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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: October 2017

    This Month Featuring: GOT GHOST STORY?

    In the last week or more of this month, the grid will be overflowing with opportunities to get your ghost story thrills from among the most talented storytellers in Second Life.  We'll cover some of those events farther down in this month's column so, rest assured, if you are having problems with your socks and need them scared off, we have you covered.

    There are also an abundance of narrative builds at this time of year.  What is that?  A "narrative" build is a commonly used term for regions or other created environments which are based on a story formed by their creator. "Back story" would be another commonly used term for using a story narrative to direct your building choices and visual design decisions.  Sometimes these narratives are clearly evident, and sometimes they are more covert. I have observed that there is a coherence and sense to narrative builds that don't always exist in less structured creations.

    There are artists, such as Cica Ghost, who always use strong narrative in their work. The Linden Endowment for the Arts regions are seeing installations with more and more evident stories attached.  Other artists such as Eleseren Brianna and Ceakay Ballyhoo have continued this approach by incorporating spoken word elements in their work and collaborating with writers.  MadPea, that purveyor of in-world gaming experiences, has been putting out the word lately for voice artists to audition for them, leading one to believe that voiced audio may become more of a part of their work.  

    This year's Octoberville build has a story-in-local-chat feature in it that is quite fun.  It is, in part, in support of their hunt, and in part just a further augmentation of the overall experience. Characters throughout the region will offer snippets of their own personal stories in local chat once you are in proximity to them.  "Much of the text that come from the characters, etc is directly related to the story (the hunt) and pushes it by giving you quests sometimes or just hints about secrets of the sim," shared Master Kaos, one of the co-creators of Octoberville. "In a way its kind of like a choose your own adventure book. It will unfold however you go about doing it. In my head, all of these characters have much longer stories that you only get snippets of in Octoberville," Kaos added.

    "The smell of dead leaves fill the air. You're not sure if it is the howling wind and trees or if you are really hearing voices… voices that beckon you to the campfire. As you approach the warm, crackling campfire, you hear the voices once again... they call to you. It appears to be coming from a statue of a tall man holding a book."

    Octoberville 2017http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Topaz/236/87/37

    This year's Designing Worlds Halloween Special (releasing October 30th) was also shot in Octoberville, so be sure and tune in to see the episode, this year's spooky story, plus interviews with the creators of Octoberville.  You can find Designing Worlds episodes right here on SLArtist.   

    Here are some special events above and beyond regularly scheduled story sessions between now and the day itself.  All times listed are SLT.

    THURSDAY, October 26th at 7pm: TRUE GHOST STORIES ~ Seanchai Library leader Shandon Loring brings his weekly Thursday story session to the great campfire at Octoberville, live on stream.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Topaz/236/87/37

    SATURDAY, October 28th at Noon: TALES OF THE HAUNTING SEASON at Innsmouth ~ Seanchai Library and friends bring Lovecraft and Lovecraftian tales to the Innsmouth Opera House, in the spirit of the season, live in voice. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Innsmouth/87/82/47

    SATURDAY, October 28th at 3:30pm: VICTORIAN GHOST STORIES at the Timeportal ~ Frankenstein, Dracula, Jekyll & Hyde - so many great works of gothic fiction written during the Victorian era.  Seanchai Library and Friends will share some selections in this 90 minute session, live in voice.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Time%20Portal/201/223/1927

    SUNDAY, October 29th from Noon - 2pm: The 2nd Annual GREAT BOO! ~ Seanchai Library presents its annual celebration of ghosts, ghouls, and things that shriek in the night at "Haunted Holly Kai," live in voice.  Following at 2pm, DJ Joy Canadeo will spin tunes for spooky frolics amidst the pumpkins and mists.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Holly%20Kai%20Estates/169/111/2015

    SUNDAY, October 29th at 3pm: A NIGHT IN THE CASTLE ~ Spooky Tales by Moon Aerandir presented in voice by Siric Freenote at the Dungeon Fortress at Avilion Nexus.  Teleport from the main landing point available in the half hour before the event. Medieval dress required. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Avilion%20Nexus/128/128/251

