small things worth seeing (IN NATURE).


For a long time I have been loving being affiliated with THE NATURE COLLECTIVE. The Nature Collective is a Second Life group created with the goal of cultivating a community around sims, spaces and projects which share a common focus on nature. They hope to foster a movement to help people engage and reconnect with the wonder and joy of nature, in the virtual world and beyond. Visit them inworld here.

The have a great website – where I am going to be doing some more specific “nature” blogging about things I’m musing about – wandering through the natural world in both lives. My first post can be found here. Enjoy!

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Solitary Mystery – Peter Beaton @ BEBU Gallery

My Name is Human:  The Condition of Digital Life.

The title of this body of work is me trying to give words to something that I have been thinking about for a while now. I started recognizing “it” here and there scrolling through my flicker feed or making the rounds of galleries and builds inworld.  More often than not, I’d see it in Peterkes Beaton’s images. After a conversation with him about the work now in the gallery (through July) I was even more certain about how I wanted to frame this piece of writing.

Michelangelo Merisi De Caravaggio, Saint Jerome Writing, 1607

There is a slice of SL photography that focuses on the solitary figure with dramatic lighting seemingly emphasizing some unspoken drama or angst happening within. If you’ve taken any art history courses you are probably familiar with the term chiaroscuro, which refers to how light and dark are use to create the illusion of dimensional volume on a flat surface. The translation into english is ‘light-dark’ (chiaro – bright/clear and scuro – dark/obscure).

This has been written about before (as it pertains to SL). You might want to check out Inara Pey’s article about the photos of Mihailsk from July of 2021, which can be found here. Many times images in black and white evoke different reactions (dramatic, powerful, magical) than images with color. Beaton works with both black and white – and color.

But it isn’t just the drama of these particular images. Even those in color (at least those curated into this particular exhibit) show one man (Beaton) alone in a particular space with titles (Pray, I had a dream, Dreams, Realize) or non-titles () that clue the viewer into a thought process. Whatever he is contemplating – he is doing so in solitude.

Beaton started visiting SL back in 2007 after reading about it in a magazine (the same year this writer rezzed). The first time he logged in, he stayed for 10 hours.

“In the beginning of my SL, I was just curious how and what it was because some famous brands in my country were [inworld] so I had to check it out.” In contact with the content creators for those brands, he found himself working with one of the biggest radio stations in his country. “A few months after that we decided to make an orientation sim for the people from Belgium / Holland – and we did this together with Lindenlab.”

So, Beaton has been in SL for well over a decade (although he took years off as many do). What brought him back/keeps him here? “I could answer this question many different ways, but I think the main reason for me is still the creative part and not only pictures and building but also the music that I play (He is a also a great DJ). The social contact and the small circle of friends I’ve made here are a [reason] to come back. I met one of my best RL friends in here and still have contact with him on a regular basis”.

Beaton often posts both a color and a black and white version of the same image on his flicker page. Many of his images play with this idea or theme of being solitary – alone. Beaton describes himself as somebody who ‘works or lives on emotions.’ Bringing those emotions to an image with a solitary figure is the “most simple way for me to do for this. Being in my own mind set – in my “own” world brings me ideas…. When you showed me the [images you selected] I could almost remember each emotion.”

I had a dream, Peterkes Beaton (black and white / color)

“Color photography is like a novel that spells everything out in detail, whereas black-and-white photography is like poetry—its strength isn’t in what’s said; it’s in what’s left out.”  

– Heinrich van den Berg 

Susan Sonntag said, “a beautiful photograph is not just a picture of a beautiful thing

Time and Love (and Place)

Our understanding of life (any life – virtual or real) is framed by time, from beginning to end, and from morning to night. While our experience is only ever of the continuous present, our understanding is shaped by history and memory. Even in a virtual life where your existence can be an eternal summer or offer you the ability to wander through spaces that are contemplative or frantic, your time is measured by logging in and logging out.

A photographer (unconsciously or not) raises questions in the process of their work…as all art is (on one hand) the maker trying to answer or work something out for themselves. We are invited to LOOK at an image – and in SL this becomes even more complicated (and often more interesting). We are looking at the idea of a real thing (“what is real? asked the Velveteen Rabbit) — at least twice removed.

