A fictional virtual me

Having recently completed a Master’s degree in English and given myself a bit of time to recover from researching, writing, rewriting, revising, and defending a thesis, I’m revisiting my first passion: writing. Specifically, writing for myself; writing because I am compelled; writing because I must. However, that isn’t the only thing I’m doing. I have a project underway at home: reclaiming my house, which has become overrun with novels and texts representative of nearly every genre imaginable, dozens of writing notebooks, and piles of neglected paperwork. Just yesterday, I shredded two five gallon buckets full of old bills, receipts, progressive copies of graduate school transcripts (I only need keep the final degree conferred copies!), and various personal nonsense. Not a single leaf of any of my journals went into the shredder, though. That stuff is platinum. Well, ok, maybe gold.

Sorting through a bookcase laden with mismatched literary genres and writing journals, I came across one golden nugget – well snippet – tucked into a journal from 2007. Nearly all of my journal writing is the “old fashioned” paper and pen method, unless I’m on the go and use a notepad app for ideas that leap across my notice. The journal entry from which this blog entry originates seems an appropriate kick-off to update and once again breathe life into Quixotic Yawp.
On a Saturday in September of 2007, I learned that a friend had modeled a virtual character after me on Second Life. I was both shocked and flattered by this, but I was also wary of the implications. Just how much of me had he included? He claimed that he changed specifics such as my name and city while maintaining the vitality of my personality and traits.

Okay. Just exactly what does THAT mean?

He didn’t specify, but he had created a female persona modeled after me and described me in rather clear terms. He didn’t clarify regarding this Second Life woman’s physical traits, although I imagine he accentuated one or two of mine. Her character strengths are as he perceives mine: she is independent, strong willed, and doesn’t take crap from anyone. (I disagree with him on these to some degree, but, hey, she is his character, and I thought it a good thing that he sees me this way.)
And what are her weaknesses, I asked, thinking that I was about to get a criticism of my personality from someone I just didn’t want to hear it from.

“She doesn’t have any.”
“Right, you’re kidding. Seriously, I want to know what her weaknesses are.”
“She really doesn’t have any. Seriously.”

Whoa. What a liar! She’s got to have flaws. I don’t think I ever visited Second Life to “meet” this character, but that was seven years ago, and I may have briefly visited the site. I haven’t recently spoken to this friend, we’ve drifted apart as people do, and I’m definitely not interested in calling him to inquire. In the seven years since I first learned that someone (clearly someone a little too obsessed with me) had created a fictional virtual me on Second Life, I wonder what she has been doing. Does she have a career? Has she moved to a new apartment? Do careers and apartments exist on Second Life? I guess so, I am almost curious enough to go spelunking in Second Life to find out.

Almost. I’ve finished the task of earning a Master’s degree, and I want to resume my passion for writing for myself, and I want to have a REAL LIFE. Part of my real life may involve research, it will certainly involve writing, and now I’ll have time for some of my other interests as well.

I can only speculate that this character does indeed have weaknesses, or flaws. Everyone does. The BEST fictional characters have exceptionally quirky and specific flaws. I’m not sure which flaw I would most like to have as a fictional character, but perhaps a tendency to completely obsess over minute details such as deciding whether to use Vanilla Bean or Lavender Spray bath oil while the bathtub overflows would be a good one. Don’t you think?

Not that I have THAT particular flaw myself.


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