So before I do the deep dive for Saturday’s competition, I want to take a moment to reflect on the inspirations I found there. Some people I want to recognize:
- HRM Caoilfhionn, who started off the day of performances by sharing an original song she had written. Others had heard it before; I hadn’t had the opportunity. It was magnificent work, and she sang it beautifully. There was something incredible about seeing that we were performing for a fellow practitioner of our art, and I am hopeful that she will consider exploring it further when this reign ends. The other thing Caoilfhionn always brings to any event is the way that she models gratitude.
- Aethelflied Brewbane, who stopped flying under the radar…and just flew.
- Martyn de Halliwell, who always reminds me how much fun it is to perform, and lets his audience in on it.
- Lilie Dubh, who came prepared to exhibit for round one only, but was invited back to compete in round two. And who pulled out a piece she knew and did it. (Our bards, they rock. They rock so hard.)
- Mistress Alys Mackintosh, who, when their Majesties explained that my new award was totally off the cuff so they didn’t have a brooch or a scroll on hand, said (standing behind them in her new Queen’s Bard regalia), “But we do have words!”, and proceeded to spin off an extemporaneous oral scroll text for me that would do any herald proud. (Wonder where she learned that…) A bard should always have words.
- My wife Jessa, who has supported me through my exhaustive prep process (more on that soon), and who showed up this weekend exhausted and sick…and still never stopped smiling at me, giving me a gentle touch on the shoulder, and telling me “You got this.” As long as I got her, she’s right.
- My son Spencer, also not feeling 100% but game to be there for Daddy’s thing, and able as always to just find his friends and have a good time, and tell me he believed in me. Little did he know he would get his moment too. We couldn’t see his face as he was getting his Tyger’s cub, but her Majesty (just managing to hold it together) kept mirroring back his expressions of mixed shock and delight for us. The boy isn’t hard to read. And he’s amazing.
- Master Magnus Hvalmagi, who I was able to briefly talk to during his vigil, who has always modeled for me making excellence in this Society look effortless and joyous. I was glad my praise touched him, and his words of wisdom got me right back. So glad to be in this with you, bro.
- Mistress Zsof, who’s been there for me this whole time, and modeled what it was to be on for her new apprentice when required: during our apprentice ceremony, and speaking for the Laurel at both elevations (having stepped in to read another Laurel’s words for Magnus’s at the last minute). I kept wanting to catch someone’s eye and whisper: “That’s my Laurel.” (Okay, I might have done that once.)
- Finally, our friend Erin (Sváva Ansvarsdotter), who finally brought herself, her daughter Bera, and her significant other and his boy, to an SCA thing as she’d long been promising to do. The big show made for quite the first event to take on, especially with a toddler. Apparently, she’s thinking of going skald. (Yessss! Once you go bard, you never go back.)
You guys are shining examples of why I come to these things.