Magic Storytime in the Book Forest

Sometimes we get guests! And by guests, I mean, people (for some definitions of people) who come into the Book Forest to read lots of lovely stories to whoever happens to be there.

Storytime is an important Book Forest tradition that continues on no matter who’s there to read or be read to, to tell or be told to.

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The Literary Tent

This evening’s special guest chose The Literary Tent, possibly because it just showed up in the Forest a couple of days ago, and possibly because it’s a mite nippy in the Forest this time of year and she felt it was cosier.

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But who was our special guest?

But who was tonight’s special guest? You probably will figure it out if you look at the title of the book she’s talking about with all our Book Forest animals. It’s the one and only Gretel of the fairy tale, all grown up and happy to share her story with the world!

She started by introducing herself and letting the animals ask a few questions.

“But why are you wearing jeans?” asked the chocolate bunny

“Because I can.”

“And how come your hair is blonde?” asked the blue-haired unicorn.

“Because it grew that way.”

“Did you really forgive your mum for all that stuff?” asked the adorable grey kitten.

“After years of therapy, sure.” She sensed the questions were going to get tougher. “But that’s all the Q&A we have time for: I want to tell you my story, and also tell you about this magical book!”

“Ooh, it’s a magical book, just like us!” The baby dragon leaned over to nuzzle the griffin sparrow.

“That’s right!” said Gretel. “This is a magic book, because, while I’m going to tell you my story today, I also want to show you how you can come back here and just touch this book, and it will read you the story and even show you pictures!”

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Wow! The actual gingerbread house!

The hedgehog in the hat piped up, “Wow! The actual gingerbread house!”

“That’s right. All the pictures in this book are of my actual story, all gathered from the events as they occurred. Don’t ask: it’s magic,” she said, only a little sternly.

“But how does the magic book work?” asked the tall hare.

“All you have to do is touch it and tell it you want to see my story in pictures and hear someone read it to you,” Gretel explained.

“So I could touch it with my horn?” asked the blue-haired unicorn.

“Sure,” said Gretel.

“How about noses?” asked the fat white squirrel.

“That will work too.”

“Antlers?” asked the gruff-voiced reindeer.

“Yep. It all works!”

Everybody was amazed—so amazed that Gretel used the book as she told her story, adding in little bits and pieces that she only tells when she’s speaking to groups in person.

The best part is, she left a copy of the book right here in the book forest, so when you visit, you can hear all about Gretel and her story too.

Do you want your own magical copy of Hansel and Gretel? You can get it on the Second Life Marketplace!

Style Card:
Amazing Magical Book: Albion Scriptworks, Hansel and Gretel Story Book Combo (Available on the Second Life Marketplace)

Literary Tent: KraftWork, The Literary Tent (Available at The Liaison Collaborative)

Gretel:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Aida Bento Mesh Head
Skin: The Skinnery, Maite Lelutka Mesh Head Applier, in Snow
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Guenevere B, Light Blondes (rare!) (Available at GachaLand)
Blouse: !go! Luba Corset (4)
Trousers: Spirit, Sienna Jeans Black
Shoes: Beyond the Mists, Ribbon tie Dance Shoes
Cats on Gretel: Sweet Thing, Cabootie Cat, Head Plop and Shoulder Bud

Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
Alas, Awenia has drifted back into the mists after our open month of December 2018. You can visit again sometime in May of 2019, we think!
Poses: Bang, Ground Sits
Animals: too many to mention, but if you want to know about specific ones, IM me in world and I’ll try to give you the information you need!

Thanks to the geniuses at Albion ScriptWorks for creating such a whimsical and fun product. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Out of Legend

You think we come from some fairy story?

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You think we trip down the pages?

You think we trip down the pages, as if they were steps from one of your fantasy castles? I assure you, we are there. But that is not where we come from.

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You think we are the stories?

But the stories! you say. You think we are the stories? Oh, of course, we are in your stories. But that is not where we come from.

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You think we are the stuff of legend?

Are we the stuff of legend? You think we are elements of your myths. We are in your myths and legends. But that is not where we come from.

It is easy to blur the borders: we are in a forest made of books, after all. A forest made of stories, legends, myths.

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You will find us in the shallow forest.

You will find us in the shallow forest, to be sure. On the edges, in the stories, in the tales handed down from your grandma and her grandma before her; you will find us there. But that is not where we come from.

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But what happens in the deeper forest?

