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The Spoken Word


  • A Storyteller's Notebook: May 2018

    This Month Featuring: The Poe You Really Should Get to Know, on LEA 18

    American author Edgar Allan Poe is most often thought of as the "Master of the Macabre" for such works as "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Cask of Amontillado," and the poem "The Raven" in a very fertile writing career that lasted two decades before his untimely death at the age of forty.  What many people overlook is that, in the canon of Poe, tales of horror and mystery claim only one part of his complete works.  Of over five dozen poems and sixty-six short stories, less than half of these deserve the moniker "macabre."  The other side of Poe, the one that laughs, is currently being celebrated on Linden Endowment for the Arts Region 18 in an installation created by Daark Gothly, Mazie Halpern, and Cienega Soon.

    In addition to "The Premature Burial" and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," Edgar Allan Poe wrote satire, fantasy, and essays.  The LEA 18 project celebrates one of the latter, his essay "The Philosophy of Furniture" first published in the May 1840 issue of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. It was later re-published in the Broadway Journal on May 3, 1845 as "House of Furniture."

    On the surface, the essay is a theoretical analysis of interior design. Beneath the surface lingers the keen wit and satirically raised eyebrow that we most commonly associate with the commentaries of Poe's contemporary, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain).  Follies are exposed, and fads ridiculed.  Poe travels globe eviscerating the "styles" of the Italians, French, Chinese, Scots, Dutch, Spanish, and Russians, while lauding the superiority of the English decorative sensibilities.  The new world is not left unscathed, and Poe expresses his extreme offense at the American "well furnished apartment," and continues on to the "Hottentots" and the "Kickapoos." Poe rounds out the decorative tour by asserting the details and extolling the qualities of what he considers a "perfect room."

    The creators of The Philosophy of Furniture, which is currently open on LEA 18 through the end of this current Artist in Residence cycle (the end of June), have combined a masterful understanding of their subject with a light, whimsical hand that is perfectly tuned to the humor of this essay.  LEA 18 is fully realized fun, exploration, and the opportunity to get to know a great author just a little better.

    All the information you need to thoroughly enjoy the creation is available at the landing point (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA18/171/199/22). Follow along with the text, or listen to audio of the essay being read.  Take the tour to each of the nationalities touched on in the work, all featured in an open, abstracted landscape of words and visual references to the Poe canon.  The tour will lead you, finally, to Poe's Perfect Room and some prizes for successfully traversing the entire scope of the story.

     But there's no need to end your visit there!  Grab a 19th Century Penny Farthing Bicycle and zoom along the interweaving network of pathways, exploring more of Poe's words and thoughts.  You'll discover lush venues for music, dance, and spoken word.  While no events were listed at the landing point, and it does not seem that the creators planned and organized spoken word events themselves, their open invitation to anyone to present readings of Poe's work is clearly posted with the rest of the build's information.  If you are interested, and would like to be listed on the TPOF Event Board, contact Daark Gothly.

    This is really a fine example of a multi-disciplinary creation, and I only wish I had known about it sooner.  If you are reading this, and you love Poe, don't wait. Go now! The Philosophy of Furniture on LEA 18 will disappear into the virtual mists in just a few weeks.

    In Other News

    HuwTrefor Carr is a gifted actor and storyteller.  I first was introduced to his work when he joined Seanchai Library at last year's LoveFest benefiting Innsmouth.  He does not present regularly in-world, to my knowledge, but his skill with a story is unquestionable.  He recently added another offering to his The Black Dog Chronicles YouTube Channel. The new piece, "Scary Stories - The Face in the Mirror" is an inspired rendering of the late Welsh writer, Denys Val Baker's, chilling tale.  A deft hand with character, tone, pacing, and dialect, Carr's work is a study in how it should be done.

    Check out "Scary Stories - The Face in the Mirror" on YouTube and judge for yourself.

    Tea Time at Baker Street, one of Seanchai Library's mainstay Sunday afternoon offerings, will be returning, beginning June 2nd, with A Study in Scarlet, as the Tea Time crew approach their second complete circuit of the Sherlock Holmes canon of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The 1887 adventure introduces Holmes and Watson to each other, firmly establishing them as roomies in the soon to be familiar apartments at 221B Baker Street.

    Written in two parts, the first takes place in the story's 1881 "present," establishing Dr. Watson as the narrator and chronicler of Holmes' further exploits, and introducing the case. Part II: "The Country of the Saints" explores the story behind the crime, leading back over three decades to a group of Utah pioneers, a man and woman in love, and a terrible crime of power.

    A Study in Scarlet will be presented in four one hour installments, beginning June 2nd, at 1:30pm slt in the Fireside Room at Seanchai Library's Main Branch on Holly Kai.  The sessions are presented live in voice.

    ***

    Know of a cool spoken word venue or related 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:  I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.

