[Ansteorra] Becoming the Source

L T ldeerslayer at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 10 22:33:43 PDT 2008

The following is a chapter from the online book "Bright Ideas and True Confessions"

It has been my SCA "bible" for years... when stuff happens in the SCA
I read it when I need perspective.  It has great advice and the assurance that people have never changed and probably never will.

Thought this chapter might be of interest to some people on this list

L. DeerSlayer


full text below:

      Bright Ideas and True Confessions: How and What to Do 
        and Why

  The Dangers of Boasting

Becoming the Source
Ælflæd of Duckford

The following article appeared in the Atenveldt Seneschal's Handbook, 
        Remember when you were little and you believed in Santa Claus? Christmas 
          was absolutely magic—the finest part of life. 
          Later on you found out that your parents were really doing it. You 
            were disappointed, but Christmas was still wonderful. Maybe 
            you didn't admit you knew the truth, just to help keep the magic a 
            little longer. 
you got older you had to help set up Christmas for younger kids—the
ones who still believed in magic. There's satisfaction, but not much
        Eventually you become responsible for an entire show—you're the Santa 
          Claus. You do the planning and the footwork, you worry about the cost 
          and pay the bills. It's still worth doing, for the sake of the believers 
          and for the feeling of accomplishment, but they'll hardly thank you 
          because they think it was Santa Claus. 
          I know now that long hours of hard work went into those first events 
            I attended, but at the time I thought it was all magic and spontaneous.
          As seneschal or autocrat you're a stage manager for a medieval illusion. 
            If people think it's magic, if they think the Society runs spontaneously, 
            you've done your job well. 
      I was thrilled to see my thoughts come back around, nearly eleven years 
        later, with some interesting details, and to a wider audience than got 
        to read it the first time. In the December 1990 issue of The Outlandish 
        Herald, the following article appeared. It was written by Master Giovanni 
        di Sienna, an Outlander and former principality treasurer and kingdom 
        seneschal, and is reprinted with his permission. 
          Being that it is December, I decided to pass on an analogy that I 
            first heard from Mistress Monika von Zell. I was told this story when 
            I became a local seneschal a number of years back. Well, here goes.
        Once upon a time ... oops, wrong story. The SCA is sort of like Christmas. 
          When you first join, all the presents are sitting under the tree wrapped 
          in gaily decorated packages. You get to pick which package you want 
          to open first. You also have fun deciding which presents you want to 
          keep for yourself, give to another, or share with a friend. Everything 
          is there waiting for you. You are continually approached with new surprises, 
          thoughts and attitudes. Learning all of the social skills necessary 
          for proper interaction in this club encompasses a large amount of your 
          time. All in all, these are the good old days.
          As you grow older in this organization, the SCA doesn't provide all 
            of the packages pre-wrapped. You are now expected to help in wrapping 
            the packages. You still have plenty of presents given to you, but 
            now you get to help out. You're trusted by others to pick out the 
            box and the paper and to do a competent job in the wrapping. Much 
            of the joy that you receive in the SCA is now focused on the learning 
            of new skills.
          Older now, you are starting to furnish the presents. No longer are 
            you content or expected to sit back and let everything come to you. 
            You pick with care and concern those presents that you can make with 
            your own hands or help direct others to create. You help create the 
            atmosphere in which to give the presents to the young folks. You ensure 
            that the others are now allowed to help wrap the presents and start 
            learning how to make them. Sure, you still receive presents, but making 
            them is much more fun now. The transition to this "paternal" role 
            is an interesting one. The learning and doing is still a great part 
            of your enjoyment, but now people are asking you to do some 
            teaching as well.
          Finally, in the bloom of your old age, you sit back and help where 
            needed. All those folks that you helped teach wrapping skills and 
            making skills to are now working at it full force. You still make 
            things and help wrap them, although the major role seems to be in 
            guiding others towards these pursuits. You have become "Father Christmas" 
            to a new and vibrant group of folks. The teaching element is first 
            and foremost now (for better or worse). One day you finally look around 
            at all the new faces and the realization strikes that these people 
            think that you're the old timer or part of the "old guard" now.
          That's the SCA "Christmas" story, long version. All of us are different 
            ages playing middle ages. 
      I love hearing things come back through. Giovanni was embarrassed 
        when Mistress Monika pointed out to him that it was my "story" in the 
        first place, but there was no need for embarrassment. I was flattered, 
        and Giovanni's version had an interesting focus mine had not, as his was 
        aimed not just at seneschals and autocrats, but at everyone at every level. 
      A similar analogy I've used is a theatrical production. As a newcomer 
        you are in the audience, and after seeing a few plays you might make a 
        visit backstage. If it seems interesting, you might go from apprenticing 
        with the techs and costumers to taking tickets, or you may become one 
        of the best actors, and might eventually end up being director or theater 
        manager. The play will never seem the same to you, but there's an audience 
        out there, and they don't know about production details or the 
        realities of getting it all presented. 
      We owe it to the Society to return the favor that was done for us. What 
        I want for the services I've provided newer members is not so much to 
        be thanked or repaid in any way by them, but that they will pass it on 
        to other, newer members. 


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