[Bards] Kingdom Eisteddfod

Michael Silverhands silverhands at sbcglobal.net
Wed Nov 1 12:35:45 PST 2006

On Nov 1, 2006, at 10:03 AM, Jay Rudin wrote:
> Does anybody actually rally around an e-list?  I'm on the White  
> Scarf list, but I don't rally around that.  I rally around my  
> brothers and sisters who I see and fence with and meet with and  
> share things with.  The e-list isn't a real entity.  It's just a  
> tool to support something real.

Exactly. And that "something real" is that everyone who wants to  
learn rapier has but to show up to an event, or a fighter practice,  
to find someone willing to teach them. The rapier community is a  
thriving, active, *large* community.

The bardic community, by contrast, is currently none of those things.  
Although the current level of activity on this list is an encouraging  
"sign of life", as are the bardic circles recently hosted by Gerald,  
Alden and others. *That* is what I see as how we're going to grow our  
way out of our current situation.

> No e-list does this, or can do this.  No e-list exists at events,  
> for one thing.  I saw the college hold meetings; nobody off this  
> list ever sees our discussions here.  So while the list is a tool  
> for helping people who have already joined the bardic community, it  
> cannot in any way help encourage people to join the community.

I disagree. Nobody who doesn't attend a meeting will see our  
discussions there. And while a newcomer might have a hard time  
attending a meeting, they only have to turn on their computer to  
interact with the community via lists such as this one. (It's no  
substitute for the "real deal", but that's not the point being made  
here. The point is: those are both empty arguments. E-lists won't  
make a bard. Neither will meetings. But they both help to facilitate  

> Guilds help brewers, and needle-workers, and potters and many other  
> artists.  Why am I having to answer, over and over, doubts that a  
> guild could help us?

I suspect that we're bogging down over semantics; otherwise I'm  
pretty sure that we would have resolved the issue by now. :-)

I don't doubt that a guild could help us. I do doubt that a guild/ 
college/whatever will *change* us. We're either going to grow as a  
community, perform, teach, etc. -- or we aren't. To be is to do. To  
do is to be. Doo be doo be doo.

> But over and over again, I come back to the same thing -- the  
> college drew me into bardcraft.  It's why I'm here.
> Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin

That's cool, and I'm glad for you, Robin, but that alone doesn't  
prove anything except that it was good for you. We've also heard  
empirical evidence that bards (Gerald, Alden, myself, etc.) have  
gotten along just fine without a College. All that proves, of course,  
is that it wasn't needed for them.

Regardless, here's my position:

If Robin (or whoever) thinks that a College would be a good idea, and  
they are willing to make it happen, and it's *important* to them that  
it happen, then *go for it*.

I still don't understand
* why someone who's interested in bardic can't "just do it";
* or, if they need guidance, why they can't turn to the experienced  
bards in the kingdom;[1]
* or, if those experienced bards aren't offering guidance now without  
a College, how the existence of a College is going to change that.

I only asked the questions I've been asking because I want to  

Would the existence of a Rapier College help to promote rapier  
fighting? Maybe. There might be some timid but interested souls who  
would find comfort in formality, meetings, and structure, and who  
would otherwise be unable or unwilling to get started. Have we got  
lots of folks learning to fight rapier without one? Yep. When rapier  
fighting was new and small, did it thrive anyway? Yep. Why? Because  
passionate individuals (Tivar, et al) got out there and got busy.

I am still convinced that at the bottom of our issues, we have an  
under-developed, non-thriving, small and somewhat inactive (relative  
to years past) bardic community. I still think that the solution to  
that is simply for good bards to be more active. Perform, teach,  
inspire, lead. Bardic circles: if you build it, they will come.

I am still unconvinced that a College is going to make a significant  
difference in that. Gerald and Robin and Alden and Kat and whoever  
else will either perform, teach, etc. -- or they won't -- regardless  
of whether somebody somewhere declared the existence of a College of  
Bards, in my opinion.

But I don't have to understand those things for Robin (or whoever) to  
make it happen. And, as Gerald said, if a college can encourage  
someone to become a bard -- someone who otherwise would not find  
their way -- then it's worth doing.


[1] Colin -- no offense, truly -- but I find it hard to believe that  
there are no good bards who are active and willing to teach in Bryn  
Gwlad. But, taking your words at face value, I *know* that there are  
good bards active in the kingdom. One only has to travel to events to  
find them.

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