I fell in love with virtual art by accident

An Interview with TerraMerhym Terra and Rage Darkstone

The term „art“ is related to the Latin word „ ars” meaning, art, skill, or craft. The first known use of the word comes from 13th-century manuscripts. However, the word art and its many variants (artemeart, etc.) have probably existed since the founding of Rome.
Though there is no one universal definition of visual art, there is a general consensus that art is the conscious cretation of something beautiful or meaningful using skill and imagination.
Both of the artists I have the honour to present to you today understand their art as expression of emontional content – meaning they express and transport a definite feeling for the audience to answer to and thus evoke emotional responses from their viewers. Or, as HW Janson states „(Art is) opening our eyes almost daily to new experiences and thus forcing us to adjust our sights?“ (History of Art, 1962).

Now let’s get to my guests:

TerraMerhyem Terra is a very pleasant French woman. She has been around in Virtual Worlds for quite a while and is a resident of Craft-Word since 2021.

Rage Darkstone is an iqualy pleasant and friendly French-American who also resides in Craft since 2021.

Tosha: Terra, I have the impression that you are a very spiritual woman/artist. What does spirituality mean to you?

Terra: Spirituality… That’s a word that doesn’t appeal to me… „Mysticism” is a word that appeals to me. I am a mystic, not in the religious sense of the word, but in the sense of „intimate participation-merging with…”! And what speaks to me is the beauty, the size, the vastness, the height, the magical, the heroic, the „uncommon”… what „something else” than RL breathes and inspires… I feel drawn to it since childhood – myths, legends, heroic gods, the afterlife… Mysticism: I think it’s what makes me feel good and inspires me when I’m in a creative phase.

Tosha: Rage, I see you performances as very explosive and virile – is that a right concenption or am I on a completely wrong lane there?

Rage: Well, there are two approaches:
1) artwork is done to illustrate some idea, conception etc…
2) artwork which lets the viewers come up with their own interpretation. My work is of type 2). I want to create something evocative in which the viewers can see what they want. However, other people have had your reaction to my art.

Tosha: Rage, so you want to tell me, that it is my interpretation and has nothing to do with you and your work?

Rage: one can’t interpret anything they want from my work, but i want to let the viewer free to come up with their own interpretations. I don’t even like having titles for my work or for my shows, because it can restrict what people see in it. However… As an artist – I like expressionism, work that communicates fealing, emotion as well as images. want something evocative. something pregnant with interpretations, ideas, emotions.
My father was an artist, Tosha, and when I was very young he asked me to paint an “angry orange” – an orange with emotions. I never forgot that. He took me along with him as he developed his artwork. so he taught me how to paint, draw, weld, forge iron, etch plates for prints and engrave them with a burin, he taught me photography, he taught me to cast statues in bronze, he made a poter’s wheel for me and i spun pots in clay, he taught me all kind of techniques — painting with water color, oil, guash, water color, egg tempera — he had me doing art almost from when i could move, as a Baby.

Tosha: Oh, that sounds like a cool father and a fantastic childhood.

Rage: It was. I was very lucky.

Tosha: Terra, How did you come to be a „virtual artist”?

Terra: I fell in love with virtual art by accident. Many years ago I had seen 3D landscape software in a store selling for next to nothing because the next version had just come out. There was a beautiful landscape on the case and I bought the soft not knowing what to do with it or if I would do anything with it at all. I had a computer that was almost unused except for the word processor. I looked at the soft’s interface on my screen and…I said to myself, „Later”. And I forgot. A few months passed and I was asked to design a cover for a CD… I opened the software again and said to myself: „I’m going to design an aquatic landscape, very simple but fantastic, with a pterosaur hovering over it… “. The image I got was really primitive and simplistic, but it was beautiful, it had the weird vibe I wanted and interesting colors… And I found this result so easy to achieve!
And that was the beginning of the adventure.

Terra smiles: Other software came along, and more complex and elaborate creations …
The exciting thing about it: Virtual creation is limitless because no work is ever „finished” = you can always pick it up, redesign it, make it better (or damage it) or do something completely different with it … You can create a 3D Creating an object and

turning it into 2D works… And also the opposite… You can rotate a 3D object in all directions, you can visit it “inside” if it has an inside… And therefore: You can create your own world, the world you want with the properties you choose – which is very different than just having/doing „what is possible” RL…

Tosha: Is that something you only experience in virtual worlds, or have you also had artistic experiences in real life?

Terra: Although it’s not my main job, I’ve designed logos, CD and DVD cases, book covers and illustrations in RL.

Tosha: Rage, how about you? Was it a „normal“ continuation of your RL work or was it a „new“ start?

Rage: It really is a continuation, Tosha. I came into SL and discovered that there was a thriving artistic commmunity. I had restarted doing artwork after decades, so at first I just scanned my rl work and showed it in galleries I built in SL. That started me building and sculpting in SL. This started my work as a digital artists, now I do very little RL artwork.

Tosha: Rage, I am especially fascinated by your creating and destroying, creating and destroying during your performances…

Rage smiles: I enjoy change. And change often involves destroying, recreating, morphin, or recombining, and then destroying again.

Tosha: Terra, some of your exhibitions and performances are about life and death. Have I understood that correctly?

Terra: Yes… What is more important than life and death? Nothing …
There is the love, the beauty, the music, the colour, the movement… the elements of life are… There is the allure of darkness, nothingness, stillness, immobility, mystery… the elements of death are … And what else?
Despite appearances, I don’t really perceive any contradiction or opposition here… Anything can fit into life and death in a poetic way… A Chinese sage once asked, „Is it relevant, life as good and death to be considered bad?”. And his answer, of course, was, „It’s irrelevant”.
Of course, LIFE and DEATH – with capital letters – are not life and death as in RL: they are fantastic „ideas” always imbued with beauty and greatness: it is the power of art to break free from the blood that is under the bombs flows (death, as it is now in Ukraine!), and to be able to stay away from the pain one experiences on a hospital bed (aspects of life in RL)… It is the magic of art that captures the joys of LIFE and can amplify/embellish the darkness of DEATH…
LIFE/DEATH is like Shiva’s dance: with each step of the dance a world is born or a world dies… that is art…
I love art!

