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.

The Changing Landscape of Awenia, 1

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“Take my portrait, Bran.”

“Take my portrait, Bran.” It was a simple enough suggestion. We were walking through what I can only describe as the New Awenia. We’d reached a lovely town square, graced by my beautiful Last Hope statue: for all my riches and advantage, it’s my most treasured posession, and it’s everywhere that I am. For me, it’s a symbol of Faerie and Fae sovereignty. For the Author, it’s something more, but this is my story.

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It might see odd that I would walk through Awenia wearing… this.

It might seem odd to you that I, a fairly modest Queen as Faery Queens go, would wander my Realm dressed in such a way. But it’s high summer, I’m in the height of my power, and frankly, the Realm itself is almost deserted except for some support staff (and the cats, of course). And Bran loved this little number I picked up at the We Love Roleplay faire last week: it’s from The Annex, and honestly, most of the thing I wear that people would consider sexy come from The Annex. The designers there just have a way of making things look both fetching and classy, which I know I’ve said before, but anyway. It’s called Astrid, in case you’re curious.

Bran has become quite a shutterbug and has got himself a DSLR. He swears it takes better photographs than the iPhone, but I don’t see much difference. This, apparently, is because I am a Philistine. He loves to follow me out wherever I go and take photographs, which is fine with me, but I think he has some kind of aspiration to be a fashion photographer. He’s been following me to modelling shoots as well. Sometimes I have to order him to stop asking the photographers and directors questions.

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I don’t think he’s quite there, though.

I don’t think he’s quite there, though. This is his idea of a sexy pose! When I looked at this photograph I laughed out loud. “I look like I’m about to fall over and hit my head on the wishing well,” I said.

To his credit, he didn’t pout. “Perhaps next time,” he said, “I shall just push you in.”

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It was clear the town had been restructuring.

It was clear the town had been restructuring since Midsummer’s fires blazed just a few weeks ago. No wonder I have been feeling so tired recently! All my magic’s been going to the Land, and the Land wants a complete refurbishment before we open Awenia to the public, paperwork willing, in the autumn.

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Imagine you’re home.

“Just look toward the castle,” Bran said before snapping this photograph, “and imagine that you are already there, that you’re already home.”

As it turned out, I really did want to go home after that. “Let’s just sit up on the tower,” I said, “outside mine and Nathaniel’s private apartments, and watch the changes from there.” Already I could feel wings straining against my shoulder blades. “It’ll be all misty up there, so I’ll have to put something on my legs,” I continued.

“Ooh!” Bran said as his own wings stretched out behind both of us. “Why don’t you get into that new Senzafine we got at the same faire?”

“That is a very good idea, my darling,” I said. And then we were airborne and I had no more time to consider my wardrobe. I’ll have so much to tell Nathaniel when he pops back in from wherever he’s been this week!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Ferna (Available NOW at The Chapter Four!)
Ears: Eclipse Art Studio, Elf Ears Dior
Eyes: Cazimi, Mandala Regular Eyes (Omega)
Clothes: The Annex, Astrid (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!)
Hair: Monso, Sua (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Nails: Cazimi, Solids, Sea Sand
Leg Wraps: Una, Sakura Leg Belts
Necklace: RealEvil Industries, Passion Collar

Town Buildings: Tudor City Builder Kit, by SOF Designs, designed by Firstleviathan Resident. There will be more photographs of what we’ve done with this kit to make Awenia even more special as it already is in the days and weeks to come.

The Last Hope statue is a one of a kind (well, two of a kind!) work of art from the amazing minds and hands of Death Row Designs. I had the good fortune one year to have enough money to spend a crazy amount on this item in the Fantasy Faire live auction. It really is my most prized possession in Second Life. 

 

 

Nag, Nag, Nag!

I swear, sometimes I wish I actually had to do everything myself, because then I would not be surrounded by dozens of demifae, all twittering at me to do this or that, or make a decision about that other thing, and why don’t I want a big formal dining room in the treehouse, and on, and on, and on!

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“It’s not finished!”

“It’s not finished!” Clutie is jabbering in my ear as I survey the Treehouse living room. “You need a rug, another sofa, and what about something more formal in here? You never know who might be coming to visit!”

