Fantasy Fair is just about here. It opens on the first of May to benefit RFL (Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society).
Each year for the past two I wrote up a little blurb to post on the blog about the fair after it was over. It is like a yearly peek inside what makes Sear tick, a cleansing, and some of what I am behind the screen along with a fair amount of theatrics as I describe the experience or inspiration involved. I don’t know if I will end up writing another snippet at the end of the fair this year… it seems to be something of a tradition since this time of year is very emotional for me. However I feel like I need to write already…. This year I want to share and reflect before the gates even open. As the fair goes on I’m sure there will be shifts and thoughts that come about but I want to share the inspiration and the dedication of the sim before we all get going in a whirlwind trying to experience every moment, trying to catch up and finish before it opens. With all of the stress, all of the anxiety, all of the expectations, and work I want to take a moment and I’m bringing you along with me. I know now is not the best time as we try to finalize everything but you never really know when that time might come again so I have learned to take life in the moment.
Mourningvale Thicket isn’t meant to be epic. It isn’t meant to be impressive. It isn’t meant to use the latest mesh or the latest greatest thing that SL has to offer in the way of shinies. It isn’t meant to push envelopes, it isn’t meant to make you catch your breath in awe or in wonder staring up at a magnificent build.
It is meant to make you feel.
It is chaotic in places. It is dark and raw. It is ruined, dead and has a sense of foreboding.
It also has life. Music, love, laughter and celebration.
From one extreme to the other Mourningvale Thicket is meant to take you on a journey. It is not just a shopping sim, I know this is a fair and I know this is meant to be a place to shop and spend your lindens but it is not just that, at least…. Not if I have my way.
In some ways it is understated and on purpose.
It is meant to on some level make you uncomfortable in spots. It is the sort of place that in some areas the darkness has overcome, the curse has taken hold… death and decay with ruins dotting the landscape of blackened earth and jagged rock are the things you will encounter.
There is hope.
Places where life has begun to spring back fighting back against the curse that has most of the land in its grasp.
There is regrowth.
There is celebration.
Depending on how you travel the sim there is a remarkable difference in what you will encounter first.
If you come from an adjoining sim you will be met with darkness.
If you travel in from a portal or landmark you will be met with life.
The extremes can be traveled as you walk along the paths.
Imagine walking from the sim next door met with dead trees, jagged rock, overgrown grass and ruins. Gnarled roots, black trees reaching up leafless to the sky… the sort of place that as a child you avoided your parents admonishing you that the creatures within might spirit you away into the darkness never to be seen again. Subdued one almost wants to whisper as you walk past the ruined buildings. Someone lived here once or it seems like they must have but their story has long been forgotten the cursed earth keeping its secrets locked in the darkness. There are times when you might be tempted to run back the way you came not wanting to travel further but if you keep going with a little bit of faith you will be met with hope. You begin to see renewed signs of life. Roses begin to grow amongst some of the ruins and craggy rock. The thorns are less dangerous looking. A people have decided to try to combat the darkness building their homes amongst the brambles and dead branches. Colorful and full of life they begin to beat back the darkness taking shelter on the outer edges of the cursed woods welcoming you to continue down the path.
If you keep moving forward through the darkness, through the ruins, through the thorns a clearing opens. Small flags sway gently in the breeze; trees have begun to regain their leaves even if still dark and grass is growing beneath your feet as you take in your surroundings. Laughter, celebration… Life. Firelight and campfires keep the shadows at bay, the night safe – the Thicket a place of warmth once more in this small pocket.
Mourningvale Thicket might mean different things to different people and it might mean nothing at all but when I decided to take on this design I wanted to create a world where even in the darkest corners there is hope and light, life amongst struggle, a balance… a journey.
I have been touched many times by cancer, loved ones struggling for life, some surviving… some succumbing to the harshness of it. I have watched a loved one slowly wither away from bone cancer crying out in pain, and I’ve seen a family member struggle for breath when his lungs were invaded by it hunched over powerless to help. I have also embraced and celebrated those who have survived and are still with us.
My sim this year is dedicated to those people.
The survivors, and to those we have lost. It is dedicated in loving memory to an uncle, to a grandfather, and to an aunt who has survived. It is dedicated to the journey that we go upon through our daily lives with the struggles, the darkness… the pain and the harshness… the light, the laughter and the music. To the lives we lead and the moments along the way that define us carrying us towards our journey’s end.
I invite you to join me this fair season in supporting a cause close and dear to my heart. To relay, and to make a difference in someone’s life.
Thank you, for sharing these moments with me and I hope you truly have a wondrous fair experience this year.