    SUNDAY, October 29th at 6pm: Selections from THE GRAVEYARD BOOK ~ In a Magicland tradition, Caledionia Skytower presents selected adventures from Neil Gaiman's 2009 Newbery Medal and Carnegie Medal-winning book.  Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him. Presented live in voice at the Golden Horseshoe in MagiclandPark.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bracket/180/56/31

    TUESDAY, October 31st at NOON - HALLOWE'EN at Graveyard Dungeon ~ The Poet Laureate of Ce Soir Arts RUSSELL EPONYM will present a darkly beautiful programme of readings from the more mysterious and sinister of classic poets like Poe, Burns, Donne, and Herrick as well as more contemporary works. Spooky music and a Thought for the Day that's perfect for Hallowe'en will fill the hour with magic, live in stream! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ce%20Soir/72/188/17

    TUESDAY, October 31st at 1:30 pm - Selections from THE GRAVEYARD BOOK ~ "Rattle his bones, Over the stones, It’s only a pauper, Who Nobody owns"  – Traditional Nursery Rhyme. Caledonia Skytower shares more selections from Neil Gaiman's award-winning adventure, live in voice. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ce%20Soir/72/188/17

    TUESDAY, October 31st at 2:30 pm - I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM ~ ÆonWoodford follows Caledonia with a stunning post-apocalyptic tale by Harlan Ellison. This sci-fi treasure is one of the most frightening, spine-chilling stories ever written, live in voice. Come visit the crypts and be prepared to screech in horror...if you can! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ce%20Soir/72/188/17

    TUESDAY, October 31st at 7 pm - HALLOWEEN AT HOGWARTS ~ What could be more normal than Halloween night at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?  Well, if you are Harry Potter and a fully grown mountain troll is involved, there might be a whole lot more than butter beer in the cards.  Caledonia Skytower, live in voice. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Holly%20Kai%20Estates/215/44/27

    TUESDAY, October 31st at 8:30pm: HALLOWEEN LATE NIGHT - Ghost Stories ~ Seanchai Library Chief Storyteller, Shandon Loring, brings masterful tales of haunts and spooks to Haunted Holly Kai, in a special late night session, live in voice. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Holly%20Kai%20Estates/169/111/2015

                           ("Haunted Holly Kai" high above Holly Kai Park on the Blake Sea)

    Know of a cool spoken word venue or project?  Send me a notecard (Caledonia Skytower) with the basics and a landmark, and I will be happy to check them out as a possible feature.

    This Month's Quote:  “When the dance was at an end, Ichabod was attracted to a knot of the sager folks, who, with Old Van Tassel, sat smoking at one end of the hall, gossiping over former times, and drawing out long stories.  Quite naturally these tales were succeeded by stories of ghosts and apparitions, the neighborhood being rich in legendary treasures of that kind."

    ― Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

    All Images in this column shot at Octoberville in Second life, except as marked.  All shots by Caledonia Skytower

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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: August 2017

    This Month Featuring: LoveFest 2017 & Stories at Time Portal

    Back from a July vacation from the column with two great story experiences to recommend!

    A story well told, or a work of fiction well presented by a talented voice can be transporting.  When it takes place in surroundings that evoke and celebrate the literature itself, it adds a layer of engagement that sparks the imagination.  That's one of the strengths of presenting stories and literature in virtual worlds.  It seems as every month advances, I discover more and more people wanting to add significant, relevant spoken word content to their builds, be they historical or celebratory.

    August 17th saw the opening of the sixth annual LoveFest, benefitting Innsmouth in Second Life - the region which celebrates the work of influential 20th century author of horror fiction, H. P. Lovecraft.  Known best for his celebrated "The Call of Cthlulhu" and "The Shadow over Innsmouth", Lovecraft was not a success in his time; his work not achieving wide spread acceptance and popularity till after his death in 1937. Yet fans of his work are many, and its impact on its literary genre undeniable.

