[Ansteorra] Advice to a new Baron and Baroness
rudin at peoplepc.com
Thu Dec 30 19:01:08 PST 2010
Mistress Hillary asked:
>Or to those considering applying for the honor of holding the office of Baron
Stop considering it. You are the last one who should consider yourself.
When the position comes up, consider other candidates. Who would be best for the barony? Consider people who aren't your close friends, but who play the game well. Consider people you disagree with, but who always make you think, and sometimes convince you to change your minds. If you can figure out who it should be, then so can everyone else. And if there's a clearly best candidate, then your application doesn't help you or the barony.
If a fair number of people urge you to put your own name(s) in, then consider the people who are urging you. Do they include people who aren't your close friends, but who play the game well? Do they include people who often disagree with you, but whom you can make think, and sometimes change their minds? Do the people who don't like you think you are a serious candidate? If so, then you can begin to consider yourself. (As I said above, you should be the last one to consider yourself, and by this process, you are.)
But not for the honor -- that's not your business. Your question is this -- can you handle the responsibilities?
Can you talk to -- and care about -- the people in the barony you don't enjoy being around? Are you already doing so?
Can you consider the merits of everyone in the barony for awards and honors? Do you know the award structure well enough to make recommendations for people doing things you don't do? And are you already doing so? Are you putting in a significant number of award recommendations before each local event? Also, is your sense of who's ready for an award sufficiently close to the kingdom's that most awards you recommend are given out soon after?
Non-fighters, can you carefully watch the fighting, and tell what happened? Non-artists, can you look carefully at the craftsmanship in your barony and tell what's good and what isn't? Can you fairly judge people whose SCA focus and goals aren't really compatible with your own?
Do you spend time listening to other people's opinions, problems and ideas? Can you fairly judge an idea that you personally have no interest in?
Can you stay onstage for hours at a time, graciously dealing with each situation with hundreds of eyes on you?
Can you deal with politics without rancor, forgive and move on -- over and over again?
Are you willing to become a living banner -- a personal symbol of people's branch that they have as much proprietary interest in as they do in the black star?
Can you keep doing the same thing for several years? Is your SCA career sufficiently stable that you are prepared to let everybody else's occupy much of your focus for the foreseeable future? Is your ego and self-worth so sure that you can spend the next several years never saying "Look at me!", but always saying "look at them!", even to people who are praising you right now? Is your personal life sufficiently comfortable that you can afford to be in the public eye without a break for several years? Is your confidence sufficiently high that you can stand having everyone taking about every mistake you make, for several years non-stop? And can you stand being corrected and disagreed with constantly for the same length of time?
Can you swear fealty to *anyone* who wins Crown tourney? Can you take their orders and do things their way? Are you comfortable shifting gears every six months? Can you defend them and their decisions -- even the decisions you argued against? Can you give out an award you really disapprove of when it appears at your court with their signatures?
Can you teach a new baronial herald how to hold court? Do you even know everything that happens to make a court a success? Do you know why they are often thirty minutes or more late starting?
Fighters, can you drop out of fighter practice to deal with a non-fighting problem? Every week? Can you be comfortable watching the baronial tourney knowing you can't enter, for years? Artists, can you drop that project and get on the phone when a problem breaks? Over and over again? Can you be comfortable judging the artisan competition knowing you can't enter, for years?
And finally, are you a candidate that the barony as a whole will take seriously? Do you really believe that you will be considered the best, or one of the best, candidates, by most of the barony, and a candidate that the entire barony and kingdom can accept comfortably? Do you think the barony will be well served by denying the best of the other possible candidates? And is it really likely that they will choose you rather than another candidate?
Are you prepared for the process -- to put yourself on display for months, for the entire barony to critique and judge, including the people who don't like you and aren't disposed to be fair to you, to accept all of their scrutiny and criticism, and then in all likelihood, *not* become baron or baroness? Can you cheer and be happy at your rivals' baronial investiture?
If so, then carefully ask yourself if now is the right time in your life for the barony, and the right time in the barony's life for you? Can you give it more time than any other SCA or mundane hobby activity, for the next several years? Is it fair to your family, friends and students to take some of your focus off of them?
Because that's what you're considering doing.
And be hard on yourself. Because everyone else is going to be.
Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin,
Baron of the Steppes 1988-1991
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