    ~ Edgar Allan Poe

     

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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: April 2018

    This Month Featuring: This Year's Literary Festival at Fantasy Faire

    The Fantasy Faire Literary Festival ("LitFest") makes every effort to be a comprehensive literature event, and succeeds to a great degree.  A part of the mega-RFL fundraising event, Fantasy Faire, LitFest made its debut in 2015 and has celebrated the works of Terry Pratchett, William Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien along side of authors with unique Second Life connections.  The ten day event provides a broad array of opportunities for those who love stories and literature: writing, author talks, open mics, discussions, storytelling, and a special day to celebrate the impact that George R. R. Martin has had on the contemporary literary world.

    Summing up 49 individual events over ten days, and over 60 hours of programming is daunting. But the Halls of Story (the LitFest homebase region http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Halls%20of%20Story/121/117/87) will be brimming with them from April 19th to the 29th.  The entire Faire, including LitFest, benefits the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.  You can get more detailed information on the Fantasy Faire Literary Festival Schedule page.  

    Interested in writing?  Before we review some of the things that you can attend at LitFest, let's talk about the one thing that you can be a direct part of: The Region Tours and Writing Challenge.  LitFest invites you to put your Fantasy Faire experience into words.  The Faire is brimming with stories: breathtaking builds and fantastical creations designed to touch your heart and soul.  What stories do they inspire in you: poetry? prose?

    Daily tours led by Saffia Widdershins leave from The Halls of Story at 5pm slt.  But you can explore and write anytime of the day.  Tips and hints notecards are available at the LitFest landing area, and enthusiastic wordsmiths are encouraged to not be limited by the notecards or the tour destinations.  The Worldlings on FaireLand Junction?  The bright shores of The Story Well or Astrid's Nemeton?  Or perhaps a chance encounter with other Fairelanders excites your muse.   All submitted works will be considered.  Be sure to review the "How to Submit" information at the LitFest landing area.

    Interested in Authors and their works?  In addition to an array of writing talent sourced from the SL grid, fantasy authors  Tom Lloyd (http://TomLloyd.co.uk) and Danie Ware (http://danieware.com) will be guests of the Faire, stopping to engage in conversations about their work and writing in general with David Abbott on Tuesday, April 24th and Thursday, April 26th respectively (see schedule for time).

    Tom Lloyd is the author of the Twilight Reign series of novels (The StormcallerThe Twilight HeraldThe Grave ThiefThe Ragged ManThDusk Watchman) and its companion collection of short stories, The God Tattoo; the Empire of a Hundred Houses novels 

    (Moon’s Artifice and Old Man’s Ghosts); and his latest series, The God Fragments (Stranger of TempestHonour Under MoonlightPrincess of Blood, The Man With One Name). Lloyd is also the author of the stand-alone novella Fear the Reaper, published by Kristell Ink.

    Self-affirmed child of the Seventies, author Danie Ware lead a diverse life that included a bit of writing when she went to work for London cult retailer Forbidden Planet in 2001. After a bout of "live intervening," she took up her pen again in 2008 when her Ecko series was published by Titan Books and available to buy from Amazon.  Publisher's Weekly said of her work Ecko Rising, "...Ware has a deep knowledge of science fiction and fantasy, and she hurls it all into this engrossing but sometimes derivative mix of high-tech street fighting and epic quest." Her new book, Children of Artifice, will be available from FoxSpirit Books later this year.

    If you are a fan of George R.R. Martin, you will not want to miss the conversation with Linda Antonsson and Elio M. García, owners of Westeros.org, the oldest "A Song of Ice and Fire" fansite. They are also the co-authors of "The World of Ice and Fire" together with George R.R. Martin himself. It is just one of the events on Wednesday, April 25th .on George R.R, Martin Day.

    Well known writer CeeJay Writer and storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson are just a few of the other anticipated presenters.

    Interested in readings and storytelling?  Seanchai Library will be bringing their entire week's programming over to the Faire, as will the equally long-lived Written Word group.  So from the X-Files to Sounds of Poems, open mics of prose and poetry, there's plenty of literary listening to be had at LitFest, including a special dramatic reading by myself (Caledonia Skytower) and Zander Greene from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and two (count'em TWO) Shakespeare productions by the Faire Lands Players.

    As a side note, this is also the first year for a secondary stage (more than LitFest, and less than the Big Dance Show Mainstage).  You can find out more about the offerings there by looking for "Arts & Entertainment" under the event tab on the website.

    I first encountered Fantasy Faire through Draxtor Despres' Worldmaker machinima series, where I was struck by this quote from the interview with Faire Executive Zander Greene, “We can put you into the story.  The medium isn’t real.  The experience it creates in me is what’s real.”  Step into a rich world overflowing with stories, when the faire lands open in the morning on April 19th, and enjoy ten days of fantastic celebration, in support of Relay for Life.

