Monday, January 20, 2020

Interview With Bixyl Shuftan

By Penny (Deaflegacy Resident)

Bixyl Shuftan had been a reporter covering Second Life for 12 years now.  He worked with the SL Newspaper from November 2007 until June 2010, which then closed because at that time the owner, JamesTJuno, was leaving Second Life.  The editor, Dana Vanmoer, didn't feel she had the authority to just up and grab ownership without his permission.  Dana gave the news to the crew in April 2010. After their initial shock, Bixyl started talking to the others on what they should do.  Gemma Cleanslate, Shelie Sands and Grey Lupindo agreed to form a new paper.  "Since I was the 'office manager' of Second Life Newspaper, taking care of it when Dana couldn't," they felt Bixyl should be the editor of it. 

Because Dana didn't want Second Life Newspaper to end with just a simple and sad goodbye article, instead she wanted to have a party as a tribute to their time and work together.  SL Newser was officially announced at the closing party of the old one, on June 5, 2010.  In SL Newspaper's final article, Dana credited Bixyl in keeping the old paper regularly updated.  "The paper's front page was 'closed' with a link to the Newser at the bottom," said Bixyl.

Bixyl helps out with the Relay For Life, both as a news reporter and a volunteer.  He gets the news about Relay For Life out through the Newser by Press Releases and news stories of events. But he's also a member of the Sunbeamer team. According to Bixyl, the Relay for Life is the largest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  "There are chapters all over the United States, and presumably in Canada and elsewhere." replied Bixyl.  "The Second Life chapter, last I heard, we were the 17th largest."  Bixyl believe that the Relay has been going on in Second Life in some form since 2006. Bixyl covered some of their events for the Second Life Newsppaer, and under the Second Life Newser, it remained a priority.

The Sunbeamers are the team of the community of where Bixyl make his home in Second Life, the Sunweaver/Angels. Covering their events gives Bix a chance to both highlight the good Second Life does, and putting his community in the spotlight. Rita Mariner is the team captain. Every year, they have gotten an award for fundraising.  The first year, it was silver.  Last year, it was Jade. "A couple times we've gotten one for the campsite, which Cynthia Farshore and Shockwave Yareach deserve the bulk of the credit." said Bixyl.  

He writes on more than just news stories. At the moment, Bixyl is working on a novel. "The working title for it is 'The Corsean Encounter,'" he explained, "While science-fiction, it's not your standard space opera with spaceships shooting lasers at one another. In a sense, it turns the scenario of the evil alien invader upside down with the invaders being human. The hero of the story, a human who came to the world to help out, has to help his new friends deal with them."

I asked him about who his inspiration is, and he said, "I guess you can say the rest of the Newser crew is one inspiration."  Bixyl also liked to read and have kept up with the news in real life.  "I guess it's fitting. Here in Second Life, I help keep residents posted about it."  When we talked about a single high point when it comes to the Newser, he said that it was interesting coming face to face with Ebbe Linden. 

"Covering the Relay and Second Life Birthday has always been nice, even if it does make me busy."  Bixyl went on to say that he often calls May and June his "busy time," between the SL Birthday and Relay Weekend. Though that could also apply to October and December, with Halloween and Christmas.  "I've written about many people, places, and events over the years.  "I guess it can be a challenge keeping it up." replied Bixyl.  "But the compliments and people saying 'thank you' have been another inspiration.  I asked Bixyl what he thinks when someone like me says that he is an inspiration.  "I feel happy, proud," said Bix with a smile.  Bixyl added that he has very intention of continuing the Newser to its' tenth anniversary, and beyond. "Probably until that one day Linden Lab makes the decision to close this world, whenever that is.  Probably not for several years though," commented Bix.

On the same night I was working on the article, Bixyl got a "thank you" from the Veterans Tribute team.  Keep up the good work, Bixyl. 


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