Tosha: You play extensively with ideas of gods/goddesses/mythological characters. Is this just a fantasy or what connects you to these „characters” and ideas?

Terra: Religion is not „my trip”…
Epos is my trip: I’ve been fascinated by „barbaric” gods (and heroes) since childhood. Those kind of gods and heroes who possess greatness and powers but are so „human” and fallible that they can be wrong in their actions and decisions, make mistakes, engage in adventures and fights and sometimes fall into traps and bad situations … but still remain great, beautiful, grandiose!
My bedtime reading is „Creatures of Light and Darkness” by Roger Zelazny – I’ve re-read it many times and it always amazed me … So the imaginative „dealing” with these deities is uplifting for me, it brings feelings to Swinging and makes me breathe more fully = this is part of my LIFE… Sometimes I try to escape from them (she laughs) – in an exhibition, an installation or a performance that has nothing to do with mythological entities – but they get me often again! Eventually the idea comes up: „What if I created this sculpture of a mythological creature? – and I do that – and there they are, over and over again!
I wrote this poem (one of my few in German) on a day of rebellion:

« Herren des Gartens

Die Götter wissen es mich auszusaugen
ganz sanft und auch ganz heftig
Und sie streiten sich um meine Säfte zu geniessen
Und wenn ich traure, und leide, und schreie
oh Weh, sie hören es…

Die Götter sind meine unzüchtige Hölle
meine unersättlichen Feinde
mein wollüstiger Schrecken
Die glasäugigen Götter
Die verkrüppelten Götter
Die mich lebendig so zerstören
Und so zerreissen
und so fressen…
Ich bin in den Himmel gefallen und rufe nach dem Schlamm… «

Tosha: To what extent can a feeling of love be real in virtual life?

Terra: What is “real” is what is felt. A feeling, an emotion, a sensation… it’s not virtual… there are no abstractions: it’s the nervous system – the whole person – that’s affected and vibrating. It makes no difference whether this vibration is linked to something “real” or something “virtual”: it is the “reality”, the truth of what is being experienced and what is being felt at that moment… By the way, I don’t really believe in the concept of “Reality” when it comes to the psyche: In my view, only a conventional corpus labels the “real” versus the “virtual”… and our “reality” is merely the result of our interpretations of what we experience. Love is a mystical participation in the other – and when we love, that is the felt truth… The dichotomy “real vs. virtual”: An artificial distinction, for me…

Tosha: Oh…. I am delighted! I was asked so many times about that, and never had the right answer. Now I do. Thank you Terra!

Tosha: Last but not least: you settled in Craft. Can you tell me what made you choose Craft among all the other virtual worlds?

Terra: Actually, I didn’t go for it: the proposal to create an artwork on the theme of “The afterlife” (“America Art 2022”) in Craft brought me here. How could I have resisted such a topic?
I met a lot of nice people in Craft… who also love art… And I made a home in Craft…
Also, Craft is a gentle world and the first in opensim we went to. Agreeable people, an agreeable and accessible „head“ (Licu) who solved many problems for me.

Terra smiles broadly: It is a good place to set home. Others grids have the same advantages, but here is „home“

Rage: I would echo exactly what Terra wrote (I am so lazy) maybe elaborate a bit.

Terra: also many things are related to art in Craft.

Rage: yessss!

Terra: and we were involved in many already.

Rage: there is a group of artists who have build and continue to build a community of artists. More generally, Open sims are very attractive because it can be a kind of „atelier“ where you can try out many things — mesh, for instance, is „free“ and has a very low land impact — so it is fantastic for experimenting with mesh and mesh statues in particular.

Terra: So, when people „talk the same language“ it’s a good place to set home. Everything „works“.

Rage: Also — Licu is so responsive when there are glitches, as Terra pointed out, which inevitable happens in virtual worlds.

Tosha smiles: Yes, Licu really is the best „capo“ one could wish for!
And I thank both of you very much for your view on things and many intersting insights!

If all you people have a chance to see one of the performances of either Rage Darkstone or TerraMerhyem Terra be sure to catch it!
You will find their brilliant presentations regularly at the Craft Homepage,
says Tosha, still with stary eyes full of INSOMNIA……………………………………

Taj Mahal

A truly lovely building, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Yet… already when I was working on the replica, I had my doubts…
Love or madness?
Then I found this poem of Sahir Ludhianvi (1921 – 1980, India),
who seems to have had some of the same doubts, as he wrote:

आपके लिए, प्यार, ताजमहल सबसे बड़े प्यार का प्रतीक है
और आप सुंदर बगीचे की बहुत सराहना करते हैं।
फिर भी मैं कहता हूँ: जानेमन, अब से किसी दूसरी जगह मिलते हैं!

Luckily, I also found the corresponding translation and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did, when I read it!

For you, Darling, the Taj Mahal is a symbol of the greatest love
and you appreciate the beautiful garden very much.
Yet I say: Sweetheart, let’s meet in a different place from now on!

Isn’t it strange that poor people visit royal resorts?
Strange that lovers walk hand in hand on paths
on which once mighty rulers strolled along?

Look behind the facade, Love, and you will see
the signs of imperial power,
well protected and shielded.

You, who enjoys the graves of the dead kings,
should remember the narrow apartments
that you and I grew up in.

Countless men of this world have loved. Wasn’t their love great?
But no memorial is erected to their love.
Because they, like you and me, belonged to the common people.

These structures and tombs, these ramparts and fortresses,
relics of the mighty dead, are no more than canker sores on earth.
Fattened on the blood and bones of our ancestors.

The workers must have loved too, Dearest,
they, whose hands have created all this beauty.
They chiseled and shaped this marble monument so gorgeously.

But their loved ones lived and died
unknown and not being honored.
No one even lit a light on their humble graves.

These banks of the Jamuna river, this building, these groves and lawns,
These walls and doors, arches and niches.
An immeasurably wealthy emperor seems to have played a cruel joke on us.

So I beg you, lover of mine: meet me in a different place.


So recited Sahir Ludhianvi
and Tosha Tyran wholy agrees with him.
You find the Taj Mahal on the region with the same name.
Wear comfortable shoes… it’s a varregion!

The girl who loved the sun – a Hopi tale

A long, long time ago there lived a Hopi girl who was called Xochitl, which means Flower. And Xochitl was in love with the sun.