    Innsmouth in Second Life hosts weekly story sessions in their home region, reading from Lovecraft's significant canon of works.  At LoveFest they have carried that commitment over, adding to screenings of horror films, live music, DJ sets, dance shows, shopping (refresh your supply of tentacled merchandise!), gachas, and freebies - readings from Lovecraft and Lovecraftian works (yes, the man's work spawned a genre of its own!) and Lovecraft Open mics where fans can share their favorite bits.  What could be better than horror fiction live, surrounded by lurking menaces and hidden dangers?  Lovefest delivers these in abundance.

    The "Mysteries of the Deep" themed ten-day festival even includes an adventure.  Visitors may opt to sign onto the Miskatonic University Oceanic Expedition Team, and be transported to a remote area of the vast Pacific Ocean that has been charted for research and exploration, equipped to descend into the abyss to explore the wonders of the “Deep Blue” and investigate finds initially reported by an earlier “advance research” team. But as the festival's blog warns: "Beware, as while there are many beautiful, mesmerizing things in the Pacific Deep, there are also risks and dangers in this truly alien environment on Earth!"

     So if you are a fan of horror fiction in general, and Lovecraft specifically, this is a no-miss event.  Lucky you!  You have one week to check it out.  Be sure and give yourself plenty of time, and arrive early for any story events - the region is packed with detail and lots of traffic, so it can be a bit laggy and take a moment to fully rez. Schedule details can be found on the festival blog: https://lovefest.wordpress.com/events/full-schedule/

    Lovefest 2017

    Celebrating H.P. Lovecraft's 127th Birthday

    August 17 - 27

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Coral%20Moon/128/128/3001

    Frau Jo Yardley is well known for her creation and nurture of the detailed, historical, and highly popular 1920s Berlin in Second Life.  Last year she, and a group of like-minded historical enthusiasts, extended this concept to create the Time Portal project.  From Tudor England, to 18th Century France, to the 1950-60s the region is divided into zones that gives a taste of history, and connects to creators and performers that also celebrate that era.

    Sunday, August 27th at 11:30am slt, that celebration will extend to stories: Victorian Tales presented by a gifted line-up of spoken word talent in the Victorian London zone.  Seanchai Library has joined with the Time Portal to present stories from Victorian Literature at the Music Hall, live in voice.  Corwyn Allen, Fayleen Bellois, Cybele Moon, Dubhna Rhiadra, and VT Torvalar will present 90 minutes of scintillating adventures from penny dreadfuls to classic Victoriana.  Selections from Edgar Allan Poe, Kipling, and other icons of Victorian Literature are sure to be part of the program.

    Residents are encouraged to explore the Victorian London zone, which provides an amazingly rich depiction of both the highs, and lows of the era - the "haves" and the "have nots."  Like LoveFest the region is packed with detail, so it can be a bit laggy and take a moment to fully rez.  Arrive early, and plan on time to explore before or after the stories.

    Victorian Tales

    at Time Portal's Victorian London zone

    Sunday, August 27th at 11:30 am slt

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Time%20Portal/201/223/1927

    And check out the Time Portal blog:  https://timeportalsl.com/

     

    GOING ON THIS MONTH: Two events back from hiatus!

     

    ~ "BOUDICCA READS" Returning with more adventures from The Chronicles of Narnia

    Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil—what more could anyone ask for in one book?  The book that has it all is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, written in 1949 by Clive Staples Lewis. But Lewis did not stop there. Six more books followed, and together they became known as The Chronicles of Narnia.

    CALE'S NOTE: These sessions are typically 30 minutes, so it is good for people who find an hour long story too much.  The location is different form that previously posted in this column.

    Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:15pm slt

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Evanescent/221/218/22

     

    ~ READINGS FROM THE FOREST TRADITION - BUDDHISM:

    The Buddha Center offers, each Tue & Fri (exceptions announced), an enjoyable and informative presentation read, live in voice.  Swami Luminos draws presented texts from Ajahn Sumedho's transcribed oral teachings, which always prove enlightening & entertaining.

    Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am slt

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Buddhism/132/129/22

    All listed times are "slt."

    Know of a cool spoken word venue or project? Send me a notecard (Caledonia Skytower) with the basics and a landmark, and I will be happy to check them out as a possible feature.

