[Bards] Wordfame and how I wound up on this path

Gerald Norris jerryn at houston.rr.com
Thu Nov 2 16:58:15 PST 2006

Oh boy!  I actually get to blame Kat!

A long time ago, when the world was young, and I was still trying to find my
way in the SCA, It was eventime, at the Renaissance Festival, and Mistress
Janet had heard me sing a simple song or two, and had found Kat and
introduced us.  I think Kat asked if I would mind learning a song, and then
and there I learned "Born on the Listfield".  My first song.  She gave me a
tape, some words, and encouraged me to learn more.  I did, but I was slow,
for that set of mental muscles had been lax for some time.

Now, with a breath and a word I would ask you to leap forward to AS 32.  It
is Yule at Stargate, and the Eistedfodd is hosted there.  In betwixt the
breath and word, I've gone to a few circles, learned a few more songs, and
generally starting to get an idea that this bardic stuff is kinda nice.

I enter the door with my good family, and we stand at the gate to pay our
tithe for entry, when at my elbow who should appear but Kat?  

"Gerald," Kat, when her mind is made up, is capable of sounding VERY
imperious.  "Sign your name on that paper over there.  I want to show off
that wonderful voice of yours."

"What paper?"

"That one." She points.  I sign.

"Okay," I shrug, "What did I just sign up for?"

"Eistedfodd," she smiles.

After a few moments of trying to wrap my mind around the weird-sounding
name, "Okay.  What's Eistedfodd?"

"Kingdom Bardic competition.  Don't worry.  You'll have fun."

Now I am not ashamed to say that I was nervous.  It sounded pretty
important, and I had four songs at my disposal, and one of them was "The
Ball of Ballynore", which to my mind, even then, didn't come across as one
of the songs I should use in this competition.  But by now many know the
depths to which my shamelessness will sometimes plunge me, and so I sat and
watched as others whom I had never seen before (with the exception of Roger
of York and Kat and a wonderful harp player named Ysuelte) take the stage,
and TAKE it.  It was my first experience at seeing Robin of Gilwell, and I
was enthralled. 

Now, good gentles, I've been a good performer for some time, and have played
music for thousands.  But as I took that stage the first time I was so
nervous that it was hard for me to get "Wild Rover" out, much less sound
like I had a noodle of wildness in my soul.  And so the next round began,
and once again I was in awe of the other performers.  My next song was Queen
of all Argyle, but I had taken into my philosophies that I should treat this
like any other performance, and try to enjoy it as much as possible.  I
humbly submit that a goodly portion of the hall quieted as I sang the song,
and I felt good about the performance.  In the end, the winner was Robin of
Gilwell, and none were there that would dispute it.  I was elated, as if the
mask had been taken from my eyes.  I had found the path I wanted to take in
the SCA.

I remember talking to Finnacan, after the competition, and proclaiming to
him how much I had enjoyed the competition.  By God!  I was hooked!

Since that time, I have tried to take the time with those new to our Society
and to the performance arts, whether they be singers or storytellers,
drummers or pipers.  I try to give them a place where they feel safe enough
to take that first step and perform, or demonstrate that practice actually
does help in performance.  I was touched to see my name mentioned in Alden's
and Michael's stories about their journey down the path.  I only hope that I
will be able to return to the kingdom the gift that was given to me by a
pretty lady who threw me to the bloody wol..., er, gave me the taste for
bloo..., hmmm, introduced me to the wide open doors of the performance

In service to the dream with a song in my heart, I am,
HL Gerald of Leesville
A bard of Stargate 

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