Rebecca Solnit (who I admit, I love) has written that “Sense of place is the sixth sense, in internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.” Maybe our relationship to the solitary – or our sense of place – is something we redefine – in our own, in vastly different and yet familiar ways – in SL. In spite of what Second Life was originally intended to be, it remains a platform that offers the individual a high level of interactivity. Musicians, scholars, artists – all members of the community have the opportunity to explore place and self – in spite of everything written to lament the “death” of the platform.

I am grateful for this.


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Layers and Conversations…Flo Nova’s work at Bebu Gallery

Flo Nova is not a person who has airs about her work.  It’s a diligent exploration and documentation of her time in SL.   When you talk with her about what it is  she’s doing, she doesn’t mention titles or money or posterity. She talks about  creative energy, layering visual information, and emotional input and output. She talks about influences.  She sounds like an artist.

Nova exemplifies what Toni Morrison said about being an artist: 

“You need intelligence, and you need to look. You need a gaze, a wide gaze, penetrating and roving – that’s what’s useful for art.”

Or James Baldwin: 

“An artist is a sort of emotional or spiritual historian. His role is to make you realize the doom and glory of knowing who you are and what you are. He has to tell, because nobody else can tell, what it is like to be alive.”

Story Flo Nova, December 2022

Like many of us, Flo comes in and out of SL – and also like many of us – her experience (good and bad) is defined by  “the friendships and little pockets of community I find.”

Those folks in-world become influential in ways that are not easily seen right away.  When I asked her about this, she gave me a long list of folks – some who were familiar, and some who I look forward learning more about.   But about two individuals she had more to say.

About Aegean:  “… I had followed Aegean’s work for a long time and this year we collided inworld.  His pieces are breathtaking … go look at them and absorb the greatness.”

About Goodes Bade:  “… a hugely talented DJ. He paints with sound and in doing so tells a story, taking listeners on a journey.  He also has a Flickr with visual work and they are equally brilliant….”

Nova’s work plays with layers….of color, or imagery, or just pieces of text other graphic elements. 

Prints Flo Nova, December 2022

About the work she says, “Physically… I think it comes from my background in painting. I love oils, nothing hits like painting with them… but in my time at art school I was using acrylics like a mad man – you can really layer with those as they dry quite quickly. I also spent a lot of time in the print room and the results you get from those explorations are really exciting. I was introduced to sugar lift at that time and I think that stayed with me ever since.”

Featured print from Katherine Jones’ Eton Portfolio: ‘Drawing Schools’ (Sugarlift aquatint etching)

“On a more immaterial note – creative energy feels like such a wild thing and often it is difficult to wield its power since it really has a mind of its own. Rather than beat it into submission I find I must work with it – layering gives me this ability to explore how it wants to talk to me that day. Then once I have that all down in disarray I can remove, rearrange and adjust to create something cohesive… something that lands where I want it to.

In terms of what I’m capturing – it is similar to my RL practice. I love to explore landscape and figures. Lately my RL work in graphic design/illustration has taken me down a more abstract route as I am creating visual languages. My process chops and changes with each project… but this act of throwing it all down on the table first then shuffling through and finding the good bits remains my go-to way of making.

Aesthetically my work in SL is so much more on point with what I want to create. I think it is because of my anonymity. On SL I feel more free to do what I want to do whereas with RL there is a sense of restriction and confinement. I think any artist starting out can say the same… you haven’t got the funds quite yet, you’re plagued by whatever is getting in the way of your creativity, this and that… blah blah blah.

Somehow in SL it is all silent and it is just the art… I love it here for that reason. I think lastly my work in SL is entirely digital whereas I prefer analogue medium in RL… but through this I see the two now blending and I am just about ready to start making digital works with RL subject matter.

As you get older the texture of life sort of unfolds… you have more patience to linger in the grey areas and that is where I have found a really beautiful conversation between sadness and joy.

Lastly I would say – starting a career in Graphic Design has influenced my work in a huge way. Where you see typography, use of framing and graphic elements is where it reveals itself in my work.”

Other Influences

I have unconsciously harbored a million influences, my work is just a regurgitation of what I have seen throughout my life.

The first artist coming to mind is Moonassi.  His black and white illustrations depicting figures wielding masks, diving through holes in the ground and meshing with one another… it’s really spiritual stuff.

The next that comes to mind are the artists Peter Doig and Pierre Bonnard. I was exposed to Doig first – immediately taken with his powerful, expressive works (especially his Canoe paintings).