The glazing sun

When the women retired to the cool dwellings to grind corn, the girl would scurry out as often as possible, looking for the bright ball in the sky. Did Tonatiuh, the sun god, still send his rays to earth? How long, how short had the shadows become? Did a little cloud weaken his strength?
In the evening she crouched in the ocher glow of the evening and watched sadly from the ladder at the entrance to her house as the sky ball disappeared behind the mountains. Then, when the grandmother called so that she could comb the girl’s hair, Xochitl snuggled up to her and asked:
“Grandmother, nothing happens to the sun god so far away?”
“Tonatiuh can take care of himself, nothing happens to him. You just lie down calmly!”
“Will he be coming back?”
“He will come back again.”
“Tomorrow when I open my eyes?”
“We shall see, child!”
Sometimes the sun was shining the next morning, but sometimes it wasn’t. That saddened Xochitl so much that she brooded and didn’t feel like doing anything. She didn’t grind flour and she didn’t want to weave baskets. Her grandmother was often worried: she thought the girl was far too young to ponder! She should rather learn and be happy!

The year Tonatiuh came every day
But there came a year when Xochitl was happy – Tonatiuh sent his rays day after day, not once did a cloud darken the sky. Now Xochitl learned what Hopi girls have to learn:
To grind flour and create pottery, make baskets, press oil from the corn seeds, cook vegetables and gather herbs and stir healing ointments. And she even learned to weave beautiful rugs.

Rug weaving

Xochitl was busy all day long and so happy that Tonatiuh was accompanying her day after day.
Shortly before sunset every day she grabbed the water jar, climbed down the ladder, and made her way to the fountain to fill it. Tonatiuh’s rays ran with her. When the bucket was full and only a few rays of sunlight were left, she crouched in front of the house entrance and watched the sun finally disappear on the horizon:
“It was nice today, Tonatiuh. I had fun! You too? Will you come back tomorrow?”
And Tonatiuh came back. In July the sun shone every day, the same in August The rainy season, on the other hand, did not come.
But without rain, the fields dried up.
The corn stalks let their leaves hang, beans and melons refused to sprout. Even the pumpkin plants didn’t bear.

Pumpkins growing – still…

Looking for a way out
“Ay, grandmother, why are the men meeting?”
“They’re planning the big dance, the snake dance, child!”
“But with that they will call Tlaloc, the rain god, so that he can drive Tonatiuh away. I don’t want the sun to go out!”
“Understand, child! We really don’t have much time left. You know, Tlaloc rarely sends his children to pour out their buckets.”
Shortly afterwards, the men went in search of rattlesnakes. They carried them into the Kiva to prepare for the arduous dance days. For nine days the men would drum, dance and beg for rain.


Meanwhile, the women rummaged worriedly through the supplies.
Would there be enough for the near future? Or would they have to resort to leftover food that they had buried in the ashes after a good harvest for bad days? Would they have to leave their homes? Move on to the wealthier relatives near the river?
Xochitl observed the expressions of the people in the village, watched the women dig in the ashes, listened when they spoke of their worries. She looked thoughtfully at the dirty water in the cistern. Finally one evening she asked Tonatiuh:
“Please, don’t come tomorrow. Hide behind the clouds so that Tlaloc can pour out his buckets. I beg you, Tonatiuh. Don’t come tomorrow!”
The next day – even before the men beat the drums – the sun disappeared behind a large rain cloud. And it rained this day and the next, this week and the next and the next …
The cisterns filled and the irrigation systems as well.

The rain is filling the cistern

The joy was great
The corn on the cob sprouted and so did the beans. The pumpkins grew so plump and abundant that the people in the village could hardly keep up with the harvest. It was a pleasure! The people could not get enough of the abundance, working together in the fields every day until late at night to make use of this blessing.
The women could save supplies and grind enough flour. They peeled beans and dried them, preserved the pumpkins with ash covering them.
They worked hard, they dug and harvested. Xochitl was always among them.
At first nobody noticed it. But after a while the grandmother saw, that the girl was much thinner than before. She seemed weaker from day to day. Every rainy day apparently made her more tired and paler.
“What is the matter, child?”
“Nothing, grandmother. I just don’t feel so well today.”
There was so much to do that the grandmother forgot her worries. The girl went to the fields every day until one day she collapsed at the edge of a corn field. There was hardly a breath left in her; it looked as if she was going to die in a moment. The grandmother pleaded:
“Tonatiuh, please, please, help her!”
And the sun god sent a ray of sunshine from behind one of the clouds and called out to the girl:
“Xochitl, get up and run to the flowers near the house. There I can protect you! Hurry up, run!”

Xochitl Tonatiuh

Xochitl Tonatiuh – The sun flower
As weak as the girl seemed, she got up and set off – towards the flowers. But with every step she faded more and more …
Before her grandmother’s very eyes, she turned into a bright yellow flower. Only the middle remained dark, as dark as her eyes and her long hair.
And since that day it exists – the flower that grows on the edges of the maize fields or next to the houses in August and whose blossoms turn towards the sun. The Hopi call it Xochitl Tonatiuh: sunflower.

The Hopi have used the sunflower in many different ways since ancient times. Next to corn, the flower is the most precious thing these Native Americans in northeast Arizona know. For generations the Hopi have passed on their knowledge to their descendants in a way that makes it impossible to forget – with stories like this one.

If you want to know more about the Hopi, their lives, their crafts and art, you are welcome to visit the “Hopi Pueblo” (Craft-World, 31, 229, 25 or search for “Hopi Pueblo” in your map). At the landing point you will find a sign that – if touched – will give you a notecard with general information about the Hopi. Inside the village you will find different workshops – on the signs over the doors you see what you can find inside – touching the signs will give you notecards with more information about each shop. All notecards are translated to Italian also.

Some Hopi Pueblo dwellers have asked not to be disturbed – their doors and windows are locked. Please respect their privacy,

pleads Tosha, chewing some sunflower seeds while waiting for the piki bread to finish…

On friday, April the 23rd you are all invited to the inauguration of the Hopi Pueblo. You can nose around (almost) all you want, dance with some Katchina, and above all: Watch the great performance of Medora Chevalier (Dance) and Terra Merhyem (Music)!
A huge thanks to these fabulous ladies already now!