But what happens in the deeper forest, beyond your simple paths, the house too small to live in but perfectly decorated with the plates set out for tea? What happens when you go so far in that stories begin to tell themselves? Well, we say. Well, then—you are closer.

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And what’s that behind you?

And what’s that behind you? Surely it’s only a shadow. Light filtering through cut paper, light bleeding out from twinkle trees, obscured by a solid object. You tell yourself that’s what shadow is. That’s what shadows do. Isn’t it?

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You think we are tragic creatures? 

You think we are tragic creatures? You think we are sad? No, no: we are watching. We are waiting. We are thinking.

We are waiting for those words that echo all throughout the forest, all throughout legend and myth and fairy tale.

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Oh! Here they are.

Oh! Here they are. Those words that bring our souls out into the moonlight, that let us give you just enough of us to want more, and more always.

Listen: in the stillness of the snow, the words whisper from every tree, every book, every bough, every light:

Once upon a time.

That is where you will find us.

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And here is the secret.

And here is the secret. Listen: I will only tell it once. You may revisit it in a hundred stories, but this is the only time you will hear it from my, from our, lips.

There is no difference between the copse of trees at the bottom of your garden and the ancient forests you wander when you can. It is only that in those ancient forests we rise wilder, and you can take a journey on foot to a place where you can believe in us.

There is no difference between the oldest story ever told and the story that springs into your mind now, fully formed. They are the same, and we are in both of them.

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All forests are one forest.

All forests are one forest. All legends are one legend. Each forest is new. Each story is new.

But I did not tell you where we come from, you will say. I have been telling you all along. We come from the breath between the lifting of the pen and the word on the paper. We come from the shoot of green that struggles up through the snow. We come from the deepest forest, the oldest story, and we are as present in the three trees in the schoolyard and the library book as we are, as we ever were, there.

Don’t fight it. Come in. I have more stories to tell you. So many more.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Noelle Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Elvi (All current skin lines are in the Lumae Main Store)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Sassafras
Eyes: ADD Andel, The Three Forest Eyes
Gown: Senzafine, Emmeline Gown (Available now at We Love Roleplay)
Necklace and Earrings: Empyrean Forge, Fortuna
Circlet: A&A, Winter’s Malice Circlet
Antlers: Attic, Long Antler White
Nails: Cazimi, Winter Ombre Nails

Environment:
Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
There are so many things in the book forest that I cannot begin to list them all. But Awenia is open to the public throughout the month of December: Please come and experience it for yourself!

 

 

 

Book Forest Expanded (The Changing Landscape of Awenia, 4)

I watched out the window as the boundaries of the Book Forest expanded. It’s funny, when things like this happen: you don’t actually see things moving—it’s just that a few seconds, or minutes, or hours later, you note that something has changed position.

The Book Forest is its own entity. It began as a concept in my mind, I admit, and I did have something to do with the first little iteration of it, but since then, as with all the wild places of Faerie, it has developed a mind and soul of its own. I noted the changing boundaries for a few days, but I stayed away because I knew the Book Forest would take care of itself. When the boundaries seemed to settle (or at least have been in the same place for a couple of days), I took Bran and his trusty smartphone camera, and we went down to take a look at the new Forest.

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The Book Forest

This is my favourite photo that Bran took as we explored the remade. Book Forest. He took so many pictures!

This entry is going to be image-intensive: there are 26 photos of the book forest. I’ll do my best to keep the text within reason!

As with all the best forests, the first thing I felt when I walked into the Book Forest is this wonderful silence. The outside world just falls away.

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The outside world fell away.

The outside world fell away, and suddenly we were in the world of “once upon a time”.

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Joy and wonder

I was overcome by a sense of joy and wonder. The first thing I noticed was this beautiful area that looked like a homage to writing and to books themselves.

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Stop shooting me!

“Stop photographing me and concentrate on the forest!” I admonished. “Bran, seriously; look where we are.”

Bran looked at me and winked. “I am looking, Your Majesty,” he said.

“Perv,” I shot back.

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Look at all the little chairs!

“Look at all the little chairs! Some of them are even shaped like books!” I couldn’t resist the urge to play storyteller.

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Bran seemed to like it too.

Bran seemed to like it too: he just kept photographing me as I laughingly told him to stop. I loved that the statue behind me was supported by two armloads of books, that the mushroom table had a stack of books on it. There was just so much to see.

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I wanted to tell stories here forever.

I wanted to tell stories here forever; there was something about the ambiance of the place, magical, removed, and yet so solid.

