A Dream of Snow

Put the stillness of deep winter together with the peace of Japanese meditation and you have Jac Mornington’s new sim, A Dream of Snow (Yuki No Yume). I have hardly left here since it opened a few days ago; it is that lovely, and there is so much to see and do.

I’ve spent a good deal of time sipping tea on a meditation pillow watching the snow fall. I’ve also sat on the dock and watched the ducks float by on the lake. I’ve watched horses thundering by in the woodland hills, seals bark on the frozen seaside, cranes dancing in the icy meadow.

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Summer, a houseboat, and a new story

It’s summer, and I’ve got my houseboat at last. I’ve been wanting it for so long. Go to sleep rocking on the pond’s waves, hearing the swans settle in for the night, and watching the koi fish dreaming. There’s a story brewing inside me here. It’s got something to do with a woman, a windswept beach where seagulls cry and long grasses grow, and a man is looking for a lost sailboat. Haven’t got much further than that … but it’ll come. When it does, you’ll find it here. Soon. Continue Reading “Summer, a houseboat, and a new story”

Visualize building stories in Second Life!

My avatar is being recruited for a job! This happens from time to time in real life, but this is the first time my avatar has been approached by a job recruiter. An exciting milestone! And the ironic thing is that my atomic self really is looking for a job in real life .  .  . but it’s my avatar who gets the recruiter’s attention!

Believe it or not, these folks at Zeega are recruiting someone who can “hear story ideas.” I don’t believe I have ever seen that in a job description before. I was struck to see an employer articulate the process so concisely. This listening process is exactly what I try to do when I write poems and stories and make videos.

Attracting story ideas is the idea behind almost everything I do. It’s why I construct virtual poem parks in Second Life, why I built my little (virtual) blogging studio down by the koi pond at my (virtual) home (feel free to visit!), why I construct moody landscapes like this wintry one in Farley Crabgrass’s beautiful video A Second Life Winter’s Night, why I built the little interactive flower path in front of the Elf Circle library that gives out lines of a poem when you walk on it (visit it here), why I log into Second Life to do most of my writing, why I write this blog–why I have a second life at all. It’s all a virtual story stakeout!

Story ideas are such shy and skittish things, like wild birds, or butterflies, or deer. You have to sit still in the places that they frequent, have patience, and eventually the ideas will come. Build it . . . and they will come.

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Blogger come home

Hello, this is your blog speaking. Remember me? I’m the home where you used to live. I’ve forlornly watched you jet-setting around to fashionable spots all over the world, like Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, Second Life, LinkedIn, and the current hot getaway, Google+. I’ve left the porch light on every night, but you never come home anymore.

Sure, those clubs are fun for a night out now and then, but they aren’t your home. They don’t have a living room like I do, where you can kick off your shoes, put up your feet, and say “Ahhhhhh,” like I do.

Blogger come home! Please don’t mistake those night clubs for your home. They are dangerous and restrictive. If  you don’t like their rules, about all you can do is complain or “appeal,” and who is ever listening? And there’s always the threat that your account will be deleted, along with all the precious content you’ve created with your life’s blood running through it. Plus they break things. All the time. They’re not careful and sensitive the way I am. Things disappear from inventories. Messages get garbled or lost. Dreams are often trampled on without warning or apology.

Olly, Olly, oxen free! Imagine it’s a warm summer night, just about dusk when the fireflies twinkle and the moths flutter against the light on the porch. Your mother/father/sister/brother/friend is standing in the doorway calling you in from your play. It’s time. Build yourself an online home and treasure it. Live in it. Maintain it. Secure it. Protect your magnificent creations inside. Spruce it up now and then. Throw wild parties and invite people in.

Don’t give away all your brilliance to Google+ or some other third party. They’ll never appreciate you for who you are the way I do. They’ll never care about the magnificence of what you create the way I do. And they’ll never, ever listen to you the way your readers do.

To social media sites, you are an unpaid content creator, and an expendable one at that. You are wasting your wonderful, beautiful, incredible, irreplaceable energy building a home for someone who doesn’t even appreciate it. To them, you are a number, a source of revenue, the very product they are selling. And you will be tolerated for only as long as you fit in their package. Get too noisy, ungainly, or troublesome, and they will not hesitate to expel you. And they won’t even kick your suitcase out after you. You’ll leave with nothing, buck naked, not even a shirt on your back.

This is your blog calling you. I am your home:  your very own blog on your very own site. Sure you can have WordPress or Blogger or Tumblir host it for you. But that’s like inviting a stranger to live with you. They don’t love you like I do. They don’t wait up for you at night, shelter you through storms, have floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on dreamy vistas and distant horizons. Besides, they can quickly turn into the roommate from hell, and you know what that’s like.

Buy the domain. Host the site. Build me from the ground up.  No one is going to tell you how to design me or what widgets or plug-ins to use. Use your imagination. I’ll never monitor what you say, what you put in your profile, or what your content cloud looks like. You make the rules, or none at all. I won’t toss you out on the street because of your name. I will never tell you you’re too young, too strange-sounding, a square peg in a round circle.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m totally happy for you to hang out with your friends at social hot spots like Facebook and Twitter. But please, remember they’re just night clubs with glitzy lights and K-hole dance beats. Go out, have a great time, maybe even have a fling or two . . . but come back home to me. Your heart is waiting up for you.

Your dreams live here, and your  poems and stories and pet projects, too. My living room is big, comfy, welcoming . . .  always just the way you like it. Leave coffee cups and soda cans lying around on top of old pizza boxes. Or keep it squeaky clean. I don’t care which. This is your home. I love you just the way you are.

A(nother) star is born

Dreams are hard things to catch. If you even try, they usually slip right out of your hands and sometimes never return. But if you take them off the leash and let them have their freedom, sometimes they come back to you when you least expect it.

And so it was with the dream that my Twinkle’s Journey video and its little star might reach out to the world. When the dream slipped away last week after the video failed to place in the MachinimUWA III competition, I just let the dream go. I cried a few tears, yes, but I knew better than to run after it.

Well, to my heart’s surprise and wonder, my dream just came back! The event’s organizer, Jay Jay, is taking a copy of Twinkle’s Journey next week to a whole new audience at North Woodvale primary school in Western Australia! I was so heartened to hear this that I searched for North Woodvale on the Internet and found a wonderful school that loves children and supports their full expression and growth.

And don’t you just love coincidences! I found a small news items tucked away in the school newsletter saying that a North Woodvale student had just won the competition to design the logo for the school’s 21st Birthday and Fete celebration. The winning logo is, you guessed it, a star! I won’t mention the winner’s name for privacy reasons, but here is a heartfelt congratulations to her and her winning emblem. And I hope it will welcome another star to keep it company when Twinkle arrives this Tuesday.

North Woodvale Primary School
21st Birthday Celebration & Fete logo