     More in depth information on all of these events can be found at https://fantasyfairesl.wordpress.com/literary-festival-2018/

     Visit the 2018 LitFest on Designer Elicio Ember's vibrant Halls of Story region (sponsored by his Cerridwen's Cauldron) http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Halls%20of%20Story/121/117/87

     ***

    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 of imagination tend to upset those without one.” ~ Terry Pratchett

     

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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: March 2018

     

    This Month Featuring: A STORY THAT BEGAN A DECADE AGO

    This month's column is very personal.  Like Bilbo Baggins, his heir Frodo, and many other fine characters in literature, journeys are begun that lead to places wholly unexpected, teach singular lessons that might not have encountered otherwise, and leave the traveler looking back in amazement with the life-defining clarity of hindsight.  That's certainly the story of Seanchai Library, celebrating its ten years of live story presentation this month.  Not surprisingly, it is also my journey.

    Sometime in July of 2008 my corporeal self had a nasty bout of food poisoning.  Having slept too much, she was trying to keep awake so her circadian rhythms would stop doing the mambo. She decided to keep her mind focused by creating a new avatar account, and named her after a music track that was popular that summer, recorded by the group Celtic Thunder. Yes, Caledonia Skytower began life as an alt created out of sick boredom, and named after a guy group hit. 

    Having already visited the West of Ireland on an exploration jag that involved dropping names of countries we always wanted to visit into Search, (Boy!  Was THAT dangerous!)  we had been to WOI and had noticed how friendly the people were, and how much fun they were having.  On that hot, miserable day the destiny of Caledonia was to be a social presence in the West of Ireland, and have some fun.  A not-so-noob account opened, a strafing run on a favorite mega-freebie store, and then heading to a remote corner of WOI to unpack.  Well, it seemed remote enough at the time.

     Hardly had the shoes been sorted when the IM box lit up and a Shandon Loring welcomed Caledonia to the West of Ireland and said he was with "the Library." They read stories every night at 7pm, and would Cale like to come sometime?  This sounded interesting enough, and not nearly as threatening as some of virtual experiences had been, so we said we'd check it out.  Shandon turned out to be a green tortoise with a snap brim hat, who'd spotted Cale and her boxes from a hill up behind the supposedly remote stretch of shore where we'd retreated.  So the next night Caledonia went to the West of Ireland Library and CulturalCenter and that, as they say, was that.

    Ten years later is hard to imagine that time when it was all so new, before stories truly became the focus of my life through Seanchai Library.  I had always been involved in storytelling, after a fashion, but in Second Life I first experienced losing myself in a tale as I was telling it.  The logistics of presenting stories and literature in voice require that a good presenter must listen, listen, listen to do justice to the language and the literature. When its good, it is a transportive experience for audience and storyteller.  Imagine that?  Transporting yourself and others who aren't even in the same town you are in, sometimes not on the same continent much less the same room, all with the power of your voice.

    I marvel at the thousands of hours of programming Seanchai has made available over the last decade, the authors I most likely never would have encountered directly otherwise: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Kate DiCamillo, and so many more.  I cannot help but appreciate the deeper relationship I now have with the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Louis Stevenson, and of course J.R.R.Tolkien. Just the tip of the iceberg. It does not even begin to articulate the effects that a near daily immersion in literature have on a life, or the subsequent stories authored as a result of bathing one's being in language.

    At the end of 2012, Seanchai founder Derry McMahon retired from guiding the library. I took over as Lead Staff and have continued to steward Seanchai Library on whatever path it is destined to follow, along with Shandon who has taken on so many different shapes over the years that I cannot even begin to count them.  We've built new relationships, maintained some fine old ones, succeeded, failed, and tripped over our own good intentions as many times as we emerged triumphant. We've never done it alone.  There has always been an enthusiastic cadre of  volunteer staff, various affiliates, and loyal community that made all the time it takes to plan and maintain Seanchai Library worth it.

    Seanchai is celebrating - right now. It began on the 15th and will continue through the 25th.  As I look back and contemplate that journey, I remember the many people who are celebrating as well: the families who have listen to stories through computer speakers, the mother and daughter on different continents who spend time together by logging in and coming to listen, the young differently-abled man who finds comfort and acceptance through our stories, the now-married couple who met and connected as regulars through our sessions, and many more for whom Seanchai Library has been focus point, and a familiar place to gather, regardless of what was going on in other realms of their lives.  And the friends ... so many, and so dear.  Some have stayed for the entire journey, some come and go, and some we will sadly never see again on this side.

    In the end, the Library is not about me, or about any of them, or about books.  Seanchai Library is about a community connected by the singular and ancient act of stories shared aloud, for a remarkable ten years in virtual worlds. 

    Seanchai Library, and I, invite you to join us for some memorable events during the Volume 10 celebration - music, a light-hearted quest and, of course, stories.