But there were many other things to see, so I stepped down from the tree stump podium and we walked further in to the forest.

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The next stop was a tiny house.

The next stop was a tiny house with books on the steps as if somebody had just run in to make a cup of tea.

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A mysterious air….

There was a mysterious air about the little cottage, as if magic occurred there. I wondered if it was the residence of some Author or other.

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Seriously, stop photographing me!

“Seriously, Bran—stop photographing me! If you do it again, I will make a photo face!”

The camera clicked. Again.

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I warned you!

“I warned you, Bran!” I shouted. “You know not to test me!”

To my embarrassment, there was no other sound than the electronic click of Bran’s mobile phone camera.

I sighed. “Fine. Let’s see what’s in this house.”

Bran insisted that it was rude to just walk into someone’s house, even if nobody was there. Some part of me, the part that grew up in Southeast London where places have bars on the windows, knew that. But Queen Gwyneth, you know. She goes anywhere she likes.

In the end, I folded. “Fine; but let’s look through the window at least.”

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It looked like someone was just moving in.

It looked like someone was just moving in: there was an empty bookshelf, and the only inhabitants were two cats. I do like cats.

“Maybe we could get to know whoever lives here,” I mused.

“Maybe,” Bran said. “But there’s more to see.”

“Yes, yes, yes,” I said.

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Beautiful trees behind the house.

There were beautiful trees behind the house. “You know what?” I said. “I really like that all the paths are made from books.”

“Oh, you noticed that, huh?” Bran smirked. “Your powers of observation are truly staggering, Your Majesty.”

“I don’t think you’re allowed to talk to me that way, Bran.”

“I have a photograph of you making a very rude selfie face, Your Majesty.”

“Fine.”

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Signs everywhere

There were also little signs everywhere; I liked that touch. And there were beautiful lamps, even though we didn’t need them in the bright sunlight of Faerie during the day. The fairytale books with their pop-up paper castles and other little touches gave us something new to look at every time we turned.

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Book Fort!

“Bran, Bran! Look! It’s a book fort! Take a picture of that!”

“I already did, My Lady.”

He was way ahead of me.

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Happily ever after

Once again, I was caught by these signs. Up ahead, there was this amazing glowing door set in to a rock.

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Another “strange” sign

There was another “strange” sign in front of the glowing door (See what I did there?). I wanted to go through it, but Bran resisted. I won, of course, but when I tapped on the door, nothing happened. How annoying.

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Somewhat changed, but still recognisable.

The book forest had kept some of its old features, and this little ruin was one of them. There were new features here, of course—and weirdly, some of them seemed to have come from my Frog Prince dream a couple of weeks ago. How very odd. The moon on a stand was here, and the little figuring of the frog prince himself looking into a mirror. I just shook my head.

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Candy Apple Tree

I loved this candy apple tree, next to another one of those beautiful pop-up books. It was hard to keep all the little details straight: I could see I was going to have to come here again and again.

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Stump House

This little house made from the largest stump I’d ever seen, had also been a feature of the old forest, but the surrounding roses and trees were new. I guess the book forest’s expansion provided more room for beautiful things. And I’m never one to discount the appeal of beautiful things.

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Book bed and bridge

The little area with the bed made from a book and the table full of interesting things was till there, as was the bridge. But there were new book piles, even a large book arch.

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Then I turned around, and this little house took my breath away

Then I turned around, and this little house took my breath away. When I checked, it was empty. “It’s just waiting for someone small to move in,” I told Bran.

“Like… Clutie, for instance?” Brian asked. He was smirking.

“She’d never leave me,” I said.

“How wonderful for you.” The expression on his face said everything. Bran and Clutie… yeah; they don’t get along.

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Wow, look at that book arch!

“Wow! Look at that book arch!” I couldn’t wait to stand under it. “Bran, Bran! Take a photograph!” I shouted.

Brian smirked. “I thought you didn’t want me to make any more photographs of you, on pain of your selfie face,” he said.

“I changed my mind.”

Bran rolled his eyes.

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Rose petals, like a kiss

Now, sometimes funny things happen around you when you’re a Faerie Queen. In this case, it was hundreds of rose petals, just falling from the big book arch. So I blew them at Bran. To thank him for the photograph, of course.

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The Narnia Wardrobe

I call this the Narnia Cupboard. It’s been here since the Book Forest first sprang out of the surrounding woodlands. I like to think it was the first thing that appeared here, and maybe everything else sprang from it. It’s special.

