1. What is your name?
On my passport it says Daniela Elizabeth Bowker. Around here, I tend to be known as Ella.
2. Tell us something about you, your background, and what you've been up to lately?
I learned to sit on a horse before I could walk, but I've not ridden in ages.
I studied ancient history at university, but I very nearly became a vet.
I love food, but there are some foods that really don't like me.
I spent six months overseas last year and my feet are getting itchy again.
I had my first book published in July 2012 and Book2 is due out in spring this year.
3. How did you discover Everything, and how did you become a noder?
In my third year at university, I was sharing a house with elem_125. He didn't start the year as elem_125, but by the end of it, he'd been sucked into this wicked web of words and knowledge and fabulous minds and he'd dragged arieh, Heschelian, and me with him. I was probably the slowest to start—I found html terrifying (they taught it to me by sticking post-it notes to my desk) and questioned just what I was able to contribute to this hive of information—but nearly 11 years later, I'm here and they have long gone.
4. What are your favorite writeups -- both your own and from other noders?
When I first applied to become an editor, I was asked virtually the same question, and over six years on they remain some of my favourite writeups. So:
a. June 29, 2003 (idea) by arieh. If e2 is a community, or even a family, this summarises why it is important to me.
b. Aristotle's Lost Library, Medieval Andalusia & Chinese Paper, or How Europe Learned to Learn Again and Why the Renaissance Happened When & Where It Did (idea) by legbagede is not only a fabulous example of the wonderful historical writing that exists on e2, but shows the level at which so many noders work, and are prepared to share their research
c. How did I get here, Sarah? (place) by junkpile is e2 fiction at its best (or so I believe).
d. How to serve a cheese plate - or, how I came to love curds and eschew fashion (idea) by sneff. This is how food writing should be done.
But I love sam512's Ed Stories and Noung writes superbly. Andrew Aguecheek's Just a Minute always makes me laugh.
I'm sad to say that some of my favourite writeups are now gone. That loss breaks my heart. And, I should point out that I've a list of favourites handily logged on my homenode.
And my favourite writeups? Ah. Why ancient historians wrote history and How we were, before you were.
5. What are your favorite and least favorite memories from E2's history?
We've been through a lot here, haven't we? There have been triumphs and tragedies and the wondrous rollercoaster of life leaving us with a great deal to celebrate and a lot to mourn. alex has always maintained that E2 is people, so if you take care of the people, the content will take care of itself; it's hardly surprising that the highs and the lows of my E2 life are people-centric. Like meeting ascorbic and Teiresias for the first time and getting battered on caipirinhas. Or eating chocolate fondant, made by sneff to ascorbic's recipe, in the Palisade Restaurant, Sydney. Or drinking Singpore Slings in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel with BaronWR. There are hundreds of these anecdotes, from weddings, from nodermeets, from parties, from travels, and they're all about the people. Often they involve alcohol, but it isn't a prerequisite.
The lows? These are about people, too. People whom we've lost along the way through both life and death.
Editorially, I've witnessed highs and lows, too. I've been thanked for helping someone expand three sentences into eight fully-fledged, non-filler, paragraphs and that makes the shouting, screaming, swearing, and tantrums worthwhile. I do regret failing to convince Bitriot that he shouldn't asamoth. And I took creases' writeups to the altar of sacrifice with a very heavy heart.
6. What keeps you coming back?
7. What do you hope for E2's future?
When I first arrived here, E2 felt as if it were populated predominantly by students, both graduates and post-graduates, or recent graduates. (That's probably a gross overstatement, but that was how it felt.) You had to 'earn your bullshit' and most of us did this by writing about what we knew in a way that made it accessible for people who were interested in it, but had no background in that area. As a consequence I was able to teach people about Sallust in exchange for being taught about game theory and French patisserie and geology. Through all of this, we made friends (and enemies), built a community, and learned to write better.
That has evolved significantly; there's a great deal more fiction and personal writing passing through New Writeups now, because this is what the users are generating. The sense of community, the willingness to share, and the opportunity to improve as writers remains, however. My hope for E2's future is that it continues to evolve in such a way that its users always feel as if they can contribute and gain something valuable, that it remains a place where people can develop their writing skills, that it stays a community.
8. What does E2 mean to you?
Buried somewhere on my homenode is the sentiment that E2 has given more to us as contributors than we have succeeded in giving to it. This holds true for any of us, no matter how often we perch precariously at the top of Other Users, how many lines of code we have written, how much feedback we have provided to fellow noders. E2 is this glorious misfit community of dishevelled genius wordsmiths; where we each have the opportunity to express ourselves in ways that our family or working lives might not necessarily allow and receive feedback and encouragement on what we do; where we can share knowledge, experiences, and anecdotes; where we can be ourselves or someone else entirely; where we can grow and learn and participate as much or as little as we want. This is very special.
I came to E2 with a very dry, precise, academic style of writing that was focused wholly on fact. Steadily, I learned to relax, I hit my stride, and I found my voice. Then one day, from a hotel room in central London I pressed 'sumbit' on my first piece of fiction and promptly burst into tears. I might have had confidence in my words by then, but I'd bared my soul. E2 gave me that confidence and that opportunity.
Between submitting my first writeup - creme de la creme, it's still there - my first piece of fiction, and today, my life has changed enormously and E2 has been there at every juncture. Noders came to support me at my grandfather's funeral; I've fallen in love with noders and had my heart broken by them, too; I've stayed with noders on three continents and met up with noders in two more; I've cried and laughed and commiserated and celebrated with noders. E2 is a microcosm of life and it is wonderful.
Through all of that, I now make my living from writing. I have the best job in the world, writing words and taking pictures. Would I be doing this without E2? Maybe, but probably not. I do know, though, that my life would not be what it is now without it.
9. Who are your favorite noders? Which ones do you miss the most?
I'm terrified of forgetting someone. Noders are people who've laughed with me, cried with me, caught me when I've fallen, and by whom I've stood when they've felt their worlds are imploding. That's a lot of people, and they're all special. If that's a cop out, I'm sorry. Those whom I miss the most is easier: Bitriot, doyle, Scriblerus, and sneff.
10. Who would play you in the Everything2 movie?
11. Please fill in the blank: "E2 is to the Internet as ___ is to the world."
The Phoenician empire
12. Any questions that I didn't ask that I should've?
Everything2 Decaversary Interviews
If you have questions or comments, please contact The Debutante or Jet-Poop.