    Saturday, March 17th       ~ 11:30 am: Corwyn Allen & Wald Schridde Play Celtic Music, Live! at  Ceiliúradh Glen on Holly Kai  (in homage to Glens na hEirean in the old West of Ireland Estate)
    Followed at 1pm by . . .
        The Storyteller's Path with Caledonia Skytower at  Ceiliúradh Glen broadcast on Fantasy Faire Radio

    Sunday, March 18th 
         ~12:30 pm: Prelude to A Bagpipe Challenge with Caledonia Skytower at  Ceiliúradh Glen 
    Followed from 1-4pm by . . .
        BEYOND LOUD: A Bagpipe Challenge - music with Elrik Merlin, Gabrielle Riel, and Ktahdn Vesivino at  Ceiliúradh Glen broadcast on Radio Riel Main Stream

    Monday, March 19th 
         @7 pm: Sci-Fi By Command with Gyro Muggins - A Science Fiction Encore selected by the Seanchai Library Community at our home Library on Holly Kai.

    Tuesday, March 20th 
         @7 pm: Stories Go Round - A buffet of short stories and poems shared by the Seanchai Staff at our home Library on Holly Kai.

    Wednesday, March 21st
         @6:30 pm: Dracula! - An encore presentation of a classic from our past.  Arrive at the Library on Holly Kai early to teleport to the special setting for the event!

    Thursday, March 22nd 

        @7pm: The Architect of Newgrange - Part 2 with Shandon Loring. Arrive at the Library on Holly Kai early to teleport to the special setting for the event!

    Saturday, March 24th

       @ 2pm: War of the Worlds at Holly Kai Park's Art Hill.

    Sunday, March 25th 


        @1pm: The Storyteller's Sandbox hosted by Dubhna Rhiadra with Seanchai Library Friends from around the Spoken Word Community at Ceiliúradh Glen on Holly Kai.

    This same information and even more, plus the teleport links to the various venues can be found at http://irelandslstory.blogspot.com/p/volume.html

    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 you're going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all."  ~ Joseph Campbell

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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: February 2018

    Image from One Billion Rising 2017 courtesy of Wildstar Beaumont

    This Month Featuring: THE IMPORTANCE OF STORIES

    "Where in the heck have you been, Caledonia?"  A good question, as I celebrate the one year anniversary of this column, having not posted since October, it seems a rather short-sheeted with several posts missing.  But guilt and a commitment to stories dictates that I pick up the wand where it languished, and carry on.

    That's the down side of being a storyteller and a producer of storytelling events.  You might recall that in my last column (October 2017 "GOT GHOST STORY?") was brimming with all sorts of events as the "High Story Season" (September - March) was in full swing.  So that's where I have been.  I have been up to my neck in stories: from the late October blitz of ghostly tales, through the five incredible weeks of The Dickens Project. I even intended to write about a few of them, but in the end I was too busy doing them to write about them.

    But here we are, back in February where this all began a year ago, and it's time to get back on track.  So let's begin!

    My fundamental belief is that stories are crucially important - intrinsically a part of our lives: from a first cup of coffee, to the last lingering wish before sleep where stories continue to weave themselves into our imagination.  We are all living our own story every single day, and by engaging stories we allow ourselves to gain understanding, to express important thoughts, and to dream.  

    Image courtesy of Wildstar Beaumont

    If that's true, what does it mean to suppress a story?  Why would you do that? What kind of story should not be told? Any story that comes from a genuine place, a truth - whether it aligns with your own or not - deserves telling.  Even if it is to an audience of one. By getting stories out in the air, we can better examine them, understand them, and perhaps create new tales for the future with deliberation and intent.  That's what learning and growing are all about.  This month I am honored to feature an event that is all about bringing stories to the air that have not been allowed their fundamental right to breathe: One Billion Rising.

    One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history. The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.

    One Billion Rising in SL (OBR SL) has followed this ground breaking action with the sort of engagement that virtual worlds do best. It breaks down barriers of proximity, allowing a forum for visual and personal expression, supporting the vision of a world where oppression does not block truth, and all stories may be told.

    OBR SL does this in a number of ways, and I encourage you to explore their website at https://onebillionrisingsl.wordpress.com/ to check the schedule of events as they emerge for One Billion Rising in Second Life 2018 - Wednesday, February 14th.

    Here are a few highlights:

    Poetry at OBR SL: Wednesday, February 14th from 2-5pm slt

    Combining an impressive line up of poets, as well as opportunities for open mic participation, Adele Ward/Jilly Kidd hosts this afternoon of poetry. 

    Featured presenters include: Joy Benehil, Jolie Carter, Medora Chevalier, Shyla the Super Gecko, Amy Inawe, Aoife Lorefield, Talkwithmarie 'Red', Dubhna Rhiadra, Morgue McMillan-Shoreland, with more being confirmed daily.  If you are interested in presenting, please contact Adele Ward/Jilly Kidd and specify in which hour you would be interested in presenting. All forms of writing are welcome with a limit of 5 or 10 minutes depending on the number of people participating each hour. The event is in voice but people can ask for somebody else to read for them, if they wish.