11 years together – a very personal story

January 2010
I still have no idea, why Licu Rau asked me to register as a citizen in the not yet existing Craft-World. Much less do I remember why I did so…

What I do remember well were those first weeks and months in the new grid. We were few residents on few sims but we had a lot of wild ideas and every reason was good enough for a party. Pool parties, beach parties, game parties… ah, yes, and crash parties!


Six avatars at the beach, avatar number 7 landed – plop, plop – 2 avatars disappeared. After a while they reappeared looking like grey little worms. No more fancy bikini, hair gone, sometimes very diversive: a man’s face and clothes but sexy female breasts. More than 10 avatars on a sim had to sit anyway, if not the plopping would not stop and even the whole sim could crash.

And there were other ways to crash a sim… twisting prims in some very special way for example. Lumiere Noir was a master at that.

This year also a lot of artists and the MdM came to Craft-World.

January 2011
Craft-World is taking shape. A lot more sims, a lot more residents. When the Cyberlandia, probably the first Italian experiment in OpenSim, decided to close, many of its former residents came to Craft-World and were welcome by the people here.

Soon we had the fame of being an Italian grid, which was not true, we still considered ourselves an international grid. But the non-Italian residents had to learn: Never start an event too early in the evening (Italian dinner time, la pasta is sacred).

But one could always count on the passion of the Italian residents for party, dancing, games and fun.

January 2012
Learning more and more each day with Lumiere Noir patiently helping me. And it seems that also OS got smarter – we experienced much less crashes! Thanks to Licu Rau who really takes care of his „baby“…

I dared to build my first shops, which in no way could reach the strange beauty of Lumi’s shop in the region Sinus.

Maison Noir, Sinus

Virtual Christine crashed into our lives and should acompany us with her wonderful blog. Craft had 39 regions by that time.

January 2013
While Lumiere is busy with his grand Sofia build, wanting it to be a replica of his well known „Ivory Tower“ of Second Life, I just puttered around, trying to pick up his unique technic of prim twisting.

Lumiere Noir’s Tower on the region Sofia (Detail)

Lumi finally decides not to build a replica of the Ivory Tower, but go for a much bigger thing: Ivory City! With the same contents to teach prim building, but on a much bigger scale. He spreads it over 4 region and gives it a smashing floor plan. He builds huge center towers on each sim. And I build all the little bubbles which will eventually contain the lessons. Cool!

Ivory City

January 2014
Lumi and I decided to take some time out from Craft-World, get a few sims at Sanctuary and learn building with mesh.

I started big… The Red Square in Moscow. Quite frankly, it turned out to be way too big for me! One endless wall with countless towers, a huge empty space (the easiest part, for sure) and then the church with all those onion domes…


In April Lumi passed and I was just too stunned to do any building!

Some time later Licu offered me a sim in Craft-World to organize a fare-well event for my companion of so many years.

Fare well, Lumiere…

January 2015
This year I came back to Craft-World for good. It felt good – really like coming home! Looking around I found that many things had changed – first of all, Craft had grown immensly.

And there were things, that either before I had not noticed – or maybe they did not exist yet:
– a rather large community of artists
– a yet larger educational community from different European countries
– quite a few shopping sims

I plunged head over heals into the work and was lucky enough to participate in some really interesting and phantastic projects.

January 2016
The Italian educational community decided to work with their school kids about Dante’s „Divine Comedy“ and I was asked to make the Purgatorio and the Infierno „visible“ and tangible for the children.

Dante’s “Divine Comedy” – the Purgatorio

It was joyous working on such a big project – and the response of the children when they saw it was just great! And I got to read Dante again!

January 2017
The big shopping mall of Craft-World needed a polishing, so I was asked by Licu if I would like to work on that. Of course I did!

In the same year the new mall was inaugurated and has become a real magnet for visitors from all over the Hypergrid. It is practically all build in mesh and so are most of its contents.

The new Craft Store

A lot of people cooperated with the content, leaving their creations to be „sold“ here!

January 2018
Mesh building had become my new passion, though I often cursed at Blender, the damn drug! And also because I felt nostalgic for the good old prim building.

In cooperation with Siberia Ilfreddopurifica a cute little Greek town was created on the sim Honebu, with Greek dancing going on at the center square in front of the town house.

In the meantime, the school kids, that can only be on school-designated sims and not travel around freely on the grid have let their teachers know, that they also wanted some fancy clothes, some different hair styles or just different shapes.

Shopping for kids (Detail)

So Stravanada was created, a whole sim for kids to shop and play and roam around. Stravanada is – like all other educational region – closed to the public and only school kids, teachers and assistants are allowed to enter.

January 2019
After months of reading, discussing, revising endless photos and many more months of building the „Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao“, Spain was created. It probably was one of the most difficult things I ever build, because it is so damn unpredictable.

Guggenheim Museum

The inside is purely phantasy, but offers a lot of space for artists to expose some of their works, if they like.

This year I also decided to bring Ivory City home to Craft-World. Unfortunately, Sanctuary, the little grid where I had finished it after Lumiere’s passing, had disappeared and the grid owner did not respond to my requests. After the panic (lost forever…), I decided, that I would reconstruct it from Lumiere’s plans and my photos. All the lessons I still had in my inventory and/or my HD anyway. So: Manos a la obra and after some months it was really finished!

Ivory City in Craft-World

January 2020
The year of Corona! Probably the only place where many people can move around freely and meet others was/is the Virtual World!

Craft-World has seen a lot of creativity, a lot of social events and a lot of art in the reanimated „Museum de Metaverso“, where we all could attend to a shear endless stream of exhibitions, music, lectures etc.

And it has also seen the inauguration of „Timbuktu“, a rebuild of the almost destroyd adobe city at the edge of the sahara, once home of one of the oldest and most extent Libraries world wide.


The Isis has intended to destroy this jewel of civilization but the people of the town protected the ancient and precious books with their own lives, hiding them when ever they could. Though the damage has been huge – also to the old and unic buildings – much was saved and the city now is in the process of restoring.

Siberia Ilfreddopurifica and I wanted to honor those brave inhabitants and give virtual testimony.

January 2021
Eleven years of Craft-World, of fun, emotions, friends… of being together!

In case you feel like more detailed information about the beginning of Craft, you can find it here in one of the first blog posts of Virtual Christine!