But we were approaching where the paths converged, nearly back to the Book Forest’s entrance. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. I only get to discover a place for the first time, once.

Until it remakes itself again, that is.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Seattle (Available NOW at  Ultra!)
Nails: Cazimi, August VIP Nails (You can pick this up at the Cazimi Main Store!, but only if you’re a member of the Cazimi VIP Group)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: AviGlam, Doll’s Eyes
Gown: Junbug, Pippa Gown (Available NOW at Equal10!)
Hair and Antlers: Analog Dog (natch), Doe (Available FOR JUST TWO MORE DAYS at The Gacha Garden!)
Autumn Necklace & Earrings: Bliensen & MaiTai, Augumn (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Book of Shadows Necklace: Maxi Gossamer, Soul Catcher Book of Spells
Rose Petals: Persefona, Floating Rose Petals 2

Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
There are so many things to credit here that I know I will leave some out and possibly put some in that aren’t shown properly in photographs. If you have questions or would like to know more about any item, just leave a comment here or message me in-world (Gwen.enchanted), and I’ll give you whatever information I can. Also, some of the items have stories around them, and I am not able to resist telling a good story, ever.

Book Paths and Forest Bounding Books: Una, Book Path. (This is now a group gift at the Una Main Store!) Una Daxter sent me this, I think because I played her Alexandra gacha about a million times at a Fantasy Gacha Carnival. It’s one of the coolest things anybody has ever given me, and I have blogged and photographed and credited it more times than I can count. It was absolutely the inspiration for the Book Forest, and I cannot thank her enough for that small gift. Although it’s been in every blog post featuring the Book Forest, I haven’t told this story before. I love it very much.
Forest Entrance Book, Brown Book Scenes, Leaf Book, Book Bed Fae Swing (with a tree): BananaN, all from Story Book Gacha except the swing. (You can find this at the BananaN Main Store!)
Tree Stump Chairs and Podium, Mushroom Seats, Tree Spirit With Books: Merchants of Dreams, Writers’ Place. This was a live auction item from the 2015 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire. It’s not available. It was given to me by the people who won the auction so that it could be placed at the Milk Wood Writers’ Colony, and there is a copy of it there in Gossamer Down so that anyone can use it to hold workshops and meetings.
Cabin, Doors of Durin, and Pink and White Pop-Up Castle Book: Spell, A Forest Tale Gacha, Cabin; Spell, Middle Earth Gacha; and Spell, Once Upon a Time Gacha  (You can find all of these at the Spell Main Store!)
Butterfly Tree with Faeries: Simply Shelby, Butterfly Tree (Available at the Simply Shelby Main Store!)
Lighted Book Tree: {e}lusive Designs, Book Tree With Lights. ({e}lusive is in between stores at present; however you can find their stuff at the {e}lusive Marketplace Store.)  Dema Fairport, who created this beauty, is a SL creator, DJ, and photographer. She was in my Visionaire class, and we’ve been friends ever since.
Lanterns, Wishing Well, and Bridge: Raindale, Maplemoor Gacha. (You can find this at the Raindale Main Store!)
Signs: All these signs are from the stunning 8f8 Storyteller’s Burrow gacha. (You can find this, and lots of other amazing stuff, at the 8f8 Main Store!)
Big Book Fort: Cheeky Pea, Book Nook gacha, Book Fort (You can find this at the Cheeky Pea Main Store!)
Ruins: Ionic, Sacred Ruins (Available at the Ionic Main Store!)
Décor in Ruins:
-Silver Moon on Stand:
Air, Frog Moon Silver (Available NOW atEnchantment!)
-Table:
Dust Bunny, Autumn Calling, Wooden Table (You can find this at the Dust Bunny Main Store!)
-Book on Table With Rose:
Konpeitou, Beauty and the Book w/Rose (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
-Frog with Mirror (on table)
Konpeitou, Frog Prince Mirror (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
-Alchemy Book Scene: Stormwood, Alchemy Book Scene!)
-Story Book on floor (and many other story books scattered around the forest): Divine Creations, Tell Me a Story (It looks like Divine Creations has some Real Life and isn’t active in SL at the moment, but you could probably find pieces of this gacha on the Marketplace.)
Candy Apple Tree, Fairy Tale Chairs, Table, Parfaits, Daisies & Ladybirds, Will-O-Wisp Tree, Glam Poppies, Persian Carpet Grass:  (Available at The Looking Glass’ Horizon Dream Region!) I’m a proud Looking Glass fan.
Stump House: Since 1975, Fairytale Garden House (Available at the Since 1975 Main Store!)
Magical Tree House: Kazza, Abode Tree (I couldn’t find this at their main store; it was an ultra rare from a fantasy gacha. You can find it on the SL Marketplace, but it’ll cost you.)
Roses: {anc} Sugar Rose Field (Available at the {anc} Main Store!)
Giant Book Chair and Wonderland Book Arch: Boudoir. (Available at the Boudoir Main Store!)
Trees: There are so many different trees in here I’d go nuts listing them all for you, but they’re from places like Rivendale, Harshlands, Keke, and Happy Mood. You can go to every single one of these places and find the most amazing stuff ever.