    The #MeToo Forest - share your story now!

    One of the ways that OBR SL shares its message is through creative and impactful art installations.  This year the #MeTooForest honors the #MeToo movement that has allowed so many women to finally tell their stories, while also providing an open invitation to all to share their stories, messages, and poems. These will be attached to the trees so that as visitors can read them as they explore this quiet and beautiful space, filled with important messages of hope, strength, and the necessity for lasting change.

    To make your contribution to for The #MeTooForest, use the form on the OBR SL website.

    Why I'm Rising - online

    Another opportunity to share your story and show your support for One Billion Rising can be found under the "Why I'm Rising" tab.  There you can find the stories of others, and read why they support OBR.  It is a moving page full of love, frustration, anger and determination.  You don't have to be one of the victims of violence against women to realize that many women's daily lives are full of (quoting Saffia Widdershin's post) " petty daily humiliations that women are subjected to because they are women."  OBR is not just about beatings and threats.  It is about a protracted pattern of accepted behavior that demeans, degrades, and ultimately silences - a pattern that must end. While this page appears to be part of Previous OBR Events, it also appears that you can still contribute to this page through the online form. Why are You Rising?

    Image from One Billion Rising 2017 courtesy of Wildstar Beaumont

    Next month: Seanchai Library celebrates 10 years of stories presented live in Second Life.

    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:  “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~ Maya Angelou

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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: September 2017

      

    This Month Featuring: Events and Venues Presenting Stories Regularly 

    We are heading into the "High Story" time of year.  That is not intended as a disrespectful co-opting to the Jewish High Holy Days.  Late September to early April seems to be the time of year, at least in the northern hemisphere, when we think the most of stories and sharing them - usually around a crackling fire.  That tradition goes way back to early humans living in caves.  There will be more call for "themed" story events over the next six months, especially as more and more virtual activities find ways to incorporate live stories into their planning. 

    Yet, stories happen regularly, around the grid every week, every month.  Before we plunge into the season, let's take a moment to look at the places and people who present stories in Second Life all year round.  The variety of different types on venues is interesting, as are the genres presented. This list includes primarily English speaking events - there must be more all across our international Second Life grid.  Imagine!

    Be sure and scroll all the way to the bottom of the list for some additional notes on poetry events and where many of these events are listed.  All times listed are SLT.

    EVENTS WHICH REPEAT DURING THE WEEK

    2AM, MONDAY through FRIDAY - READING WITH CATAWBH Imagination Island - MIE Literary Salon

    Cata Charisma gives an open invitation for people who want to share what they are reading and discuss it as they go.  This event is great for English-Second-Language readers, and people who want to improve their understanding if what they read.

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Inspiration%20Island/61/19/22

    3:15PM,  MONDAY & THURSDAY - BOUDICCA Reads .... The Chronicles of NarniaBou's Reading @ Peregrine's

    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.

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

    7PM, MONDAY through THURDAY - SEANCHAI LIBRARYSeanchai Library at HollyKaiPark

    Literature and original stories presented live in voice by one of the grids longest presenting spoken word venues.  Seanchai Library is a library out loud.  Check the website for specific titles and schedule details. www.seanchailibrary.com

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Holly%20Kai%20Estates/215/43/27

    9AM, TUESDAY & THURSDAY - READINGS FROM THE FOREST TRADITION - BUDDHISMBuddhism - Art & Meditation

    The BuddhaCenter offers, each Tue & Fri (exceptions announced), an enjoyable and informative presentation read  live in voice.  We'll be drawing our texts from Ajahn Sumedho's transcribed oral teachings, which always prove enlightening & entertaining.

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Buddhism/128/129/22

    5 PM, TUESDAY, THURSDAY, & SATURDAY - H.P. LOVECRAFT READINGSInnsmouth Visitors Center

    Innsmouth's Visitor Center Overseer, Virginia, reads live from selected works of HP Lovecraft.  Join us at SL's legendary Innsmouth, tribute to the Granddaddy of Horror and Weird Fiction.  

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Innsmouth/15/246/54

    TUESDAY

    11:30AM - STORYCIRCLE at Brithombar HavensBrithombar Havens of the Falas

    Teren and Imi will be sharing  poems and stories from the fantasy genre: currently reading from the "Guardians of Flame" series by J. Rosenberg. Come and listen, or read. You are always welcome!

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Pinkwater/126/79/29

     

    WEDNESDAY

    2PM - WRITTEN WORD OPEN MICWaterstage and Writer's Circle on Cookie

    Sing a song, recite a poem or read a play. Do you have a novel to share? We would love to hear your voice, your words or a favorite author. We will read for you if needed, until you dare.  Come one, come all!

