This news is a few weeks old, but I’ve been busy. Still, it deserves its own post. I am very excited.
Maistre Lucien de Pontivy, current Queen’s Bard of the East Kingdom and recently elevated to the Order of the Laurel, has taken me as a student of the Bardic Arts.Some background for those who aren’t necessarily familiar with how “career paths” work in the SCA:
- Most people who wish to develop a particular craft or calling as a specialty eventually seek out a mentor to learn from. The three Orders of Peerage (Chivalry–Heavy Combat, Pelican–Service, and Laurel–Arts and Sciences) are a way of recognizing those who have mastered their calling to a level that they should not only be recognized for their excellence, but publicly marked as sources of knowledge and potential mentors. (That’s not all there is to it, but that’s enough for my purposes here.)
- Mentoring relationships with Peers tend to follow a process to a greater or lesser degree of formality, depending on the people in question. A Squire, training under a Knight, often wears a white belt to signify the relationship, a Protegee (such as my wife) learning from a Pelican may wear a yellow belt, and an Apprentice learning from a Laurel may wear a green belt.
- It is customary, however, to begin with a less formal learning relationship for at least a year, where the learner is simply referred to as a “student”. There are no belts or ceremonies at the start, and the teacher and student work together with the understanding that after a year, or whatever period they both consider suitable, they will determine whether their rapport and mutual interests are served by formalizing the relationship, or whether they should end the relationship with no hard feelings and seek out other learning partners.
It is tempting to go on with one of my elaborate blow-by-blows of how I’ve been looking around for the right person, and explain how Lucien and I made one another’s acquaintance and ultimately agreed to enter into this relationship. Instead, I will follow my teacher’s example and simply acknowledge that we sealed the deal at East Kingdom Twelfth Night three weeks ago. (I will admit that in writing something public, I’m still getting a handle on the gender pronouns here…as the website says, Myra Hope Eskridge is a woman, but her persona, Lucien, is a man. “Maistre” is the French for “Master”, which Lucien employs as the persona is French.)
Suffice it to say, it is wonderful to have someone in my corner, and I feel incredibly blessed that such an accomplished, talented, and well-loved bard has taken me to be his first bardic student. The opportunity to polish my performance and really start digging into period music is one I am relishing.