The White Canoe Peter Doig, 1991

Bonnard I found later when he exhibited at the Tate – wow. The colour and the scale of his work just blew my mind.

The Bathroom Pierre Bonnard, 1932

Music influences?   “This is an impossible question… all music everywhere.”

But here is one that we share in common:

The Bebu Gallery can be found here:

You are welcome to visit – explore the area and enjoy the exceptional work in the gallery.

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At 15: a few remarkable things….

I turned 15 in January… 

That is a good amount of time in any life – especially Secondlife.  Of course – time is relative.

Also,  I’m coming out of COVID years, and out of a long recovery time back to health.  Over the past few years – I came inworld in the middle of my night, set myself on “unavailable” and proceeded to sit on beaches, sail boats, ride horses, and wander aimlessly distracting myself.  I came to love the work of nekonuko Nakamori and her “wandering_world” series (  I too, was wandering – but without the energy to document it.

For me, whose Secondlife has always involved  music in a big way, it felt like there was a big hole in what I was doing.  I knew I was starting to feel better when I started reaching out to people, showing up at clubs again – and finally wanting to re-open Bebu.

I love having a small gallery – and having the work of people I respect in the gallery.  It’s not fancy – and not part of any art “scene.”  (I tend to avoid those in RL too.)  As I began pulling ideas together, I came back to turning 15.  There are 15 years of “things” in my inventory.  Including a lot of wonderful art/design pieces by creatives whose output has kept me awed and entertained for those 15 years. 

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means.

Please visit and enjoy these pieces from my personal collection. They will be up for a couple more months at the Bebu Gallery …. which you can find here. And you are welcome to wander around the place. Nice spot for photos and chilling out.

Peace. Lanne


Kean Kelly   (keke) (* Be kind. Always. *)

**[ keke ] Snow Jar – Fox / part of the snow jar collection

Sadly, keke seems to have left SL. But the body of whimsical (and well designed)

Work she has left behind is scattered across the grid.


Mistero Hifeng

Cammino & Vivo Capovolto

**Eppure esisto

**Ti nascondero’…un giorno

**Tra ragnatele… (b)


che ci importa del mondo


Bryn Oh Artist working in oil paint, bronze and virtual spaces.

My group/sim is called Immersiva

**Bryn Oh Lobby Cam birds / Lobby Cam


Aino Beresford

**Alices Garden* bird chair-large


Oldie (oldschool.spittler)

current SL landscaper extrordinare

**Cloudballomsitting – Bazaar creation


Strawberry Holiday

I am Jennifer Burlingame, an artist and teacher from Washington State.  For more info, check out my art at website or find me on Deviant art at

**Strawberry Holiday’s Word Tree

**Pink Rapture Tree

**Rapture Tree


Mitsuko Kytori (Nature is an Art)

Hayabusa Design CEO – Main Designer.

**Hayabusa Design – Art One M1-2 LPE Animated

**Hayabusa Design – Art One M1-2 HPE Animated


antonio (elros.tuominen)

Artea orokorki, eta musika partikularki, beste mundua bisitatzeko, barrukoa…

1973/XII/18 an jaiota.

Zeozer gehiago jakin nahi baduzu, just IM me, mila esker

**Guiding Domch Lights small

**Silent talking


Spiral Watcher

I’m not really in this world anymore.

**Wall Piece 9


dazai Voom illustrator

I make toys, furniture, homes, animals, and vehicles.

D-LAB main shop sky garden, Poecila  (10, 131, 3002)

**D-LAB Valentine Tree

**D-LAB+andika  Planet to dream06

**D-LAB Star clock Green


Pira (piraiyah.novikov)

**NOMAD Wall Planetarium


Shami Azalee

**TLG – Glam Poppy Floral Bust


Hattie Panacek (hatris.panacek)

Owner and builder of Ex Machina

**Terrarium 2

**Ex Machina Terrarium

**Museum Cabinet 1 Tall

**Museum Cabinet 3 Wide

Cato (cato.basevi)

**Rothko poster chair #2

**Rothko meditation mat



I am an artist, and I use SL as way to express my art in the virtual world.  You can visit some of my art in my picks.  Upcoming project: SLEA grant artist for 2022

I dream, and I paint.