Alma and Bless – an ice cold adventure

Farmer Michael loved his animals and he knew them all by name: the cows, the pigs, the cheeky little donkey and even the chickens. He liked the little farm on the mountain and his animals had a good life. The chickens pawed outside, the pigs had a nice run, the donkey was actually a family member anyway and the cows now, in the winter time nice, had fresh straw in which they could comfortably ruminate.
For the pre-Christmas season he had come up with something special for his darlings, the cows: Christmas music! He found an old radio, brought it into the barn, and placed it on a board on the wall near the cows. Then he looked for a station with Christmas carols, stroking the cows’ soft noses dreaming of his childhood, when he came home from tobogganing and warmed up with the gentle cows,
When his wife called him for breakfast, he noticed how hungry he was and quickly left the barn. He was so lost in his memories that he didn’t close the door properly.
It had snowed for the first time that night, and his steps crunched in the snow as he crossed the yard.

The cows, lying comfortably in the straw, were amazed at the music. “What a beautiful sound,” thought cow Alma, “where does it come from?” Curious, she heaved herself to her knees, got on her feet and strolled over to the square box on the wall from which this sound was obviously coming. She sniffed it extensively. “Doesn’t smell like food,” she mused, “but it sounds very beautiful.“

While she was still sniffing the box in amazement, the music suddenly stopped and a voice said:
“Good morning, dear listeners. It’s time to announce a very special event. Today there is an Advent celebration at the Grieshof in the village of Averhoy. The Grieshof farmer sends a message that good food and warm drinks will be provided and everyone who has no plans today is cordially invited to spend a few pleasant hours with friendly people and animals at the Grieshof. So come and let us greet the Christmas season and the first snow of the year together!”
Now Alma was really amazed and hesitantly licked the box. “What might an Advent celebration be?” Her long tongue drove into one nostril. “With nice people and animals? Then the invitation is also valid for us … “ A picture of fresh, juicy clover came before her inner eye and she looked longingly over to the stable door. Immediately she saw the streak of light falling through the crack in the door. The door wasn’t locked as usual! A daring plan awoke in her.

She turned to Bless, her dearest friend, who layed half asleep in the straw and didn’t seem to have noticed a thing. Alma mooed her plan into Bless’ ear and Bless rose immediately. and Alma had to admit that her tired friend was always available for a little adventure.
They looked at each other briefly and walked one behind the other towards the stable door and stepped out onto the snowy meadow in front of the farm.
“How cold it is” Alma mooed. But not very loud as she didn’t want the farmer to hear them.
Bravely they trudged through the snow until they reached the forest road which they remembered from the summer time. The little road wasn’t quite as snowy as the meadows next next to it because a few cars had already passed there.
The two cows headed towards the valley where they assumed the village was. “Do you know where the Grieshof is?” Bless asked her friend.
“Not exactly,” Alma admitted, “but if everyone is invited we will just have to follow all the many people and animals in the village! “

The way into the valley was a long one. The road turned out to be slippery so the two cows could not run particularly fast. In addition, they had to stop every now and then and marvel at the snowy surrounding.
Finally they came to the village.
Bless looked around. “There’s not a soul here!” She said to Alma. „Where are the other visitors to the Advent celebration? Well, then we can probably eat everything on our own! ” she joked.
They continued walking through the village.

Alma said, “Really, I’m terribly cold and I’m also getting really hungry! Where is the Grieshof?“ Bless was thirsty. But the little creek next to the road was frozen over. “And now?” She asked a little perplexed.
“Now we have to go on. In any case, I won’t be able to make the way back, ”Alma mooed, trembling and discouraged.
So they trudged on with their heads hanging low. When they got to the end of the village and had lost almost all courage, they saw a large house. It stood a little apart on a hill and was adorned with fairy lights.
Alma leaped for joy, although not too high, she felt so tired and cold.
“There, Bless, just look,” she mooed, her spirits awakening again. “With all the lights there is certainly the celebration and we’ll get something to eat and to drink.”
“Maybe it’s a bit warm there, too,” Bless mooed sullenly, “I can’t feel my ears anymore, they are so cold.”
But the sight of the many colored lights had given her new courage and so the two runaways trotted off to get to the illuminated courtyard with its promise of food, drink and warmth as quickly as possible.

As they got closer, they still didn’t see anyone on their way to the house, no humans and no animals. But someone must have taken this way before them because they could clearly see some tracks in the snow. Summing up all of their strength, our two adventurers climbed the narrow path to the lighted house. Alma kept slipping and groaning: “Hopefully we’ll be there soon!” Meanwhile, Bless licked some snow to quench her thirst. Finally they reached the top of the little hill.

It actually appeared to be a farm. The gate was wide open and Bless and Alma passed through it. A large light went on immediately, illuminating the entire yard. The two cows looked around. Only a large decorated Christmas tree stood there. No party, no food and no one to be seen. Alma and Bless hung their heads. What now? They would probably freeze to death miserably. Or starve to death. Or die of thirst. They felt like just laying down in the snow and let fate take its course.
Fortunately a front door opened and a man came out. He looked at the cows in amazement.
“Well, well, well, what are you doing here?” He asked the two cow ladies with raised eyebrows. Of course, he didn’t know that the two understood him perfectly. “It’s way too cold out here for you!” Alma and Bless immediately began to tell him about their adventures, about their hunger and thirst and above all about feeling terribly cold. But – that’s how people are – the farmer only understood moo.
At least he acted quickly, opened a barn door and let them go inside. It was pleasantly warm there and the friendly man gave Alma and Bless hay and water from a tub. Then he fetched two huge woolen blankets and placed them over the backs of the cows. He switched on the light of the Christmas tree and even brought them a few apples, a treat that they normally only tasted in autumn, when they were out on the meadow..

