[Bards] Speaking of Dreams and Dreaming

Baron Wylfred of Morganvayle bonz6x at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 20 19:59:12 PDT 2008

Catrin hit another nail on the head, with her experiences and sense of things (IMHO) There have been many times when I have had similar feelings and observations. There are times when people become insular in their groups, and in many cases, newcomers are left to fend for themselves... and or not recognized as new comers and greeted and introduced around (properly)... and many of us, sometimes get WAY too busy and wrapped up in our own stuff... we become oblivious. 
  The camps being spread out thing became very much an issue a number of years ago in Trimaris (sorry to bring up another Kingdom again)... when they were using a very very very large spread out Camp in central Florida... The "groups" became isolated... and in some cases hardly interacted. The populace in general began to "complain" about it... and then over several reigns of Royalty and Great Officers,  finally began seeking a solution... to bring the people together again.
  Eventually with some effort, and searching, a new "site contract" was put together with 4H Camp Ocala... which was much more compact. Almost instantly... people were all sorts of in each others face! In a good way... LOL! And once again the interaction among the populace became much more like "the Old Days" when Camp Wewa (a very small YMCA camp) was the main Kingdom event site.
  This is one reason I like compact sites... It puts the people in close proximity, and sort of sparks interaction rather than isolation.... It is hard to ignore the party next door, next camp, or 50 yards away at a bonfire, if ya know what I mean... It draws people like bees to honey, flies to horse muffins... moths to a flame. Ya can't help it... LOL!
  I will say this... there is NO DOUBT in my mind... that even though the daytime fighting and GOING TO WARS was my main draw to be in the SCA... The evening festivties, the bonfires and the bardics, the dancing and drumming and having a heck of a party in the evening was the thing that kept me in the SCA. Even as a newcomer... I knew I could go there and have a good time and interact with people... get to know them and make friends. Bards, Minstrels, Story Tellers, Jokesters and Jesters, Dancers and Drummers... are my heros! And in my opinion best represent the "social life" of a Kingdom... and of course, they tend to be very welcoming types of people.
  Oh my Willie blabs again... jeesh! LOL!
  OK I will shut up now for a bit...

Catrin ferch Maelgwn <ladycatrin at gmail.com> wrote:
  On Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 1:47 PM, Esther <reese_esther at yahoo.com> wrote:
    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!).
<snipping lots of accurate commentary>  
Lady Emma, I think you have managed to sum up a good deal of what has been bothering me about my own personal experiences lately.  The lack of cohesion is just it.

I know that we, as a Kingdom, are a very large and diverse (and yes, in many ways, a disparate) group of people.  But I have found myself a little dismayed in just how compartmentalized, how *insular* we can become, within this larger group.  Perhaps it's just the natural order of things--I know it's certainly not limited to Ansteorra--but when I go to an event, I am struck by the fact that so many of us tend to sequester ourselves away in little groups, and then rarely venture out of them to interact and play.  I don't mean this as an accusation against anyone, and I know my observations don't apply universally.  But this is what I see, and what I have seen almost always since I began playing, but have never been able to describe.

At tourneys, we gather under separate pavilions with our households or families or local groups, and then spend all day socializing within those groups.  We all gather together briefly for court, and the fighters interact with each other, and we may wander a bit to visit the merchants or greet friends who are seated elsewhere.  But otherwise, there is no ready motivation for these little disparate groups to mingle with one another.

At longer events, the phenomenon is similar, perhaps even compounded by the fact that camps are set up at a distance from one another.  It's possible to spend an entire weekend in your own encampment without ever seeing the folks just down the road.  And certainly it's enjoyable to spend a weekend camping with your closest friends, wearing garb and participating in an activity or two of your choice, but what about all those other people out there?  Wouldn't it enrich everyone's experience if we could all interact a little further outside our comfort zones?

Honestly, I'm not the most qualified person to be extolling such behavior.  Except when I'm performing, until I know someone well, I tend to be very shy--as I know that so many do.  I've gotten better, but I still remember what it was like when I first joined the Society, out in Caid at the age of sixteen.  My first event was just this side of being a disaster.  

I showed up in my substandard garb, without a place to set my chair, not knowing anybody.  And so nobody talked to me.  I am sure that if I had really tried, or if any of them knew I was a newcomer, they would have made welcoming overtures.  But nobody knew, so I sat by myself all day and began to wonder if I was really cut out for this game.  At my next event, I was encouraged to try field heralding.  This was slightly better as it gave me something to do--but the interaction, the human socialization, was still absent.  Things improved only when I eventually found a household to attach myself to, and then I happily spent my events enjoying their company and rarely venturing out.

Yet I often wonder how many people, people who would otherwise become valuable and enthusiastic Society members, end up slipping through the proverbial cracks because they don't find a group to take them in, and therefore don't really have a "place" of their own.  Since moving to Ansteorra almost three years ago, I have made many good friends among various households.  And yet, when I am not among these groups, when I make my solitary way to an event or a meeting, I am frequently stunned by the sense of *otherness* I feel.  The people around me have their own groups of friends, and while they are always cordial and kind, I rarely feel comfortable asking to join them in whatever they are doing.  I do realize that most of this probably stems from my own introversion, but I also know that I'm not the only one who may occasionally need some gentle prodding out of my shell.

I guess the point of all this is that perhaps there are some little things we can all do to improve life in our beautiful Kingdom.  Perhaps if we started by just being a little more friendly, a little more open, if we created situations where more group interaction was encouraged?  I think part of the magic of that Eisteddfod two years back was that we had a crowd of people who might not normally hang out together, and suddenly we were all huddled under a pavilion together, all sharing in the warmth, laughing and relaxed and enjoying each others' company.  How can we make that happen more often?  Is it a simple matter of walking around and introducing ourselves, inviting people to come sit with us and talk and sing and tell stories?  

I would love to see more friendships being made, more hospitality being shared.  I feel like, if we had those things, some of the other things that seem lacking now might follow of their own accord.  Some of my happiest moments, those in which my "dream" seem most alive for me, have begun with a friendly greeting from a stranger on Merchant's Row.

But those are just my thoughts, and I do apologize for the slight hijack.  Thank you all for letting me ramble on so.

In service, and friendship,
Catrin ferch Maelgwn

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