Expanding Virtual Roots: Morgue McMillan-Shoreland

by Netera Landar
(note: please see the in-world magazine for more photographs)


Morgue McMillan-Shoreland and I sit comfortably in a gorgeous gazebo nestled on Lyrica. The Roman-themed art sim is quiet at the moment so we can explore Morgue’s writing background, what inspires her, and what she has written over the years.

I first meet her on Awen during a Bookstacks poetry reading session. She was one of the regulars and a fine wordsmith. Morgue is German, though her poetry is written in English. She logged on to Second Life® in February 2007. She found reading in SL for the first time as exciting as it is in real life, though she was extremely nervous. But the more she read, the less nervous she became.

Since then, she’s been published in SLiterary Magazine, Reveal, AnonLiterary, Vitruvius  and Blue Angel Landing, as well as Blotter and Eternal Haunted Summer.

Morgue stated that she wrote her first English poem when she was 16-years-old. She believes she still has it hidden away somewhere. Educationally, her main subjects were English and German for her University entrance degree. During her studies, she focused on literature, including Shakespeare and American short stories. In 2006, her first German poem was published, which motivated her to continue writing poetry. She put down her pen and pad when real life became more involved.

Writing found its way back into her life when she joined SL in 2007, and was pleased to learn about the poetry reading forums in-world.

“I found SLiterary by the end of 2007 and Ina Centaur’s sim. My first poem was published in her magazine and I participated in the first NaNoWriMo there. My kids love it, but it needs the last few chapters. It’s in German,” explained Morgue. “Ina had a literary sim, but she didn’t have Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre back then. She had Elizabethan buildings and small venues for poetry readings.”

Poetry stimulated the creative mind before art set down its roots in a virtual setting. Though back in 2007 to 2009 there were a limited number of venues for poetic groups to share their work. Then came Persephone Phoenix and the introduction of The Blue Angel. That’s where Morgue read her poetry for the first time. Back then, it was copy and paste, instead of using voice to read your work.

Morgue wrote a great deal of her poetry in SL, but avoided writing about it. Instead, she focused on social issues, mythology, spirituality, and relationships.

“Social issues can range from inequality and sustainability such as violence against women and children. I’d do research or get an idea while chatting with someone. While I have a vague idea of the poem in my head, I still want to get the facts right,” she explained. “It might even lead to a specific angle.”

Morgue stated that she was running across one problem while living in Germany and that was she was writing poetry in English, which meant there weren’t that many opportunities there to read her work. Now that she lives in England, she does readings and she and her partner, Brendan Shoreland, belong to a writing group. Not only is she writing poetry, she has three short stories in various stages of completion, an unfinished novel, and ideas for future projects. Add to that, she’s writing lyrics with Brendan.

Currently, her monthly SL reading engagements, at Ce Soir and Red’s Place, are complimented with Brendan’s music. Morgue feels SL was a good training ground. Though it might be a good way to get feedback for one’s work, Morgue feels more people will say poetry is “good” than give constructive criticism.

During the last two years, Morgue said that open mic opportunities have increased across the grid. They give everyone a chance of reading their work, but it might be a little intimidating.

When she has an opportunity to read fiction, she’ll explore the realms of fantasy and science fiction. Years ago, she enjoyed reading the lengthy and highly descriptive classics that have captured attention and respect for years. She’s read War and Peace, and Brothers Karamazoff, and East of Eden. Morgue is equally at home reading works by Marion Zimmer-Bradley and Isaac Asimov.

Brendan’s Soundcloud page has quite a few of their songs at: https://soundcloud.com/david-walton-coursera.

See Issue #OneIssue #Two,  Issue #3 and  Issue #4 for more features and profiles.

For more information, please contact Netera Landar, Editor-in-Chief, neteralandar.gmail.com


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