In Second Life you can find an assortment of things to do and many reasons why people choose to be involved. For many it is a pastime and for others it is much more. Behind each avatar is a story to tell, some are made up of series of events that transform the way they live real life and others bring their real life gifts into the virtual world and share them with people from around the world.
What brings me back to Second Life is the inspiration I get from the many different people I meet. The stories ignite something within me that makes me want to be more creative, see things in a new light and helps me find extra meaning and purpose to the things I do here. Writing has always been my passion and it gives me the ability to stand on a virtual soapbox and share it with readers from all walks of life that can somehow relate to the things I’ve seen with my virtual eyes.
I would like to introduce you to Prometheus (prometheusunchained), owner of Prometheus’ Fire Art Gallery. We met a couple of months ago when I was contacted to assist with the promotion of his gallery. While gathered in the lobby with his business partners, he shared something about himself that inspired me to learn more.
Interview with Prometheus
Lanai: Hi Prometheus, thank you for allowing our readers a glimpse into your real life. Normally people like to remain hidden behind their pixels and not be so open about their real life. Before we get into it, where are you from and what brought you to Second Life?
Prometheus:I reside in Arkansas, USA in RL about an hour from the nearest city. I came into Second Life because it is the easiest way for me to have a full social life given my location and circumstance, and also because it allows me to find people of a like mind.
Lanai: There are so many creative minds at work here in Second Life and it is great to see people from across the country and world coming together on one virtual platform. You own and operate an art gallery with some very provocative images. Can you tell us more about Prometheus’ Art Gallery and what inspires you?
Prometheus: Thank you! Yes I can. My Gallery is mostly a special type of art that mimics neon. I do images from pictures, stock photos, SL pictures and nearly anything. I turn them into something close to a light sculpture in a frame. Chuckles ... I still haven’t quite figured out how to describe the effect though. I am inspired by a large number of things: You’ll notice anime and BDSM images abound, all the way up to some very erotic and forward images, but I prefer subtle and sensuality to show. I’ve also been working on a new process to make oil paintings out of photos and SL images as well as producing custom orders. I’m discovering that the possibilities are boundless!
Lanai: You are right, the possibilities in SL are boundless and so is the creativity. When we met at your gallery and began talking, you shared with me something that had to be devastating but you turned it into something positive that you didn’t let hold you back. Can you tell our readers what happened?
Prometheus: About 6 years ago, I had partial retinal detachment in both of my eyes. Basically I was completely blind except for a bare ghost of an image. If anyone remembers the old black and white TVs and what they looked like when a channel was too far away to get good reception? You can almost make out an image, but not quite. That’s what my vision was like.
Lanai: That had to be devastating for you. What has been the most challenging and even rewarding experiences you have had when you lost most of your sight?
Prometheus: Challenging is much easier than rewarding to describe! The hardest things for me were losing my independence, not being able to read, and losing my ability to express myself through art. I was an extensive reader and a fast one, I read close to 100 pages in an ordinary novel in an hour. I devoured books. I was never a great artist, but I doodled and I drew with pencils a great deal. To lose those things left me empty. Books on tape are a wonderful thing, but it’s hard to play a CD when you can’t see the controls. I was a real mess for the first 6 months or so until I started learning to deal with it.
As far as the Rewards, they are much more difficult to quantify. I did learn to be aware of life happening, to regret less and love more and to appreciate what the world has to offer. Most of all I would say this, I learned to enjoy what I have and to see the world in a different way. To put things in perspective, I had to lose my vision to learn to see what life was.
Lanai: I can certainly relate to that sentiment being a coma survivor and given a second chance at life. When people go through trying times in their life, it causes something within them to change in different ways. How has this changed you as a person?
Prometheus: As I just mentioned my perspective changed. As I was healing and slowly regaining my vision (5 surgeries and a number of .... interesting episodes later) I came out of my depression and began to fight for some sort of life. The world took on a magical feeling to me, like the things many take for granted. I know people who see sunrises and sunsets every day and never stop to look .... believe me ... they are important. The little things, a flower mid bloom ... yeah I know it sounds cheesy, and it probably is, but the world is filled with a magic that we are too busy and too blind to see.
Lanai: I agree. So, what are you doing to improve your eyesight? Is there something that can be done?
Prometheus: At the moment I’ve done all I can, all of those surgeries fixed my sight as much as it can be with modern technology. I do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. There are no guarantees that it won’t, but I try not to let that fear overwhelm me or keep me from moving forward.
Lanai: You have a great attitude. I find it interesting even with limited vision, you are able to see the positives in life. What is your secret and what advice would you give to others who may have suffered blindness?
Prometheus:There are a number of things that I do to help me. the biggest thing is that I have my computer hooked up to a 42 in television. It’s not the greatest TV in the world, but I can see the pixel size anyway! That’s a tremendous thing for me, and it allows me to operate in SL like almost anyone else. I do all of my art on gimp and it helps a lot to have such a broad canvas to play with.
As far as advice: Talk to me about ways to make things easier on yourself, find out from others that have lived through it. I had to figure a lot of stuff out on my own ... no one should have to do that. There are solutions out there that I never would have imagined.
Lanai: You are right. Talking to others who have experienced similar circumstances can be a great help. I think your story will help others see the light at the end of the tunnel; no matter what it is they are challenged with in life. Prometheus, thank you for sharing your story with The Sl Enquirer. It is things like this that adds to the many reasons why people continue to come back to Second Life and inspire others.
Prometheus: TY Lanai. I appreciate you giving me a voice here. One final thing if I may. I want to thank LL for creating the framework for the world we live in here. Notice I don’t say for creating the word itself ... this world is created by each and every one of us that live here, we change it, modify it, twist it and shape it to be what matches our dreams. So Thank you LL, and thank you every single person that has shaped my SL.
Readers, here is food for thought. What would you do if your sight was compromised? How would it change you?