Here’s a link to an interview about my art:

**Chinese 3D Painting – Bamboos – S

**Egg Decor Gift By FionaFei

**Chinese 3D Painting – Koi Fish 02


Jake Vordun

Owner of:  Fancy Decor / The Vordun Museum /  Burin

**02 Fancy Decor: Opulent Egg II (onyx)


Alla Baroque

Builds & Furniture direct SLurl: Selidor (215,128,1528)

**~Libertine~ Collectable Egg 05 “Safe Haven”


Canolli Capalini

No, it’s not usual to have a woman woodworker in the industrialized 1800’s. But my furniture speaks volumes about the care I was taught to put into my work.

**CFF – Ornate Egg – Blooming


AM Radio

**shadowBoxDragonFly AM RADIO

**microscope AM RADIO


michi Nino (michi.organiser)


**[MG]shelf -macaron Green


Zinnia Karu

I make creative, lovingly hand textured, furniture with a Southwestern/Mexican bent.

**Zinnias Mexican Nicho Vintage Madonna


菊之介王子 (kikunosuke.eel)



Nur Moo

Photographer, event creator

Poetik Velvets

**#1 Image

**#2 Image



RAIN – Terrygold Art Gallery , Peaceful Land  (242, 100, 1107)


**TERRY – RAIN – N10

**TERRY – RAIN – N35


Lundy Lovely

hive mainstore, hive  (139, 55, 25)

**hive // words is (y)ours sign


Lanne Wise

Bebu Club and Gallery

**Image “Lanne Wise and Nur Moo”

**Image “Cato’s Build


(I ended up having to take some of these objects down because they were so prim heavy! Ask me if you want to see them and I will pull them out for you.)

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I am a turn of century person – as was Rilke.

Holding the questions and loving the questions. If you are faithful to questions, will they be faithful back. FItfully? Are we, as Rilke wrote, “Two solitudes that border and protect each other.”

Tom Uttech (American, b. 1942) paints imaginary woodland scenes that celebrate the verdant natural world he has been closely acquainted with since his childhood in Merrill, Wisconsin.

We who are alive now are witnessing something that has never happened before … you don’t want to die without knowing how beautiful this is. Yes, there is bad. Yes, there is evil. Beyond comprehension – the daily pain of existing in the world. And yet. There is beauty. Rivers, mountains, forests, lupines, bees and birds.

“See, I live. On what?
Childhood and future are equally present.
Sheer abundance of being
floods my heart.” (from, Letters to a Young Poet. Rilke. A New Translation and Commentary).

Imagine my surprise finding this spot in SL. Like stepping into one of Uttech’s paintings and being able to wander around. Summer Quest @ Four Bridges (Four Bridges, rated Moderate) – is an incredible build – see Inara Pey’s detailed review here.

Do we even realize how life is never normal?

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Virtual appetites

There is a journal called Appetite which describes itself as ….an international research journal specializing in cultural, social, psychological, sensory and physiological influences on the selection and intake of foods and drinks. It covers normal and disordered eating and drinking and welcomes studies of both human and non-human animal behaviour toward food.

I wonder what they would make of the amount of attention paid to eating and drinking in a virtual world?

Street vendor, Pandora Resort, Kamigami….

Food is everywhere in SL. As are places to find it – kitchens, bakeries, coffee shops, street vendors, hot dog stands (I guess that counts as a street vendor) Dining room sets that allow you to sit alone or with others and chat over elaborate tableware and delicious looking dishes. Plates of cookies and candies that are set out on coffee and cafe tables.

Candy, Spirit of Sun…..

In a study released in the May/June 2013 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (May/June 2013), investigators (who are these “investigators”?) from The University of Kansas Medical Center explored alternative weight management delivery methods. The solution they are investigating — virtual reality for weight loss and weight maintenance. They were doing this in SL. One intriguing observation, “Individuals who want to participate in real-life scenarios without real-life repercussions can use virtual reality.” Maybe. If it works – more power to them.

Back to the dining room sets – one of the most beautiful I have seen of late comes from Apple Fall. It’s called the Anashara Dining Set. Look at the richness of the design and the detail of the different elements that come with it. Stunning.

One of the best things about being around a table are the things that happen there. I like my tables to have a patina of use. The scratches, knicks, burns and bruises that remind me of the life that has been lived around them. Like to Harjo poem below.