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Cookie/15/244/22

    2PM - HARRY POTTER READINGS @ Book Island, Book Island Main Square

    Selina Greene will be reading from Harry Potter Series in the main square on BookIsland. Come and listen to one of the most universally well known modern classics of our time. Relive Harry's journey to wizardhood and Hogwarts and the new friends and adventures that lie ahead.

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Book%20Island/171/198/36

    5PM - TALES with FRIENDSSeanchai Library at HollyKaiPark

    A  time for friends to gather once more to share their stories.  Join Fayleen, Ian, and Corwyn in the Fireside Room at Seanchai Library.

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Holly%20Kai%20Estates/215/43/27

    9PM - STORYTIME AT SLACKER'S CAFE & COFFEEHOUSESlackers Cafe & Coffee House

    Join us for Storytime at Slackers! Enjoy donuts and coffee or tea and an eclectic mix of Science Fiction stories.

     http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Jeogori/51/182/104

    FRIDAY

    2 PM - VT READS from DISCWORLDLibrary at the i-Patch

    VT Torvalar reads from the fertile canon of author and imaginative genius, Terry Pratchett. 

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Neomah/141/179/27

    6PM - BIRDIE'S STORY HOURBirdie's Reading Circle, Birdie Wilderness, Satori

    After playing on the beach it grows dark and we gather 'round the fire for thrilling stories of 'Occult Mysteries', ' the Golden Age of Weird', 'Spook Stories', and other thrilling, chilling short stories of the fantastic, and mysterious.  Only adult or fantasy avatars please.  Some stories contain adult themes and content.

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Satori/199/29/24

     

    SATURDAY

    7AM - 100 WORD STORIES w/ R. Crap MarinerReading Room, ClocktreePark, Edloe

    One a day, until the day I die (dot com). Stories from the podcast, new and old.

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Edloe/139/124/71

    8AM - C.S. Lewis' OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET at Amatsu ShimaAmatsu Attic

    Here begin the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom who is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken by spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. He doesn't realize that their purpose is his sacrifice. "First published in 1943, 'Out of the Silent Planet' remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force."

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Amatsu%20Shima/23/56/863

    11AM - COLD SHOT PLAYERS - Writers and ReadersWholeBrainArtsCenter

    1st and 3rd Saturdays a scene writing dash. 2nd and 4th Saturdays reading scenes in open mic.   Cold Shot Play Readers and Writers is an Ensemble for people who love the theatrical arts. We get together to read and write short scenes and one act plays. We love to chat about scenes, characters, classic plays, experimental theater, and anything else related to the theatrical arts.

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Inspiration%20Island/209/218/702

    SUNDAY

    8 AM - STORYTIME on Outer IslandOuter Island

    Having a story read to you is the best!  Gemma open the door to their own personal clubhouse/library space as Gemma's Dad share great adventures, foul and fair. Very kid avatar friendly event. Note: This event happens on private land which is opened just for this weekly session,  if you are interested in attending you should contact John or Gemma Morland.

    10AM - STORIES WITH SOKI @ SLCSecond Life Children - Youthspot

    Everyone is welcome at the SLC Playground for storytime, even "grnups" ... bring your friends and be prepared to sit back and enjoy!  Very kid avatar friendly event.

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Owasco/254/153/57

    1PM - BOOK ISLAND OPEN MICBook Island

    Selina Green and other denizens of BookIsland host this weekly open mic to share works in progress and favorites.

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Book%20Island/55/44/25

    1:30PM - TEA TIMESeanchai Library at HollyKaiPark

    Enjoy a virtual tea time with readings from the Sherlock Holmes canon as well as other literature. Check the website for specific titles and schedule details. www.seanchailibrary.com

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Holly%20Kai%20Estates/215/43/27

    5PM - MERE CHRISTIANITY  by C.S. LewisAloha Promises - Tiki Hut

    Please join Ally and I on Sunday night for an evening to honoring Christ through a reading from "Mere Christianity" as written by C.S. Lewis and read by me, Michael Romani.  There will be an opportunity to discuss the readings

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Whispers/240/215/21

    6PM (Bi-Weekly) - MAGICLAND STORYTIMEThe Golden Horseshoe, MagiclandPark

    Storytime at this popular venue in the Disney tribute region focuses primarily on the original source material that inspired the Disney Company to produce live and animated feature films, occasionally wandering into the realm of conjecture to read stories we're sure Walt Disney would have wanted to make into features had he known about them, or if they had been written during his lifetime.

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bracket/180/56/31

    ***

    Every event takes a break.  So be sure and check in SLEvent listings, or at the venue for updates on what is being presented. These postings are accurate as of today: October 20, 2017

    All of these events are listed in the daily notecards distributed to my Stories Unlimited! subscriber information group (send me - Caledonia Skytower - a notecard with your name if you'd like to be added).

