Are You Missing What (Second) Life Has to Offer?

by Joan Kremer on April 12, 2009 · 9 comments

in Adventures,Benefits of SL,Opportunities

For the first time in my life, this site I’m proud to call myself an evangelist. 

Wait!  Before you click that X-to-close button (especially those of you who know me personally), website like this I’m NOT talking about religion in any shape or form!  No, visit web what I’ve become downright evangelical about is Second Life . And especially this virtual world  as a resource for writers of all kinds.

No, I don’t go around knocking on strangers’ doors and handling out pamphlets, or giving dramatic speeches in tents.  In fact, I try hard not to push my opinions on other people.  Nevertheless, I call myself an evangelist because Second Life has so enhanced my life that I want others to have the chance to get some of the same benefits.

writersshowcasetle

With other writers at one of the two weekly Writers’ Symposiums I facilitate — Mondays at 6 p.m. SLT and Thursdays at 8 a.m. SLT at The Learning Experience in Second Life

There’s a big problem with being a virtual world evangelist, though:  Trying to share its features and benefits with someone who doesn’t have a clue what you’re talking about — which is a lot of the world.

On of my favorite bloggers about Second Life (and often life in general), Bettina Tizzy, wrote a post recently that sums it up perfectly: “How can we explain what you are missing?

As Bettina writes in this post on her great blog, Not Possible in Real Life:

“It’s a dilemma akin to sharing a new color or flavor, because the immersive qualities of the 3D experience cannot be conveyed in words or even via film, given its flatness.”

It’s not that I don’t understand the blank look people get when I talk about facilitating writers’ groups in Second Life, or working for a virtual university.  I still remember how my brain kind of twisted and turned in great turmoil during my early days in Second Life — and I’d even had some near-3D experience playing The Sims game.  I remember trying to put words to my experiences and failing totally.  I remember feeling like I was falling down Alice’s rabbit hole when I tried to move my avatar around a three-dimensional space that “lived” on a two-dimensional computer screen.  I remember walking around the house, shaking my head, and saying over and over, “I just can’t wrap my brain around it.”

dizzybanjo2

One of those hard-to-explain and impossible-in-real-life experiences: riding in a “space capsule” through light and music, at an SL installation by renowned musician/composer Dizzy Banjo

In fact, it reminds me a little of the first time I saw, at a computer expo, a demonstration of this thing called aweb browser” that brought pages of text and graphics to your computer from somewhere “out there” on this thing called “the Internet.”  I remember the “wow” feeling, followed by that mental vertigo that often accompanies trying to understand the incomprehensible.

So I DO understand the shock of a first encounter with SL.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t want you — my friends, fellow writers, and the entire world of readers and writers — to back away from it. I want you to give it a chance — several chances, if necessary.  it’s why I wrote my series Learning About Second Life.  It’s why I call myself an evangelist.

And it’s why I want to share a couple more links with you:

  • First, an award-winning short video that may lift your heart and will definitely give you a sense of what will someday be possible in a virtual world:  World Builder by Bruce Branit.
  • Second, a super post, RESET! by another of my favorite SL bloggers, ArminasX Saiman, who writes the Second Effects blog.  In this post, ArminasX talks about how his stress and weariness from weeks of dealing with work and people issues were starting to overwhelm him, when he allowed himself an experience that brought laughter, silliness, and release, that, in effect, let him push the “reset” button on his life.

dancing-leighlee

Something I’d never do in “real life”: wear a replica of Arethra Franklin’s inaugural hat and dance to great music sung by my good friend and popular singers Leigh Michele (Leighlee Trafalgar in SL, on stage)

The “RESET!” post made me smile and laugh as I remembered some of the funny things I’ve done that gave the same stress-relieving sense of wonder and joy — things that you can only experience in a virtual world, but make your whole world so much better.

