The History of WWWW

As told by our founder, Crystal Serene

The following was an email, sent to the list, on December 19, 1996, our one year anniversary...

And now for some history as to how this maillist, our wolfden, was started ...

This is a literal version of just the beginning of the list, no real and then history added here .... a much nicer version will be coming later today ... rich and full of history, watch for a special edition storytime telling to the list by Dottie today.

I joined the internet community in August, 1995 and decided to put up my own web site by September, well my friend Jim started one so I had to too :). It was obvious to me from the beginning what my site needed to be about ... I had already read TWWRWTW twice, and written wolf poetry, and started collecting wolves to surround me. The first Yahoo search I had done was for Clarissa Estes, and wolves, and tried to find anything I could about Wildwomen .. nothing. Ok, cool, I had found a void on the internet, so I proceeded to create a site to honor the wildwoman and tried to be an unofficial fan site for Clarissa. I had always wanted to write her and let her know about how her book had caused major changes in my life and my view of life.

I visited a site called The Wounded Healer, a friend had pointed her site out to me because she had a quote from CPE on her page, so I wrote to her about my love for the wild woman book, and offerred to a connecting link. We talked via powwow, and it came out that we needed a maillist for wild women! I was very excited, and said yesss, I had already searched all the mail lists and only found a science fiction lovers list that had interested me. So this woman showed me that we could start a list together, and I mailed her $50 to cover half the costs of the list for the first year, and we decided to co-own the list. I had suggested WWWW as the title, but she started up the list through majordomo and called it Clarissa-L instead. Some of the original members here, were also on that Clarissa list with us, wolves like Lori, Kari, Marty, Gwen, Ligia, Chantal, and Patricia (I believe) ... and I'm hoping I'm not forgetting anyone else there ... forgive me if I do.

It was at this time that I found Clarissa's email address, and I wrote to her telling her about my website and our mail list. The first reaction I got was a lot less than expected ... she'd have to check with her lawyers and publicists. They are copyright paranoid, I had a quote on the page, it was trademarked and had to be removed. Clarissa told me if I removed everything from my web page, then she would talk to me about writing her official website, and she asked me to send her a proposal of what it would look like. Well, I told the owner of the Wounded Healer, and I was very excited, we were going to brainstorm about what to put in the proposal. It was soon obvious that she was railroading me and had totally opposite views on what would go on the site. She wanted to make it a business site, an offshoot for Clarissa's charity work and a place to sell books and materials. I was interested in ...what ligia called, bread for the soul, and an informational site about Clarissa's works, her speaking engagements, press releases, with a scattering of art and poetry and voice waves to show the power of wild woman. So I told my co-owner there was no reason we couldn't have 2 sites, and she wrote her proposal to Clarissa as well. Clarissa wrote to me and asked who she was, and I vouched that it was fine, we could have two sites, there was no reason why we couldn't. Weeks passed and finally Clarissa informed us that she was going to have her own site developed by her people, and that I had to remove everything from my pages.

The other co-owner then made major withdrawals and changes and posted to the list that she had totally changed the list name and topic to something else, something she called Papago Basket, and that she had decided to become the sole listowner. She hadn't told me about this at all, and I had nothing in writing. We had only had the Clarissa list for about a month, and were 36 members strong, and was just starting to get into some wonderful conversations.

I talked to Lori, this was all wrong, there was no reason why our wild woman list had to change courses. We are not pretending to be associated with Clarissa Estes, nor are we holding workshops or training that we weren't qualified for. We simply wanted to continue in the vein that we had started working in, with the same degree of commonality behind us. Also I felt betrayed by the other owner, as I had payed her cash for a list, and I had felt that I was a full owner, so how could she had made the decision to oust me? It all hurt very badly, and the worst of it was ... I had nothing to put on my web site now. It was like, I had no way of expressing who I was, the one most important element of my soul had been banned to me as a web topic...so what else was I?

I had a page with a fire background at that time with this poem on it. This is one of the first things posted to the WWWW list as well.

This is the poem that I just wrote on my web site regarding life/death/life

This ground is now fallow
Burned to the core of its existence,
And yet,
It still lives,
Or will yet live again.
The time of deep cleansing
The wiping away of all that was before
Has come to pass
And as life comes --
So must death --
And so must life come again.
We must wait --
To see which seeds will be scattered
by the wind and the wildish natures.

We leave this ground
fallow -- burned to the core --
as an invitation
to creativity, and ideas yet to come.

And man ... did they ever flow and come. When things look the bleakest ... burn the ground fallow, make it ripe to accept something new and wonderful. With the support of many good friends, I was told we could do it, we didn't need that other list owner. It was my friend, Jim who said look at your counter, you have 1000 people so far that have visited your site, (its almost 15,000 now ... what a year) you don't need her, you can do it all on your own. Friends that strengthen and support us, are the best and only kind of friends to have.

I still didn't feel that I could do it on my own, but Lori, my dearest friend from an earlier cyber group, and someone I had known for years said to do it, and promised that she would be right beside me as my co-owner, so I wouldn't be doing it alone. Kari, Gwen, Ligia, Marty they all encouraged me, they wanted a new list, and they promised if I would start it, they would come to it ... they wanted the wild woman list that we had started and not this other thing that it had changed to. We were wild women, wolves, not basket carriers they had said. After a few days, the other list owner had relented to everyone's bad feelings, I had not posted a thing to that list during that time, and she told everyone that she was giving the list to me and I could name it anything I wanted. She hadn't really given me the password or the manual, but she made a public gesture of doing so. But it didn't matter at that point, I had already purchased this WWWW list, and had already sent that first testing message, so it was good to have a totally new start. Most of the thirty some members of Clarissa-L came to WWWW, and the conversations continued as tho they had never stopped.

And we rebuilt the web pages together. Their first assignment was to describe Wild woman, who was she. The results of that assignment are the beginnings of what are on the current web site. I had decided that we would not quote Clarissa, nor make a tribute to her works, but we would tribute wild woman in general, and we would do our own writings there. I had found the term wild woman in a book from the 1930's so I knew that she couldn't claim creating that phrase nor that concept ... it was universal, and ageless.

I have learned so much during this past year. My packmates have taught me the beauty of the feminine soul, and how wonderful women friends could be ... how we could strengthen each other, and become more wild as we told of our experiences and feelings. We are from all over the world, and we are so alike in the universal psyche of the feminine.

We are wild woman, and together we keep her alive and well within us.

Annie