[Bards] No Sh*t stories

Jay Rudin rudin at ev1.net
Mon Jan 7 06:55:09 PST 2008

Donnchadh wrote:

>I fear that I did not clearly convey my meaning in my original post.
> When I spoke of "There I was" stories, I was thinking of the relay of
> personal experiences seen and heard at SCA events.  Not that I
> necessarily prefer them in their most crude and unfinished form.

Oh.  Then we ran straight into a semantic issue, rather than a bardic one.

I have always heard the term a "no-euphemism-there-I-was story" to mean a 
story told, usually with that exact opening line, specifcally to indicate 
that the teller has no interest in period forms or styles, and is just 
telling us a cool story about a modern rattan sport.  In the mid-80s in 
Calontir, the opening line was a *requirement*.

Is a NSTIW story a lesser form of bardic performance?  Is a limerick a 
lesser form of bardic performance?  Around here you will get the same 
answer to both questions, and for the same reason.  I would no more call a 
period-style poem about Gulf War a "NSTIW" story than I would call a Rime 
Royal a limerick.

> The point to my original post was
> not to suggest that we should sit enraptured to stories of fiberglass
> and duct tape, but that we should be encouraging people to relay those
> stories of personal experiences and keep our history alive.

This point is completely lost in your wording.  And I even suspect that 
your original complaint / observation may have been based on the semantic 
issue.  Many of the people  (possibly even myself) that you have heard 
treating a NSTIW story as a lesser form have been saying that an 
obtrusively modern story is a lesser form, not a story about our history.

I consider, and I believe most bards consider, telling the tales of our 
history to be as valid as Englishmen telling the tales of their history. 
But I also consider the gulf between our best Ansteorran tales and our 
NSTIW stories to be as great as the gulf between Shakespeare's "Henry V" or 
Michael Drayton's "Agincourt" and the half-drunken stories told in English 
taverns by veterans of St. Crispin's Day.

The difference between your position and mine appears to be entirely 
semantic.  I take the phrase "NSTIW story" to mean the deliberately modern 
version, and you take it to mean any Ansteorran tale, and were focusing on 
the great ones.  If we were talking about different things, then it is no 
surprise that we reached different conclusions.

The next question is which meaning that phrase really has in most people's 
ears.  I first heard it used in Calontir, and the speaker claimed that the 
modern opening line was a requirement, and the the *point* was that neither 
the story nor the teller were in any sort of persona.  Indeed, one couldn't 
even use the term, with its modern phrasing, when in persona.  Therefore to 
my ear it will always carry the connotation of a story told out of persona 

So let's open up that question.  Does "NSTIW story" mean any story about 
SCA fighting, or is it restricted to deliberately modern pieces?

Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin 

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