En Garde!

Posted: September 14, 2013 in Writing Prompt
Tags: , , , ,
Now who is the dummy in this picture?

Now who is the dummy in this picture?

Because my blog is a journal of my Second Life experiences, I often find unintended complications within the prompts I get from others.  Today’s daily prompt from WordPress.com is a perfect example: What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?

It should be a simple, straight forward question, only as deep as I choose to make it.  But “should” is a word fraught with hidden dangers.  I’m no longer sure if I actually ever had a childhood.  Fellow avatars in Second Life will immediately understand my confusion, but bloggers from First Life, possibly brought here by daily prompt, may wonder how I could not know if I had a child hood.  It’s simple enough.  My rez-day, the Second Life equivalent of a birthday, is May 17th, 2011.  On May 16th, I didn’t exist.  By May 18th, I was a flirty young woman in her twenties looking to explore Second Life and have fun.

Watching from the ramparts.

Exploring the ramparts and having fun.

I’ve been on WordPress for almost two months, on Tumblr for about four months.  One of the biggest challenges of writing has been figuring out my voice, how much of it belongs to my firsty and how much belongs to me.  (I use the term ‘firsty’, an abbreviation for ‘First Life Avatar’, in much the same way River Pearl uses the term ‘typist’.  It’s a way to refer to the individual physically pushing the keys on the keyboard and maintain the literary conceit that he and I are distinct individuals.)  I’ve generally dealt with the challenge by awkwardly ducking the issue and telling myself ‘you know, some day I should do a post about my relationship with my firsty.’  And someday I will.  Really.  In the meantime, I’m just confused about how to answer the questions.

I could step OOC and write about my firsty’s childhood.  (Out-of-character, a role-playing term for speaking from the viewpoint of the player instead of the persona.)  My firsty didn’t have many toys as a child; he generally read books or played with board or card or computer games rather than with actual honest-to-gosh toys.  Given how much I love dressing and redressing myself, it wouldn’t be surprising if he had been into Barbie and other fashion dolls, but in fact there was nothing of the sort.  He hardly even had any action figures, which is the politically correct label for “dolls for boys.”  Still, it is easy to see the connection between my firsty’s childhood love of reading (which he has to this day) and my existence.  My firsty has literary ambitions and pretensions, and I first came to Second Life to help him get a sense of a character for a project he was working on.  Authors frequently refer to characters who take on a life of their own, and I generally see myself as that character.  And I love books and stories and writing.  My blog is essentially my raison d’être.  Not just because my firsty has gifted me with a love of writing, but because that common love is why he struggles, despite two jobs and a family life, to give me time to express myself, well ourselves if I’m being technical, everyday.

Would you believe I had a life size castle to play in as a child?

Would you believe I had a life size castle to play in as a child?

Then there is the difference between history and back story.  History actually happened.  Back story is implied, the fictional existence a character before the story, be it game, book, or movie, opens.  A good character has back story, which may or may not be relevant in the course of the story, because it adds depth and consistency to the character.  I should share more of my back story, but ironically, I feel more uncomfortable telling the small fictions of my back story than the large fictions of my history.  I don’t feel uncomfortable telling you I am a shape-changer, or a neko, or flirty young woman in my twenties, even though my firsty is obviously none of the above.  Telling you that I was active child, more likely to play swords with a convenient stick or to kick a soccer ball around the yard than to play with indoor toys is harder, even though my firsty did play nine years of soccer and loved any movie with sword play and certainly would pretend to fence at any convenient opportunity.  Maybe the difference is that the big falsehoods are clearly fiction rather then lies and the small falsehoods and re-spinnings that adapt bits and pieces of my firsty’s history into my back story feel more like deception.  Maybe the difference is the fact that the “I” who writes this blog is really an amalgam of the “I” who explores and flirts in Second Life and the “I” who juggles two jobs and a family and dreams of seeing his name on the front table in a bookstore, and I have continued to duck that fact rather than figure out which of my mes is really I.  (Wow, that is grammatically awkward statement, but parse it out and it does make an awkward sense…)  

The toy room, I mean armory...

The toy room, I mean armory…

And that is why my childhood toys are trickier then I imagined they would be.  Ultimately the childhood experience that most shaped me- be it my imagined childhood or my firsty’s childhood- wasn’t my toys but my books.  I grew up with Thornton Burgess, Frank Baum, Louie Lamour, Robert Heinlein, Brian Jacques, etc., and they gave me a love of stories that has shaped my soul.

Fortunately, it is much, much simpler to define who has shaped my wardrobe: The blue and white outfit and neko ears & tail are all the ‘Poetic Love’ outfit from Envious.  The shape and skin underneath are the Gigi Teen Shape and Tiffany Skin, both from Kids5B.  The full body tattoo is out of a complete avatar package, Aleysia, that was sold at LC’s World of Fashion.  The hair is the Angela hair from Alli & Ali designs.  I normally prefer a shorter hair because longer hairs can interact poorly with animation overrides- it’s offsetting to see my hair sticking into my arms or back rather than lying against them, but sometimes that happens.  I love the way that this hair is big, but the ponytail sticks back far enough that there are no animation conflicts.  (It’s the little things that make me happy sometimes.)

  1. Shae Marquis says:

    Emily, I adore you AND this post! I also think our firsties would have a great time over coffee! I’m not really that much different from MY firsty except that she’s got kids and health issues and not nearly enough money to support my type of fashion sense (she’s also got the mouth of a sailor, I try to keep that in check or else she gets out of hand) 😉

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