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Entry #1,954

I overslept an hour somehow, so....I'd say I'm going to make this short, but I know better.

And, too, I'll say again, that it's a crying shame that Second Life is so burdened with being an online dating/social network and a haven for shitwits (of many, many species) that it will never realize even half its potential as an innovative medium for storytelling. I keep hoping that some new sim service emerges, one which provides the degree of potential creative freedom that now exists on SL, but which also exists solely to permit creators to create, and which doesn't tout itself as a fancy chat room, a solution for those without a RL social life, or sex life...or a life, period. One that has some way of sorting out the chaff, as it were. I keep hoping, and it keeps not happening. This comes up because, over the last week, on a couple of occasions, I've slipped back into SL, into New Babbage briefly, and a couple of people have been trying to get me back into the rp there. But every time I enter SL, without fail, within half an hour or less, I'm confronted by the inanities that drove me to leave two months ago.

Blah, blah, blah.

Nothing much in the way of a writing day yesterday. I read back over what I'd written on Monday, and discovered that the story had, in fact, derailed. But I couldn't really see how to set it right again, and began to suspect that it's simply the wrong story for me to be writing at the moment. Truthfully, I'm bloody exhausted and any story's the wrong story for me to be writing at the moment. But I have a deadline at the end of the month, for this piece and for Sirenia Digest #36. I spent maybe an hour talking it over with Spooky, the problems I'm having with the new story, and, finally, she told me to get up and get dressed, that she'd drive me down to Beavertail. I was too tired and too frustrated to say no.

Winter is coming on fast, and Conanicut Island has changed a lot since the last time we were there, a month or so ago. The trees are mostly bare, revealing marshy places and fieldstone walls. The wind was freezing. We climbed down on the rocks below the lighthouse, but my feet have gotten bad again, what with all the exercise I've not been getting, what with all the writing and the not leaving the house. I was clumsy on the rocks. The tide was in, so we couldn't really get to the pebbly beaches that give up beach glass. I only found a few pieces, and picked through shells and crab and lobster claws. But the sea was good, as She always is. The sun was setting by the time we arrived, and I don't think we stayed more than half an hour. There were a few unhappy looking gulls, but I saw no cormorants. On the way out of Beavertail, we spotted a small hawk perched in a tree, staring out to sea. I slept the entire way back to Providence.

For dinner, Spooky warmed up last night's chili. We read Chapter Three of The Red Tree, so I'd not feel like a total slacker. We watched three more eps of Firefly. I made another post to crk_blog_vault. Later, we played maybe an hour of WoW. The service was offline most of yesterday and last night, scheduled maintenance that turned into some sort of clusterfuck. But, that was probably for the best, anyway. It is too easy a distraction. We went to bed about 2:30 a.m., and Spooky read me Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (more comfort food). The dreams were bad, but not bad enough to leave me dreamsick.

And I really do apologize for making such an utterly cranky post.

Here are some photos from Conancut Island. Let me see if I can save today....





A bit northwest of the Beavertail Lighthouse, looking southwest towards Narragansett and Point Judith. You can just make out a bell buoy in the distance.



From the same spot, but with the view to the north. A cold evening on the rocks.



Beavertail Lighthouse, view to the south.



Mackerel Cove, as the setting sun torches everything. View to the southeast.



Pretty much the same as above.

All photographs Copyright © 2008 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac.

Comments

( 17 comments — Have your say! )
jadiana
Nov. 12th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
I was just talking to my husband about Second Life last night. I've been running a business there for a couple of years or so, but I originally went there to RP.

Having roleplayed on MUSHes for a decade or more, I enjoy cooperative storytelling. I'm less about the ROLLplay and more about the character development and storytelling.