A moment later two children came running out of the house, a boy and a little girl. They didn’t stop to look at the big christmas tree, but stormed straight into the stable.
“Where do those cows come from?” The boy asked his father. “They are not ours.”
“They must have escaped somewhere!” He replied.
“You poor cows! You must have been really freezing”, said the girl pityingly and stroked Alma and Bless over the head.
The boy sat down with them and told them how he once ran away from home. “I had a fight with my mom and was so angry that I ran away and hid in my grandpa’s garden shed. I sat there all afternoon being angry. In the evening grandpa suddenly came in and found me. He said my parents were looking for me everywhere and they were very sad! Later, when they picked me up, my mother hugged me and cried for joy. Since then I haven’t run away again and I tell my mother if I don’t like something. “

The cows mooed softly: “Oh dear, our farmer is probably looking for us already. We have to go home straight away so that he doesn’t worry too much! “
They were about to leave the stable when a car with a trailer drove into the yard. Alma and Bless knew the man who got out. It was her farmer Michael. Both cows almost jumped in the air for joy.
Michael went to the other farmer and said: “Howdy, Franz! We were just about to go to Averhoy to the Grieshof for the Advent party. That’s when we noticed that two of our cows were gone. We were pretty worried, the two outside, in this cold! I was really happy when your wife called and said she thought the two runaways were with you in the stable! “
“Yes, luckily I noticed them quickly!” Franz looked at the two cows and suddenly had the feeling that they knew exactly what he was talking about. He shook his head in confusion and mumbled: “Am I going crazy? I’d almost say they understand me … ” Then he gave himself a jerk and said: „Well, ladies, you had better get into your taxi now. Hopefully you had a nice Advent excursion. “
Alma and Bless got into the trailer and let themselves be driven home. They looked forward to their own stable, their friends and their cozy straw bed.
In the stable they were greeted with joy and curiosity and of course they had to tell the story of their trip straight away. Surely there was one or the other exaggeration; the snow got colder and colder, the way longer and more difficult, the apples more and more delicious and the blankets on their backs slowly turned into heavenly soft down comforters. But the most beautiful thing was the drive home and that the friendly farmer Franz had called them “ladies” and that their farmer Michael had brought them home in a “taxi”.
You could hear the cows whispering and laughing in the stable for a long and time half through the night.
Only of course, the people could not understand them, because of what they are: just people!

Wishing you all a safe and Merry Christmas – and may the New Year be a better one for all of us
sighs Tosha

The Great Nations: a Tuareg Poem

By Souéloum Diagho, a Tuareg poet from Tessalit in the North of Mali. His father is Tamashek, his mother Fula. He writes in the tradition of the controversial eighth century Arabic poet Ghaylan ibn ‘Uqbah. His poetry gives us a view of the Tamashek as they see themselves: a more useful thing than another reduction of recent events.
Souéloum Diagho writes and publishes in French. This poem was translated by Blaisep

Tuareg Tent

There are the Great, America and Russia,
And the small, never spelled out.

Fishing Grounds

There are nations where water flows,
And others dreaming of their own share of the world,
There are the talkers, pushing their agendas
And those seeking to escape.

Sahara Sands

There are Indian and the Tuareg,
The Pygmies and the children with cholera.

Tuareg with cattle

There is peace and rage, constantly boiling
In a pot, a stew of misery,
In it are the guts of the discontent,
The people abandoned by those who call themselves Great.

Timbuktu, among the houses
Timbuktu, marketplace
Timbuktu, the restored library

There is this little country surrounded by a desert landscape,
All it shows for itself is oil flowing from a rock
A spring of living water to quench the thirst
Lasting for many moons,
it does not compete with the Great Nations
And their satanic pride.

The oasis

The Great grow Greater
The small again become even smaller,
We need a third way, the chance to reconsider the status quo,
Such as the UN, but with more freedom,
And greater justice in the Hague that considers
The statements of those oppressed in their thousands.

Mangroves at the Niger delta

We write poems in the sand
then they can be carried with the wind
or they remain a secret
that is so
what I write in the sand
will be carried with the wind

(Unknown Tuareg poet)

Now, if you want to visit Timbuktu, the “lost place” in the desert, type the region’s name (Timuktu) into your map and then – be sure to visit the grand library where you can find some detailed information about the the history of the city.

Tosha Tyran
(Laying in the warm warm desert sand)

A Lovesong

You ask me:

“The North – ain’t that the place of boring landscapes,
interrupted by ugly cities in eternal rain?
Meaningless meadows, somewhere in the fog,
where you try in vain not to surrender to the wet?
Where one is always surrounded by cold, by dampness and by storms?”

And I answer:

Come on, take your navigation tools.
Adjust your perspective.
From now on, your clothes shall be made of sailor’s yarn.
Cast the nets of your looks
and fish between the waves for new perspectives.
Put the binoculars into the right position,
and soon your eyes will be singing a song,
set it to sea sharpness,
and it will clear your view.

Because what I like about the north
is exactly what you complain about
viewed from a different angle.
Because I like this tartness
the gray, the salty roughness,
the water, the fog,
the pounding rain,
the billowing seas
the threatening gestures of the weather,
when clouds tower high in the sky.
I like the feeling of being gagged by gusts of storm.

I like the cows and the dikes with cotton wool sheep.
I like the dunes, the softness of the sleeping mudflats.
I like the vastness of the fields and the endless view
where the sky is only a hand wide above the wandering horizon.
I like the storm battles
and I like it, when the sky opens again.

Yes we like contrasts here:
even our cows are black and white.
We have dinghies and cutters and ebb and flow.
We have clods and crabs and harbor smell.
And we have cranes and seagulls in the salty air.

I sit on a bank until wanderlust calls me.
Oh swarms of herring, oh weather changes, oh milky seas,
oh end of September, oh storms dripping with rage,
oh yellow rain jackets,
oh rubber boots!

Our weather comes with flashing lights,
and it changes rapidly
– you may call it moody –
I would say it has temperament.
And we are drawn to the water
like a seagull to the bait.

Here we say “put some butter to the fish”.
And because we’re used to the weather, we say “keep your ears stiff”
should the storms approach,
in the darkest colors.
There is no complaining about the weather here –
instead we have windjammer parades!

We have the hugest sky and the stiffest breeze
the thickest fish and the softest meadows,
the sharpest shells and the wettest mudflats,
where seals cuddle and sheep mate on dikes.

Whoever decided to shape this country—
that cook must have been in love, ’cause even the air is too salty.
Yes i like this rugged, rough, country and the people.
The open blue, the beach on the borders
of the never ending sea.

I like the cows and the dikes with cotton wool sheep.
I like the dunes, the softness of the sleeping mudflats.
I like the vastness of the fields and the endless view
where the sky is only a hand wide above the wandering horizon.

