Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Ancient Lighthouse

I'd been decorating for the Christmas season at Valis, and went off in search of ice skates for skating on the pool at the base of our waterfall. But as so much in SL is transitory, I was not surprised the link I followed to a skating rink in Wollaston lead me now to an open field. I was about to turn back when in the distance, against the night sky, I saw an Ancient Lighthouse on a rocky promontory. Not being a girl to shirk off an adventure I figured I had to explore it.

After and arduous climb over rocks and across tumbled pillars I made my way to staircase on the side of the mountain. Treacherous and steep, I slipped, and found myself falling through a crack in the rock into a subterranean cave. It was a beautiful grotto with a tiny waterfall, but to my horror I found I could not get out. the only staircase in there led to sheer rock walls. Then in a back corner I spied the trunk. No treasure, unless you could count a landmark that led me out as treasure. The night was past and dawn breaking by the time I made my way back to the stairs and began again the long climb to the top of the light house.

I made good time to a balcony about halfway up the towers. Some kind soul had left a bottle of wine and two cups there, so I fortified myself while I took a breather to look at the scenery. Back across the fields I had traveled I could see great statues of mythical beasts in the distance. To the north was a huge cathedral floating in the sky. Something to explore another day, I thought. To the west of the Lighthouse were some ordinary SL bungalows, and nestled at the eastern base of the Lighthouse itself, just on the other side of a waterfall that spilled from unknown springs at the mountain top, was a small shop (of course, there is always a shop, this is SL after all!) built among the beautiful Grecian ruins.

An iron-bound door led me to an interior room of lovely mosaic floors with a map and an impressive globe. This room opened onto a balcony where lovers (it was clear by the pose balls) must have sat to enjoy the view of the ruins below. But who were they, those lovers who built this place? I continued my explorations in the hope of finding out.

Twisting stairs took me past a room with an astrolabe and beautiful dolphin mosaics on the floor lit by the once again setting sun. Then up and up higher to the topmost room, where I sat and rested my feet and my mind. This lovely place, this seat, was meant for two and I could only wish that my beloved could be there with me. A peek at the architecture gave me the builder's name, Hacker Jannings, jewelry designer, and that of his lovely wife, Lillyanne Lustre, fashion designer, it is their shop in the ruins below. Ironic, I thought as what they had built so paralleled my own life and place in Valis.

I sat for a while and watched the growing dusk, thinking of all the SL lovers, all those who build fantastic places for their beloveds, and those who walk with their lovers in search of such treasures to share. With a smile I let my teleport carry me home.

Quote of the Day: Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Yet again, SL Divorce hits the News

My friend Corwyn sent me this piece from the London Times: Second Life affair leads to real-life divorce for David Pollard, aka Dave Barmy. Now we've all heard the stories of SL romances breaking up RL marriages, Dutch and Tenaj, Rene and Dina, but bear with me here, folks, this one has a new twist. It began in Second Life in the first place!

"David Pollard and Amy Taylor met in an online chat room in 2003 and married after discovering a shared love of the internet game Second Life. . . . The couple met in an internet chat room in May 2003 and within six months Ms. Taylor had moved from London to Mr. Pollard's flat in Newquay, Cornwall. They married at a register office in St Austell in July 2005 and held a virtual wedding for their avatars in Second Life. "

That alone would make you think that the idea of a virtual love affair should not come as a surprise to the wife here, but no.

"Ms. Taylor, 28, filed for divorce on the ground of unreasonable behaviour after her husband admitted falling in love with the virtual female character. She discovered the affair after a rare break from her computer. When she returned from a nap she caught a glimpse of her husband's avatar in a compromising position on a sofa with a female avatar."

So she goes to take a nap and hubby, who fell in love with her on-line, falls for another woman on-line. But wait, there's more. Is this the first time hubby has messed about on wifey in SL?