    If you are interested in poetry (which also tells a story) there are a wide range of weekly poetry events and open mics.  Klannex Northmead publishes a weekly notecard - The Apple - on Saturdays. The Apple covers over two dozen poetry events throughout the week.  Contact Klannex if you would like to be added to his distribution list.  The Apple weekly card is also included in the Sunday Stories Unlimited! notice.

    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.

     Locations pictured in this article, from top to bottom:

    • Slacker's Cafe and Coffeehouse
    • The Buddha Center
    • Seanchai Library at Holly Kai Park
    • Book Island, Main Square
    • The Clock Tree, Edloe
    • The Golden Horseshoe, Magicland Park

    This Month's Quote:  “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

    ― May Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: June 2017

    This Month Featuring: Caravanserai 1

    Storytelling is a term that covers so many different expressive media. Even within a single platform such as Second Life, you find diverse performances, people challenging the boundaries of visual art as well as refining more traditional approaches.  When we are lucky, several disciplines combine to tell a story greater than the sum of its constituent episodes.  That is certainly the case with Carvanserai 1, making its debut this Saturday, June 24th at 7am as part of June's cavalcade of educational workshops and performances known as SL MOOC 2017.

    Now don't let the word "educational" spook you. This is definitely entertainment as well as enrichment.  All the best entertainment also teaches, generally without your ever noticing. Caravanserai is cleverly conceived to celebrate the natural exchange of culture and the arts that took place along the Silk Road, beginning as early as the second century BCE and continuing for over a millennia. "After trading all day in silks and spices, at night travelers were entertained with stories, poetry, song and dance. They learnt each other's languages and became the conduit for the world great ideas in ancient times - from the mathematical zero to appreciation of a cup of tea or coffee." shared Chris Mooney-Singh, producer of the program.

     

    "This project is an attempt to share the East-West dialogue I have been having for years with my co-organizer Kaylee West, a tertiary lecturer who conceived and runs Chinese Island in Second Life for Monash University. We decided to share our thoughts about East-West culture and created Caravanserai as an occasional artistic and intellectual platform for this," he continues.

    Singh narrates the hour long program, featuring his own adaptation of The Elephant and the Six Blind Menoriginal songs, special musical guest - gypsy violinist Navtali Torok, and James Elroy Flecker's 1913 verse drama The Golden Road to Samarkand.  Singh is joined by actors Pip Albatros, Corwyn Allen, and Mavromichali Szondi.  There will be a screening of a machinima based on the Edwin Thumboo poem "Ulysses by the Merlion" in which the speaker is Ulysses, the Homeric hero. By strange design or cosmic accident he finds himself in Asia, confronting this strange dragon, or naga-like creature and the Asian sea culture that it represents.

    "Culture travels in the saddle bags of history and in the light of new moves toward the New Silk Road today, perhaps our digital metaphor of barter and intellectual exchange can contribute new dialogue among pixel sand dunes and through virtual avatars on camels well into this millennium," Singh further shared, "In the future, this will be even more dynamic and VR goggles will make this experience far more immersive than even it is at present."

    Sited in a desert oasis skybox on Monash University's region, Singh notes, " Kaylee and I have been able to a create digital desert way station on the virtual Silk Road like a theatre or film set for an event that includes storytelling, theatre, a machinima screening debut with intellectual discussion, a spoken word offering and a live gypsy violin performance. Executing that in real life can be challenging. In virtual worlds, there are many human resources available to make this a reality without any real budget, except ones time."

    Yet, this virtual way station is by no means a permanent feature. They are ready to take their show on the road!  "We hope to reprise this first show for new audiences in the future, create new ones, and perhaps develop this occasional platform into a larger festival or Caravanserai Fair, spread over 2-3 days like any other festival in real life. Join us. The camel train is waiting," invited Singh.

    In addition to being a part of SL MOOC 2017, Carvanserai 1 is also a benefit for Feed A Smile (Kenya), another of Second Life's great philanthropic success stories.  100 Lindens pays for one child's meal in the German-based Feed a Smile charity's school in Kenya. One third of the school's monthly food budget is raised by virtual events in Second Life.

    More information about this program at http://www.thewriterscentre.org/caravanserai-project

    Check out the Teaser Trailer here on SLArtists!  

    Caravanserai 1

    At Monash University in Second Life

    Saturday, June 24th at 7am slt

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Monash%20University/142/140/2490

     

    GOING ON THIS MONTH:

    ~ ON THE MOVE: Seanchai Library celebrates the opening of their new Holly Kai site,  featuring stories of ships, and the sea.

