[Ansteorra] Magic Moments

Celeste Shelton teacherceleste at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 20 10:21:28 PST 2008

Thank you for this reminder that we all needed.  
In grateful service,
Saundra > Imagine two people watching the same fight:> > Person A: Look at that. Sir John is wearing sneakers. And Lord James's > fighting technique is so mundane.> Person B: Sir John is using Fiore de Liberi's longsword technique, and > making it work! And isn't Lord James's fluted armor stunning?> > 1. Who is focused on the 21st century, and who is focused on the period?> 2. Who will encourage more people to do authentic things?> 3. Who would you rather listen to?> 4. Who is having more fun?> > I certainly understand the desire to get more people in persona more often. > I miss the culture camps at Elfsea, and the the Commedia troupe I once ran, > and the Ladies' Pavilions Willow used to do, and some moments at the Cadal > Games, and many other such moments.> > But these moments happened because somebody believed, and made them happen. > Anyone can do that now, and they do.> > Go to the archery range at Warlord. You will see a bunch of archers > focused on their skills, and their fun, and their activities. Are they > "modern people treating it like a sport", or are they the king's archers, > acting as they did in period? The answer, of course, is yes. They are the > king's archers, treating archery as a sport, just like they did in 14th > century England, when by law it was the only sport allowed on Sundays.> > How about Steppes Warlord, that much-maligned "modern" event? It always > has the arms of all previous winners and their ladies on display, and the > baroness turns to them in morning court to help inspire the fighters.> > Go look at Queen's Champion this weekend. It's easy to dismiss it as "just > a sport" ... until morning court, when we swear our oath to the Queen. She > will have tears in our eyes, and many of us will, too. Then watch the > fighting. I promise that you will see noble deeds, and authentic footwork > and blade work, and fencers focused on the Cult of Gloriana (I mean > Vanessa), and at least one injured fencer fight through his pain to honor > his Queen. (And you'll also see iceboxes uncovered and modern shoes and > plastic and discussions about computers and modern fencing technique and > other problems. It won't be perfect.)> > There has never been a single moment of any SCA event that I could avoid > having something non-authentic in my view. (I know that isn't true of > everybody, but I recognize Blackjack Oak and Texas Red Cedar, and can > *always* see something to tell me we're in Texas or Oklahoma.) But there's > also almost never a time that I can't find a noble deed, or a beautiful > craft, or a lovely lady, or a fearsome foe to look at, as well. (If > nothing else, I can always admire the authentically low necklines.)> > The noblest, most golden, most transforming SCA moment I ever had occurred > with me kneeling in front of the Crown Princess at Warlord VI. I know, > because I remember where it happened, that there was a swing set behind her > and a baseball backstop thirty feet to her right. I was wearing a bad > costume made from store-boughten pieces. I just didn't see the backdrop > when she and her ladies in waiting gave this poor new fighter their seven > favors, and if they noticed my poor costuming they had the grace not to > mention it.> > It's too easy to complain that the rose bushes have thorns. It's true, and > we should do what we can to reduce their number. But we will never finish > that job, so it's important to remember, and focus on, the fact that all > these thorn bushes have roses.> > There will *always* be something inappropriate in front of you. There will > often be something quite authentic in front of you. Nobody concentrates on > everything in their field of sight, so it is up to *you* to determine where > your focus is.> > The greatest strength of the SCA was never that we could make everything > perfect. That has never been true, and will never be true. In fact, our > events look far more authentic now than they did in the seventies when I > joined, because the costuming, armor, pavilions, banners and merchants are > so much better developed now. The bardic circles are more authentic than > they were then, when most pieces were either filk or dirty songs, and the > highlight was a re-written 20th century Irish revolutionary song like "The > Rising of the Star" or "Whack-for-the-Diddle". There were few brewers or > vintners, and people drank Imperium Compound, Vargswill or Ormswill. > (That's right -- we re-named Dr. Pepper after the first Lion, and thought > we were being "authentic".) But while it's much better today, we're still > in a modern hall or a Texas pasture, and the swords are still rattan and > duct tape, and we still admit people who wear glasses.> > The greatest strength of the SCA is that, through the modern sea we swim > through, we can make occasional shining islands when it becomes real. For > some people, that's primarily when the costuming or pavilion look right. > For others it's when the activity or the event's persona story seems right. > For me, it's when the relationships are right -- when I'm saluting my lady > or swearing to my queen or following my king into battle or carrying > somebody's basket or treating a noble foe with honor.> > But whatever matters most to you, you will get more magic moments if you > spend your time making magic moments happen. Complaining about discussions > about computers or modern shoes is just as much a modern intrusion as the > computer or the shoe. (And it doesn't even help. You cannot give a sermon > to anyone who doesn't choose to sit in your pew.) Advise the people who > turn to you for advice, be gracious to the others, and create your own > moments. You'll find that you have more moments that way, and so will the > people around you.> > The next event you go to will have too many modern elements and not enough > period ones. But *you* will add to both totals. Carry a lady's basket. > Give honor to the crown. Pour that beer into a mug.> > Too many cars at the field? Help people unload.> Discussions about computers? Ask someone about the trim she's weaving.> Too many modern shoes? Look up.> Mundane site? Watch the banners flying in the wind.> Bored with filk songs? Stand up and perform a villanelle, and give prizes > to the period pieces you hear.> Too many complaints? Compliment somebody on their costume.> > Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the first Baron Baden-Powell of Gilwell, left a > final message to the Boy Scouts, found and opened after his death. He > wrote, in part: "But the real way to get happiness is by giving out > happiness to other people. Try to leave this world a little better than > you found it, and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling > that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best."> > Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin > > _______________________________________________> Ansteorra mailing list> Ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org> http://lists.ansteorra.org/listinfo.cgi/ansteorra-ansteorra.org
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