I became acquainted with Second Life due to a work assignment but I soon realized that I would best serve my professional interests by going native. I chose Paypabak Writer to be my “recreational avatar” and from there got involved in a roleplaying sim known as The Dune Project. I’ve recapped my early years in a post in Moonletters, a blog by Shauna Skye, where I really caught the blogging bug. When I’d had about all the roleplaying drama anyone could be expected to take, the blogging carried me. I tried exotic dancing at a Firefly bar, The Red Dawn, and had a lot of fun, becoming friends with the owners Mikki and Keira. After that I pretty much explored and blogged. The time went by fast. I have many friends and have had many friends fade, much like in the actual world. Probably the best recap of my early adventures in SL can be found in this article.
I also worked for MechanizedLIFE from close to its beginning, with Alidar Moxie, a very creative avatar who was a very early SL adopter. She created applications that connected Second Life with Google as well as created lovely furniture items, which often featured her own scripts. I helped with documentation and posting items on XStreet, the original STMarketPlace. When First Life started pulling her away, Ali sold the business over to Codebastard Redgrave, of Machinima Cam and Filter Cam fame. I continued as Codie’s customer service person for the Google gadgets. Commissions from this business have allowed me to maintain my high-maintenance profile.
I mainly explore Second Life and write about everything from fashion, gadgets, roleplaying, and events. It’s amazing the things you can do in SL that you would love to try in First Life: roller derby, sky dive, shoot guns, arrows, and all manner of weapons, fight with a variety of melee weapons, and stay underwater indefinitely. I can become a neko, furry, tiny critter, a dragon, robot, anime character, mermaid, and a guy, among many other choices. They say that SL is limited only by your imagination but that’s not quite right: my imagination is constantly challenged by the imaginations of others. The true limit is one’s own daring to experience immersion in all this boundless creativity.
I really don’t build or script, so I blog and can’t seem to stop. I’ve done a lot of interviews and I love the chance encounter that brings out someone’s virtual story. I try to provide information about technical aspects of SL or point to those who can. I love taking pictures, so eventually, I took a gig with ROLE Magazine (now out of digital print), writing about RP sims like Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, and the Alliance. In September 2011, I started my Tumblr blog, where I now average around 20 posts (including reblogs) per month.
I think my best writing has been about relationships (see The Big Quiet link below) and the effects virtual immersion has on First Life, which is what I prefer to call Real Life. I love having friends from around the world in a place where cultures blend together in so many amazing ways. I think of myself more as a reporter than a reviewer, pointing at a store or place rather than giving a critique. I maintain a positive attitude despite some of the doom and gloom people have raised over the past few years. Again, I prefer to praise the incredibly creative people in SL rather than berate the people behind the scenes at LL. But I’ve done some berating, too.
I think the most profound event in my SLife was learning about the death of Rheta Shan, grieving with her many friends, and reading her amazing blog posts about SL. It all boils down to the power of story in her own profile statement where she states: Reality is not about truth or physics. It’s about crafting a story so persuasive it will be taken at face value. When you’ve lived in SL long enough, your story becomes interwoven with the stories of your friends. The meaning goes as deep as the people you come to love. It’s why I keep returning and writing about it. Moreover, I think living a virtual life has affected my actual life in many ways, particularly in this concept of story and reality.
It’s all good. Thanks for reading!
(The Big Quiet) “So here is to the beloved ones who leave and let it be known, who know what the price of “playing in Second Life” comes to and says, ‘I don’t mean to hurt you, but . . .’ Yes, it still hurts but the tears now have the power to heal. Bittersweet is a taste that can be savored in memories that have power in our hearts, whereas the Big Quiet is just bitter and leaves wounds to fester.”
(Truth and Consequences) “When Paypabak Writer stepped into Second Life, she gave up control of her life despite the incredible illusion of control she seemed to have in choosing her appearance and how she could shape her backstory. The people with whom she interacted gained control and shaped her development once she risked sharing the crafting of her story with others. That others wanted to be part of that story is what Rheta is driving at: a story so persuasive it will be taken at face value. Paypabak is much richer for having sat in mourning with these friends, for letting people in and making herself accessible to pain as well as joy, tears as well as laughter, and, gosh, to feel virtually human!”
(Sacredness of Second Life) “The greatest lesson I’ve learned from SL is something the late Rheta Shan left in her profile and on which I’ve written still resonates through my combined lives: Reality is not about truth or physics. It’s about crafting a story so persuasive it will be taken at face value. To be persuasive involves integrity, courage, honesty, creativity, and passion. Rheta had that effect on so many people! And we all are woven together by our stories in SL. These stories are wonderful, varied and compelling … and never more so than in that sacred Now.”
(Fourth Rez Day) “I truly believe SL has kept my spirits up and creative juices flowing during a period when it would be very easy to fall into depression over the terrible job market out there. I have plenty of first life support, so I am not looking for what I don’t have there. But to spend all of my time banging my figurative head on the keyboard applying for every job I could conceivably twist my resume around would have sucked the life out of me. So I found refuge and encouragement and love and acceptance and challenges in Second Life that boosted me out of a slippery-sided first life pit. SL is more than a game …”
Bio: About Paypabak Writer in complete.