    This Month's Quote:  “No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”

    ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

    IMAGE CREDITS: Caledonia Skytower

     

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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: March 2017

    This Month Featuring: Votarn Torvalar, plus Events Update

    When I first entered the forum of Spoken Word in Second Life, over eight years ago, there was a lot of stress placed on "readers" versus "tellers" of stories.  In the virtual world, a practiced ear can tell if a story is being told or read, but the difference between them hinges on performance.  There are people doing spoken word stories that are clearly reading, and others who blur the line through their use of voice and style.  An important thing to note is that you should never read someone else's work, published or not, without giving clear credit to the author.  It is in all our best interests to support the rights of creators of all kinds, and that includes authors.

    Performance is the realm from which this month's feature comes.  Votarn Torvalar (known as "VT") spent 20 years in the corporeal world as a performer, before becoming an educator. He worked for many years in schools and colleges, coming to Second Life eight years ago.  Hailing from southeast England, not far from the White Cliffs of Dover, VT has been active in SL role play including Gorean.  His virtual storytelling career began when he started reading for a friend several years ago, which morphed into the reading from author-educator John Norman's extended works to various interested groups.  The success of that endeavor eventually broadened to include all sorts of stories, which he has been reading primarily for interested friends in his own library at his SL home, The iPatch.

    VT's presentation style is mature, with his experience as a performer reflected in the broad array of characters he vocally portrays in his current weekly readings at iPatch, featuring various works by the late, brilliant Terry Pratchett.  "I don't get bored with them. I prefer material with a good amount of dialogue rather than descriptive passages," VT shared when asked about his personal love for Pratchett's Discworld series.

    While he tries to limit his schedule to allow himself suitable time to prepare material, VT has been heard outside of his home venue, participating in group events with Seanchai Library, including at this year's SL Dicken's Project.  He is currently participating in readings being held on LEA Region 10 in the Whitechapel-London 1888 installation - presenting Victorian tales and authors at 1 pm slt on Mondays at the Whitechapel Story Corner (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA10/191/217/28). 

    As VT's Discworld sessions (currently featuring Pyramids) are held on private land, I am reticent to openly publish the grid address.  However, those sessions are posted in the daily Stories Unlimited! notecard for Friday's at 2pm slt.  If you are not in that subscriber group and are interested in attending, I suggest you make a polite inquiry by notecard to Votarn Torvalar himself. (NOTE: VT has informed me that all are welcome at the iPatch.  Please be aware that the region is rated "Adult." http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Neomah/141/178/27)

    Stories Unlimited! is a subscriber information group specifically promoting story-based events, including literary readings, theater, machinima, dance, poetry.  It just has to have, and express, a plot. (send me a notecard with your name if you'd like to be added).

    GOING ON THIS MONTH:

    LEA Region 10 - Whitechapel-London 1888: Readings from a variety of Victorian sources and pastiches, presented by a confederation of talented voices.  Session are currently on Mondays at 1pm, Tuesdays at 4:30pm, Thursdays at 1:30pm & 4pm, and Fridays at 11am.  Content covers everything from Penny Dreadfuls to "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA10/191/217/28

    VOLUME IX: Seanchai Library Celebrates:  One of the longest running story presentation venues on the Second Life Grid celebrates 9 years of stories - thousands of hours, hundreds of titles, dozens of genres - on Sunday, March 26th.  The festivities start with Chili Cook-Off Stories and a Recipe Exchange at 1pm, followed by a dance party to the Hit Tunes of DJ Dano Bookmite from 2-4pm.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bradley%20University/101/208/28

    Boudicca Reads: Continuing her presentation of C.S. Lewis'The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Boudicca Amat reads at An Uncertain Destiny on Mystic, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:15pm. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Mystic/160/224/28

    The Forest Beyond: Ceakay Ballyhoo's current art and story installation at Mistwood Isle on Storybrooke. The original tale, written by Ceakay, is available on a notecard at the beginning point of the installation, and further live voice story tours are scheduled.  Story tour times and dates will be posted in Stories Unlimited! and also by inquiry to Ceakay, herself. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Storybrooke/241/243/23

    COMING IN APRIL:

    • A new art and story installation by Ceakay Ballyhoo featuring the work of Hana Hoo.
    • Stories at Filling the Cauldron, a benefit for Elicio Ember at Holly Kai Park, Saturday, April 8th at 1pm.
    • Seanchai Library presents stories at the Kultivate Spring Art Show - April 9th from 3-4pm
    • Poetry of the Planets community poetry project opens on LEA 4
    • Fantasy Faire's LitFest 2017 opens April 20th.

