Terrouge E-zine Archives
Looking Back on Five Years of Terrouge
Five years ago today, the first issue of Terrouge hit newsstands . . . or at least it got uploaded to our old site at http://redwall.vr9.com. It wasn't the most attractive site in the world, certainly, but it was still a cut above the usual site design of the time. Dave, Josh, Kelly and I were proud of all the work that we put into the issue, and we were sure, or at least hoped, that we were on to something big. Five years later, and after several hundred thousand visits, I think that it's safe to say that we really were onto something with our vision.
In the first year of our existence, we were happy to get 20 visitors a day, which is approximately what we received for much of that year. Before we had a full-fledged staff, Josh, Dave, and I ran pretty much the whole operation: we organized everything, we made all the activities, and we wrote all the articles, of which there were usually about four of five per issue. Once the magazine became a success, we branched out into other areas, some of which didn't always turn out as we hoped they would, and we soon became famous for making elaborate sites that, for one reason or another, didn't manage to stay open for very long. We were full of hopes and ambitions, but the technology wasn't yet available that would allow us to easily produce and maintain high-quality sites, so many of our biggest projects died before they were able to reach fruition. Still, we never let ourselves become over-discouraged (though maybe some may have wished we would have), and continued our press forward to create a great Redwall site.
It was in 2001, our third year of existence, that we experienced some of our most trying times. At one point, early on in the year after Terrouge had largely been absent for a couple months, some of our staff wanted to completely shut things down, but I still held out hope that Terrouge could return and fluorish. Since that day, there have been many times when I've wondered if I didn't make a mistake, if I should have just let Terrouge die -- my life would probably have been much easier had I just disbanded the staff, and I know their lives would have been easier had they not had to endure what I put them through. In the past few months, I've been very glad that I didn't let the dream die, and I truly think that Terrouge is now entering another era of its existence, one that will eclipse even the considerable levels of success that we have enjoyed thus far. We have years of experience under our belt, we've learned from our mistakes, and I think that Terrouge will continue to grow and continue to improve.
2002 represented another tough year for us when our webhost shut down unexpectedly. Virtual Nine Webhosting was really great when we first signed up for it, but it soon deteriorated and finally it just shut down, without any notice given of any kind. So, for a couple of months Terrouge hung in limbo, but in July we splurged for professional webhosting and plunked down some money for the Terrouge.com domain name. Since then, there have been some rocky times, but things got much, much better when we finally got a reliable webhost.
I almost wish that I could take all the credit for Terrouge's phenomenal success, but the people that really deserve the credit would probably gainsay me if I did. First and foremost on that list would have to be Erin, our Editor-in-Chief of the past couple years, who has done more for Terrouge than anyone else. Our wonderful illustrators, Kelly and Sean R., have produced fabulous images for us over the years, and they continue to amaze and delight me with their talent. Our dedicated team of reporters have put in hundreds of hours of work in getting their articles ready for Terrouge. In our archives we now have 36 issues uploaded, plus two special fan-fic "issues," that are comprised of over 290 articles written by 32 Terrouge authors and guest authors -- it's almost crazy to think of how much content we've churned out, just in the magazine portion of Terrouge.
Of the four main founding members, one has now left us forever, and we lie forever indebted to Josh, who led the site well throughout a long period of time. Josh was excellent with people, and he laid the groundwork for Erin and the rest of the staff that would follow in the path that he had helped create. Kelly continues to contribute her wonderful images, I still administer the site, and Dave has expressed some interest in returning to the fold, but Josh will never be able to grace our community with his presence again. His legacy, the legacy of Terrouge, is a tribute to his work and his life.
Alex, Benjamin, Cairn, Chloe, Danielle, Dave, Delaila, Ember, Erin, Eulalia, Faith, Fwirl, Gen, Highwing, James, Jason, Jessica, Josh, Julia, Kathryn, Kenny, Lewis, Lewis, Mark, Misha, Nick, Patrick, Retto, Rystan, Sean A., Sean R., and Tari have all contributed articles to Terrouge. Some have contributed many articles, some have contributed only one or two, but all are responsible to some degree for making Terrouge what it is today. These are some of the workhorses that have helped us grow and improve our site. But most of all, these are some of our greatest friends and some of the finest people that I have ever met. The Terrouge staff is really in a world of its own -- we seem to have a knack for getting many of the best and brightest people that our generation has to offer.
Sometimes it seems like that November day five years ago happened just the other day, and sometimes it seems like there has been a space of several lifetimes, that it's so dim that I can barely conceive of a time when Terrouge didn't exist. But that day really did occur all those years ago, and I'm proud that I have been able to be a part of it. Now that I look back on them, I love so many of the experiences I've had with Terrouge, and I look forward to many more good memories that will be made, all because of the dream of a few young teenagers back in 1998.
I leave you with a little question-and-answer: what is Terrouge? Is it a magazine? Is it a forum? Is it a club? Is it a bookstore? Is it just a group of people? Terrouge is none of these things, and all of these things: Terrouge has grown from a little site with a magazine into a community, a place where friends come and meet, drawn by a love of the Redwall series and friendships that they've made over the years. In many ways, Terrouge has met and exceeded every expectation that its founders had for it, and has grown into so much more than we imagined.