|Amar en Meleth|
... Amar en Meleth (click for full text).
This post is part of a series of monthly articles for the Virtual Writers Inc.website about sims in Second Life that could be the source of inspiration for writers. My goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. Enjoy!
Note: One of the characteristics of Second Life is the fact that it's constantly and rapidly changing. Sims come and go; others look quite different, as time goes by. Do take that into consideration when using the links provided.
Amar en Meleth
Some locations in Second Life (SL) become more than just a sim to visit. They turn into a safe haven away from our SL home. Amar is exactly that, a quiet place where you can sit down and find inspiration for stories without any interruptions, stress or drama.
The sim was created by the charming couple Kelley and Stewie Wonder and it’s clearly a labor of love, love for each other (they have recently married in Real Life), love for creativity, love for people and love for sharing. I’ve had the opportunity to chat with them several times and they truly enjoy the fact that others take pleasure in spending time here.
This friendly sim is just perfect for us writers. Every time I drop by for a visit, there is always something new to see. It changes frequently, following the seasons and several celebrations, such as Halloween and Christmas.
I must admit that I have been rather selfish, keeping Amar well hidden. However, the colors of winter and the lights of the holiday season have finally convinced me to share this wonderful sim with you.
Let’s get to work. Although popular, seasonal stories are rather difficult to draft. Instead of focusing on Christmas, my suggestion is to focus on the characters. This will be the premise for our story. Join me in this journey throughAmar en Meleth.
As we reach our destination, we immediately see that this sim is just the right place to go for a walk.
Clad in tones of white and sprinkled here and there with the warmth of light, winter has arrived in Amar. Amidst the whiteness, a pathway to the right invites us to walk farther into this wonderful world.
Let’s make our characters a couple. Well, why not. In our story, this couple has been married for a long time. We’ll see where this idea takes us.
A dock with colorful lanterns and two pillows, overlooking a few rocks across the sea, claim our attention. This leisure site is guarded by Jasper, the owl. We don’t usually talk to animals, but Jasper seems eager to share something. I sit on the tree stump and the welcoming bird whispers “All because two people fell in love”. That seems to be a great way to start our story.
We continue down the path towards a pergola, across a stone bridge, where a man and two women are sitting. They share the same sofa and they share one another. Are they friends or lovers perchance? We don’t want to disturb them, so we move on across the lifting bridge towards a small beach.
Perhaps our couple is having a few problems in their relationship and they decide to take a vacation, hoping it will help overcome those problems. Along the way, they are confronted with their past, their present and are maybe presented with a promise of a future. Our story starts collecting moments and recollections, as a string of beads.
A Bedouin tent overlooks the sea and the warm, sizzling fire invites us to sit down and enjoy the sunset. Seagulls fly above and foamy waves stop shy of a love promise written on the sand.
Right next to the beach, there’s something new. Let’s take a look. This sim is often a place for lovers to enjoy some privacy, so we are careful to check and double-check if no one is inside.
Fishnets, a life-preserver, an anchor and an old wooden boat, this could be a story in itself! For our plot, these elements become symbols of a life spent together, good and bad moments alike.
The boat has a few interesting animations, including some adult (as happens in other locations of the sim). An erotic story could be an option here as well.
Onwards towards a central plateau where to the right a watch-tower brings nostalgic memories of a woman waiting for her long departed lover. Perhaps our male character is a sailor or a traveler.
We move on to a rustic pavilion. The fireplace is on. We decide to sit down for a while and rest. Crickets and birds chirping in the distance offer some peace of mind. This is a beautiful location, the waterfall at the back, and the sunset, a magical sunset.
I’ve seen this sim go through a whole year of seasonal changes and if there’s one thing that never ceases to amaze me is its magic, the way change is not overwhelming; it is, in fact, welcoming and comforting.
Throughout the festive season, while we celebrate life and togetherness in our story waiting to happen, I would like to emphasize the fact that small details often become some of the key elements of a plot.
A string of bright lights, the intense colors of a sparkling fireplace, the sound of birds in the background, can easily become the trigger for an important part of the plot, a recollection, a feeling, that will bring our couple to find something of extreme importance.
Our characters go back in time and remember those years of love. They yearn for inner peace. They yearn to rekindle a seemingly lost love. In Amar, there are several elements that point towards this. The stone pavilion, past a grazing horse, has a gong, an invitation to contemplation. Also, by the beach we’ll visit in a bit, lays one of my favorite locations, the Tai-Chi area. It’s a very immersive site, where we can use the inspiration of colors and sounds.
However, no story is a good story without a darker side to it. Right behind the gong, there’s the Dead-End Cemetery. My characters want to avoid it, but I push them to go in and explore. A deep, guttural voice welcomes us, the piercingly cold wind blowing and a storm brewing in the far. A beautiful tune whispers eerie notes while a cat meows a short warning.
Inside the cemetery, we stand at the door of the crypt. Whose body is that? We tiptoe closer and see the ghost of a girl closely watched by a broken skeleton, sitting under an iron gate…
Music and thunder, laughter and crickets, seemingly disparate elements that can nevertheless enrich the past life of our characters, perhaps even with a terrible common secret, a secret they haven’t talked about in decades. Our characters may have a few ghosts they need to take care of.
We are then drawn across the field to a frozen lake. There used to be a bridge there where a white wolf howled. As I have mentioned earlier, this sim is continuously changing, offering new details and fresh options for more stories. So, don’t be surprised if you decide to visit it and some of the elements mentioned in this column are no longer there.
Let’s walk forward through a path covered in snow amidst a short row of trees covered in snow. I can see the waves in the distance and I feel drawn to the beach. Apparently anachronic, this summery place suspended in time, will become part of a longer flashback. Perhaps our characters met at the beach, perhaps they spent their vacations there, nurturing their kids, watching the family grow each year first with their kids’ friends, girlfriends and boyfriends, later husbands and wives and grandchildren.
Up a small slope and through a forest of frozen trees, we approach the ballroom. This location alone could be a story in itself (Amar has a number of locations I feel could be the inspiration for a whole story). Dancing together, living together, a life shared with love, with anger, secrets and time. A jazz tune plays in the background and our couple dances on a transparent floor over a turbulent sea, a symbol of honesty, yet with the constant threat of agitation and trouble.
We then walk down a ramp that announces “Home Sweet Home”. It’s somehow reassuring to see this sign. Perhaps our story will have a happy end, after all.
It’s snowing in Amar en Meleth. While I stand at the bridge over the iced water that in the summer flows freely towards the sea, a snowman and a Siamese cat skate on the lake, a stork oversees the perimeter and a distracted white momma bear looks for fish to feed her two cubs.
As we prepare to wrap up our story, I decide to sit on the comfy bench under the bridge. I lean against the inviting pillows and pull a warm blanket over my knees. This is the power of Second Life, people creating places that inspire other people to create something new, something special, in my case, stories.
I hope this very special sim will inspire you as well, fellow writer, because… there’s a story waiting to happen at Amar en Meleth!
Disclaimer: Virtual Writers Inc. and I are in no way affiliated with any shop located in the sims featured in this column nor do we intend to promote them.