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Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Baker’s Dozen of Stareryes Galaxy’s Articles

A baker’s dozen is said to be twelve of today’s bakeries and one of yesterdays. This time, as Stareyes looks back on the dozen articles she has written before today’s one, it’s the other way ‘round.

I am just an ordinary girl, out there on Second Life © (SL) on my own. I have always relied on the kindness of strangers, and luckily, I have been able to stay out of trouble. Idling away just isn’t my style, and I have always been eager to find purpose in my ventures in SL.
It took a little over three years on SL for me to find a job that matched my abilities. In the beginning, I had just a few modeling gigs after which my funds were dwindling slowly but steadily. Soon, I felt that doing hunts and scouting for freebies was not the best way to go about Second Life. I started writing in the beginning of May 2013 when the Editor of SLE, Lanai Jarrico hired me on a free-lance basis. Since the first article was published, I have not looked back – until today.

As a journalist, I have met some amazing people, and what has been surprising is that almost everybody I have approached to interview has been willing to volunteer their views on the topic at hand. Many have been flattered and eager to be featured in an online publication. Some of these avatars have already been my friends, and many others have become friends as a result of the interview.

The first two articles I wrote were on fashion topics, and I was able to explore solutions to issues on mesh clothing and hair that had been irritating me for a length of time. Given the length limitations on SLE articles, these pieces had little depth, but they were able to convey some key points. It was especially gratifying seeing Cathy Cyberstar get her new hair at BiZZaRRe.

After this, I did a few articles on varying occupations and lifestyles, exploring the life of DJs and venue owners, vampires, furries, gender-switchers, and newbies. During these ventures into the unknown, it became clear to me that the breadth of the SLE experience is so vast that no avatar can fully grasp the whole. While these lifestyles sometimes carry a stigma of one kind or another, I was able to find interviewees that contradicted the mainstream impression of the genre at hand. I am particularly grateful to Jennie Sutton who openly described her gender-switching experiments, in more detail that I had space to print, and to Victoria1980 for introducing me to the live music scene in SL.

A visit to the SL10B Community Celebration was a very interesting one, and I wrote on the eve of the celebration as avatars were frantically setting the place up. I caught the “pre-show” jitters that my interviewees were experiencing and could emotionally identify with their experience.
Further down the line, I started exploring how our real lives are influenced by Second Life – sharing RL photos in SL and dealing with the SL experience in real life. This line of reporting is a recurring feature of SLE and I am glad to have been able to contribute to these topics.

Finally, I did a gonzo-style foray into a Western RP sim in Tombstone. For this article, I dressed in period-correct attire, went through the pre-orientation given by a greeter for the Arizona sims, and role-played my way through the interviews. This took several days, and as I got deeper in interaction with the people of Tombstone, I was too deep to submerge from the experience completely. The dimension of roleplay in Tombstone takes the SLE experience to a whole new level. I have subsequently submitted my citizenship application for the Tombstone admins.
Since I started, I have averaged an article each week. At times, it has been hectic, keeping with deadlines. I have been able to submit a few days early, in most cases, but a couple of times I needed an extension, as some interviews needed wrapping up, or I felt I needed to shoot additional photos. The time used for the interviews takes up most of my actual time in SL, and it must be said that for anyone wishing to make journalism as a hobby, a casual attitude just will not suffice. I have always tried to approach each subject from a professional standpoint, and as far as SL jobs go, the work has been able to support my SL expenses quite well.

 In real-life terms, it must be understood that SL journalism doesn’t pay through anyone’s daily life.
The most surprising thing associated with this job has been the willingness of people I have met, and interviewees especially, to venture into reporting themselves. At least three avatars have started writing on SLE after I have been talking with them. It may be that I have just found so many like-minded people, by accident, or that there really is some serendipity at work. The other side of the coin is not so surprising – many male avatars I have approached have misinterpreted my forward attitude as something it certainly is not, and tried all kinds of tricks to lure me into more intimate circumstances.

Image by Orchids Zenovka

Second Life can be just a place to socialize, but for many avatars, it is a vehicle for self-expression. Getting my word out to the public view is a manifestation of a creative streak in me, and I welcome the opportunity very much. I hope to be able to contribute as a writer for SLE for a long time. Thanks to Lanai for holding up the flame in SLE!


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