(I originally published this article on examiner.com on April 6, 2016)
When friends die, it’s natural for us to praise them and remember all that was good about them, but when the man behind Lumiere Noir died last August, I discovered that he was far more amazing than I suspected. I knew him in two virtual worlds, we exchanged emails, and he was one of the first people to purchase my novel when I published it, but after his death I realized I never really knew him. I wish I had. That’s one problem in virtual worlds. We tend to get to know only one aspect of a person’s life.
Today would have been his 52nd birthday. I can’t let it pass without remembering him. In RL he was Vincent Frost, an ESL teacher in Plano, Texas. I knew him as Lumiere Noir in Second Life and as Swen Wu King in the virtual world There.com.
This month is the thirteenth anniversary of my meeting Swen Wu Kong in There. I was new to virtual worlds, but he was an old hand who was transitioning from The Sims through There to Second Life. Exploring There with him was an eye-opening experience to this noob. He also got me started building in There and then in Second Life.
Education was his passion. When I finally followed him into Second Life in 2004, I found he had already begun building his Ivory Tower of Primitives and once again, I learned from him what I needed to know to build in this new virtual world. It’s an amazing resource that’s still in existence. SL members can visit it at slurl.com/secondlife/Natoma/247/134/29.
You can read Wagner James Au’s tribute to him at http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2015/08/ivory-tower-of-prims-second-life-lumiere-noir.html and you can visit his memorial Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LumiereNoir.tx?fref=tl_fr_box&pnref=lhc.friends.