Thank you to everyone who previewed the expanded Book Forest and gave suggestions, reactions, or just was nice to me while I went through all my obsessive stories about Cool Stuff. These people include, but are not limited to: Mystical Edenflower, Nyza Stillwater, LLRiven, and Nathaniel Ballard.

Kiss That Frog

Sometimes, a Princess’ life is … surreal.

In this dream, I am wandering around the Book Forest. You know, just soaking up the atmosphere, trying not to contemplate the sheer insanity of a forest made up of things that used to be trees but are now books. Because the book forest makes perfect sense if you think about it. It really does.

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I had to stare

And then, the strangest and yet most completely normal thing ever happened. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but I happened to glance down and there was this … frog. With a crown on his little head. He was obviously disgusting and slimy, as frogs are wont to be, and of course I found myself filled with curiosity, rather than revulsion, because that’s how things go in dreams.

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No. Freaking. Way.

“No. Freaking. Way.,” I thought to myself. “This is absolutely not happening. Of all the faerie tales I could get stuck in, why this one?” I’m a now kind of faerie princess, not a stuck-in-a-story-I-can’t-escape kind of faerie princess. Or, you know. I have  been up ’til now…

I turned away. “Forget it,” I said. “I am absolutely not going to kiss you.”

“You say that now,” croaked the frog. “Give me a chance.”

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Absolutely not.

“Absolutely not,” I retorted. “I do not have to resort to kissing frogs! I have the Internet! I have thousands of Realms where I can go, any night of the week, if I want a date. I am a princess, not a cliché.”

The frog made a sound between a snort and a laugh: it was hard to tell, because his voice was every bit as repulsive as he was. “You’ll change your mind,” he said. “Look: I’m out of my natural habitat here. Can’t you just take me back to the palace and let me stay with you for a bit? I’m a nice frog, I promise.” His tongue flicked out wildly to grab an insect I hadn’t noticed. Yuck.

“I really don’t think so,” I replied.

“Look, Your Highness. I have a nifty crown; that must mean something, right? And I’m a good conversationalist. I promise only a small percentage of our discussions will be my trying to convince you to kiss me.” Was that a smile on his wide, ugly face?

“Hmm.” I considered it for a moment. “OK, but if I tell you to stop trying to convince me, you will change the subject immediately. Is that clear?”

“Sure, sure, whatever you want,” replied the frog. “But hurry up and get me home; I need a much more humid environment than this weird forest made of paper books. Who on earth thought that was a good idea, Princess? Who designed such a place?”

I narrowed my eyes. “I did, you abhorrent amphibian. This whole Realm is my creation. I probably even imagined you into being, now that I think about it.”

“Oh! A lovely conversational topic!” said the frog. “The nature of existence! If I am your creation, I wonder if I truly have free will, or if free will itself is merely a construct that my brain imagines so that I don’t lose all hope or argue myself insane wondering whether my choices are truly mine, or if they are determined by you, My Lady.”

Super. The frog was going to have an existential crisis and wipe himself out of existence any second now. I pondered. And then I smiled.

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I picked up the frog.

I picked him up. “All right: I’ll give it a shot. Let’s head back to the palace, and I’ll figure out what the best environment for you will be. We’ll look it up on the Internet.”

“What, pray tell, is the Internet, Your Highness?”

I smiled widely. “You’ll love it!” I declared. “It’s the greatest source of information and fun conversational topics ever!”

And then I had a little laugh with myself, just in my head. Because Dear Prince Froggie had never heard of the Internet.

And that meant he probably had never heard the story of the geek princess and the frog. Because, you know. In my world, princes are a dime a dozen. But a talking frog?