And SL is the future for this sort of thing, it's perfect for it. Which is why I don't understand why more people aren't using it for such. What I find is that most roleplay groups I find there aren't...hmm. Well maybe I'm a bit of a RP snob, but I just don't find the immersive environment there. But it's not SL's fault, rather, I feel it's the people. Most don't get it, and approach their roleplay much as someone does dressing up for Halloween. Oooo, I'm a vampire! But really, I'm Mike dressed up like a Vampire, just having a laugh. Instead, I'm used to people playing as if they are actors portraying a character, with a focus on putting aside the 'OOC' and being totally 'IC' or 'in character'.

greygirlbeast
Nov. 12th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Well maybe I'm a bit of a RP snob, but I just don't find the immersive environment there. But it's not SL's fault, rather, I feel it's the people. Most don't get it, and approach their roleplay much as someone does dressing up for Halloween. Oooo, I'm a vampire! But really, I'm Mike dressed up like a Vampire, just having a laugh. Instead, I'm used to people playing as if they are actors portraying a character, with a focus on putting aside the 'OOC' and being totally 'IC' or 'in character'.

I'm most definitely an rp snob, in that I expect people to, you know, rp.

And yes, I think your observation here about people just not "getting it" is spot on. And one of the problems is that it's very hard to find a place on SL where one can get away, completely, from those sorts. One is just as likely to encounter them in "rp sims" as elsewhere. I do, however, think that SL is somewhat to blame, in that it does encourage certain behaviours, and attitudes, if only by failing to discourage them.

I've described my approach to rp as immersive "improv theatre." There is no ooc. There is only the story. Only the characters.

Edited at 2008-11-12 05:02 pm (UTC)
sovay
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
That is a wonderful sky at Beavertail. I love late autumn sunset conflagration-light.

I hope today is better than salvage.
from_ashes
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if you're interested, but there is a lot of chat-based roleplay out there. There are some great sites that offer various themes, etc., and if you'd like to check any of them out, here are a few:

http://infinitybound.net/ (my favorite - seems to have less drama and a more mature chatbase than many I've seen)

http://worldbroadcastingsystem.net/ (not sure if they're still around, but worth a look)

http://sanguinemdraconis.net/

The majority of players at these sites aren't doing the "hook-up" thing and are more focused solely on telling stories and the actual roleplay. And if you have a specific storyline, you can always open up a themed room just for that.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if you're interested, but there is a lot of chat-based roleplay out there.

Thanks for the links, and I've done chat-based rp before. But after having a visual interface, I could never again, in a million years, be satisfied with only the words.

When SL rp has been good (as with the sadly defunct Dune sim), it's been superb. Sadly, those superb experiences have comprised about 1% of my total SL experience. And I just don't have the time and energy for it anymore.

Edited at 2008-11-12 05:08 pm (UTC)
from_ashes
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
I attempted RP several times on WoW, and usually with very dismal results. I never could get into SL, though, and usually find myself either doing chat-based RP or just plugging into the XBox 360 to play a solo game.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
I attempted RP several times on WoW, and usually with very dismal results.

As I've said before, yeah, WoW isn't much good for rp. In fact, it's pretty much a failure in that respect. But it's a fun game. And it's infinitely less frustrating than SL. That is, I'd rather just play a game (WoW) than struggle for decent rp (on SL).

When I spoke of the "visual interface," I was referring not to WoW, but to SL. Having rped on SL, I can't go back to text-based systems (which I really haven't used since about 1995, anyway). Honestly, until quite recently, I didn't even know there still were chat-based systems.

Edited at 2008-11-12 05:42 pm (UTC)
from_ashes
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)
I eventually got tired of WoW myself. I guess I would probably be interested in SL if I found a good storyline for RP that I was really interested in. So if you or someone else comes up with something along the lines of horror or supernatural ideas, let me know. I would be willing to try it out.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
I eventually got tired of WoW myself. I guess I would probably be interested in SL if I found a good storyline for RP that I was really interested in. So if you or someone else comes up with something along the lines of horror or supernatural ideas, let me know. I would be willing to try it out.

Well, it's inevitable that we tire of any game, regardless of its merit. At least, this is true of me.

I've been in on a lot of "good storylines" on SL, and created quite a few myself. The problem is, the idiots that swarm in SL always drag it down. The ooc nonsense and drama eventually defeat even the best story ideas. SL is simply, sadly, not an option for good rp. I tried to get the Howards End sim up and running, to create a private, safe haven for immersive weird/supernatural rp. But, in the end, I simply didn't have the energy to design and admin a sim (and never mind the cost, or the fact that I'd have had no energy left over to have fun with the actual rp).