It also let me realize once again how impossible it is to explain to someone the fun of doing a tango in a larger-than-life-size champagne glass filled with bubbly (read ArminasX’s post if you want to understand) — AND how awesomely joyful it is when that person just lets go and hops into Second Life to do his/her own champagne-glass dance (or riding a whale bareback or surfing for the first time ever or doing an impromptu Irish jig with your best friends while holding sparklers in both hands).

whaleriding

A “RESET!” experience I’ll never forget: riding on the back of a whale with my friend Ziggy as the whale went above and below the surface

Quite simply, there’s more to writing than what’s in the physical world, and there’s more to Second Life than writing resources!  I invite you to dance in that champagne glass for yourself!  And I warmly invite you to add comments sharing your own experiences that make Second Life, or other virtual worlds, such a great part of your life!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brigitte Kungler April 12, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Great post Alas! I have always had a problem explaining SL and you did it so perfectly!!!!

2 Kalisten VanDornan (1 comments.) April 13, 2009 at 7:38 am

Great post, Joan. I’ll keep it in my bag-o-links for people asking me about Second Life. You are right – it’s pretty impossible to describe the experience in 1,000 words, or 100,000 words. Video can stir curiosity, but it doesn’t come close to the experience.

And, thanks for the World Builder video link. Wow, that is one fine level of production! The way it portrays building in SL is just delightful. Great work.

Thanks for your blog and all you do in SL with writers. It is appreciated.

Kalisten VanDornans last blog post..New October Undead Flickr Group!

3 Michelle (2 comments.) April 13, 2009 at 7:49 am

Excellent post, Alas. I joined 2nd Life less than two months ago now, spurred on as I discovered your blog. I am slowly immersing myself into the writing scene in my virtual life, which was my main intention.

But 2nd Life is so compelling as a medium and in networking with others. I invited my partner into 2nd Life so that I could share and explore it with him, and so far we’ve had so many ‘reset’ moments that they have formed a major part of our lives. These last few days we have balloon ridden and horseback ridden over a virtual Africa, and in 2nd Life both of us can swim and explore coral reefs. We even, despite our real ages and likings and dislikings, can do a mean club rave dance on Dance Island, or can waltz like a pro in a romantic ball room.

As for whale riding – that’s still on my agenda. But I do own a seal, several dogs, a horse which can take me most places – fast, and I’m quite proficient on a motorcycle.

2nd Life has taught me many things, and literally there are no skies for the limits. It has enhanced my dreams, and I’ve seen new turnings in my own writing as realms to my own imagination open up for me.

Thank you for providing this blog, and the push to get me into Second Life for a start.

Michelles last blog post..Juiced on Writing Group Links (weekly)

4 Joan Kremer (71 comments.) April 14, 2009 at 9:06 am

Hi Brigitte!

Thanks so much for your kind words. I’ve been on a search for a good explanation of SL and am coming to the conclusion that there just isn’t one!!

Joan

5 Joan Kremer (71 comments.) April 14, 2009 at 9:13 am

Hi Kalisten!

Thanks for the post — and especially thanks for making me aware of your own great blog with all those incredibly helpful posts and links! I am adding it to my own list of links for great SL tips, beginning now: SL Trip Tips: Cool tips, secrets, touring, and resources for Second Life®. Awesome!

Joan

6 Joan Kremer (71 comments.) April 14, 2009 at 9:23 am

Hi Michelle!

Thank you so much for your comment! I love reading about your travels through SL on the blogs you write for, and am delighted your partner has joined you in SL — it does make it that much more fun!

I’m so glad to see you reaping the benefits of SL for writers — like winning that StoryQuest contest! Big congrats to you for that — even if the award ceremony had its (all-too-typical) SL lag problems. At least everyone inworld totally understands when that happens.

(To read about Michelle’s StoryQuest win, check out her blog post about it.)

See you inworld!

Joan/Alas

7 Carmen (1 comments.) April 19, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Great post! I’ve been lurking around your blog for the past few months now and every post you publish makes me that much more sure of my decision to join SL once the semester ends and I get caught up on all the grading I have to do.

Carmens last blog post..How and When to Use Parentheses

8 Joan Kremer (6 comments.) April 22, 2009 at 7:32 am

Hi Carmen! So glad to meet you — AND your blog, Writing Simplified. I hope you enjoy Second Life as much as I do. And once you get in-world, I’d love to meet your avatar! Thanks so much for the comment — and good luck on that grading.
Joan

Joan Kremers last blog post..Are You Missing What (Second) Life Has to Offer?

9 Plasma God Site Map (1 comments.) July 6, 2010 at 11:47 am

Kinda of looks like the sims?

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