That’s freaking fantastic!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Texas (Available NOW at eBento!)
Nails: Cazimi, Influence Nails (Available NOW at the Designer Showcase!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Arte, Nordic Eyes
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Princess Tiana Gown (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Shoes: Eudora, 3D Arianne Pumps (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Tia (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Necklace and Crown: Bliensen & MaiTai, Principessa (Available NOW at The Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Titania 2.0 Bento Animated Iridescent Fairy Wings
Frog Prince: Unrepentent, The Frog Prince

Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
Building: Ionic, Sacred Ruins
Silver Moon on Stand: Air, Frog Moon Silver (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Table: Dust Bunny, Autumn Calling, Wooden Table
Book on Table: Konpeitou, Beauty and the Book w/Rose
Frog with Mirror (on table) Konpeitou, Frog Prince Mirror (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Book Castle: BananaN, Storybook Gacha, Castle and Books

I talk a lot about how much I love the Enchantment Event. It’s one of my favourite recurring events in Second Life, both in terms of the stuff you can find there and the careful attention that the Ippos team put into the event design itself. Unlike lots of other events that have gone to the “stuff you can buy all stuck together in one big room” model, Enchantment always, always, creates an inspiring environment around the story theme. If you love story as I do, and if these tales speak to you, you cannot afford to miss Enchantment, and you’d better stock up on Lindens before you go, because otherwise you won’t be able to afford everything you want!

Kiss That Frog
Peter Gabriel
Jump in the water
Sweet little princess
Let me introduce his frogness
You alone can get him singing
He’s all puffed up, wanna be your king
Oh you can do it
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Lady kiss that frogSplash, dash heard your call
Bring you back your golden ball
He’s gonna dive down in the deep end
He’s gonna be just like your best friendSo what’s one little kiss
One tiny little touch
Aah, he’s wanting it so much
I swear that this is royal blood
Running through my skin
Oh can you see the state I’m in
Kiss it better
Kiss it better
(Kiss that frog)

Get it into your head
He’s living with you, he sleeps in your bed
Can’t you hear beyond the croaking
Don’t you know that I’m not joking

Aah, you think you won’t
I think you will
Don’t you know that this tongue can kill
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Lady, kiss that frog

Let him sit beside you
Eat right off your plate
You don’t have to be afraid
There’s nothing here to hate
Princess you might like it
If you lower your defense
Kiss that frog and you will get your prince
Get your prince

(Singing now…!)
Jump in the water, c’mon, baby, jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet with me

Jump in the water, c’mon, baby, jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet, get wet, get wet

(While scatting:)
Kiss that frog. Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.
Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.
Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.

Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet with me.

Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.

Revisiting the Book Forest

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Would you go?

Would you go? Would you walk into the wardrobe and take your winter coat and travel to Narnia in winter?

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Entering the Book Forest makes me ask such questions of myself.

Entering the Book Forest makes me ask such questions of myself. It is a place where there are no limits to the imagination. As small as it is, it seems dense and immense when you’re inside it. And it brings so many lovely things back into my head. Although my duties in Faerie are many, particularly now that we are having such an influx of people who are a bit afraid of being on the Island. I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t try to separate it from the contemporary Realm it lies in and try to rewrite history.

Then again, rewriting history is a dangerous practice. Dyisi would surely warn against it.

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Is it running away, if you are recreating?

Is it running away, if you are recreating? Again, Dyisi would probably say yes. But then she thinks I run from everything.

And, OK, maybe I’ve been prone to do that… in the past. But I love this Realm, this little town, these whimsical shops and pathways. And the Book Forest, more than anything, is the centre of the whole idea. You can put anything together. Everything can be juxtaposed. You can have a bakery next door to a magic shop. You can have an Amsterdam canal front in sight of a princess tower. You get what I mean.

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I was always fascinated by juxtaposition.

Even in London, I was always fascinated by juxtaposition. And I guess it’s no surprise: London’s sense of history rams gracefully (yes, really!) up against its boldness, its newness. The reflection of society and history, the calling-out of the ages, many ages all together, is nowhere more apparent than in London.

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And of course it’s true that nowhere looks less like London than the Book Forest.

And of course it’s true that nowhere looks less like London than the Book Forest. But there are books about London here, I’m sure of it. Somewhere along the book paths or in the book stacks. They must be here, because there’s always a book about London.

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It’s funny. When I was a little girl, I used to imagine that I could turn a corner in St. Martin’s Passage and find myself somehow in a magical realm.

