Hullo, I am Miss Ember.
How do you do?
So nice to meet you.
Do you enjoy the tea here?
Do try these little squiggle edibles with the blue dollops, they are very good.
I am not a Victorian, however, I choose to live in a Victorian Steampunk community. Caledon.
Except that most days, Caledon seems pretty ‘rarefied normal’ to me. And most days, chat on the channel (Independent State of Caledon) reads like one of those vintage quiz shows where the quiz game was mostly a framework for some interesting people to make interesting observations about the mundane world.
Miss Emilly Orr, a veteran of the SteamGrid, who I know slightly, link to on my page, and feel a certain kinship with, had this to say recently:
I am genuinely torn between wanting to weep for the future of civility, and wanting to rampantly encourage any effort towards Victorian/steampunk presentation. I think the weeping is that this gentle seems rather woefully lost in terms of Victorian RP at all, and it occurs to me–far from the first time–to wonder how are people finding Caledon, wanting to move and live in that environment, if they know nothing of Victorian culture?
This sentiment is absolutely my comfort zone as well. I like to add something pleasant or interesting to a chat. I do not mind the Victorian Civility in our little nation. I endorse it. I doubt I would still be in Second Life if not for Caledon’s civil community. Where else do you find politeness in the world today? The SteamGrid has that virtue.
If you have taken a flavor from my writings here, you may realize I am not originally from Caledon and certainly not from other Victorian times. How does one find Caledon? I have been thinking back over this these past few days, and Miss Emilly’s question brings me to enumerate.
A dear friend of mine, very bright, very involved with online community of RPG kinds… had found a freelance post reporting for Second Life events. This was an exploration for him, circa 2007. I read his articles, because he was a friend, and I become more and more curious about the place he described and his enthusiasm. How various and mysterious it seemed, traveling in a virtual world.
However, I thought it might be a bother to him to introduce me around. And so I decided it would do no harm to find the Aether path to the Second Life for myself. Shortly thereafter I did. It was a journey that was more perilous than I could have imagined and luckily, what offenses I met along the way did not stop me and there were the charms I eventually discovered in Caledon.
But in particular, I found Caledon through the reportage of this Friend, who worked for that esteemed publisher, Miss Widdershins. And after a very few weeks of wandering, I bought a property and settled in. That modest house (tinkered and tweaked) is sitting on that same parcel today.
Friendship made me curious. Web media, as it were, was my compass. And people, civility, community, and welcoming hearts were the roots that encouraged me to spend time here. I shall set aside any thoughts for why I am still here. I think that is a deeper subject.
But on to discourse and RolePlay in Victorian ways.
Allow me to borrow from Miss Emilly again:
What slightly pained me about watching this conversation unfold last night was her wholly innocent bewilderment about the entire topic under discussion. Remember, this is a resident who chose to move to Caledon, over other estates. She wanted to be a part of the culture, the land, the people. While that’s laudable–and believe me, Caledon needs every resident she can get, in these frightening times–it’s also still confusing.
Think of it like…someone who moved to a trailer park that was devoted to southern Florida’s early 1960s culture, in both presentation, lawn decoration, and age of residents, yet prior to this they had only lived in a Manhattan high-rise.
I wonder if anyone’s ever given thought to offering courses at Oxbridge on correct behavior and deportment. Would that help?
I do think, that the lucky Miss CR was in the right place at the right time to get just the right sort of information. Mr AW is an excellent fellow with the turn of phrase and his personal understanding of Victorian sensibility. A course at Oxbridge would not be nearly as effective as the give and take of the Gentles on the ISC channel. You can both give and learn on the channel. While it may be recently quiet, or taken on by folks who prefer chatting about their Griefers, or Scripts, or the misadventures of their Teenagers… that channel is a wonderful source for learning politeness and history. Indeed, most of what I’ve learned in SL has started with provocative chat on the channel…. and then me going off to find out more about the subject.
Of course, a ‘manners and civility’ course at Oxbridge might be very fun, especially if it was more of a Tea and less of a lecture. I wonder if Mr AW would be willing?
There is another venue that I must mention in connection with learning and the SteamGrid; the Aether Salon. This is very like a Tea but often more of a Lecture. Various persons of the SteamGrid will each month bring their research and Point Of View to the Aether Salon and present for the pleasure of the gathering some subject dear to their heart. Admittedly, this is not always done in Victorian manner, however, it is always polite and fascinating. It is not RP per say, though it may involve some. The audience does not have to do RP (though surprises can happen) and you will find this 45 minutes time well spent.
I have probably been to less than half of these and have always carried away something utterly new and fascinating. I regret any time I cannot make it.
I would also recommend the RP lessons at Oxbridge that may be scheduled with Miss WendySlipper Charisma (also linked on my page here.) She gives a very good overview of how ‘everyday RP’ can help in the SteamGrid.
Oh, look at the time! Must flit off, Gentles.
Have a grand day.