    All listed times are "slt."

    Know of a cool spoken word venue or project?  Send me a notecard (Caledonia Skytower) with the basics and a landmark, and I will be happy to check them out as a possible feature.

    This Month's Quote:  “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

    ― Rudyard Kipling, The Collected Works

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  • INTRODUCING: A Storyteller's Notebook

    This Month Featuring: Introduction and Ce Soir Arts

    by Caledonia Skytower

    There has been a resurgence of spoken word events on the Second Life grid in the past 18 months, specifically of prose. That is heartening to someone like myself  who has been involved in performing and producing such events for nearly nine years now. In my capacity as Lead Staff at Seanchai Library, and owner of the Stories Unlimited information group, I have been approached by no less than four builds currently underway that are actively planning spoken voice events as part of their project design.  And there are more than a half a dozen new and very talented voice presenters active on a regular basis. People are starting to get it.  Well, most people are.

    There are still those who don't get the difference between the emotional immediacy of a live reading, and the consistency of a recorded audio track. They are not the same, and while they both express word and plot successfully, they achieve this with slightly different outcomes.  It is similar to comparing the storytelling properties of theater with cinema: one is a unique moment shared between audience and performer/presenter, the other is exactly the same expressed experience every time you engage it.  Add to this the legal complications of recording any literature outside of public domain without the author's permission, and in a way that still gives you the essence of the narrative, and you can understand why live readings and storytelling might be not just more emotionally compelling, but frankly easier and more convenient to present.

    This new monthly post in SLArtist will feature stories of events, venues, and storytellers presenting in Second Life.  Like my information subscriber group, Stories Unlimited!, it will represent any non-role-play expression of a story regardless of the format: literature, traditional telling, dance, theater, poetry.  It just has to have a plot.  Initially I will focus on live presenters, venues, and spoken word  based projects; but features will not necessarily be limited to that.

    In this first column I am proud to feature Ce Soir Arts which serves as a home for music, visual art, and presents an abundance of spoken word offerings at its reading spot: The Magic Tree.

    Aeon and Mirielle Jenvieve-Woodford opened Ce Soir in January of 2012.  Their intent has always been to be a venue that supported multiple art forms, and that became personified early on by Russell Eponym: artist, musician, author, storyteller.  Eponym is the Poet Laureate at Ce Soir Arts, and maintains an active weekly presence. Russell headlines the Tuesday spoken word line up, with a popular noon session that encompasses music, poetry, stories, and a weekly "thought of the day."

    Others in the current spoken word line up include long time virtual storyteller and author Dubhna Rhiadra, Bryn Taleweaver, and myself presenting a broad spectrum from original works and adaptations, to beloved pieces of classical literature.  Brand new to the Tuesday and Wednesday menu is Mr. G. Darkrose, currently reading from the first of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. On special occasions, the owners add their own contributions to these bountiful offerings.  The environment is beautiful and magical, graciously hosted by the owners, with lots of additional features to explore including: Château Ce Soir, Côte de la Mer Galerie & Lawn (currently featuring the work of Silas Merlin), Witchwood Hollow, The Graveyard Dungeon, Dover Beach Theatre, and The Conservatory and Oracle Parlour.

    To learn more about Ce Soir, visit their blog

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ce%20Soir/165/136/32

    You can find Ce Soir Spoken word events posted through the group Storytelling Guild of Second Life, in SL Events, and through the Stories Unlimited! subscriber information group (send me a notecard with your name if you'd like to be added).

    Know of a cool spoken word venue or project?  Send me a notecard (Caledonia Skytower) with the basics and a landmark, and I will be happy to check them out as a possible feature.

    This Month's Quote:  “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”  ― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

     Photo images of Ce Soir Arts by Caledonia Skytower

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