A Community and a Vision
Some newcomers to Second Life are amazed at the number of amazingly beautiful builds in this virtual world of Second Life.. Then, they wonder: Why are there so many builds, but so few people here?
If you visit Virtual Ability’s islands, you’ll discover there’s a different narrative happening. When you visit here, day or night, you’ll almost always find someone around. You’ll see options for gatherings, classes, dances, parties, and discussions. You’ll find quiet places to simply visit with someone. You’ll find fun and humor, too.
I’ve been with Virtual Ability since before it was even called that. The Heron Sanctuary offered a vision, and when Virtual Ability community came to be, I was one of the earliest members.
My name in Second Life is Stepinwolf Darkstone. You’ll usually find me at Cape Heron in Second Life, but in my physical life, I live in Kentucky in the United States. I was an electrical engineer in industry for over 37 years before I retired in 2012. Even now, I love to do things with computers. I have an adult son who is autistic. That’s what initially sparked my interest in what became Virtual Ability. I always wanted to be a writer and in 2013, 2014 and 2015, I participated in National Novel Writing Month.
I’m a bit of a loner, but in Second LIfe and with Virtual Ability, I am able to be with people and I enjoy meeting and supporting people who are new to this virtual world. The community apartments Virtual Ability had over at Wolpertinger grew out of a dream I had for bringing people together, for moving beyond creating beautiful builds to creating a real community with enough neighbors that, when you login, you find someone there to visit with. We’ve moved that apartment community over to VAI’s own island, called Cape Heron, and I enjoy my role as manager of those Cape Heron community apartments very much.
I get so much from being with people and meeting new people. It’s fun to help new members become part of the VAI community. I truly enjoy assisting new Cape Heron tenants get started making their apartment their “home away from home.” I’ve heard that more than 17% of people in Second LIfe have a disability of some sort; most of us at VAI do. That’s one reason why Virtual Ability is so truly important to the rest of the virtual world of Second Life. Here, we are as not limited by our real-world challenges. We don’t have to be “that guy in a wheelchair” unless we want to be. We can walk, or run, or fly, or dance. Virtual Ability community helps people become who they want to be here, assisting them in that transition and providing a supportive place, a community, during and after they’ve done so.
Virtual Ability and Second Life let us do things in spite of real life limitations. Yes, dancing and chatting, and creating things for a virtual apartment is fun. But more important, creating a community offers each one of us a chance to do what novelists and other artists, and really, people in general, yearn for. We create connections here. We engage, we imagine, and we learn we have the ability to write, or even re-write, the stories of our own lives.