"Ms Taylor's suspicions were aroused in 2007 and she hired a Second Life private investigator. The virtual sleuth, called Markie MacDonald, caught Dave Barmy in flagrante and he apologised to his online and real world wives."

So as far back as 2007 he had different SL and RL wives? Do we see a pattern beginning to emerge? And what do the unhappy couple have to say about it?

"She said: 'I was so hurt. I just couldn't believe what he'd done. It's cheating as far as I'm concerned, but he didn't see it as a problem and couldn't see why I was so upset. He said I was just making a big fuss and tried to make out it was my fault for not giving him enough attention.' . . . Mr. Pollard, 40, said yesterday that his former wife was more interested in her life online than she was in him. 'If I wanted to spend time with her I had to ask.'"

You know what is really sad about this? Not that they are divorcing. But that they are sad people who both blew it. Yes, BOTH. There were expectations on each side of that relationship that were not being met. One wonders if they ever even communicated their expectations to each other.

Wake up all you lovers, RL and SL, out there. Love is NOT easy. Like anything that is worthwhile, it takes hard work. If you expect your partner (RL or SL) to spend time with you you need to get off you real (or virtual) ass and spend time with them! Make time. Go on dates, dammit. Spend a romantic evening AT LEAST once a week doing something nice for the other person. Don't just wait for them to do stuff for you! Do stuff together.

Find things you have in common. Is he a craftsman in RL or builder in SL? Girl, get him to teach you or at least be there helping him, admiring and critiquing his work! She writes? Dude, read her blog/poetry/stories and offer your advice and support! Look for ways you compliment each other and for pity sake COMPLIMENT each other! If nothing else, SL offers worlds upon worlds to explore together, and guess what . . . SO DOES RL!

You know, the sex may have been what attracted you to each other, but the connections you forge are what keeps your partner coming back for more. If there isn't more there, boys and girls, someone is gonna go looking elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Times and Tides of SL Romance

So this evening as I was hanging out in Draven's Airship just hoping for him to pop on, my sister Jhai showed up. We sat and chatted, compared RL notes, talked about work a bit, what I have been writing, what she has been up to (she has a poem in a new anthology just published this month--you go girl!). I was just telling her my latest story of dancing with Draven in Steelhead in the ballroom when Jinara stomped in all upset. "Men. I hate Men! They are never there when you want them. Never around unless they want something from you!" She threw herself onto the couch between Jhai and I.

I could see Jhai rolling her eyes, but I asked what the problem was anyway and Jinara launched into a diatribe about Hawk. It seems she has been IMing Hawk again with no response. I don't know if I've told you all about Hawk. He is quite the man of mystery. Big, bad, and biker looking kind of guy, doesn't say much, but, oh my, what a hottie. Tall, dark, eye candy!

Hawk joined our little clan together with Heron, a tall leggy blonde (well to be honest we Serendipity girls are all blonde except for Wren who is in a goth phase right now) who has attitude in spades. Now Heron may be Hawk's GF, or wife, or ex-lover, or sister, or something else entirely to him. No one seems to know but those two and they aren't telling. All I know is that that they were together a lot, and they do seem to know each other in RL as well as in SL. Of late, though, Heron has been hanging out in Club Vicious and Hawk has been taking Jinara out. Well, when he is inworld that is, which isn't often at all. Hence Jinara's pique.

Jhai, as usual, launched into her Mommy-mode and immediately began telling Jinara how she didn't need a man to make her complete. How the world doesn't revolve around sex, not what Jinara wanted to hear at all. "I love him," she wailed, "I want him so much, but he is never here when I am! I don't think he loves me as much as I love him!"

Now I have been through several men already with my friend Jinara. First it was Malcolm, but she doesn't talk about him much anymore, and in fact none of us have seen him on in months. Then it was my own Draven she had a crush on, but he treated her like a kid sister. And there were brief flirtations with a guy named Jordan, and the DJ, Hotflash, at Blue Noise. Now it is Hawk. But is it really true love this time for her?

