Quite commonly, in the hustle and bustle of our online; and offline, worlds we tend to focus more on our own ‘special’ places, our own projects and our own necessities. The main focus of our work, at RVN, has typically been geared toward interaction with the vampiric in our culture. Recently we have begun branching out to take a look at other facets of that culture and we realized, much to our chagrin, that we had almost nothing from a most important, even vital, part of our world ~ the donors. They are the mates, spouses, companions and lovers of the vampire and without them the comfort and wellbeing of the vampiric amongst us would be sorely tested.
Accordingly we sought out one of the most important and special online places for donors Black Swan Haven. We were honoured to receive word that they would join us to give us some insight into their home. RVN is very proud to welcome, this evening, Acrophobic Pixie from Black Swan Haven.org
She tells us, of herself:
“I’ve been involved with the vampire community since I was in high school, although to start off, it was in a role on the sidelines. Before starting the Haven, I was a member of Coven Blackrose, the non vampiric branch of Clan Blackrose, the former Donor section moderator for the VCMB forums, started the Donor, not a döner blog at WordPress.com, famous for my kneesocks of doooooooom (the extra o’s are there on purpose), and have been donor to a handful of vampires over the decades. Sheesh, that word makes me feel old, but well, what can you do?”
RVN: Good evening Acrophobic Pixie, thank you very much for joining us this evening, if we may ask, firstly, could you give us the name and web address of the haven?
AP: www.blackswanhaven.org Affectionately known as the Haven.
RVN: Could you tell us who are the owners, and/or the founders of the Black Swan Haven?
AP: Acrophobic Pixie, Giselle, Passer/Reveurnoir, and WingedWolfPsion got together, at the urging of Lady Slinky and Mike Future of the VCMB, to make a sister site/forum to www.sanguinarius.org and the VCMB.
RVN: Who, currently, are the Chief administrators of the Black Swan Haven?
AP: Giselle has taken another path, so it’s down to myself, Winged, and Passer.
RVN: And, could you tell us where are the members from, in the main?
AP: We’re from all over, though it seems like a majority of us are from North America, though we have been known to have members from England, other parts of Europe, and Australia. Unsure if we have any Asiatic or African members, but I wouldn’t put it past us to have some members on each continent.
RVN: Why did the concept for, and the establishment of, the group occur?
AP: Over at the VCMB, the donor section was small, and basically dominated by the top four posters, the future founders of the Haven. Lady Slinky and the other admins of the forum thought it’d be nice if we made our own forum for us to talk at, since at the VCMB the donor section could be viewed by vampires with administrator/moderator access, thus somewhat stifling our conversations. Not intentionally, of course, but well… They couldn’t just ignore our section in their duties, could they? It’d be possibly irresponsible of them. First, it started with my blog. And with that, the buzz began. We started pricing hosting services, debated over a domain name, started drawing up possible logos… It was INSANE! But so damned exciting! My mother used to design websites for a living, so I went shopping for CSS spreadsheets, tweaking them, and getting her advice for changes I was making. I asked vampires I knew what color schemes would be easier on their eyes, since we donors didn’t have such restrictions, and we wanted the website to be friendly towards them, as well. We were open for business in early November, 2007, and I, personally, celebrated with cake. I celebrate the site’s birthday every year with cake and ice cream, and little black and white birthday candles. Dorky, but I enjoy it.
RVN: And, what is the site purpose and philosophy?
AP: Our mission statement tells it all.
“To help donors meet their own needs, to look after the needs of their vampire companions, to nurture young swans and help them to grow and flourish, and to promote harmony between the vampire and donor communities.”
Our main goal is to help. No matter who it is, how they’re involved in the community, whatever. We want to help. If we can get the information out there, then we have done our job, in my mind. Unfortunately, I’ve had several family tragedies in the past year, so the website itself hasn’t been updated in quite awhile, but we’re hoping to get caught up on the backload, and get articles edited and posted on the website proper.
RVN: Regarding audience and membership of Black Swan Haven, who does the group/website cater for?
AP: We welcome all members from the community, but we are geared more towards the donors, family members, and friends of vampiric peoples. We take our name seriously, and include all definitions of black swan. Well, except the bird. But if one could figure out how to type, we’d welcome them in a heartbeat. We do have vampires as members, though. We’ve invited them from the start. We just have a couple of rules about it. They have access to all areas save for the Donors Only section, and a vampire will never become a moderator/administrator to protect the privacy of the donors on the boards.
RVN: What major events have occurred over the group lifetime, or recently?
AP: Goodness graciousness… We tried to have a joint meetup with some members of the VCMB a few years back. A number of us (myself and my main vampire included) were going to Otakon in 2008, and a Japanese rock band named VAMPs was doing a concert and a Q&A session. We thought it was hilarious, but unfortunately the crowds were insane, so it didn’t work out as well as we had hoped.
RVN: May we ask, what development work, or strategy, is planned for the growth and expansion of the site?
AP: Right now, we’re happy doing what we’re doing. When life settles down on my end, I’ll be revamping the website, updating pages, and posting articles. We’ve been batting around the idea of a book from our point of view, as a response to “Vampires In Their Own Words” for a couple of years now.
RVN: There are a number of terms for “donors” in and around the vampire community, why is the term Black Swan preferred?
AP: Because it doesn’t exclude. Before I became a donor, I was just the family member of a vampire. Then I was friends to vampires. Black Swan includes those people. The definition of a Black Swan is a friend, family member, or donor of a vampire. There’s further subsets, such as Crystal, Amber, and Crimson Swans, that classify what kind of donor a person may be, but everyone in the overall Vampire Community who isn’t a vampire falls under the Black Swan definition. It has some taint, I guess you could say, since apparently it was a TOV term to start, as well as it’s sister White Swan, but we liked it, and decided to, I don’t know, take back ownership of the term for us.
RVN: And, what else would you like to tell people about the group/website?
AP: Check us out! We don’t bite, well… Unless you ask. 😛 But we’re always taking new members, and if someone wants to submission for a question for us to answer, or an article for us to possibly post, feel free to send it in! Just come on over, hang out, and enjoy yourselves.
We do have a classifieds style section for donors and vampires to try to connect, or to find new friends/pen pals, that apparently people like. We have general goof around sections, and then sections divided up for each type of swan in existence to focus the info search, in addition to our “Ask a Swan”, “New Swan Central”, and “Donor’s Only” sections.
RVN: In closing we would like to thank Acrophobic Pixie for joining us today and giving us this wonderful insight into the Black Swan Haven.
AP: It was my pleasure.
As I mentioned in the introduction, a most important, even vital, part of our world, a part without which the vampire would be hard pressed to maintain themselves. The donors support and provide for the vampiric, that, dear reader, is a sword that should always cut in both directions. Every vampire who has a donor should, every day, be thankful that such people are out there.
© RVN & Black Swan Haven.org 2012
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