Sunday, February 21, 2010

Introspective retrospective

In the beginning there was...CSI:NY.

It's just over a year ago now that I watched that fateful episode of that series that began my walk towards a Second Life. I decided that given my one year has arrived it would mark a good traditional point to stop a look back. To reminisce on the things done, the people met, the times spent.

And to break the potential wordage up, because at this point I have to admit I don't know whether this post should be seralised or written on the back of a paper napkin, I thought I'd included pictures - one photo for each month I've been alive. There are perhaps better photos in my blog and in some months it was hard to choose just one, but I tried to narrow it down to give you a selection and a taste of what a year in the life of Marnix has looked like.
[Oh and please note, the photos are in time order and do not reflect the writing around them. You will see why I added this note when you get to the 'Nekkid But Tasteful Butt Pics' photo!]

Reading back over my blog now it seems hard to believe I really was ever that new. There was a time when skins, hair, clothing and AOs were all such a mystery to me. Are big shoes really and indication that you're a noob? The learning curve was so steep and my first impressions as a wide-eyed newly-rezzed was of a enormouse world full of imagination and possibility. It dazzled me, it intrigued me and it seduced me.

As I began to realise that I couldn't get the most out of SL just wandering around randomly tp-ing about the place searching for green dots before so rudely strolling into private houses I sought out social places. Places where people gathered. Where I could meet the same people twice even. I knew I needed friends.

Extensive searches for New Zealand-related sims yielded few results, and even less successful ones. As a compromise I extended my search to the bigger cousin across the Tasman and eventually landed at the Pond. Here I finally met people who were in the same place just hanging out a bit night after night. In fact I met one of my oldest friends, Chry, at the pond within my first few weeks.

It was the search for friends that led me to the blogs, and indeed to start this blog. I realised that there was a whole sub-community out there of bloggers and a good way to be seen regularly was to comment on blogs. And if I could lead them to read my random ramblings so much the better. It would be a good way to let them know a bit more of the internal Marnix and perhaps accept me and even welcome me.

This yielded successes. I now number some of those initial bloggers I stalked and bepedestalled among my closest friends. Y'know, and I am sure they won't mind me saying this, but those bloggers we so revere are normal people too. Mostly. They like to be IMed or have their blogs commented on. Hang around enough and they might even take pity on your and befriend you too. Worked for me :)

Blogs led to plurk. And I cannot say enough good things about the influence plurk has had on my second life. It has meant that even when I am not in SL, when I am at work for example, ahem... I can be surrounded by my friends. I can grow and develop friendships there and even make new ones. It is a great way to turn friends-of-friends into friends.

This year has seem times of exploring for me, times of meeting people, and times alone. There's been times of boredom and loneliness but also times of creativity and acceptance.

One thing I love about SL is the way we can really do anything. Where else could I find an outlet for my art? Where else could I (attempt to) sell my swirly disco flames? In fact where else could I even call them that?

I've been a tiger, an alien, an otter, a robot, a terrier and a ghost. They're just the av changes I can remember. There's been cars, bikes, scooters, live music, pub quizes and dancing. Lots of dancing.

There's been women. And there's been mistakes. And there's been hurt.

I've owned chickens and a dog. I gave the chickens a viking funeral. And I played domino rally with incendiary penguins. More than once.

I've had 8 homes, either alone or shared.

And I had five minutes of fame with a blog meme that led to tens of people baring their bums in the name of art and an exhibition inworld.

The over-riding thing I had gained from this first year though is friends. Some have been passing friends, us in each others lives for the briefest of moments. But others have been enduring friends, relationships deepened and real moments shared. Many have impacted my life and enriched it by being there, whether I've met them recently or whether I met them right in the beginning when they took pity on a poor noob and took me under their wings. I want to name you all, as special as you are to me, but I fear accidental omission so will hesitantly fall back on the safety net of the fact that you know who you are.

I often think I want my legacy from this first year in SL to be the flame-grilled nautical poultry or the galllery filled with rosy rear ends. If I could walk into a room and hear someone say "Marnix? Isn't that the guy who floated his chickens to a fiery yet watery grave while urging people to send him photos of their butts" I could die happy. Or so I sometimes think.

But actually, in writing this, my summary of my first year, I realise that that is wrong. The Greek fella Pericles had it right when he said "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others". That's what I want my legacy to be - the lives I have touched. Sure, this year hasn't always been a success and perhaps my first year has seen a small share of darker recesses I am not proud of. But I can learn from that and what I want for my second year is that all of those times I touch people's lives, the legacy left is mutually beneficial, if not entirely positive.

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