"You have to have some faith in your man, Sweetie," I told her, "I am sure Hawk cares for you." I tried to explain that the thing about SL is that it really is--and it has to be--secondary to our various realities. I paused to look at the clock and realized how late it had gotten and that I would not be seeing my Draven either that evening. Still I wanted to be supportive of Jinara so I said, "I am sure Hawk has just been really busy. I am sure he'd be here for you if he could be."

"No! That's just it! He was here. I've been messaging him and messaging him. And then he came on when I was AFK and when I didn't answer he left again! It is just not fair," she cried, "Why don't I ever get a break in love!"

Jhai laughed out loud at that one and I shot her a look hoping she'd get the clue that this was not funny to Jinara. "Kid," Jhai said, "It is all just the turn of the wheel. One day the universe spins all your way, the next it smacks you in the face and dumps you on your ass. You just gotta pick yourself up and move on. Send him another message. If he gets it and if he feels the same way about you that you do about him, he'll be back . . . eventually." Jhai stood up and left then, telling us she had to get out of this den of raging hormones and that we should both try to "focus for once on something other than men, for heaven's sake!"

I just shook my head. I was thinking of all the couples in SL who think that they have found true love, but then give up on it in a matter of weeks, or even days. I thought about Draven and I who have been together almost 18 months now. Will we last? Can an SL only relationship really stand the test of time. I heard Jinara say it again, "I love him so much! I really, really need him!" I know just how she feels. But I told her I was calling it a night, and I left her there. To be honest I didn't want to think about how often our connections in the virtual world are messed up by the real world getting in our way. I left her sitting in the growing dark. Waiting and hoping that the man she wants so much to be with will return to her if she is just patient enough, for long enough. I sure hope he does. I hope it for both of us.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Song for Tonight: "One Sweet Love" by Sara Bareilles

Just about the time the shadows call
I undress my mind and dare you to follow
Paint a portrait of my mystery
Only close my eyes and you are here with me
A nameless face to think I see
To sit and watch the waves with me till they're gone
A heart I'd swear I'd recognize is made out of
My own devices....
Could I be wrong?

The time that I've taken I pray is not wasted
Have I already tasted my piece of one sweet love?

Sleepless nights you creep inside of me
Paint your shadows on the breath that we share
You take more than just my sanity
You take my reason not to care.
No ordinary wings I'll need
The sky itself will carry me back to you
The things I dream that I can do I'll open up
The moon for you
Just come down soon

The time that I've taken I pray is not wasted
Have I already tasted my piece of one sweet love?
Ready and waiting for a heart worth the breaking
But I'd settle for an honest mistake in the name of
One sweet love.

Savor the sorrow to soften the pain sip on
The southern rain
As I do, I don't look don't touch don't do anything
But hope that there is a you.

The earth that is the space between,
I'd banish it from under get to you.
Your unexpected love provides my solitary's
Suicide...oh I wish I knew

The time that I've taken I pray is not wasted
Have I already tasted my piece of one sweet love?
Ready and waiting for a heart worth the breaking
But I'd settle for an honest mistake in the name of
One sweet love.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

An evening in Amatsu Shima

Amatsu Shima is a beautiful sim based in Medieval Japan. One of my oldest friends, Corwyn, is a hogosha to a Geisha house there and a member of the group that does recreation of Japanese history and culture.

Tonight he took me to see the new teahouse he had built. A lovely little building that could hold a tea master and four guests for a traditional Chado or Tea Ceremony. The landscaping around the teahouse including a beautiful little waterfall, was done by Suzanne Logan, who runs the geisha house and school there. The garden has a bamboo grove, flowered walkways, and a sweet little bench where we sat and chatted watching herons in The ocean waves crashing on the rocks, a cat circling among the flowers and the rocky paths, and two friends having quiet conversation. A lovely evening in all.