Perhaps the World Ends Here

Joy Harjo, 1951

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

From The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 1994 by Joy Harjo.

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Long time no see….

Bremen Town Musicians at North

Yes I know – I’m a slacker when it comes to keeping up on blogs.  I was going to say this one especially – but that isn’t true.  Since it’s coming up on a year with no posts – I figured that I better get on the ball here, lest you think Lanne Wise is no longer around.

She is – but often wandering or shopping late at night.  And she is hanging out with animals.  A new jack russell puppy in RL, and a variety of deer, sheep, puppies, foxes, cats, horses, eagles and songbirds in SL.  Oh – and a gecko.  We can’t forget the gecko.


The American Veterinary Association says, “The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors essential to the health and well being of both. This includes, among other things, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment.”

As with many other things I realize as I wander about the grid – my pleasure in coming across animals is always satisfying.  Sometimes they speak to me – which is even better.  Recently I had a long conversation with this dog at alirium.  We talked about the beauty of the area, what it was like to be a dog (who was actually wearing a police jacket) on patrol and the beauty of alirium.  I asked if they would pose for some images this was readily agreed to.  Noble, right?

a good dog is hard to find....

On another note – I am currently having an exhibit of my images at the Flossify Gallery in Second Life.   Wonderfully curated by Joss Floss, there is also an interview which you can find here.  I am grateful for the positive attention – and everyone kind enough to show up at the opening.


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Boots and Horses

She had horses who danced in their mothers’ arms.
She had horses who thought they were the sun and their bodies shone

and burned like stars.

She had horses who waltzed nightly on the moon.
She had horses who were much too shy, and kept quiet

in stalls of their own making.

She had some horses.

from… She Had Some Horses, Joy Harjo


I did not grow up with horses, much to my chagrin.  I grew up in Detroit – where cars and freeways populated the landscape.  But I wanted to ride horses.  Of course I didn’t – not until much later.  Early on I dreamt about them, drew them, collected Breyer horse models.  There wasn’t the money or the inclination on the part of my parents to make my horse dreams happen.  Later on, when I did186274643_09cf9352c2_o have the opportunities to ride – I loved it.  But it was never often enough for me to feel like I knew what I was doing.  If the horse I was riding decided to turn around and bolt back to the barn, I was helpless to do much.

So imagine my delight when a friend introduced me to a beautiful breed of horse in SL, the work of

Zed Avedon at Realistek.  I can ride them alone – or with someone else.  I can race them all over the sim.  They are always there for you to come and ride too.

By identifying with these dynamic, strong animals, Orenstein says, girls are expressing their own power.

“They’re all active, they’re all sources of power and motion and transformation,” she says.

Laurel Braitman, an MIT graduate student in the history of science who writes about animals and what we think about them, says girls’ fascination with these animals is more than power — the animals fuel girls’ imaginations.

“Horses and dolphins and unicorns — these are all borderland creatures; gateway animals to other worlds,” she says. “They help us imagine wonderful other ways of being in the world. They let us be cowgirls and oceanographers and mermaids and princesses.”  Peggy Orenstein


Horses from the Breyer collection.


The comings and goings of people in SL is interesting to say the least.  Because time is so out of wack, relationships can be intense and fleeting, or spill over into other parts of other lives.  I spent a night in London with Boots – a SL friend who used to gallery hop in-world with me when I couldn’t sleep.   He took me to an underground (literally) bar that looked like Elvis Presley’s living room.  It made me laugh out loud all night.  We drank whiskey and did card tricks – and talked and talked and talked.  He delivered me back to where I was staying as the sun was rising, in one of those big black taxis.  I wouldn’t want to meet everyone I know in SL on this side of the screen.  But I don’t regret any of the meetings I’ve been lucky enough to have.

There’ve been quite a few reunions of late.  Recently, old friends reconvened for a full day of music.  Thanks to Sage Sautereau’s organizational skills; DJ Extrodinaire’s Mach V2ndThoughtsBrando, Briddy Boucher, Transient Zeluco (to name a few) provided live sets.  (click their names to link to their sets) Panning the room – global representation with Una Gackt, Nur Moo, Karizmah Avro, Dave Attenborough along with Morgan Kincess.  These are all folks I see rarely, always feel happier when I do. Pixel dancing  and laughing together in that way you only can with people you have spent multiple hours pixel dancing and laughing with.