It’s funny. When I was a little girl, I used to imagine that I could turn a corner in St. Martin’s Passage and find myself somehow in a magical realm. That mindset, that life, that me seems so far away now. As far away as a story. As far away as a book. A character. Something I just read about. Even my (adoptive) parents are a faded memory now. It’s so much like a store that I wonder if I should write it one day, get it published in a mundane Realm without obvious magic, where people long for stories like mine. But there are many stories to live, I think, before it’s time to tell mine properly.

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And then, from the Paradise Lost statue, pages fly as if escaping the book.

And then, from the Paradise Lost statue, pages fly as if escaping the book. Should I return them? Or are they going somewhere special?

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I decide to follow.

I decide to follow them, and they lead me past the book hourglass as if they’re searching for something.

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Chasing book pages is every bit as fun as you think it is.

Chasing book pages is every bit as fun as you think it is, which is to say it isn’t fun at all, unless you like chasing things. Now would be a good time to have a dog, I guess. We run past a replica of the Doors of During that appeared here last week, and the pages pause, as if considering whether to enter. I hope they don’t: I haven’t been through that door myself yet.

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They pause and turn toward the book steps.

They pause and turn toward the book steps. There are other fluttering pages here: maybe they long to be with their own kind? Oh, great; I’m now ascribing sentience to a bunch of floating pages. Perhaps Faerie has finally driven me mad? That bitchy little Demifae queen would be so happy.

Make up your minds little pages!

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Maybe I should just accept the fact that they’re not going anywhere.

Maybe I should just accept the fact that they’re not going anywhere. Stand here, juggle them a bit, look cool. I look cool, right? I mean, here I am juggling papers. Because that’s a cool thing to do on a Friday night. It’s not like there could ever be anything better to do. I’ll bet they just want to stay here. I take a deep breath and try to give in to the pages, stay still with them.

But then, they’re off again, and of course I’m compelled to chase them.

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They fly over to the door of a house that’s made from a tree.

They fly over to the door of a house that’s made from a tree. Wait– when did that appear? Faerie changes so rapidly. I know it’s a mirror of my mind, but am I so flighty? Maybe I am.

Under the door of the house they all go, but there’s a light on in the window, and I swear I smell pipe smoke. I don’t think now’s a good time. Hopefully the inhabitant, if there is one, will be able to find a place for the pages.

As for me, I wander back toward the front of the forest.

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And there I find… a wardrobe.

And there I find… a wardrobe. Again. And it brings us full circle. I’ve been so many places, but will I go here? will I just walk through?

It’s a portal like any other.

All I have to do is step through.

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But… not today.

But… not today. Today I’ll just curl up with a book and a kitten. Books and kittens. There’s no better way to end a day in the book forest. And maybe tomorrow I’ll see what’s behind those doors. Both of them.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: No Match, No Again (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Circlet: Venge, Anisa Head Adornment
Eyes: Mesange, Artic Eyes (Available NOW at On9!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s[K]ins, Vyra, in a NEW SKIN TONE, Dew, which is lovely on Gwyneth! Poster with more information below!
Tattoo: Misschievous, Chandelier Tattoo (faded)
Nails: Cazimi, Whimsy Nails (Maitreya Appliers)
Dress: The Muses, Daphne (Available NOW at We ❤ RP!)
Collar: Footpaw Industries Celtic Filigree Amythest Collar (attached rose from Footpaw Industries AeLan necklace)
Boots: !go!, Fay Brown Boots

Props:
Wishing Well and Bridge: Raindale/Maplemoor
Paper Books with cardboard pop-ups: Sepia book with castle: BananaN, Story Book Gacha
Paradise Lost Statue: by Nacht: Paradise Lost (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
House made from a Tree Trunk: Since 1975, Fairytale Garden House
Book with Floating Letters: Violatility, La Literature Surrealiste Light
Hourglass and Book with Steps and Pages: Disorderly, Timed Literary
Ruins: Ionic, Sacred Ruins
Doors of Durin: Spell, Lord of the Rings Gacha, Doors of Durin (Chap4)
Book Paths: Book Forest Door, Una, Book Gacha
Wardrobe: 22769, Imaginarium (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Poses:
Poses with Pages: Elephante, Story of Love (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Pic with Cat: Le Poppycock, Book Lovers (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Standing Poses: An Lar, the Bronte Series (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Many of the new Book Forest items are from the current round of The Liaison Collaborative, which has a literary theme! The wardrobe in particular is worth a mention: it’s 22769‘s Imaginarium

As always, thanks for reading. I love you guys.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never visit the Book Forest without it!

