[Bards] Speaking of Dreams and Dreaming

Esther reese_esther at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 20 11:47:29 PDT 2008

I don't know about the rest of you, but I get very little done when I'm Dreaming. Dreams by their very nature, are very dreamy things... and terribly, terribly idiosyncratic to the individual. Hard to get that kind of cohesion in a group that is by its very nature incredibly disparate (1600 and back covers a LOT of territory, my friends!).

When I started in the SCA, at the silly age of 16, 25 years ago, nobody dreamed. We Played. When we invited people to our 'game', we said, 'come play'. Now, it seems the invitation is, "come join The Dream (tm)".

Inevitably, this leads to the question, "What is The Dream?" Originally, it came from an original SCA song, which like many great quotes, has come to mean something entirely different from what it does in its original context. (How many folks know that "to thine own self be true", a quote from Hamlet that is taken to mean "be selfish, screw others" more often that not these days, is followed by "and then thou cans't not be false to any man...?")

I don't know what the dream is, I never have. I know I have my own individual dreams and schemes that the great fiction of the SCA, that we are living history as it Should Have Been, that times periods are geographical, and not linear and limiting, that we are someone who COULD have lived on our chosen place or places, let's me indulge in.

Not so much lately, as I don't have easy transportation, or a household centered around a fighter, or a fighter of my own, nor am I fighter, and my job doesn't allow me to go to The War. (This is not bashing fighters. Love them , love what they do,  and love those who don't 'just fight'. Those who 'just fight' are pretty rare, if you think about it. Duke Miguel springs immediately to mind as a shining example that being a Fighter (whether heavy or fencer or archer, or whatever) doesn't mean you're not interested in anything else, or are by nature a troglodyte.)

There hasn't been a single revel in my area since I got here about five years ago. When I go to populace, I stand out if I wear garb, and I sit through a business meeting, that mostly talks about -- The War and The Budget. The people who are new to the group in my area, who haven't participated in the SCA elsewhere, have never heard the word Revel.

(The Bod Revel was held at a dutch treat buffet restaurant, and an optional trip to Dave and Busters afterwards for those who wanted to 'play'.... I've been in other Kingdoms who hosted BOD meetings. They fought tooth and nail to show off at a Revel, their best clothes, their best cooks, etc. But, that was years ago, so perhaps ennui has set in there too....)

The only way to change things, is to get out and do things, and make them fun. This requires time, energy, money, and space. Right now, I don't have much of any of those things, so I do what I can, when I can, and think I've just gotten too old to know to play. The effort to play is not light, and when no one else wants to play along, the disappointment is crushing.

I have a good friend who is looking for something to do with her costuming skills, and to have some fun. Her first event was the last Steppes 12th Night that had the blisteringly good Eistedfodd. That's what she went to, that's what she expected. When trying out what was available here, she found, she could go to War, help make things to be taken To The War, serve as an officer, or try to become a peer by entering competitions and/or doing paperwork work. That was it.

When the fact that it was freezing and wet and the most recent Eistedfodd was being held outside in a tent prevented her, and thus me as she has the working car, from attending, as we were both already sick, it ended her interest with a dull thud. 

(She did go to 12th Night, at which she was able to sit, and eat. And watch a court. And watch some really good Bardic. That was her favorite part, she wonders why it isn't done more. But, her summation was, "It was boring. I won't be doing it again. And you know, except for the Bardic, it was.)

What's the point of this? I'm not sure. I think perhaps many of us are having an SCA identity crisis, perhaps I am myself, and perhaps the SCA itself is having a mid-life crisis, that point where insurance and the budget and other such concerns are over-whelming, so much so that mad-cap can seem very threatening. There's a fine line between being a responsible adult (or organization) and one that opts to be repressive, to be 'on the safe side'.

We could simply be tired. "Been there, done that, why should we do it again, it's old, it's work, etc." Because it used to be fun, maybe?

Remember, the newcomers learn from the old timers, and frankly, around here, it isn't Persona or Period we're playing, or even Politics, it's running a kingdom, and that means fighting, which means ruling and organizing and mediating (in a quasi-'persona' role at best), and diplomacy, or Going To War. If you haven't got the ability to put an Oar in that stream, and many do, and do it well, there's not much else to do, except find a supporting role for those who do.

I think that we need to attach the Kingdom Bardic Championship to another event like a carbuncle is pretty indicative of what people like to do and are willing to put their time and money into.

Sorry for the Rambling,


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