“Hi. Mind if I take your place?”
Happy New Year! It’s been another good year for me personally. I got a lot of writing and art done. Work work is chugging along (only a little over 2 years until retirement! (projected)), and health is fine overall, for both me and the wife. So much to be done but a lot is being accomplished for my situation. Second Life still plays a big, big part in creativity.
Goals for 2020:
Well, I think the Collagesity photo-novels will keep popping out every 2 months or so with the generative system I’m using. 5 1/2 done this year alone (!). My plan is to keep doing these until I retire, then reassess the situation. I *did* have a rich creative life before they came along the winter of 2015-2016, a little over 4 years back, so I’m sure something interesting and rewarding will replace it. I don’t see hatching, you know, 70-75 of these things by the time I’m, say, 70-75, ha. Second Life appears to be dying, true. It seems to be withering. But, really, it still stands as a unique world in terms of player creativity and leverage. I can’t leave that behind yet. I have no plans for another virtual reality to replace it (unless it’s Google Earth!). As stated, I’m pretty happy with where I am and what’s happening creatively right now. I just have to keep working on establishing a proper balance between the several balls I’m juggling. And realizing the present situation won’t last forever.
Behind the scenes I’m writing as many or perhaps more notes on my photo-novels as I’m creating words for the photo-novels themselves. A good chunk of this is focused on what I call The Oracle, which involves maps — primarily of the US but extending a bit to foreign lands now. These are *not* to be seen by the general public, and contain a lot of typos, etc. That said, I would like some day soon to collect my vast notes on The Oracle, dating back over 30 years now, and create a type of book out of them — solidify, somehow, my flow within it. I don’t see my involvement with The Oracle ever ending in this life. It is my bedrock in many ways. Just so you, the loyal or casual reader, know. I’m hoping that will happen in the next 5 years. I don’t see it as a fixed endpoint, though. Further versions could and probably should emerge, granted that I live long enough.
I’d also like to return to audio-visual synching from a somewhat different angle — technologically and philosophically — soon enough. The structure of “modern” a/v synchs is not dissimilar to that of the photo-novels. Just another fyi.
And also, I assume, *collages* will continue. Series of collages. That might pick up again when the photo-novels are over.
I accomplished a lot of outdoor (real life) stuff this year as well, mainly: local hiking. For instance, these past 2 weeks in the mountains where we live I’ve been trekking various places, trails and off-trails, almost every clear day, which have been abundant. I always seem to be finding something new. We’ve had a good number of days off from work over the holidays. I *love* this balance of writing notes and doing research in the morning, hiking in the afternoon, relaxing in the evening (tv, reading, etc.) and then working on the photo-novels in the middle of the night. And fitting sleep in there somewhere!
I find the relationship and interaction between Second Life photos and generated fiction to be fascinating — one informs the other. I’m not sure I can ever return to pure prose in the sense of it being unattached from art (photos in this case). It’s a bit like theater for me as well. I, however, do not see the photo-novel photos as art in and of themselves. That is the province of others.
But, again with that said, I want to, sometime in the future, shift the focus back from virtual photography to real photography, as I have done in the past. I’d say my involvement with real life photos and attached *toy happenings* peaked around 2012-2013, as recorded in my blogs. I have firm plans to return to these linked activities.
What else? I lost my father-in-law this year. He was a good egg, and I have no doubt that he is succeeding on and adjusting well to the next plane. Our remaining living parent between the two of us, my mom, is almost *99* and is now living in a facility. She’s toughing it out; she’s a trooper!
We now have 3 cats with the addition of baby Philip in May, a strange guy indeed, so cute and so sweet and intelligent but also with a definite wild streak involved, much more so that the other two cats. But they both love him now. And of course we adore them all. I still have yet to meet a cat I didn’t get along with.
That’s it! Hope your new year brings you much happiness and joy.
“And you’re sure about that?”
*Yes* Marcus Fox *Smart*ville. And put down that silly rose. We’re related (!)”
Marcus Fox Smartville complied. “Sure, sure.” He starts to recite the password but is halted at “z-“.
“Keep it down,” Tracy Austin hissed at him, and then motioned toward the snowman across the cavern coffee shop from them. “Ultima Thule is *everywhere*”
“Eva?” Marcus F. Smartville questioned, then bit his tongue. He knew what Tracy Austin was on about now. End of a world.
Fast forward to 8 months later…
“Bogart and Bergman again? Aww, Ruby Dharmaraksa. What are we doing here in this sim?”
“*You agreed to the situation as well,” she snapped back.
“Oh yeah, what — what are you going to do? Throw another *pot* at my head. The last one didn’t draw enough blood?”
“Ruby D. begins to cry. Marcus Fox Smartville caves and calms down. Little footsteps could be heard running around upstairs, directly above where they were sitting. “You better, *sniff*, go check on them again. If (she wipes her face with her hand)… you don’t mind. I don’t want them to see me this way, all red eyed and runny nosed.”
“Okay, sure. Just don’t get this way.”
“It didn’t, *sniff*, use to be like this.”