    Sunday, June 25th  1:30 - 3:00pm slt

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Holly%20Kai%20Estates/215/44/27

    ~ A GLOBAL CREATION STORY: An encore performance, folklorist and theologian, Dubhna Rhiadra has spend years of studying and thinking about the many creation tales from around the world.  She shares some of those legendary stories of "in the beginning" live in voice at LEA 18 - EXISTENCE IN THE BALANCE

    Saturday, June 24th, 2-3 pm slt

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA18/224/98/119

    ~ NIAMH'S JOURNEY OF DREAMS concludes this month at Mistwood Isle - CK Ballyhoo's latest watercolour creation inspired by Cybele Moon's original adaptation of a Celtic legend.  Follow 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 OR STORYTELLING VENUE/EVENT? 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:  “You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

    ― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

     

    IMAGE CREDITS: Caledonia Skytower

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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: May 2017

    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:

    FINAL WEEKEND: LEA Region 4 - Poetry of the Planets

    ~ 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. 

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA4/161/56/2643

     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

     

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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: April 2017

    This Month Featuring: "Niamh's Journey of Dreams" Opens, plus Events Update

    Storytelling takes many forms as it weaves its intrinsic presence through our lives, bringing meaning and expression to our terrestrial sojourn.  We think of stories most frequently in terms of words, but visual artists and musicians will be quick to point out that their work has a narrative just as valid as poem or prose. That very lack of singularity of form is part of what makes this month's feature one I have been eagerly awaiting.

    Opening April 19th on Storybrooke Island is the newest of artist Ceakay Ballyhoo's art-story installations, done in a collaboration with artist-storyteller Cybele Moon.  What is wonderful to me about this particular project is the contrast between the two styles, and how they pull together to present Moon's Niamh's Journey of Dreams, adapted from her Tales of the Tuatha.


    Ceakay Ballyhoo is well known for her wonderful virtual photography, and visual art.  Last fall she moved into a new area of expression in Second Life with her installation A Watercolour Wander as an AIR (Artist in Residence) Linden Endowment for the Arts region recipient.  In that project she blended real world brush-strokes, texturing her fanciful build inspired by a story of her own composing.  She followed that up this winter with The Forest Beyond, a further adventure of her young heroine Elle in a new magical painted realm.  Ballyhoo maintains her painterly style in this new collaboration with Moon, bringing someone else's tale to life.

    Cybele Moon's style is very different. "I have a mix of SL and RL in my photos," she shared, "For me, there is only a fine line between a perception of reality and a vision, and so, as with all things my work is constantly changing and evolving." Always appreciative of well told tales, she began writing little stories and poems as a child, coming to photography only recently. "I love the dreamy  atmosphere in SL which fits in with many of my own tales. Traveling in RL has also inspired me to write and many of my stories have emerged from those experiences."

    Inspired by Oscar Wilde stories while growing up, Moon's tales are additionally influenced by her travels to North Africa, Central America , Italy etc - and her previous homes in Ireland and Scotland. Her writing is strong on myth and legend, and she is quick to add " I also enjoy historic mystery and science fiction."

    Niamh's Journey of Dreams, is Moon's adaptation from the classic Celtic tale of Oisin and Niamh: two beings from different realms who fall in love and are happily joined in the realm of the sidhe (faerie) until he (Oisin) begins to long to see his kin one more time.  This telling of the tale is done from the fae maiden Niamh's perspective, not always one reflected in traditional versions, and is woven through with other icons of Celtic legend including selkies, kelpies, and the Morrigan.  Visitors can follow the narrative through a series of story panels, which each dispense a notecard with the text.

    I have also been invited to present live story tours, the first being Wednesday, April 19th at Noon, with another offered Sunday, May 14th at 11am.  All times are slt.

    You can connect with both Ceakay's and Cybele's work through their blogs

    Ceakay Ballyhoo ~ https://ceakayballyhoo.wordpress.com/

     Cybele Moon ~  http://cybeleshineblog.wordpress.com/

     Visit Niamh's Journey of Dreams at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Storybrooke/20/13/32

    GOING ON THIS MONTH:

    Fantasy Faire LitFest - April 20 - 30: A kaleidoscope of literary inspired events from author presentations, writing challenges, storytelling, and other performances - all benefiting Relay for Life.  This year's LitFest features a special Tolkien Day on April 26th, Hugo-nominated author Seanan McGuire, creator if the October Daye series, and much more. See the event-packed schedule at https://fantasyfairesl.wordpress.com/literary-festival-event-details/

    LEA Region 4 - Poetry of the Planets: An invitation to write poetry inspired by Gustav Holst's symphonic suite The Planets and seven sky spheres ("planets") thematically designed for each movement of the suite.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA4/130/119/30

     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:  “It's like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story."

    ―  Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

    IMAGE CREDIT: "Firefly Forest Bright" and "Oisin Riding" provided by Cybele Moon; Niamh's Journey Poster by Ceakay Ballyhoo; Fantasy Faire Literary Festival poster provided by Fantasy Faire SL.

     

     

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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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