I sigh. I roll my eyes. “Clutie,” I say, “how many times do I need to tell you that this is my private home. There will be no diplomatic visitors. Friends come here, not dignitaries or emissaries. All that stuff will take place down in the pavilion.”

“But the pavilion is so open, Your Majesty.” She is whinging now, and right into my ear, and the timbre of her voice is beginning to drive me mad. Why did I pop to the Wylds and save her from the ire of the Unseelie Court, again?

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Now I’m pacing.

Now I’m pacing. “Look, the kitchen is finished.”

“There isn’t a spice rack,” Clutie says.

Her constant companion these days is Arabelle. All Arabelle ever seems to do is nod and voice her agreement with Clutie. She does this now.

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“Will you two shut up?”

“Will you two shut up?” I’m losing patience now. “Blah, blah, blah! How many times do I have to tell you: I cannot be in ten places at once. I have a town to finish, a Realm to polish, and then I have to go to the Supernatural Paranormal Whatsis Agency to apply for Open Fae Town Status, which is just dumb if you ask me. While I would love to spend the majority of my time here in the Treehouse snuggling up to my husband and entertaining you lot, I do have more important things to do.”

“It’s the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, Your Majesty.” Clutie’s smile is smug as she corrects me. “But we do really need a rug or something in here. These wooden floors are so cold.”

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I stalk back into the kitchen.

I stalk back into the kitchen. “And Bran insisted on a mediaeval kitchen in here, so I can’t even toast bread! I’m going to designate one corner of this kitchen as belonging in the twenty-first century, and I’m going to get a toaster and a proper electric kettle and a microwave in here, and Bran can bite me.”

“I don’t think Bran would ever bite you, Your Majesty. I mean,” and her smug turns sly, “unless you really wanted him to.”

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Now I’m angry.

Now I’m angry. “My relationship with Bran, and it’s none of your business anyway, is purely platonic and he’d probably drop dead of embarrassment if I ever tried to make it be anything more.” Great; she’s made me raise my voice. I take a deep, calming breath.

“That’s right, Your Majesty,” Clutie says, as if there’s nothing for her to worry about in the world. “Calm yourself down, and then let’s go talk about rugs for the living room.”

I actually growl. “Clutie.” And now my voice is soft, even, possibly dangerous. “You and Arabelle need to find something else to do. Right now. You are both dismissed, and I don’t want to hear another word from either of you until I’ve had two cups of coffee and some French Toast. Bran!”

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Eyes: Mesange, Sanford Eyes
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Rood
Hair: No Match, No Return (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Headpiece: Una, Tiara Leaf
Suit: M.I.X., Autumn Jacket
Shoes: Empire, Xyris

 

House: LAQ, Serene Tree and Windmill House
Living Room Furniture: Libertine, Viscount Set
Kitchen Fixtures: Artisan Fantasy, Kitchen Collection
Kitchen Table and Chairs: Cheeky Pea, Modern Farmhouse Dining Set

Faery Companions: Ohmai, Gerbera Fairy Companion (Clutie); and Tulip Fairy Companion (Arabelle)

Wall Art:
“Now I’m Pacing”
Black and White Photo: Starfall 04, by Bear Silvershade
Kitchen Painting: The Last Dance, by Eucalyptus Carroll
“Will you two shut up?”
Foreground: Music in my Mind, Part 2, by Kody Meyers
Background: Ilse of Serendipity, by Sandi Benelli (top); and
Winds of Change, also by Sandi Benelli
“I stalk back into the kitchen”
Kitchen Painting: The Last Dance, by Eucalyptus Carroll

I try to buy the photographs of artists I admire when they have gallery shows and put their stuff up for sale. It seemed only right that I decorate my personal space with the photos I love the most, those of my peers. Kody Meyers is a particular favourite: He and I were classmates at the Visionaire Institute, and his style and the elegance of his compositions never cease to amaze and please me. I’m honoured to know so many talented photographers, and I hope I’ll be able to talk about that side of my Second Life a little more in blogs to come. 

skinlogodiap   hairology-October

 

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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Changes and Accomplishments

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Ever have one of those mornings where you wake up and say, “Hey; I want to be a redhead!”?

