This Month Featuring: Dubhna Rhiadra
I still remember the first time I heard Dubhna ("Doov-na") Rhiadra tell a story in Second Life. It was enough years ago that I cannot remember exactly how many. She was presenting at a region that most likely is not longer in existence. There was a circle of "foresty" things and a fire, and Dubhna telling tales of that North American trickster and purveyor of native wisdoms, Raven. I was drawn in immediately, as Raven comes from my neck of North America, and because Dubhna's style of delivery is incredibly accessible. Her voice carries the musical lilt of Britain and Wales, and there is nothing formal or formulaic about her storytelling.
All these years later, I have stood around other story fires with Dubhna: telling tales together from the native lore of North America, musing in Celtic dreams, sharing our own writing in small group sessions which were insightful and thought-provoking. She was the first person I had become friends with in virtual worlds that I actually met in the corporeal world - spending several delightful hours in a Seattle Tea Shop in that fascinating ritual of getting to know someone who you already seem to know. Dubhna's stories and storytelling are a reflection of who she is: soulful, thoughtful, conscientious, full of conviction, and with an earthy humor that can side swipe you if you are not paying attention.
Stories are hardwired into most of us - it's part of being human. For Dubhna, telling stories and expressing ideas through art is a life-long practice. It's no surprise that we became friends, as we both came to writing later in our creative lives. "From my teens onward I would do cartoon stories, or just draw illustrations," Dubhna shared. "Then I became a dancer when I was in my 30s, and worked with disabled adults, doing music, art and dance for some years, then branched out on my own and worked in community dance in my own right, creating work for performance and teaching creative dance. I finally found my way back to writing through story-telling."
Rhiadra, who lives in Britain near London, had been telling stories of her own making, as well as traditional tales, for quite some time before she became involved with virtual worlds. Storytelling in Second Life just seemed a natural fit, as did collaboration, and over the years Dubhna has created several dance-story-art performance pieces with other creative souls that she has encountered.
Her first love is folk-lore and folk-tales. "My idol and role-model is Angela Carter, who led the way in re-tellings of traditional tales for the modern age. I will share work by SF and fantasy authors if I can find a good extract. I am always looking for new unexplored work that would be suitable."
The growth in spoken word popularity on the Second Life grid in recent years reflects a keen interest in poetry and storytelling done in the age-old manner through a new millennia medium. "I see more and more people coming in to listen and present work in this way in SL, which indicates that it's a thing that attracts and engages people. It's so easy to speak on voice, and time spent researching subject matter means you start thinking about what you read in your daily life in a different way." A naturally collaborative artist, Dubhna sees this further reflected in how other artists view the potential of adding spoken word components to their visual, music, or dance work. She gives the example, "Years ago, very few LEA builds would have included a story-telling component, but now I am getting invitations from many different LEA projects. This in turn inspires me to write new material, or look at material - such as Victorian literature, that I may not have thought about before."
Dubhna is currently engaged with JenniferMay Carlucci's "Existence in the Balance" installation on LEA Region 18. She has been sharing creation tales there over the last few months, since the installation opened. She has used her years as a folklorist and theologian, studying and reflecting on creation tales from many different cultures to create a new story of the creation of the world. Set to the music of Ahnue Heartlight, she has created a fresh tale of the Earth's nativity that speaks to the people of the 21st century. This new tale will debut Sunday, March 28th at 2pm slt on LEA 18. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA18/224/98/1191
You can experience Dubhna's stories at The Magic Tree at Ce Soir Arts every other week, where she follows BrynTaleweaver on the Wednesday afternoon schedule (https://cesoirarts.com/). She promotes her sessions through various groups in-world including The Storytelling Guild of Second Life, and through the Stories Unlimited! Subscriber Group. She also posts her events on facebook on the account CathAnne Blackfeather.
GOING ON THIS MONTH:
~ Poetry & Stories of The Planets, Sunday, May 28th 3:30-4:30pm slt : readings from the many poems and stories composed, submitted and featured during the project. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA4/136/75/23
~ Jupiter's Ball, Monday, May 29th, 1-3 pm slt: A final celebration featuring the celestial tunes of DJ Dano Bookmite in the Jupiter Ballroom.
A Poet's Plunder Saturday mornings at 6am slt at the Bookworm Cafe in SouthernTier, New York. What's on Klannex's mind this week? Get a hot cuppa and find out. Klannex reads and opens the mic for others. Plunder available for best original work. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SouthernTier%20New%20York/136/23/25
Niamh's Journey of Dreams continues at Mistwood Isle - CK Ballyhoo's newest watercolour creation inspired by Cybele Moon's original adaptation of a Celtic legend. Take the walk and read the story as you follow in the steps of Niamh as she searches for her scattered dreams. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Storybrooke/20/13/32
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: “Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
IMAGE CREDIT: Seanchai Library and StoryFest SL Archives, and Caledonia Skytower