I am officially Apprenticed!

I am officially Apprenticed! At An Tir’s July Coronation, during the Laureling Vigil of two lovely bards. To be honest, my memories of it are kind of scattered, at best, and it wasn’t exactly a long thing, but: There was a lot of audience–more than I expected–including none other than the Crown Prince and Princess, my Laurel said some funny, sweet things to me that I wish I remembered, gave me many presents, and generally was awesome, then I fumbled with few words but at least got whoops and hollers out of the crowd. Nidda and I sang one verse of a silly period song. As you do.

Then Nidda went through the crowd with her Vigil Frame and iPhone, so we at least have one good picture to commemorate it:


Here’s to a new adventure! ūüėÄ


She inspires us all!

Yesterday, at the Kingdom of An Tir‚Äôs July Coronation, the freshly-made Queen stood up in court and said publicly, eloquently, and firmly, that They stand by tradition — the tradition of a person‚Äôs worthiness being the only thing that truly matters in the Crown lists.

Not gender.

Not gender of fighter, or gender of consort.

This is still, dumbly, a cause for contention in the SCA. The Board of Directors did what the US was doing (until June 26 2015) – leaving it up to Kingdoms, to Crowns, to decide each time. Many Crowns have quietly left it to the last minute then just let whomever sign up for the Lists, but the last pair in An Tir (who seem to be lovely people, otherwise) actually forced all same-sex couples presenting for the Avacal Crown Tournament (their first as a kingdom, so the tournament rules fell to the Crown of An Tir) to meet with them before approving their entrance. Which was a flat-out insult, and a shitty precedent to set.

So Her Majesty Mary Grace‚Äôs words were a great relief. She made a statement with clear intent. She said it in a tone that invited no argument. And I stood there and cried happy tears behind the thrones, so fucking proud to be part of the retinue for such a magnificent–indeed, worthy–team.


On Waiting

This weekend, I am going to be in Avacal to witness the birth of a new kingdom. This pleases me on several levels:

1) I super-duper¬†love to travel. Every year that goes by without a plane trip just makes me sad inside. This summer, I will have two such trips, one north (Alberta, Canada) and one south (San Antonio, Texas), both for ‘geeky’ reasons but very, very different. And very, very awesome.

2) I’m bearing witness to the making of SCA history. Or, as I like to cheekily call it, meta-history. Sometimes things in life have a certain heaviness to them, a unique weight, and this feels like one of those.

3) I’m literally going to be a lady-in-waiting the entire time. I’ll spend a couple hours waiting on Her Royal Highness of An Tir, and the rest of the weekend in the shadow of Her Excellency, the Baroness of Glymm Mere. As I have spent the better part of the last year, and will spend two more.

Now, I want to talk some more about #3. To some, this might seem like a drag. Even I will admit I have my¬†occasional¬†moments of wondering what the hell I’m doing; I’m a grown-ass woman who is fetching and carrying things for a person who, outside of this game, is my equal. Is my¬†friend.

But. This game. Oh, how I love this game. I love the pageantry, I love the pomp, I love the ritual. I love raising people up to have something to revere. I love our pretend little world where I might be a station below but I am always respected.

Also, I must admit, it helps me practice humility and patience, which, even at age 35, is a good and needed thing. (When I was a child, my mother used to turn up her nose at my shrillness and say ‘Patience is¬†not one of your virtues.’ She was not wrong.)

It helps that I truly love the people I’m serving: They have been friends for years, they are part of my household, part of the Barony I have called home for most of my time in the SCA, and they have taken on this burden. It’s the least I can do to carry a chair once in a while, to make sure he has water and she has sunscreen on.

When I am a lady-in-waiting, I feel connected to the game, connected to history, and connected to my friends. I find that it does bond you together, as it surely did in history: You are both stuck in your stations, and stuck together. And there are times, like this weekend (as she’s my ride to the airport and we’re sharing a hotel room), where you are literally constant companions.¬†It is a hell of an experience, and I wouldn’t change it for the world

So here’s to service, here’s to the dream, and HERE’S TO THE NEW KINGDOM OF AVACAL! Huzzah!

Never stop into a used bookstore on a whim after meeting with your Laurel and getting all inspired.

6-12-15 books i bought

Or, actually, ALWAYS do this. Because BOOKS! Look at them. ‚̧

(The Arthurian one isn’t really SCA-related, obvs. I just… have a compulsion about Arthur books. And they were all on the same shelf. So clearly I had to take them all home.)

Attack of the Grout, pt 1

I say ‘Part One’ because I assume this is going to be a theme. It¬†should be a theme, considering Donald Jay Grout’s¬†A History of Western Music has been the staple of college music history classes since time immemorial. Pretty much. It feels like. Even though I’m pretty sure the dude himself is deceased, or at the very least retired, considering the first edition was copyrighted 1960.

I have the fifth edition, copyrighted 1996, which makes sense because I took Music History for the first time around 1999. (Undergrad years tend to blur together, as I’m sure is a common experience. I look back on that time and think, ‘How the fuck did I do all of that shit in four years?’ The world may never know, as I no longer plan on going back to school.)

So why am I delving into Grout’s time-honored classic now? Because my soon-to-be-Laurel (God willing) has given me a first task: Decide (or at least look into deciding on) a period. A persona. Which is a surprisingly daunting task… or at least was at first.

After ten years in the SCA fucking around, I keep coming back round to the one thing that matters: What tugs at one’s heart. And that, my friends, is the British Isles. I keep coming back to jolly old Britannia, no matter how fascinating¬†I find other things. It’s where my heart lies. My maternal great-grandmother came over from England and my paternal from Ireland; I’ve visited England and Scotland and have never, ever felt more at home than I did while there. My lifedream is to settle there for actual, but that’s another entry for another day. Musically-speaking, English madrigals have always been among my favorite things to sing, my mother’s masters thesis was on Purcell and my father had an early music ensemble for years, and my favorite composer is Benjamin Britten. English music is often seen as boring, inferior to the Italians and the French, but I love it. I love the English language, as well, and prefer to sing it when possible.

In that vein, my SCA name, registered within the last couple years (okay so maybe a lot of things blur together…), is Thalia de Maccuswell. The ¬†surname is the 12th century¬†origin of my modern last name, so called after a lake in Scotland owned by a dude called Maccus. (‘It do what it say on the tin,’ ok. Bless.)

That established, perhaps I should aim for a time period, eh? ‘Thalia’ (which has been my name since I joined my college’s LARP in 2000, and isn’t goin no-whur) was documented with a British surname (‘Smith’, lol) in 1605, but that’s tricky. Beyond being super late-period, sticking to just one century, one arguable cultural paradigm, would feel strange to me at this point. Perhaps this will change along my journey, but right now I love it all. I feel connected to it all. I once spoke to a dear household member about garb I would like, my deepest wildest imaginings of what I would commission if I had a zillion dollars, and the end result was ‘a panoply of English garb throughout period’.

So, here’s the plan: To re-read my Grout, at least the first 8 or 9 chapters, with this sort of British lens. To suss out what appeals to me specifically, and to glean and re-learn basic truths about big ideas in period music.

It’s only 318 pages. What could go wrong? ūüėČ

one Ladyship's journey in the SCA