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Beginning a Book Forest

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Gwyneth:

I’m building a book forest. Yes, that’s right: a book forest. I got inspired by this gacha at The Guardians, the Storybook Gacha by BananaN. One of the rares is a Book Door! And I was thinking, what would you find if you walked through a Book Door? I’d come across this great set from Una, the Book Road, after I played an Una gacha at a past Fantasy Gacha Carnival, and I’ve been  meaning to use it and blog it every since, but life and my kitchen (don’t even ask!) and sickness got in the way, so it’s been on a shelf in my inventory for months now. I also have this great Book Tree from HarshLands that I’ve used in other places before and photographed on a couple of occasions.

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Building a Book Forest

Building a book forest, as it turns out, takes some time. I designated a portion of the sim platform to put it on and then began laying out paths. Now, I love to shop (tell us something we don’t know, Gwen!), and so when I got to check out some pre-release items that’ll be at The Crossroads, which opens today, 3 January, I discovered the magical work of Keira RaindaleRaindale has an absolutely gorgeous gacha coming out at The CrossroadsMaplemoor. It includes, among other gorgeous things which I’ll show you as I continue to build and photograph the Book Forest, the gorgeous lamp and wishing well you can see in this photograph.

So, what do you need, really, to build a Book Forest?

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You need a head full of stories.

You need a head full of stories, first of all. You must love, really love, story. I as a writer, blogger, songwriter, student, and investigator of all things mystical, love nothing better than a good story, and Gwyneth the character reflects this. Like me, her background is in literature and books; unlike me, her concentration is much more on poetry and high literature than mine is, though I have studied those bits and pieces and have read widely. Behind Gwyneth you can see both the Raindale Wishing Well and the HarshLands BookTree. Gwyneth’s skin is part of a stunning new set from The Plastik. Vae really hit this one out of the park, and this skin, Taryn, in colourway Creme, is available at The Plastik Main StoreThe hair is Carrie, new at the Analog Dog Main Store.

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You need a good lamppost.

You need a good lamppost. Possibly several of them. Because there is never a place in the forest where you’ll feel alone if you have something to guide your steps along the Book Road. All of the bits of the Book Road, by the way, are from Una, as are the large books that ring the forest. The trees surrounding the books are the Mystical Birches from The Little Branch. I’ll include a style card below the post, but Gwyneth is wearing a stunning new gown from JunbugLittle Bird. You can pick up the gown at this month’s Fameshed event; this is the Ruby Silk, but it comes, as you’d expect from Junbug, in a fabulous array of colours. I fell in love with this crown at the recently-closed Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms event; it’s by Muse, the Rose Brooch Crown. This one wasn’t available at the event; I hunted it down at the Muse Main Store.

So, let’s see. You need a head full of stories. You need a good lamppost.

And, oh, yes.

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You need to not be afraid of the dark.

You need to not be afraid of the dark.

There’s more to come: I’m in love with my book forest, and I will show you all of it, once it’s done.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!),  Carrie (NEW at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: The Plastik, Taryn in Creme (NEW at The Plastik Main Store!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Nails: ZOZ, New Year’s Nails (Dark) (Available NOW at Cosmopolitan!)
Gown: Junbug, Little Bird (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Crown: Muse, Rose Brooch Crown
Shoes (even though you can’t see ’em!): Illi, Rosalynn Heels

Scene:
Book Door: BananaN, Book Doorway, from the Storybook Gacha (Available NOW at The Guardians,!)
Book Road: Una, Book Road, Small
Flanking Books: Una, Book Road, Book 5, Book 6, Book 2
Lamppost: Raindale, Maplemoor Lantern, from the Maplemoor Gacha (Coming Soon to The Crossroads, which opens TODAY, 3 January 2017)
Wishing Well: Raindale, Maplemoor Well, from the Maplemoor Gacha (Coming Soon to The Crossroads, which opens TODAY, 3 January 2017)
Forked Tree: The Little Branch, Green Ash
Mushroom Circle: The Roawenwood, Tangleshimmer Grove Fairy Ring (Purple)
Book Tree: HarshLands, Book Tree
Grasses: all from Alirium, Puffy Grass and Downy Grass
Glowing Undergrowth: Cerridwen’s Cauldron, Gaia Undergrowth
Poses: An Lar, all from the Ava Series

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never build Book Forests without it!

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