ANST - SCA Questions

Gunnora Hallakarva gunnora at
Wed Jul 30 09:59:12 PDT 1997

>So without further ado....Bring on the Questions!

>How did you first get started in the SCA and how old were you?
I was 18 (wow, I have been in 17 years now, going on 18!!)  when I became
aware of the active college branch at Trinity University in San Antonio.  I
*still* have one of the promotional posters that caught my eye... a picture
of a fully-armored knight wearing a barrel helm with the caption, "Why is
this man smiling?"  At the time, I was a collegiate fencer and involved in
Tai Kwon Do, and chivalric fighting was got me hooked.

>What make you stay?
Aside from my martial inclinations, I've always been an artist.  The SCA
provides the best venue for not only practicing one's arts, but also
learning new ones, and most importantly, an intelligent audience to show
your work off to who knows what it is you're doing and how much work you
put into it!  The fighting got me started, but the arts kept me involved.
I remember my first event, which was a Tournament of Chivalry held in
Bjornsborg... the Crown was an awesome figure in the distance who I was
careful to stay well away from lest I should do or say something wrong.
The knights were exciting and made lots of dust and noise.  But once
someone explained to me that *none* of the costumes or banners or other
fascinating things there that made the medieval atmosphere would exist but
for the artists, especially the folks I hadn't noticed, the Laurels, I knew
I would have to be one of the atmosphere-makers, too.  Over time, my work
and academic interests became solidly aligned with my hobby as well.  Now
the arts are something I do, rather like breathing (i.e., it's necessary
for continued existence), but learning about my persona and the world I
would have lived in has become my focus.

>What did you do to develop your personna and why did you choose it/them?
It's fun how these questions flow, picking up neatly from one to the next.
When I started, my own  family background was a big contributor to choosing
the persona I did.  My mother unwittingly helped, when she gave me a huge
coffee-table book on the Vikings the Christmas prior to when I discovered
the SCA.  I started learning about my persona by reading the sagas.  It is
still the most inexpensive way to learn about the Vikings, as Penguin puts
out the sagas in nice, inexpensive, paperback volumes that were perfectly
affordable on my college budget.  Over the years, I have managed to beg,
borrow, buy, or photocopy every other book about the Vikings that has come
within my grasp.  And I have read all of them.  Other things I did were to
help be the person Gunnora was, such as joining Toastmasters to get over
being afraid of speaking up.  The last several years, I've been working my
way through the periodical articles about the Vikings, using the
bibliography of the article I've just found as a "shopping list" to find
the next articles.  I also have been known to sit down with every single
volume of a periodical in a given library, say "Kuml" or "Scandinavian
Studies," and leaf through the indexes and tables of contents to see what
articles I might find that I wouldn't have tripped over any other way.
And, once I've read all these reams of data, I try to figure out how this
information would have affected a certain 8th century Finn living in Birka
or Hedeby.  I try and relate every piece of the information to who Gunnora
is.  And I've done a lot of work on being able to step into an 8th century
worldview, which means understanding how people thought and felt about
issues of ethics, morality, time, space, interpersonal relations,
religion... etc.

Most of you who know me now wouldn't recognize that 18 year old who first
joined the Society so many years ago.  Back then, I was shy, I wouldn't
talk to anyone, I was a classic introvert and wallflower.  As I developed
my persona, I made Gunnora be all the things that I wasn't, but wanted to
be.  This involved being outspoken and not afraid of anything (except the
dark parts of the primordial forests where the utlandings lurk).  And you
know what happened?  Over the years I *became* that person, mundanely as
well as in the SCA.

Hey, Gunther!  Thanks for the interesting questions!
Wæs Þu Hæl (Waes Thu Hael)


Gunnora Hallakarva
Ek eigi visa þik hversu oðlask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna heldr hversu na Hersis-Aðal
(Ek eigi thik hversu odhlask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna heldr hversu na Hersis-Adhal)


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