And no matter how often I travel
and move to distant places
a stiff breeze always carries back my heart.

Land between the seas,
even the trees bow to you
you are the true reason
why the compass needle points north!

For the German original of this text I thank Mona Harry, a very talented Slam-Poet (translation T.T.) ,
and for the beautiful images I am ever so obliged to Uta Warbaum, one of the greatest builders in Craft I know. The images were taken on her region “Deja-vu” which at the moment is closed to the public because Uta is in the process of renewing it.

Tosha Tyran
with fog in her eyes and in her heart…

The avatar that ran away III

(Versione Italiana)

This is just what I mean – you get it? Susanna is really sweet but she treats me as if I had no sense at all. For her I will never grow up, she thinks I am unable to understand the word “freedom” and much less the meaning of it. And hey, what does she want to tell you (and me!) with that: ” After all: she is an avatar! What can she do without me???”

You will find out, Susanna, you will find out! And me too!

I do not want to be the cute little big-eyed girl with braids anymore! I want to roam around in this world, meet people, discover new things, make my own experiences even if they are bad occasionally. And those braids, those freaking braids! How I hate them!

But ok, I don`t want to leave Susanna completely worried so I will try to get word to her once in a while and I sure would appreciate your help with that.

Will I ever return? I don’t know, time will tell…

How can you possibly help me?

Come with me on my way around Craft, help me to solve some strange problems and answer questions for and with me.

You will find a first notecard on the floor of the kiosk on the big dance floor at the region Oymyakon Siberia (168, 19, 22), on my facebook-page (remember, my name in facebook is Clearly Anderson!), and on the Craft-World facebook-page on the 27th of January. And, if you are a member of the Craft Group, you can also find it there.

Once you have found an answer or a solution, you should take it back to the same off-shore kiosk at Oymyakon Siberia, dropping the answer, the notecard or the item found into the book inside the kiosk.

If your answer is correct, I will give you my next question – probably on the following day. But if your answer is not right, I fear you must go back and keep on searching…

Every notecard is in English and Italian.

Of course you can bring some friends along. I will be glad for every little hint and we all know: 4 eyes see more than 2!

I promise, I will not pressure you – help me as you can and wish and have the time. Really there is no hurry and I am more then curios as to where my paths will lead me.

You might want to read on my facebook page once in a while. So – if we do not meet inworld – that will be almost as good, won’t it? As I mentioned earlier, I had to change my surname, because when I wanted to register with my real name (Clearly Anonymous) facebook reacted kind of hysterical, so I decided to call myself – for the sake of peace – Clearly Anderson there.

I have already found two nice friends that are always helping me: xSiberiax Ilfreddopurifica (strange name, but nice guy) and Tosha Tyran. And they told me that it would be a good idea to thank all of the sim-owners, that let me stroll on their lands and give a special thanks to Licu Rau (whoever that may be) for his generosity!

Please, consider it done herewith…

I hope you will have fun

xoxo Clearly

L’Avatar Fuggito III

Questo è proprio quello che intendo, capisci? Susanna è davvero dolce ma mi tratta come se fossi inanimata. Per lei non crescerò mai, pensa che non riesca a comprendere la parola “libertà” e tanto meno il suo significato. E cosa vuole dirvi (e dirmi!) Con quel: “Dopotutto: è un avatar! Cosa può fare senza di me ???”

Lo scoprirai, Susanna, lo scoprirai! E anch’io!

Io non voglio essere la ragazzina dai grandi occhi con le treccine! Voglio andare in giro per questo mondo, incontrare gente, scoprire nuove cose, fare le mie esperienze, anche se a volte potrebbero rivelarsi sgradevoli. E queste trecce, queste maledette trecce! Quanto le odio!

Ma ok, non voglio che Susanna si preoccupi troppo, quindi proverò a lasciarle mie notizie di tanto in tanto e sicuramente apprezzerò il tuo aiuto per poterlo fare.

Tornerò mai? Non so.. sarà il tempo a decidere.

In che modo puoi aiutarmi?

Vieni con me in giro per Craft, aiutami a risolvere alcuni strani problemi e rispondere a domande per e con me.

Troverai la prima notecard sul pavimento del chiosco sulla grande pista da ballo nella regione Oymyakon Siberia (168, 19, 22), sulla mia pagina facebook (ricorda, il mio nome in facebook è Clearly Anderson!), e sulla pagina facebook Craft-World il 27 di Gennaio. E se sei un membro del gruppo Craft in world, puoi trovarla anche li.

Quando trovi la risposta o la soluzione, dovresti portarla al chiosco di Oymyakon Siberia, inserisci la risposta, la notecard o l’oggetto trovato nel libro all’interno del chiosco.

Se la risposta è corretta ti darò la domanda seguente – probabilmente il giorno successivo. Ma se la tua risposta è errata, temo che dovrai tornare indietro e riprovare…

Ovviamente puoi collaborare in gruppo con altre persone. Sarò felice per ogni piccolo aiuto e come si dice: 4 occhi vedono meglio di 2!

Prometto, non ti farò pressioni – aiutami come e quando vuoi e puoi. Davvero, non c’è fretta e sono più che curiosa di scoprire dove mi condurrà questa avventura.

Se ti va puoi leggere la mia pagina facebook di tanto in tanto, così – se non dovessimo incontrarci inworld – potremmo comunque stare in contatto, non credi? Come dicevo prima, ho cambiato il mio cognome, perchè quando ho provato a registrarmi con il mio nome reale (Clearly Anonymous) facebook ha avuto un attacco isterico, così ho deciso di chiamarmi – per amore della pace – Clearly Anderson.

Ho già trovato due amici gentili che mi stanno aiutando: xSiberiax Ilfreddopurifica (nome strano, ma bravo ragazzo) e Tosha Tyran. Loro mi hanno detto che sarebbe una buona idea ringraziare tutti i proprietari di sim, che mi permettono di girovagare sulle loro terre e dare un ringraziamento speciale a Licu Rau (chiunque sia) per la sua generosità!

Consideratelo fatto!