“I know. Things change.” He reaches over and pats her hand now. “Circumstances change. We have so much more responsibility now. The roses aren’t the only thing we have to take care of these days.” Marcus Fox Smartville thought back to the day when her rose changed. They weren’t the perfect match any longer. Ahh, the halcyon days. The XOXO times. When is there time for that now? Hardly ever.
“How are they doing, Gus?”
“Oh, you know. Little demons as usual.”
“2 hours until lunch. Just try to keep them *slightly* under control till then. As long as they don’t burn down the house again, or set the neighbor’s on fire.”
“Again,” Gus the caretaker tacked on. He looked over at Marcus with this. They couldn’t help share a mischievous smile; both loved these little devils. More than Ruby D. More than the neighbors, obviously. More than, well, the town as a whole. But everyone knew they had to put up with them in the meantime. Jer Left Horn and his brother Benny Right Horn were scouting for a place to put them and selected Gregson, according to their father’s wishes. His *spawn*.
“I think that’s the worst part of leaving the South for me, Jer my bro.” He stares at Bogart and Bergman on the screen. “No colored TV.”
“I hear ya.”
“I *love* black and white TV,” Cathy A. squeals downstairs at basically the same instant in time. “Reminds me of my childhood in…” She tails off here.
“In where, pumpkin spice? You mean…?”
Marcus Fox Smartville studies her sad face, so filled with joy just a moment before. Then he notices the rose.
Not the same hand, not the same color. Just with the insinuation of Crabwoo everything had changed.
“I’m remembering things,” she said.
“Anorexia?” he responds just a minute later. “What kind of name is *that*?”
“She goes by Annie.”
It was a busier night at the Gregson Motel in Dharmaraksa. The well established establishment was about to get 2/3rds full. Brothers Jer Left Horn and Benny Right Horn were the first to arrive, coming from Horns of Hatton by Royal (Magic) Bus. They were followed quickly by Marcus Fox Smartville and new gal pal Cathy A., with last name to be determined. The vehicle this time? None other than Little Jimmy, the complete bastard of a car also recently owned by Keith B., Kevin A., and perhaps some others I’m not recalling right this instant. $70,000 lindens was the price this time. The bastardliness just keeps on building upon itself like some kind of warped lego concoction.
“You allow chickens, I’m assuming,” said Jer Left Horn to the hotel receptionist, unseen to his left here. “She’s house trained.” Bethulia was current playing hide and seek with Willard (receptionist) from behind his computer monitor, but he didn’t find this cute at all. Blame Southerners, he instead thought swearingly. I guess they’ll start coming in droves to this place after it’s all said and done.
Marcus and Cathy picked up whispered words from the horned brothers like, “Red Devil”, “father”, and “honor”. But there was no need for secrecy. History had shifted in and then turned out upon itself, like some kind of warped twister game. All was there to expose thanks to scrying, reality flipping black holes. Marcus recalls something about a jug, or, better, like a glove turned inside out, true nature revealed. Both left and right at once — in a warped way again. Red Devil.
“Alright that was GREAT guys! FanTAStic! That’s a WRAP for today! Good WORK!”
“Ooo. I *love* it,” actress Cathy A. coos. “So you’re Gabby Truth as well. Splendid!”
“Thanks. But let’s see what we see inside my crystal ball. Here. Let me turn it on first.”
“Ahhh. The *Moon*. Didn’t recognize it in the dark.”
“The New Moon is a false Moon,” Gabby Truth (Greg) states cryptically while beginning to stare deep into its glowing, cratered surface.
“Interesting. We will remain Marcus Fox Smartville and Cathy A. instead of Greg and Dharma. Pencil Man wishes it that way and says we already have a Greg (with two “g”‘s) and also Gregg (with three “g”‘s) in the production. *His* production, because Phil has yielded to a stronger, *living* entity now.”
But Marcus Fox Smartville currently playing the role of Gabby Hayes Truth doesn’t answer Cathy A. and instead begins speaking of Gregson or whatever name the small Northern town will ultimately annex. “The 66(6) sign was just that — a sign. Owner: the Red Devil indeed. Here’s a quote I’m seeing about the him… or her: ‘Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth — and taste. I’ve been around for a long, long year….'”
“‘Long, long year?” Cathy A. quotes, snapping Gabby out of his trance. “What does that mean?”
“I don’t know. Now let me *concentrate* again — don’t interrupt unless absolutely necessary.” Gabby (Marcus) stares into the lighted Moon again. After a moment: “Devil… yes, I’m seeing it again. An establishment was there (on that parcel). Southern, not Northern, although within the North.” He pulls back, still staring into space. “Red Devil was a Northerner.”
“We *all* know that,” replies Cathy A., new memories suddenly snapping into place via The Magic. “It was a hidden fact, but now the townspeople want to embrace this noble past. It’s in all the local papers, duh.”
“It is?” Marcus behind Gabby then realized this was truth. New memories had snapped in for him as well. “Ahh, yes. His *establishment* there. Southern — but a disguise.” He had no need for the Moon now. Scrying information had become real information for all to see and remember.
(to be continued?)