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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

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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  • Russell Eponym Added Hello Cale. Thank you for creating the SLArtist column and for the excellent points you make about spoken word performances in Second Life. It is indeed heartening to know that there has been an increased interest in the spoken word. As children we enjoyed the delights of being read to by our parents or teachers and I have always felt that as adults we miss those times when we can close our eyes and be transported through voice and word into another world.
    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words regarding Ce Soir Arts. I have been involved fully in the activities and events of Ce Soir Arts over many years, thanks to the enthusiastic encouragement and generous support of
    Mireille and Aeon. I too look forward to reading future postings about the diverse events taking place in Second Life.
    Best wishes and many thanks.
  • Mireille Jenvieve Added First, congratulations on your new SLArtist column, Cale! I love the title you have chosen; "A Storyteller's Notebook" seems just perfect for you, and I am sure that Æon and I will enjoy reading your monthly postings. Your extensive knowledge of what's happening in-world - especially in the spoken word arena - will make for interesting reading that will take us to exciting new locations for both education and enjoyment.
    Thank you very much for highlighting Ce Soir Arts in your very first posting; we feel honoured and are deeply appreciative of your kind comments in sharing about our beloved home and the venues it holds. Thank you also for sharing your wonderful writing and reading with us at The Magic Tree! We join with our Poet Laureate in welcoming you, having enjoyed every reading to date; we look forward to many more as the future unfolds.
    Your contributions to the spoken word in SecondLife™ and other grids cannot be overstated, and - like all who love literature and the various forms of writing, reading, and storytelling (from poetry to theatre and beyond) - we thank you!
    With warm appreciation,
    Mireille (and Æon)