The writing community in Second Life continues to amaze me! At a literary gathering yesterday, I had the pleasure of being with a couple dozen writers who came together to listen to and applaud the winners of a flash fiction contest I helped organize and judge.
The contest part of it was extremely hard for me – partly because all of the entries were very well written and partly because the process of judging creative writing is so subjective. But my discomfort was drowned out by the rousing show of support everyone gave the “winning” writers, as well as all the writers. As one writer said before he read his story to the group, “Second Life is an incredible place for writers to be!”
Indeed it is! I’ve blogged about many of the individuals and organizations who help make SL such a great network for writers, but there are many, many more that are still on my idea list or that I haven’t discovered yet. And so today I decided it was time to share one of my favorite places, Bookstacks.
First, I’ll be honest and tell you why I chose Bookstacks as the subject of this particular post: In addition to being a great resource for writers, they have invited me as a featured writer to read some of my original fiction at the Bookstacks Pub. The reading is tonight (Thursday) at 5 p.m. Second Life Time (same as Pacific time). It’s certainly an honor; they’ve had some very accomplished authors there in the past. And I’d like to invite any of you who can make it to come – not just for my benefit, but to experience the support for books and writers that Bookstacks’ owners demonstrate every day! The SLURL to teleport directly to Bookstacks is: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/117/157/25.
I can almost guarantee that even if you’re bored to death with my reading, you’ll enjoy discovering Bookstacks and its Pub!
The thing about Bookstacks is that it’s the vision of two book lovers, Simeon Beresford and Kghia Gherardi. And book lovers and writers are a match made in literary heaven. “It is a place for bookish people to meet other bookish people and get together and do bookish things,” they say on the Bookstacks blog.
I first met Kghia about six months ago, and when we discovered we both had a desire to bring together and cross-promote writing- and book-related events in Second Life (a la, a rising tide lifts all ships), we began to collaborate a lot. (It also helps that we live in the same time zone. While SL has eliminated geographical distance as an issue, it has yet to invent a way to collapse time zones.) When I started the Second Life Events for Writers Google calendar, Kghia was a major supporter of it.
I didn’t meet Simeon, who started Bookstacks in 2007, until I was interviewed by him for their Off The Shelf Internet radio show. The fact that he lives in Wales (where I spent one of the best half-years of my life) immediately endeared him to me – despite the difference in time zones! His First Life country also explains the delightful Celtic/British influence you’ll see throughout Bookstacks – and especially in the Bookstacks Pub.
So why are these two people and their Second Life activities so great for writers? You really need to go tour Bookstacks and all of Awen, the island where Bookstacks and other writers’ resources are located. But here are a few of the ways they make writers welcome and supported in Second Life:
- The Literary Heavenly Match: Bookstacks’ motto is “Where Book Lovers Meet on Second Life.” And book lovers (many of whom are also writers) and writers have this delightful, symbiotic need for each other. If, as a writer, you ever need to be reminded that readers are out there waiting for your work, just go to Bookstacks and breathe in that love of books that emanates from every corner – even the fishing spot, where the sea wall is covered with book recommendations.
- Cheerleaders for Authors: Because they love to read, Simeon and Kghia also support writers in getting their work out to the SL community. They host readings by featured authors and open-mic events for poets, as well as display in the Bookstacks Pub copies of books and information about and for writers, in both first and Second Life.
- Literary Performances: The Bookstacks build in Second Life includes many indoor and outdoor performance areas, from the luscious Sky High Speakeasy to the ground level amphitheaters.
- Haven for Readers: Bookstacks sponsors an unbelievable number of activities to promote reading, from book clubs for many genres, to reading and discussion of classic works (most recently Walt Whitman’s poetry), to literary games (e.g., book trivia contests and socials) and social events (like the upcoming Bootlegger’s Ball).
- Literary Radio Show Hosting: This winter, Kghia and Simeon launched the first Internet radio show to talk about the Second Life literary scene, Off The Shelf on Radio Riel.
- Support for Other Writers’ Groups: On their lovely isle of Awen, Kghia and Simeon share some of their space with another great organization for writers, The Guild of UK Writers, which requires its own separate post! Another example: Every week Kghia compiles the coming week’s writing- and book-related events in Second Life and sends it to everyone on the Bookstacks list!
And the icing on the cake: Bookstacks is full of fun toys and games every visitor is allowed to play with – like these fun miniature cars that you can actually stuff yourself into and drive around the land: