I’ve picked up a thing on the BBC about authors adopting ‘method writing’ in their work -living the life of their characters- in the same way actors now do ‘method acting’.
I kind of sighed at this as ‘news’, because for many people in Second Life, ‘method existence‘ is what we do. An amalgam of ‘writing’ and ‘acting’, aren’t we directing our avatars, writing their script, producing their ‘back story‘, much of the time, particularly in, but not exclusive to, role-play within SL?
I know that the nature of the beast, for me, is that I’m as real, in mindset, actions and behaviour as my first life. How I act and behave is how I am in real life, in other words. But that wasn’t always the case, and I have had times where I’ve been someone else, most recently when setting up an ‘alt’, who was black skinned. In doing so, I would be trying to get inside her head. Of course, and I’ve said this, I can’t possibly comprehend the casual racism black people probably encounter on a daily basis, so it doesn’t exactly work to plan. However, that ‘method existence’ occasionally opens up a mindset we didn’t expect, either in ourselves or others. I would guess there are many males, at the keyboard, living life as a SL woman. Many females, at the keyboard, living life as a male. (I’ve not created a male alt, I should add).
From Puss in Boots (the ogre tricked into changing into a mouse) to Harry Potter (the magician as a rat), shapeshifting is a regularly used device. Just as it is in SL.
Classical art includes ‘shapeshifting’, as in this Van den Eeckhout painting, where Velrtumnus, as an old woman, woos Pomona
We can shape shift between outfits, looks, gender, skin colour in an instant. And in doing so, for those who do so, there’s a bit of method writing, method acting, method existing going on each time we log in. Mature men pretending to be young men conjure up their memory of youth in order to woo mature women pretending to be young women, whilst conjuring up the memory of youth.
We inhabit our avatars in a kind of ‘method acting’ manner, and have done for more than the decade of SL’s existence. It’s only now that the world of RL literature is catching on?