Why Joey’s note caused tears

This is the note left by the young hero Joey in my machinima Pieces of Your Heart (part of the University of Western Australia MachinimUWA V film competition) before he embarks on a fantastic space voyage in his Radio Flyer wagon to find the lost world of a stranded alien robot he finds hiding in his backyard. As you can imagine, it made his mother cry.

Both the mother’s crying and the note took some doing to pull off in a Second Life machinima. But the note in particular took far more attention than any 10-year-old would ever give it. I thought I would tell you the story of its building, since the whole affair touched my heart and had quite a lot to do with how the machinima’s story itself unfolded. Also, it shows just how much goes into the making of machinima in a virtual world. Continue Reading “Why Joey’s note caused tears”

What if art had a child?


A postscript . . . Sharni Azalee, the creator of the “Love’s Eternal” 3D art pictured below, donated the L$5,000 prize she was awarded for the Curator’s Prize in the UWA June round to the Second Life Relay for Life event (which raised a record $371,670 in SL this year) for the American Cancer Society. Sharni sent me the LM to the location along the RFL track where the luminary lantern for her donation sat. I went there and sat beside it for a long time. It was so heartwarming to see Twinkle on another journey, this time to help fight cancer. Gazing down the endless line of luminaries along the RFL track made me feel like I was sitting beside a flowing river, and so I made this machinima: Hope Is Like a River. Another person who had a luminary lit for her along the track wrote to me later to say that as she watched, she couldn’t stop crying, tears of hope and happiness she said, and I wish the same for you.


What if art could reproduce? Not a copy of itself, but a future generation. An offspring who would take your breath away in how closely it resembles you, but totally different too, who is in its own right a unique masterpiece?

This has happened not just once, but twice, in recent time to my machinima Twinkle’s Journey which I submitted in the University of Western Australia MachinimUWAIII competition earlier this year.

Continue Reading “What if art had a child?”

Dreaming of machinima

I was asked at a poetry gathering this past weekend why someone like myself, who writes primarily poetry, would want to make machinima. She said it seemed like a diversion for me, since she didn’t see machinima as a strong vehicle for language, or at least not in the same way poetry is. My answer is a dream I’ve always had.

Continue Reading “Dreaming of machinima”

Twinkle’s Journey soundtrack released

In the recent outpouring of interest in my Twinkle’s Journey machinima, I received many questions about where the music came and how people could download it for themselves. In response, I have posted a media player on this blog that plays the two main songs from Twinkle’s Journey:  Emelia Sleeps (Loveshadow) and Welcome Home (Anchor Mejans), with arrow buttons for download. Look to the right of this post in the sidebar, just below my CC Faves playlist.

Both of these wonderful tunes are from the music sharing site ccmixter.org, and are available for free download and remix. They both have CC BY NC Creative Commons licenses, allowing reuse and remix, with attribution, in noncommercial works.

If you press the small arrow to the right of each tune, you will be taken to the page on the ccmixter site where you can download the tune. Or just use the clickable links in the first paragraph of this blog post.

Continue Reading “Twinkle’s Journey soundtrack released”

Why Twinkle’s Journey Mustn’t Be About Me

Twinkle’s Journey was my gift to everyone, a guided journey through a new way of dealing with the inevitability of loss in all its forms, using the developing art of personal machinima as the medium. In all the recent swirl around Twinkle’s Journey, this gift of a personal journey is lying unopened on many tables.

There are so many ways to lose a child, and we all are touched by at least one of them during our lives, from the extreme of a child who dies, to one who is taken away, or who grows up, or who grows apart from you, one who never had the chance to be born, or one who simply goes to sleep at night.

Twinkle’s message is that inside all these losses, if you look, you will find that person―not lost to you at all, but very much alive and present in your heart and in all the memories, things, joys, and dreams you shared. Your heart was, and will always be, that person’s real home. A heart in this sense is not a poetic metaphor. It is a real place you can build and build upon.

If you look at Twinkle’s Journey and think, “This is about Bay dealing with her sadness,” or Loveshadow dealing with his loss, you are looking at this video from the outside. You are a spectator. But this isn’t about me. This is about you. My art comes from my own personal experience, but it isn’t about me. Among the incredible flood of people who have written and commented on Twinkle, only a few have found a way to engage personally with it, and one wrote especially elegantly about his own journey here.

Twinkle’s Journey is a safe space. I made it just for you. Come visit, come stay, come live here even. You don’t need to be afraid here. You can explore your own loss, whatever it is and whenever it may come, without feeling the need to distance yourself. This machinima speaks directly to you. That’s why this machinima musn’t be about me.

Welcome Home.

(click link to listen)

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

The daunting sport of SL machinima

I was feeling so low all day (yes, even tears) at my little “Twinkle’s Journey” video not placing anywhere in the MachinimUWAIII machinima competition this year. (See results here, heartfelt congratulations to all the amazing winners and award recipients).

But then I came across my old friend Rheta Shan’s hilarious description of the process of machinima in SL from her archived blog. Suddenly I felt quite brave at even attempting the daunting task of SL machinima at all. Things have changed a little bit since this was written, but not much. lol

Continue Reading “The daunting sport of SL machinima”

Creative Commons Dance Video, Second Life machinima

Here’s my latest. Dancing shoes required!

Twinkle’s Journey

My machinima entry for MachinimUWA III is finally done and entered. Wipes forehead in relief. What a heartrending ordeal.

Congrats, ColeMarie – Gulliver’s Travels machinima winner

Congratulations!!! to ColeMarie Soleil,  just named the winner of the Gulliver’s Travels machinima contest on Ub Yifu’s InWorldz sim, sponsored by Jeri Rahja. A masterful vid, especially the timing of the music with the visual. Exquisite. Feel yourself swept up into it. A work of art. Announced by SororNishi here.