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Just Like Old Times


by parody_ham

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Each and every Neopian has gotten something out of the Times whether or not they realize it. During its absence, Neopians around the world have come to miss the flight of bubbly Weewoos flitting through the sky carrying large sacks filled to the brim with printed press. They miss that freshly printed newspaper smell, the kind fragrant of long hours of work, tears, and elation. They miss a part of the weekly routine, when the otherwise uneventful marking of time, without its rituals and joys, is just another day. The Times put an end to that feeling for many while sheltering them from a life of monotony.

A Fresh Start, a New Beginning

The Neopian Times is a gateway into the writing world. Prior to that, numerous artists and writers confess to being shy or unsure of their potential and ability. To be fair, critics can be honest, perhaps too honest for a new writer to handle. It engenders this sort of lingering fear in the writer, convincing them that their work is, and always will be, subpar. But the Times, thank Fyora, is different than that. The reviewing process is intimate. Compassionate staffers personally read over the works of each and every submitter. Even if NT staff rejects the submission, they often give feedback to the writer on what can be changed without making them feel defeated.

Before I continue, let me first say that I’ve received quite a many rejection letters over the years. Sure, they sting, but in time, they’ve gone on to make me stronger. They’ve given me that push to improve, to read over my work and have it read by others until it is pleasing to the eye. That, my fellow Neopians, is the beauty of writing. The more you do it, the better you’ll become. It is akin to flying a space craft out of the Virtupets pod bay for the first time. And as your parents can undoubtedly agree, such first steps are scary. The mistakes you may make can be disappointing, but when you finally master that turn, or nail parallel parking without hitting the levitating space cones, the feeling of joy that you earn—the reinforcement that it can be done, that you’ve done it—is amazing. World-changing, in fact. And that, that is what the Neopian Times means to the writers who debut there.

A Community of Writers

It is amazing how one newspaper can bring so many Neopians together. Despite differences in expertise, a love of writing ties them together. Even if it feels like just a couple of writers share your passion, an entire forum of them exists. Some prefer to stay under the radar, responding only when a conversation is well underway. Others enjoy exploring new topics and keep the community on their toes with challenges and lively discussions. Believe it or not, it is the presence of the Times that fuels their interest, encourages them to debate and to discuss. To roleplay and to dream about characters that impacted their lives. While some want to express their thanks to a writer that inspired them, others have forged lasting friendships with Neopians that extend well beyond distance and identity. Truly, the culmination of these writing communities—both on Neopia and elsewhere—is an immeasurable gift brought alive by the passions of Neopia’s writers and artists.

Communication, Connection, and Correspondence

Somewhere out there is a distant place called “Kauphonia.” In this place are the ones who make the Times possible. They feed and groom the Weewoos while running the many printing presses. Deflecting mind control attempts and Sloth invasions are part of the norm. Come to think of it, the last issue before the hiatus, there was an editorial “question” written in all caps. One has to wonder if that was really a Sloth minion in disguise. It very well might explain the gap time…

Ehem, looks like I got a bit derailed there. Speaking of the editorial, this question and answer feature allows a direct lens into the insan—I mean, brilliantly unique—minds behind the newspaper. Being that there is an active journalism team headed by the white Weewoos, the newspaper staff receives some of the first reports of any events, major or not. As such, they let the Kad out of the bag slowly but surely so as to avoid mass panic. During the debris storms and earthquakes following the fall of Faerieland, the NT crew was always near the crash site. They put themselves in the line of danger to share only the facts around the clock. Given that many of us had family or friends near the epicenter, there had been quite a lot of worry. The Times made getting through that ordeal possible. It brought us all together as a community to support one another. Hanso (the self-proclaimed hero of Faerieland) certainly seemed to enjoy the attention as well.

On a more serious note, NT Staff was there to happily reply to our letters. Personally reply to them, too. You can see the footprints of the helper Weewoos parading across the finished products, applying their individual touches to each and every page. I rather miss those mails, truly. It provided an extra dimension to the staff. Although few had met the editors in person, their actions showed us that they loved the world just as much as we do. You see, the sky was once so filled with delivery Weewoos that it was hard to see the sun past the moving clouds of feathered friends. My siblings and I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood near Neopia Central where the Weewoo trails could be seen for miles. I fear that the clouds may have thinned since then, but their return has been a welcome sight.

Concluding Remarks:

The Neopian Times is an integral part of our society. It brings together writers of all ages and opens the doors to nearly limitless possibilities. Friendships are made; passions for the arts are forged. It is safe to say that this humble newspaper is a source of inspiration for me as it is for countless others. Without it, well, I doubt I would be even half the writer I am today. As a Brightvale University student, I can attest that this feature has saved my grades on numerous occasions. It has also provided me with the ability to give solid feedback to classmates and students alike. Many years have passed since my human first drew me in that, um, masterpiece comic she did, but it was a start. And you know? Seeing her joy has meant a lot for my family as well. From one writer to the Neopian Staff, I extend my truest thank you to our hopefully-not-Sloth-mind-controlled editors (and of course, the Weewoos who make those long delivery runs!) for bringing back the Times. And to the readers of Neopia, I hope something from this article has resonated with you. If you are considering a submission to the Times and have yet to take the plunge, trust yourself; trust your abilities. You’ll be glad you did.

 
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