Edited at 2008-11-12 05:56 pm (UTC)
corucia
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
When you initially launched Sirenia Digest, it was meant to be for erotic fragments. However, it seems to have slowly morphed into presenting more fully-formed stories, and less about fragments. I'm comparing the output in the last three or four with the pieces in 'Frog Toes and Tentacles', for example. Is this a deliberate transition, or one that has happened spontaneously?

Speaking only for myself, I'd be happy to see the 'off-the-tracks' fragment that you've written, perhaps with a paragraph or two postscript as to where and how you feel it went off the tracks. There's no need (as far as I'm concerned) for perfection in Sirenia Digest - I read it for the joy of the words, and as an avenue into the tornado of thoughts that make up a writer's mind. Call it the writerly equivalent of a wide-ranging and frenetic conversation over beers at the bar late in the evening after the band's packed up and the crowds have gone away... lots of ideas thrown around, none of which need to be fully-formed or even necessarily coherent.

Regards, David
greygirlbeast
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
Is this a deliberate transition, or one that has happened spontaneously?

I think I would file it under "just sort of happened."

Speaking only for myself, I'd be happy to see the 'off-the-tracks' fragment that you've written, perhaps with a paragraph or two postscript as to where and how you feel it went off the tracks. There's no need (as far as I'm concerned) for perfection in Sirenia Digest - I read it for the joy of the words, and as an avenue into the tornado of thoughts that make up a writer's mind.

Thank you. But. Here's the thing. Sirenia Digest has come to make up an important portion of my monthly income, and I can't know that everyone would have the same attitude. And I can't risk losing subscribers. Besides, it's very hard for me to release things I'm not very, very happy with. Which means getting it close to my own idea of perfection.

Edited at 2008-11-12 05:15 pm (UTC)
corucia
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
Besides, it's very hard for me to release things I'm not very, very happy with. Which means getting it close to my own idea of perfection.

Understood - I'm much the same way. However, you could change your viewpoint and underlying assumption - I'd argue that this fragment would be perfect for showing your readers how and why some story ideas don't work. Move away from feeling that the story needs to be perfect, to presenting us with an insight into your approaches (for which this might be perfect). The story can be perfected later, when inspiration strikes, or some such thing. We're not a commercial audience; we're an audience who is actively buying into seeing your work in a more immediate sense. I would be surprised if you would get many objections to occasionally giving us an unfinished work, especially if you also give us your thoughts on why it doesn't. Most people love to know how things work - your writing is no exception to this...
greygirlbeast
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
We're not a commercial audience; we're an audience who is actively buying into seeing your work in a more immediate sense. I would be surprised if you would get many objections to occasionally giving us an unfinished work, especially if you also give us your thoughts on why it doesn't. Most people love to know how things work - your writing is no exception to this...

Problem is, it would be far too risky to assume that you're right, and that this attitude would be common to all subscribers. Unfinished fragments is not what I advertise, not what they signed on for, so it would be wrong of me to try to fulfill my obligation to them with that sort of material. I save this stuff for chapbooks.

Edited at 2008-11-12 05:37 pm (UTC)
tinkbell
Nov. 12th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
I have a couple friends who do comics and learned storytelling from D&D, and still do gaming when they can. I went to a Vampire: The Masquerade game a few times (14 years ago) and was curious about the storytelling - i wasn't good at that, and drew peoples' characters for them to contribute - but people seemed to lose track of boundaries, and the breakdowns and fights based on the rules lost me.
tinkbell
Nov. 12th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
maybe my point is that sitting around a table with the pimpled reality of the other players lets people focus on the story. But really, I don't have much of a point, and am procrastinating.
I went running yesterday even though I had to fight my lethargy for every step, and the sky was worth staring at the whole time.
robyn_ma
Nov. 13th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
'And I really do apologize for making such an utterly cranky post.'

Eh, we've seen worse.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 13th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC)


Eh, we've seen worse.


True. Sad, but true.
( 17 comments — Have your say! )