I’ve been wanting to describe an observation I’ve made in recent weeks. That is, Second Life is more like a story than a game. There are areas where you can go an play games, of course. You can go kill zombies in graveyards, you can compete in Indy racer competitions, and so forth. Interestingly, there are sims where the characteristics of a game are combined with the characteristics of a story, “CSI” (the television show), “Gossip Girls (another television show) and sims where roleplay is part of the concept, like United Federation Starfleet. However, my notion is that if you live your life as an avatar in Second Life you start to write a story.
I’ve written stories from time to time since I was in high school, but I’m not a fiction writer per se. I don’t have a large body of fiction work to draw on, however, during my outings into SL I find myself often pulled between a sense of watching a show, a television show perhaps, and writing a piece of fiction. And by “writing” I mean writing in the creative and engulfing sense of the work where you become the character you are writing about.
At the start of this journal, I described the purpose as documenting a journey through Second Life. The goal was to reveal what life as an avatar might be. I had no idea what I would discover in the process but my instinct was that I might gain insights that would otherwise remain hidden in the day-to-day living of the “life”. Now, after only a couple of months I’ve discovered that I am indeed writing a story. In fact, these journal entries are part of a creative process that I enjoy as a part of human experience… sort of like, shopping.
Let me take a moment to assure anyone who comes across these journal entries, that I try not to have delusions about being a “writer”. I am a writer because I like to write, in the same sense that I am a photographer because I like to photograh and singer because I like to sing. Many years ago I found my true vocational calling and that was computer programming. As a programmer I have a large body of work and know the work at a very deep level. I care about my writing, photography and singing very much but these are not what my life has been about.
Many avatars I’ve met in SL have expressed to me that they are addicted to this artificial world. There are also people, in and out of “world”, who feel that SL borders on an unhealthy experience. However, most of my professional life I’ve spent in front of computers, concentrating for hours, somtimes sitting for six or more hours at at time without getting up, consumed by the creative and methodical process of programming. The point is only that sitting in front of a computer, possessed by something you enjoy isn’t the exclusive domain of Second Life enthusiasts.
I’ll continue writing these journal entries each day, and I hope new readers do discover this little project. I hope that all of us involved in this project, meaning me and anyone who is reading these journals will enjoy the discoveries reported here. I especially hope that this journal will meet the goal I set out for it.