Also reconnected with Miel Nirvana as well.  Miel has had a line of clothing in SL for quite a while.  I have a closet full of his clothes that I can no longer wear – and it bugs me to no end.  After a hiatus he as back – with a store here and on the marketplace here.
For creators who leave and come back, I suspect the changes that are ongoing in terms of fashion and technology can be daunting.  Miel sent over a pair of updated Miel Dandy Boots. and as all of his work – they are both attractive and fun.  Plus (coming full circle) they are great for riding horses.


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Parked at Peak.

Praise crazy. Praise sad.

Praise the path on which we’re led.

Praise the roads on earth and water.

Praise the eater and the eaten.

Praise beginnings; praise the end.

Praise the song and praise the singer.

Joy Harjo

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ethics and pixels

Transfiguration is what allows you to crawl out from under the chaos and fly above it. That’s how I can still do what I do and write the songs I sing and just keep on moving.

— Bob Dylan [1]

[my garden – including a sculpture by Bryn Oh]

In a NYTimes column called The Ethicist … someone asks about putting medications into a family members food, because he will not take meds otherwise.  Applah writes,

“One consideration among many is to avoid “Suddenly, Last Summer” scenarios, where a troublesome family member might be subjected to treatment by kin with complicated motives. Out of justified caution, we now err on the side of putative autonomy, and the heartbreaking story of your damaged brother is a result; when we erred on the side of putative beneficence, other heartbreaking stories resulted. I don’t say that we’ve got the balance right. But the perennial clash between these two ideals can never be perfectly resolved.”

Applah, Kwame A. “The Ethicist.” New York Times, 16 Oct. 2018, (here)

I had to look up the word putative.  (Something commonly thought to be true.)


Seen on a profile in SL…I apologize for not knowing the source, but I include it here because I know it to be true as well (putative)

SL Transcendent
I have known 70 year-olds who can have raunchy sex with 20 year-olds…
I have known persons paralyzed in RL who dance in SL…
The Deaf communicate unhindered with everybody around them…
I have known famous people who cannot interact with ordinary people because their RL fame clouds the perceptions of others… but in SL they can build friendship.
People of unremarkable appearance can have remarkable beauty… persons of great RL beauty can play plain janes.
Two persons can fall in love when oceans separate them.
Men play as women… women as men… People play the parts of animals and monsters and robots made of cardboard…

SL Transcends…
Judge not those you meet by their appearance for it is all ephemeral. Judge them by how they treat you. In SL you must learn to see their hearts.

Yet paradoxically… appearance reveals so much… since we have such easy control over it… Consider… what is that person trying to project about themself through the appearance of their avatar?

This past year nothing is stranger than anything else. So the fact that I can feel comfort from hanging out here while so isolated is not as strange to others as it might have been. Or maybe it is just so familiar now, I don’t care. Sometimes, just being isolated in another place…..on a mountain top or a beach or in the middle of the woods…is enough of an escape. And if you can do it with a friend – even better. I spent two hours this afternoon listening to music and dancing with people I have known in SL for over a decade. There was uniform agreement that it was a comfort.

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Celestial thinking

“Praised be the fathomless universe, for life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious,” Walt Whitman wrote as he stood discomposed and delirious before a universe filled with “forms, qualities, lives, humanity, language, thoughts, the ones known, and the ones unknown, the ones on the stars, the stars themselves, some shaped, others unshaped.”

If nothing is lost, if everything is just waiting for us to want it enough…would that help to explain the universe? Would it help to explain us? Even after a few nights, starry outside on this side of the screen, laying naked on a beach raft with you in this other life. Blind to the future, but happy. Right? Wrong? Does it matter?

We thought the earth was flat and that it was the still centre of our world. That the universe was small, and unchanging. We believed that we were a breed apart, without kinship to the other animals. We have learned of the existence of quarks, black holes, particles of light, waves of space, and of the extraordinary molecular structures in every cell of our bodies.

