[Bards] Robin waxes philosophical
rudin at ev1.net
Sun Apr 27 08:49:40 PDT 2008
I recently sent a version of this to the Steppes list, but it seems
appropriate to our discussions here as well.
A functioning SCA group can be six people who all agree, or it can be 100
people who don't agree but get along anyway. And almost all events have
over 100 people. So we will *never* be a group that all agree. Not
everyone will share your goals, your dreams, your activities, or your
approach, any more than they will all share your persona, or your height.
The conclusion is that, to be a successful group, we must get along with
the people we disagree with.
The salient characteristic of the SCA is that we don't kick people out for
not sharing our goals, dreams or intensities. This makes it a great place
to do what you want to do, but a horrible place to try to avoid what other
people want to do.
A dream that requires everybody else to do the same thing you're doing is a
permanent disappointment and frustration. A dream you can do while others
are doing their different dreams is always available.
It's been over fifteen years since I've been to any event (other than Red
Tape) when I *didn't* have a Magic Moment. I usually have several. But
part of the reason for that is that nobody else can hold my magic moments
When I swear the Legion oath to my Queen, she's usually in tears, and I am
too. We find our magic moment then. And it doesn't change it that there's
always some people telling the tired, old joke of repeating Tivar's name
instead of their own.
When the marshal calls "Lay On", I can fight for my Queen and my lady, or
to defend Ansteorra. It makes no difference whether the other fighter is
fighting for those reasons.
Last night at practice I finally pulled off a move from Capo Ferro I've
wanted to manage. Only two other people at the practice knew anything
about Capo Ferro. Why should that reduce my little triumph of research,
practice and authenticity?
I performed a piece in praise of Cedric the Fiddler at his Laurel ceremony.
It had a bilingual pun, giving a new Modern English meaning to a common Old
English formulaic hemistich. Cedric alone caught the pun and laughed.
Nobody else listening had any idea why he was laughing so hard, and that
didn't reduce the value of it at all. We shared our private moment of
Anglo-Saxon poetic knowledge in the middle of a crowd of 300 people.
A bardic circle is a place where it can all feel real, so I don't
particularly like filk, but others do. When a filk song starts, that's my
cue to stop listening and practice my next piece quietly to myself. The
filk singers are polite when I'm doing my poetry; I can be polite when
they're doing what they like. The filk song doesn't pull me out of my
persona; fuming about it does.
Furthermore, the dream that everybody agrees with you and does what you
want is a poor dream for two reasons.
1. It's not true. They don't all agree with you. They never will. If
you had the time to get every person to listen to all your arguments
and discussions, they would still not all agree with you. There are
other ideas than yours in the world. The only way to get the entire
group to agree with you is to kick out most of the group, and to
rule the rest with an iron hand.
2. Assume you had an event in which every person agreed with you
about how to play the SCA. You could succeed at your dream
event, but so what? That's no challenge. It's like a knight winning a
tourney because all the other fighters were newbies. The hard,
challenging, worthy goal is for all of us to work together to make
our conflicting dreams happen together.
Non-fighters run lists, herald and bear water so the fighters can live
their fighting dream. Non-bards set up competitions, build fires,
calligraph prize scrolls, and give largesse so bards can live their bardic
dream. Why don't we bards spend as much effort helping those bards whose
bardic dreams aren't the same as our own?
So remember that other people's dreams matter too. Spend a moment
listening to someone's persona speech -- even if you don't want to do it
yourself. Flirt with somebody who's lonely. Thank the list mistress,
herald, or feast server for their service. Pay attention to that filk
song. Offer your favor to some fighter. Let the court event happen
without throwing in a joke. Compliment some artist's costume, pottery,
weaving, etc, even if you aren't interested in that art. Fight a bout with
your opponent's favorite weapon style. Laugh at somebody's modern joke and
then fall back into persona.
Anthony De Mello wrote:
To a disciple who was forever complaining about others, the Master said,
"If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is
easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole earth."
Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin
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