Ever have one of those mornings where you wake up and say, “Hey, I want to be a redhead!”? Well, I mean, unless you’re a redhead already, in which case the point is kind of moot. But that’s how I woke up this morning. The mist was thick on the ground as I made my way through the book forest. I noticed a few new things there, but I didn’t have time to investigate. I had a sense of purpose.

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Somehow, I knew the bower would be there.

Somehow, I knew the bower would be there. Of course, it looks different here from the Wylds. It’s bigger. But here’s bigger, you know? The trees are bigger. They feel older. Maybe it’s because I’m older. And the structure that’s defined my bower for the last several seasons is here, too. It’s comforting, like a church, but for someone like me, whose windows look out into eternity and whose walls don’t shut out the world, the wood, the flowers.

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I took a deep breath. And for a moment, I found serenity.

I took a deep breath. And for a moment, I found serenity. But my new Realm wasn’t out of surprises for me yet: I knew there was yet more for me to discover.

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I took a moment to centre myself.

I took a moment to centre myself and take in the ambiance of the oak tree. I could feel the growing forest behind me: DI felt no need to turn and look, but of course I wanted to turn and look. Then, I rounded the oak tree to come closer to the Green, and I gasped at what I saw.

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Tucked beneath that giant oak tree was a little boho paradise.

Tucked beneath that giant oak tree was a little boho paradise. Pink ivy leaves covered the trunk and roots of the tree, set into which was a shelf with a beautiful clock. And floating parasols!

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Who could resist sitting here for a while? Not me.

Who could resist sitting here for a while? Not me. I found the morning drifting in to noon. As always in a magical Realm, time moves differently here. I recalled how the raven tower had made me think of my bower in the Wylds, and I smiled as I thought of those gorgeous windows, open to the sky, behind me. I longed for a book, a good book, to appear, and I found myself holding a book by Neil Gaiman I didn’t know existed. Apparently he’s retelling Norse myths now! Well, that ate up a few hours, as you might imagine.

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Eventually, as the sun moved into afternoon, I wandered back in to the flower meadow.

Eventually, as the sun moved into afternoon, I wandered back in to the flower meadow. How large it seemed, how open. So different from how it had been almost completely enclosed by forest in the Wylds. I wonder if this is my new mindset: an open-ness to things, a receiving, an acceptance. The flowers glowed with their own light as the hazy noon wore into afternoon, and I took some pleasure in feeling small inside my bower. A bower that will be open to everyone, a place for all to visit.

Oh, and then I felt tired—as if I’d done some act of creation just by walking through the flower field. I made my way back toward the beautiful couch and that book of Norse myths. Suddenly I was struck by a thought, and `I nearly laughed aloud.

What would that ludicrous reporter, Cherish Gelato, think of this place? I imagined her poking around, putting her nose into places it doesn’t belong, wondering why there were unfinished places that just look like vast fields of grass, and my explaining to her that this was not a Realm that came in to being overnight; that it must grow like a garden.

And then she’d ask me: “Are you proud of what you’re creating here?”

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Am I proud? “You bet your sweet arse I am.”

Am I proud? 

“You bet your sweet arse I am.”

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head (Available NOW at Skin Fair!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), V (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Hiraeth Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Wednesday, snow (Full body skin and head applier, Available NOW at Skin Fair! These are 7 Deadly s{K}ins’ NEW. body appliers, and they are amazing and easy to use, and so fast!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Necklace: Earthstones, Flight of Fancy Necklace (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Peaches and Cream Dress, Blue (Available SOON at Shiny Shabby!)
Shoes: Ingenue, Gretchen Flats, Dove (Available NOW at The Arcade Gacha!)

Scenes:
Book Path: Una, Book Path
Book with trees: BananaN, Story Book Gacha Scene 3
Table and Chairs, Wishing Well: Raindale, Maplemoor Set
Grass: Alirium, Downy Grass
Birch Trees: The Little Branch, White Birch Cluster
Windowed Structure: Kaelis Ember, Find Here Amenity
Big Tree: Cube Republic, Auchmore Oak
Magical Flower Field: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields
Boho Hangout Spot: The Looking Glass, In My Boho Garden (Available NOW at The Secret Affair!)
Background Trees: Various trees by Studio Skye, The Little Branch, Happy Mood, Heart, Trompe Loeil
SimSurround: Landscapes Unlimited, Rolling Hills Large Skybox Environment

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never create an organic magical realm 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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