[ANSTHRLD] Zodiacus weighs in on this week's award discussions

Kimberly Koch sarapenrose at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 10 15:07:36 PDT 2004

Roughly a zillion things about this thread piss me off
mightily, and I've tried several times to write a
calm, coherent reply, but haven't been able to yet.

So, let me offer a small suggestion instead. 

When a Crown takes office, they become responsible for
making any number of decisions in fields in which they
don't necessarily have personal experience. This is
entirely to be expected, of course - no one can be
completely aware of every nuance of every aspect of
the dozens of things we do in the SCA, including
heraldry. In my opinion, the best solution for this is
a group of well-informed, helpful, communicative,
*proactive* officers.

Crowns are not born knowing what the precise procedure
for the creation of an award "ought" to be (something
that, as far as I know, isn't clearly defined anywhere
and is probably a little subjective anyway). They're
also not born knowing who's supposed to throw the
chili party, where the kingdom pavilion is, or how to
invest a B&B, among other things. There's a lot they
have to figure out as they go along. So, proactive
officers can be helpful - a succinct, courteous,
informative (but not pedantic) letter at the beginning
of each reign from the appropriate herald that
outlines some of the heraldic issues a Crown might
encounter, and who to discuss those issues with if
they come up, would probably be hugely useful. I'm not
talking about a dissertation on the delicate balance
of the award system, or the complete history of
Ansteorran awards, or a flood of email from every
herald in the college. A single, very simple email
could nonetheless prove quite useful to a new (or even
a repeat) Crown: "If you want to create a new award,
you might first consider the following: (points a, b,
and c)..... If after giving these things due
consideration, you still want to create the award, you
can consult Herald A for help with registering a name,
Herald C for a scroll text, blahblahblah." Other info
might be helpful, too - what should the Crown do if
they want to give an award to someone who lives in
another kingdom? What if they want to close an award
or order? 

When I was Star Signet, I usually sent an introductory
letter to each new crown to remind them about things
they needed to be thinking about right away (choosing
a Sable Scroll, deciding whether they wanted to send
invitations to Queen's and Coronation) and what sorts
of things I could help them with if they needed it
later (commissioning special prize scrolls). I also
made sure to provide them with contact information for
other folks who could help, and was specific about
what area those folks could help with. This seemed to
work pretty well, and it seems like it could be easily
adapted for other officers (like the heralds).

I *never* as Queen received any communication of this
sort, and didn't know enough yet to ask for it. In
retrospect, I would've *loved* to have had a little
intro letter from all my officers that gave me a heads
up on the things I might need to know, but wouldn't
necessarily know to ask.


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