This evening, in response to a series of discussion threads in the SCA Bardic Arts group on Facebook, I felt inspired to issue something of a bardic manifesto. It was well received, and I think it is worth sharing here in full:
I want to say, as a bard who is not a Laurel…there are bardic Laurels who will defend to the death your right to write your own original SCA-appropriate material (or learn such material that other bards have written), and to perform it at appropriate venues, and that the number of venues where such material is completely appropriate is quite large. There are Laurels and non-Laurels who want to hear more period work being performed in the SCA. Be aware that these include some of the self-same Laurels I mentioned above.
And know too that I am acquainted with at least one Laurel who writes in Old Norse, and can be as fierce a curmudgeon around periodicity as anyone, and that guy writes (and performs) some of the funniest damn filks of Disney songs you’ve ever heard.
It does not have to be either/or. And you are not obligated to do both/and, if that’s not your bag right now.
I will defend to the death your right to perform what pleases you, trusting that (a) you will find others who are pleased by it, (b) you will grow as an entertainer if you want to grow, (c) there will be plenty of folks who will encourage you in valuable new directions over time, and (d) regardless of what people suggest, and regardless of what you choose to do, the Known World will continue to turn on its axis and we will all be just fine.