[Bards] And so begins a new year

Alden Drake alden_drake at sbcglobal.net
Sun Jan 14 06:58:11 PST 2007

Gerald asked:

What set of events caused this Eisteddfod to be so relaxed, joyful, riddled
with laughter and good-natured cajoling, and so well-attended by some of the
finest bards in the kingdom?  

Better yet, how do we continue this?  How do we make it the norm?

I think the answers to these questions are as numerous and diverse as the people who attended this past Eisteddfod.  From my POV, one of the significant contributing factors was that the bardic community made it important.  We rallied support for it ahead of time, we made the effort to get there (as competitors and as spectators), some people made the effort to host, organize, take care of, etc., those who came.  We realized that for the kingdom to take note, we, the bards, had to step up and take not of it ourselves.  And I think we need to keep doing that.

Also, in a local competition, it's generally the outgoing bard who takes on the responsibility for the championship.  For Eisteddfod, I think it's a time for the kingdom's bardic community to pitch in to make it not just a competition, but AN EVENT.  Eisteddfod is our event.  This year, we had more people step up and get involved in the event.  In addition to Elanor and the judges, we had Esther, Melody, Maggie, and probably others I'm forgetting, who stepped up to help make it someting more than just a competition.  What can we add to it next year?

Third, I think because we made this event for our community, we lost some of the thinking that this competition is "only for the best bards in the kingdom", and more people felt comfortable and willing to step up and be heard among those bards that they admire, respect, are inspired by, and maybe even intimidated by - and they all certainly proved they can hang with those bards.  I think this alleviated a great deal of tension and stuffy formality that can sometimes intrude on what should be a relaxed competition among *friends*.  I know from experience that competing with bards who have inspired me, only fuels that inspiration and makes me want to work harder and improve my craft to come back and compete with those bards again.

As to how do we continue this and make it the norm.  Simple.  We DO IT.  We can talk about it all we want, but in the end, people have to step up and do it.  Not just for Eisteddfod, but for any bardic activity in this kingdom.  Start a bardic guild.  Find someone to help you in your art.  Offer to help someone who you see with potential.  Teach bardic classes.  Host bardic circles.  Perform.  

Alden Drake
Titled Bard of the Barony of the Stargate and her Canton of Westgate

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