for many years to come. With amazing people like you in this fandom, how could it do otherwise?
Thank you all. So, so much. For absolutely everything ♥