Avatars in Wonderland

Apocalypse When?


A Welcome Center.  Shit.  I logged into a Welcome Center.  Every time I log in I think I’m gonna rez at my home but my sim must be down.   When I was in my second life, I wanted to be in my first.  When I was  in my first, all I could think of was getting back in-world.  Every minute I’m stuck in this Welcome Center, I get antsier.  Everyone gets everything she wants in Second Life. I wanted a project, and for my sins they gave me  one. Brought it up to me like room service.

A few months back, I was hit with an idea as I watched the Apocalypse Now.  Why not try to make a version of Apocalypse Now based in Second Life?  What really put the hook in me was a sentence in the opening narration.  Captain Willard (a young Martin Sheen) was waking up in his Saigon hotel room and talking about his return to Vietnam for a second tour of duty.  The line that got me was this:

When I was here, I wanted to be there. When I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle.

Why did it hook me?  Because it reminded me of moments of my experiences with Second Life.  Of the times where I was in my first life and wishing I could be in my second.  Then times in my second life where I was feeling the good pull from my atomic world.  This, of course, got me thinking.  What about a Second Life version of Apocalypse Now or Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness?  (and for those of you who didn’t know, Apocalypse Now is a loose retelling of Heart of Darkness)   I found that I was thinking about what was common to those stories and linking them to SL; telling a tale of a  lead character set on a journey for Kurtz in Second Life, but going deeper and deeper into her darker places.  Done well, I thought the SL version could be a fascinating comic, machinima, blog with pictures, just about anything.

So why are you writing about an idea that you never did anything about, Lanna?  Because, just like Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now, I got the mission I wanted.  And when it was over, I would never want another.  What mission was that you say?  Look after the jump to find out.

So yes, I found myself thinking of my Apocalypse Now project.  I mentioned it to a few people in-world; some loved it and a few others thought I was nuts (which happens from time to time, so I’m used to that reaction.)  But I thought about it, scribbling notes here and there.  Thinking of how I might make something look or feel a certain way.  The idea excited me and I had fun taking it creative places in my mind.  But, alas, I never got past the idea phase.

The main story was going to be that I was going to be asked to go on a mission to find Kurtz by “The Chairman” (courtesy of a bootleg Philip av).  You see, Kurtz had been a good avatar: involved in mentoring, owned a couple of sims, really very much an ideal Resident…until getting involved in land speculation on Zindra…then Kurtz’s methods became unsound.   Somehow Kurtz had locked down TPs, so my mission was to go to Zindra, find Kurtz, and terminate his account.  Terminate with extreme prejudice.  If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll see that there are lots of possibilities for great ideas.  I’d even gone so far to get some wonderful people to agree to playing key roles.

But just like Willard had a confession in Apocalypse Now, here’s mine.  I cared more about thinking of ideas for creative Second Life avenues than finding ways to express my creativity in my first life.  Wait.  Strike that.  That’s what I used to tell myself.  I made a very common error that I think lots of people in Second Life make.  Not everyone, but certainly a whole lot (if my friends list is representative at all).  What I started with is true, I thought more about SL creativity than RL creativity until I realized that it is all the same; I’ve only got one source of creativity for both worlds.  Gosh, not exactly an earth-shattering revelation, but still a revelation.

I’ve always had a tendency to dive into things that really interest me.  What I realized was this:  the part of my brain that controls my creativity, my dreaming, my visioning was putting energy into Second Life.   Not all of it, but I found myself wanting to be creative in SL more and more.  For me, it became an issue that there is an opportunity cost to my creativity. Time spent being creative on anything in SL meant that I wasn’t spending time being creative with my first life.

But it is hard to find time for a full first life and a full second life, so I did what so many in SL do, I slept less.  I told myself that I was wanting to make time for my creative expression.  But what was worse, I found myself waking up and thinking about my blog, or Plurk, or decorating my house, or shopping.  I found myself being excited by the creativity of my SL and forgetting about the creativity of my first life.  What did it add up to?  Being tired everywhere.  Tired in SL.  Tired in RL.  Just feeling tired.  Needless to say, my methods became, um, unsound.

Wait, who was I supposed to be again if I retold Apocalypse Now?  Willard?  Kurtz?  Oh, see?  Now I’ve let my creativity run away again.  Yeesh, I’m tired.  Sorry, I think I need to take a nap.  I wonder what I’ll dream about now.