Spero vi divertiate.

xoxo Clearly

The avatar that ran away II – Susanna speaking

(Versione Italiana)

Please my friends, can you help me? I am almost out of my mind with worries. My avatar, my little girl, my Clearly has disappeared. I don’t know what happened, but she has gone, she just left me behind worrying about her!

I have always treated her well, I promise! She looked lovely, nice new clothes all the time, the most fetching hair does… I am really worried! How will she get along without me? After all: she is an avatar! What can she do without me???

Please, if you see her, if you find any trace of her, would you let me know about it? And maybe you can leave a word for her or for me at the little kiosk on the big dancing floor just at the coast of Oymyakon Siberia. Look, I post a picture for you here, so you can find it.

The off shore kiosk at Oymyakon Siberia

Leave any notice of my little doll here and I will find it. And maybe you’ll be sweet enough to leave a cookie once in a while there for her – she loves cookies with orange marmalade fillings! Oh, and she also likes raspberry candies, you know, the little red ones…

I’ll send you a new photo so you will know her when you see her.

Susanna: My little girl...
My little girl…

L’Avatar Fuggito II – Parla Susanna

Per favore amici, potete aiutarmi? Sto quasi perdendo la testa. Il mio avatar, la mia bambina, la mia Clearly è sparita. Non so cosa sia accaduto, ma lei è andata, mi ha lasciato e sono molto preoccupata per lei!

L’ho sempre trattata bene, giuro! Lei ha un aspetto molto carino, ha sempre bei vestiti nuovi, le più belle acconciature… Sono davvero preoccupata! Come starà senza di me? Dopo tutto: lei è un avatar! Cosa farà senza di me???

Per favore, se la vedi, se trovi sue tracce, potresti informarmi? E magari puoi lasciare una parola, per lei o per me, al piccolo chiosco nella grande pista da ballo sulla costa di Oymyakon Siberia. Guarda, posto una foto del chiosco qui, così puoi riconoscerlo.

Lascia qui ogni notizia riguardante la mia bambolina in modo che io possa trovarla. E potresti essere così dolce da lasciare li ogni tanto un biscotto per lei – lei ama i biscotti farciti con marmellata d’arancia! Oh, a lei piacciono anche le caramelle al lampone, sai, quelle piccole rosse…

Ti lascio una sua foto recente così puoi riconoscerla quando la vedi.

The avatar that ran away I

(Versione Italiana)

Hello everybody out there!

My name is Clearly Anonymous and I am the avatar of a dear friend of mine in Real World, of Susanna Fliparound to be exact.

Susanna is a nice lady, really, and we have been friends for many a year. She always treated me well, saw to it, that I look nice, even got me some real cool animations, so I would not walk around like a duck, and she has, in my oppinion, a good taste in clothing me.

So, everything seems fine, right? And yet… do you know the feeling? Always the same routine… I come online whenever she wants, I dress the way she wants, I use the make-up she likes, I have the friends she chooses for me and I go offline whenever she feels like it.

Time has passed and I started feeling more and more unquiet. I was desiring to feel free! To live my own life! To discover my own style! To travel at my own leisure! To come online when I feel like it! To make my own friends! To get offline when I am tired!

With other words: I wanted to discover my own personality and my very own freedom!

Then, the other day Susanna read to me a posting, that it will be the 10th anniversary of Craft soon – and my longing to go and roam around on my own got stronger and stronger. So while Susanna was getting a sip of water, I found and read the above poem by Robert Frost on her monitor and suddenly I knew what I had to do: Get out of this straitjacket, free myself of my ties to Susanna, take all the courage I could summon and make my way alone! Plunge into the glossy, moon colored water, fly through the haze and reach for the stars!

I wanted to celebrate the anniversary of Craft in freedom!

And though I knew Susanna would be sad and maybe even cry a little, I just left without as much as leaving a word!

My first day at freedom: new hair cut and tattoo. The shirt I found at the beach somewhere.

For sure I am a little shaky but I also feel wild and free, daring and unconcerned, light hearted and happy, happy, happy!

But of course, I am sure I will need some help on this great adventure of mine – help from all of you! Though you might never see me, please be so kind to be my guardians and lend me a hand, when things get difficult for me!

L’Avatar Fuggito I

Salve a tutti!

Il mio nome è Clearly Anonymous ed io sono l’ avatar di una mia cara amica in Real World, di Susanna Fliparound per l’ esattezza.

Susanna è una dolce signora, davvero, e siamo amiche da molti anni. Mi ha sempre trattato bene, si è presa cura di me, del mio aspetto, mi ha procurato delle animazioni molto realistiche, in modo da non farmi andare in giro come un’ anatra, e secondo me ha anche buon gusto nel vestirmi.

Quindi, sembra tutto perefetto, giusto? Ma… conosci la sensazione? Sempre la stessa routine… Sono on line ogni volta che lei lo desidera, vesto nel modo che lei vuole, uso il make-up che piace a lei, ho amici che lei sceglie per me e vado off line a suo piacimento.

Il tempo passa ed io mi sento sempre meno tranquilla. Desidero sentirmi libera! Vivere la mia vita! Trovare il mio stile! Viaggiare senza pressioni! Essere on line quando voglio! Scegliere i miei amici! Andare off line quando sono stanca!

In altre parole: Io voglio trovare la mia personalità e la mia libertà!

Qualche giorno fa Susanna mi ha letto un post, presto sarà il decimo anniversario di Craft World – desidero fortemente andare e vagare liberamente. Così mentre Susanna stava prendendo un bicchiere d’acqua, ho trovato e letto la poesia di Robert Frost sul suo monitor ed immediatamente ho capito cosa fare: Togliere questa camicia di forza, liberarmi dal legame con Susanna, farmi coraggio e prendere la mia strada! Immergiti nell’acqua lucida color luna, vola attraverso la foschia e raggiungi le stelle!

Voglio festeggiare l’anniversario di Craft in libertà!

So che Susanna potrebbe essere triste e forse anche piangere un po’, sono sparita senza dire una parola!

Sicuramente sono un po’ tentennante ma anche selvaggia e libera, audace e indifferente, spensierata e felice, felice, felice!

Certo, sono sicura che avrò bisogno di un po’ d’aiuto in questa grande avventura – aiuto da tutti voi! Anche se non mi hai mai vista, per favore sii gentile, tienimi d’occhio e dammi una mano quando le cose si faranno difficili!