I've been exploring and fooling around in Second Life (SL) since around February of 2011. I have found much of interest and much silliness as well. I find it to be rather like a carnival mirror of real life, or RL as it is known in SL. I decided I wanted to try to do something creative with this platform. So, I'm experimenting with combining my love of the works of Mark Twain with a particularly interesting phenomena I've found in SL, reading groups. I created an alternate avatar named SLClemens. I found an unusual "skin" for him, an old man, and dressed him in a white suit with a cigar. He is homeless (doesn't own any property in SL) so he must be invited to different venues within SL to do live voice readings. Live voice is one of the mediums used in SL, a story is read aloud through a microphone to an audience of other avatars. These other avatars may or may not leave tips for the performer.
Readings are made from The Oxford Mark Twain, a facsimile edition made from first editions, thus the stories themselves are no longer under copyright. For scholars this edition provides excellent commentary (which is protected). Read a review by R. Kent Rasmussen. Only the stories are read, not the commentaries.
I've received help in this project from a number of people I've met in SL. Most especially: MC2U Miles, who built and operates The Deck. He was the first to recognize the potential for this project and the first to provide a venue for readings. Isablan Neva, a woodland nymph who built and operates the Botanical Gardens Event Center. She provided the second venue SLClemens spoke at and introduced him to Khamon Fate, the builder and operator of the Fate Gardens, SLClemens third venue. I've also enjoyed much support and encouragement from Caledonia Skytower, a reader of tales and associate of the Seanchai Library and Dubhna Rhiadra, a Blackfoot elven celt, storyteller, dancer and pixie.
As SLClemens reads, the audio portion is recorded and can be found here as links to YouTube downloads.
- Roughing It
- Presented at The Deck and at Fate Gardens
- The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches
- Presented in The Botanical Gardens Event Center and at Fate Gardens
The Jumping Frog collection of readings and the first "book" of Roughing It consist of the voice recordings converted into slide shows using the illustrations found in the editions. Chapters from the second 'book' from Roughing It have been converted into videos produced by editing a screen capture video and spliced in illustrations from the book with the audio track. The audio remains recorded as is with only the "dead air" and other conversations edited out. Liberties have been taken with the video portion. I have no experience in editing film, besides it is the audio portion I'm most interested in presenting. YouTube requires some sort of video and I figured that YouTube is the best place to promote these files. Besides, now you all get to have a glimpse into some of the interesting places in Second Life.
I had initially thought that I should prepare each reading before presenting them. That meant producing an mp3 file of each chapter or sketch beforehand. Then playing the mp3 through a microphone for the actual presentation. I did this for the presentation at The Botanical Gardens on March 15 and at The Deck on March 17. I was not at all satisfied with the results and this feeling was reinforced by Caledonia Skytower, who remarked that she would love to hear it done in live voice. It was all too obvious that a recording was being played. SLClemens has performed the readings live for all subsequent readings. The one exception to this is Chapter 16 of Roughing It, which is a rather tedious put-down of the Mormon bible. It doesn't strike me as being much fun to sit through a reading of. I've included a "studio recording" of it in this collection for the sake of completion.