All posts by ShiningRiver

About ShiningRiver

Shining River lives in the high lands of Utah and began participating in the furry community in 1998. Besides furry art and literature, he is interested in Scottish and Irish culture and Western American folk culture and history. You may see him in public performing with a local Scottish bagpipe band.

The Shadow of the Future Fell Upon Us

In the year 2001, the Usenet newsgroup alt.lifestyle.furry had been in existence for five years since it’s beginning in June 1996, and its first post in August 1996, and had become a popular site for furries around the world to communicate online. By the year 2000, 540 Furveys from newsgroup participants had been posted, indicating approximately the number of people participating. Posting news and comments on furry topics was the intent of alt.lifestyle.furry, but topics other than furry had become common. Beginning on September 11, their discussion became intensely focused on the terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States and which would soon affect many people all over the world.

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Finding the Animals in Cowboy Poetry

In the United States,
in Canada and Mexico,
Argentina, and Australia,
out beyond the screaming cities,
beyond electric lights that have stolen your night sky,
there is our other country.

From the people and the land
and the animals,
there comes a clear voice
telling stories of courage and fear,
success and great loss,
the man and the horse,
the cattle and the coyote,
the present and the past.

Gather ’round,
listen in,
and cowboy poetry
will soon begin.


Cowboy poetry is a unique category of poetry which comes from the life and culture of the diverse people who work and live primarily in the environment of the cattle industry of a handful of nations. Theirs is a lifestyle created by that industry and by the land on which they live and work. Much cowboy poetry is about animals—their behavior, their problems, their strength and beauty, and how cowboys and ranching family members interact with them. They tell stories of animals both real and imagined.

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Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry: Furry Can Change Your Life

Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry is an essay in three parts. This is part three.

In reading the words of alt.lifestyle.furry participants, one may observe that the newsgroup had become a place where many felt safe in the telling of their profound feelings of personal animal identity and experiences of mental transformations. Popular culture often denigrates the authenticity and validity of spiritual or mystic experiences, so it was a brave effort for some to share their stories. Here is more of their conversation.

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Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry: Exploring Furry Spirituality

Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry is an essay in three parts. This is part two.

When one looks back on the sincerity and passion for furry life that many participants on alt.lifestyle.furry expressed, we may not be surprised that religion eventually became a topic of discussion. In fact the alt.lifestyle.furry FAQ specifically addressed religion in Part 3 (Appropriate and inappropriate topics), point number four. Briefly excerpted it said,

For many furries, furry spirituality and religion are inseperable topics… we would like to assure everyone that it is ok to mention your religious beliefs here… if you believe they are important to your personal sense of furriness.”

Here are some voices from an extended discussion about religion and dignity.

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Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry: Creating Furry Culture

Remembering alt.lifestyle.furry is an essay in three parts. This is part one.

More than two decades ago, the furry community was one in which a small number of people created art and literature, and a greater number of people were the viewers and readers of those creations. A profound change began in Western societies with the rise of video games, active (e.g. MUCKs, and other such) and passive (e.g. newsgroups and websites, etc.) interaction on the internet, and an increase in science fiction-fantasy and non-traditional entertainment conventions that provided real-life interaction. From that change came the ability for the viewers and readers—the fans—to become more active participants in the cycle of content creation and content consumption. For many people the ability to publicly share with others their enthusiasm for furry art and literature was enough but another development was also underway. This development came fundamentally from the people who enjoyed what the content creators gave us, but who attached some serious personal importance, some profound emotional connection, to the furry art and literature. From this they began to create their own stories and characters.

On the internet, the establishment of the Usenet newsgroup alt.lifestyle.furry became a place where this new kind of furry enthusiast could gather. That newsgroup (which still exists and has some participation) was originally a group of furries who broke away from the alt.fan.furry newsgroup in 1996. They did so partly as the result of severely acrimonious discussions occurring there, but they were also motivated to have their own forum for the discussion of topics that were not purely related to furry fan subjects.

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Finding the Animals in Modern Poetry

Why do some of us read, and occasionally write, poetry?

Because we find in poetry a language of emotion and intellect that somehow corresponds to events of our own lives, emotions that we have felt, and revelations that other persons have seen and felt similar circumstances and thoughts. Our attraction to a particular poem, or individual poet, or themes in poetry is often determined by how we feel about ourselves, our connections to others, to the world, and to the past. For many of us in the furry community, our relationship to animals is more than just looking at art images on our electronic media, or enjoying the good times at cons. Animals have a special place in our lives and we construct our mental lives at least partly upon them, whether they are real animals or not. We read and write them into our life.

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