To admit to being seriously involved in the social network of Second Life (which is essentially life) is to risk the derision of your colleagues. It feels like an unacademic jouissance, an awkward cinephilia where you put yourself front and center within the computer screen. But it has its strange advantages, and promises to be a fresh and original medium of artistic communication. Hypatia has wandered the Grid, now, for three years, two months, and two days. She started out with terrible hair, and ugly, painted on eyes. Her mover had a dreadful graphics card that didn't allow her to see the windlight in the sky or the ripples on the water. It was consequently an ugly world, full of that plastic Linden grass, the awful empty lots and advertisements, the boring malls, the confusing user interface. Hypatia was confounded, bored, compelled, unmoored, drifting, compelled, wandering, fascinated, saddened, lonely, weeping over things lost. But always compelled. She was Reginald Barclay in the Holodeck (see below), finding strengths she couldn't express otherwise. She soon got into building after she bought a little plot of land in a community devoted to the arts. Then she discovered the poetry world, and the very first poem she read at the Blue Angel Poets' Dive (headed by Persephone Phoenix) got published in the Blue Angel Landing (http://www.blueangellanding.com/):
by Hypatia Pickens
I am thin. I am hunched. I am a Middle Welsh poem.
I was active, I moved my legs. I had a plan.
She rezzed in March, she was happy she was in.
I am a middle aged woman, I am hunched and thin.
When she came into being as another name,
a blank who couldn’t speak, who had a plan,
I could trace the human features of a loving man
with mortal eyes. Her body flies, while I sit and spin
her spells for a pixie world. She cannot touch.
I used to sleep. I type too much, and hunger
for my memory. In shifting woods, that girl
brewed up a forest witch. I am a crutch
for her who never shows her need
to fuck, to breathe, to eat, to feel his fingers
on my hip. I feel his disapproving gaze.
I sit too much. Who knew it, when I came,
what it was to seethe within a virtual book,
a build, a script, a plot, a hook. I have
a house. She never eats, I never cook.
Who knew, that day, what I gained and what she took.
Blue Angel Landing, 1 (2009): 41
I think that says enough about my early days there. Things change. But it's owing to Second Life that I'm writing poetry again, even though I'm into a new kind of visual poetry... one that moves: machinima. And it's owing to machinima that I'm becoming a film-critic again.