The human race is like a growing child who discovers with amazement that the world consists not just of their bedroom and playground, but that it is vast, and that there are a thousand things to discover, and innumerable ideas quite different from those with which they began. The universe is multiform and boundless, and we continue to stumble upon new aspects of it. The more we learn, the more we are amazed by the world’s variety. Carlo Rovelli

“Somewhere someone is thinking of you. Someone is calling you an angel. This person is using celestial colors to paint your image. Someone is making you into a vision so beautiful that it can only live in the mind. Someone is thinking of the way your breath escapes your lips when you are touched. How your eyes close and your jaw tightens with concentration as you give pleasure a home. These thoughts are saving a life somewhere right now. In some airless apartment on a dark, urine stained, whore lined street, someone is calling out to you silently and you are answering without even being there. So crystalline. So pure. Such life saving power when you smile. You will never know how you have cauterized my wounds. So sad that we will never touch. How it hurts me to know that I will never be able to give you everything I have” ― Henry Rollins

“Still, the image haunted his dreams throughout the night: a lovely girl gazing at the stars, and the stars who gazed back.” Sarah J. Maas,

What would we do, you and I, if we could know for sure. When there are stars in our eyes looking at each other and we feel it – really feel it – it’s a heady thing. That summer night up north. I thought, “I may not know everything about what you need to know.  In fact, I am pretty sure that I don’t.  But I do know some things – even some things that will help you to learn what you need to know.  And that I will strive to do.”

It is such a clear, dark night here.  There are so many meteors streaking across the sky that it is making me weep.  The milky way flows like a silken river overhead and the big dipper, the drinking gourd, is as bright and clear as any traveler could ever want.  The irony isn’t lost on me – simultaneously contemplating the stars and the universe (so huge) and the state of my heart (so small).

“I write books,” you tell me. “I make books,” I say in response. And the electricity crackling between the two of us makes the small hairs on my arms stand on end.

There was a star riding through clouds one night, & I said to the star, ‘Consume me’.”
Virginia Woolf

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happy sl 15…small things worth smelling

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“A smell can be overwhelmingly nostalgic because it triggers powerful images and emotions before we have time to edit them… When we give perfume to someone, we give them liquid memory. Kipling was right: “Smells are surer than sights and sounds to make your heart-strings crack.”  D. Ackerman


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Spending more time in the garden and on the lakefront on THIS side of the screen these days.  In part because of the smells.  The sense that is most elusive in SL – although it is often referenced.

I live on the edges of a great lake (the Great Lakes – I move regularly between three of the five).  The smells of Spring and Summer are waited for all winter – and it’s a long winter.  So when the fragrance of lilacs comes through the window for the first time, it knocks me off my feet.  Later it will be the scent of mint, or lilies, the warm earth….or the smell of the Lake itself.

When I first arrived in SL (2007), most of my activities were within the education sims.  This was a heady time for academics in-world, who were just beginning to see the possibilities unfolding for using virtual platforms as educational tools.  Some of the things they envisioned and wrote about have met and exceeded their expectations.  Others are “in-process” and still others just sound silly.

The following is from a longer article I found in a folder.  I clipped it – but I can’t find the author or a link back to the larger piece – for that I apologize.  Still it is indicative of the kind of thinking that was going on at the time.

Second Life is distance education 2.0. Development of MUVEs will take distance education to new heights over the next decade. In-world educational events will be the primary source for distance education. There will also be many more “worlds” to explore. Second Life, or what supersedes it, will be very different than today. People will be residents of multiple worlds, and all those worlds will be connected together, similar to the way hyperlinks take us from website to website today in the flat world. Advances in technology will allow us to not only see and hear things in Second Life, but also to feel and smell things, too, that we may never come in contact with in the real world, because the expense or time commitment involved. One intriguing question is: how can educators present problem-solving in an environment without realistic consequences. One answer, and major advantage, is that is one of the major goals of any simulation, in Second Life or elsewhere.

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But – then I discovered house music.  And all bets were off.  Most of the educators affiliated with specific institutions have their own platforms now – and they aren’t easily visited.  The idea of hopping between grids is still in it’s infancy.

I am still intrigued by the idea of smell in SL.  As Ackerman writes  below – language is rarely able to create the sense of smell.  Still, I keep finding myself putting myself in situations where lovely smells would waft through the breeze of my memory.


The charm of language is that, though it is human-made, it can on rare occasions capture emotions and sensations that aren’t. But the physiological links between the smell and language centers of the brain are pitifully weak. Not so the links between the smell and the memory centers, a route that carries us nimbly across time and distance.                       Diane Ackerman


In the meantime….currently on the SL Marketplace.


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