Well, i’ve made my application for a plot and the build is forging ahead, so – with a little bit of luck – in just over a month’s time, i’ll be getting started on setting up my own little contribution to SL10B. And don’t go thinking that i’m intending to do all the hard work myself either… because i have a cunning plan!
The details will remain wreathed in secrecy for the time being, mainly because i don’t want anybody to get themselves all caught up in the fun of it and spend time working on a contribution, only for me to have to say, “sorry guys, i didn’t get a plot!”. However, i will put you on standby… all you writers, prospective writers, authors, poets and drabblers – and i know there’s a few of you out there – keep watching this space: all being well, there will be a challenge coming your way… until then, i’ll get on with the business of building, while you take things easy!
That’s all i’m saying for now, so let’s return to the everyday trials and tribulations of Yours Truly. You may have guessed from last week’s less-than-rational ramblings that all was not entirely spiffing in Serendipidonia – fact is, things are still a little perturbed, with a resultant somewhat non-sunshiny outlook hanging gloomily over my world view at the moment. This is not a good thing – whilst it may take quite a substantial wallop to knock me seriously out of kilter, once i’m there it can be the devil’s own job to try and get me back on track again. In short, pretty much everything in both rl and sl is currently coloured by distinct overtones of ‘i could happily kill everyone in sight’, for no other reason than i’m pretty sure it would make me feel better. You can imagine that this makes me an absolute barrel of laughs to be around at the moment!
The real problem with finding myself with this hideous and murderous outlook is that those little annoyances that i would normally take in my stride, perhaps accompanied by a big grin and and shrug of the shoulders can, with consumate ease, drive me to the most evil and foul mood that you could possibly imagine. Those, oh-so-humorous sl interludes that i’d normally laugh off as totally inconsequential and just so typical of sl shenanigans i’m afraid i’m apt to take terribly, terribly personally and blow so far out of proportion that i can barely encompass the bitter ire that floods through my soul… erm, yeah… i’m not handling things terribly well.
Let me illustrate my point – a couple of days ago i logged in to discover a – very minor – disaster had taken place. Under normal circumstances, this particular incident would have merited a fit of giggles, however my actual reaction was to completely freak out. i exploded with a ferocity that would have made Krakatoa seem like a wet firework… and decided that the only reasonable course of action would be tear up every last vestige of my sl existence, delete everybody from my friends list and leave sl forever – on reflection, possibly a very slight over-reaction. This pure streak of crazed insanity was not only completely over the top, but also completely ill-conceived – none of my friends had done anything wrong, it was hardly the end of the world, and doing any of the things i’d contemplated would have achieved precisely nothing at all.
It struck me that maybe i was suffering from some sort of temporary insanity and, in the subsequent soul-searching that ensued, i tried to rationalise my feelings. Why, i thought, is it that when things are being beastly, i can take something that is so insignificant to heart and so personally, that it verges on the self-destructive? SL is, after all, just a virtual environment: it’s not the real world, and even when proper big problems occur inworld, it can hardly have the impact that a rl disaster would produce. Even so, i’m pretty sure that for many of us, the dramas, disasters and misfortunes of the virtual world take on an importance that is disproportionate to their apparent import.
Ray Bradbury, in his novel ‘Fahrenheit 451‘, discusses the power and real significance of books, in short, why we have a need for books and why they are so different to other forms of media. Firstly, he suggests that books provide us with quality, or texture, of information; secondly, that books require that we have the leisure to digest that information, and; thirdly, that books require that we have the right to carry out actions, based on what we learn from the interaction of those first two theses.
It hit home to me that sl can just as readily fulfill those same criteria.
In an information age where entertainment, information, knowledge, work and even recreational activities are constantly thrust at us in byte-sized, bite-sized, soundbites and 140-character micro-blogged packets of constantly moving, continually evolving and rapidly changing blatterings and smatterings of pop-culture, meme-themed crap – it stands to reason that the quality, the texture, of that information is going to become mind-numbingly dire. As for having the leisure to digest that massive overload of information – forget it! Consider Bradbury’s third contention in the context of the above and it doesn’t take a genius to realise that for the average person living in today’s crazy, mad, bonkers world, our lives – work, recreation and downtime – are becoming one great seething mass of dross and utter pap. Garbage in… Garbage out.
So, what do we do? We escape to sl – a virtual world, where things are very different.
In SL, we are forced to slow down, think and consider the virtual environment we are part of – whether as explorers, consumers or creators, the nature of sl demands that we take stock, and understand what is going on around us. The quality and texture of the information that seeps into our senses from the moment we log in is far greater and richer than the thin soup of infotainment that we’re more used to in our everyday lives. The very things we rue about sl – the slow rez times, the bake fail, the way our scenery evolves as our camera moves through the environment compels us to assume a state of leisure, as we absorb the changes that occur about us – sl won’t be rushed; it gives us time to think, to ponder, even to stop and stare inanely. And, ultimately, this palette of information, that has so much more depth, colour, and a real sense of occasion that the real world denies us routinely in favour of less-rewarding pursuits – the interaction of such quality and the leisure to explore it, is what drives us to act within the virtual world.
So, when that nasty old real world is dragging me down, when the stresses, strains and anxieties of rl are driving me to the very edge of reason, i need sl to be OK and, when i’m on that knife-edge and sl goes wrong in some way, in even the most ridiculous, piddling and insignificant manner, then all sense of proportion goes completely out of the window – i flip, and bad things happen.
Perhaps i should get a grip and develop a sense of proportion, but it’s precisely for the very reason that i can do neither in rl at the moment, that i need to be cossetted by sl… it’s just such a damn shame that sl, like life, can never be perfect.
Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath
You stumble in the dark
You stumble in the dark
Massive Attack – Teardrop