First Bardic War WordFameWednesday

#WFW: The Bardic War Staff

My #WordFameWednesday today is for the staff of the First Bardic War (which will begin one month from tomorrow, on Saturday May 15, and run until Sunday, May 23).

I am not a member of the Bardic War staff. I am a kingdom general, a partisan in the conflict, which is to say, staff-adjacent. Generals are privy to much of the organizational and planning conversation, but we have distinct responsibilities. This staff, let me say from close observation, is in the midst of a Herculean project that is hard to fathom from the outside (unless of course you’ve staffed an SCA war).

Here is a thumbnail sketch of the task that Hilla, Laila, and their coordinators and deputies are undertaking:

  • Bring all 20 kingdoms of the SCA together for the first War-scale event since Estrella (held in February of 2020);
  • With 3 competing alliances and an array of varied War Points;
  • Entirely online, but simulating the scope of a massive war event campsite;
  • Centering the performing arts rather than martial arts;
  • But still making space in the war itself for the various other passions and interests of the SCA, including martial (but tragically without culinary);
  • Including classes and less formal, non-war-point gatherings;
  • Promoting it to draw in the massive numbers of volunteers needed to compete, judge, host, and teach;
  • While the SCA, like the rest of the world, continues to experience more than a full year of mourning, cabin fever, and video-streaming fatigue;
  • With a 3 month timeline from inspiration to execution.

All of this, because there was a text chat on a Zoom concert that went delightfully sideways, and people got excited.

Is the entire endeavor described above insane? It is completely insane. (Why do this in May? Why not later in the summer, or next year? Basically, because FUCK COVID-19, that’s why. There hasn’t been a war in 14 months, and while there are some planned for late Fall this year, who knows how things will play out by then?) Each individual bullet point is absurd in its ambition; taken together, it is absolute folly.

And yet it is happening. The War Points have been determined and announced; timelines are shared and in motion; three alliances are recruiting armies of volunteers to compete. Notices are promoting the event and its different facets every week; online hosting is being secured. There is a Facebook page (which you can PM to ask questions), a YouTube channel, even a TikTok (that I know of offhand).

A small but passionately dedicated staff is working day and night, laying brand-new track under a train as it rolls. (I don’t have a period analogy off the top of my head, but I’m sure I’ll learn many of them very soon.) The typical challenges that accompany any event launch are multiplied by the fact that this is being put together in a fraction of the time that a similarly ambitious event in the SCA typically requires. People, understandably, want communications about things that are still being finalized, or weren’t obvious to find on a website, or, occasionally, got misremembered.

This staff is doing a hard job during an incredibly hard year. A wheel comes loose on the engine, and someone is leaning off the side of the train, fixing it in place, without slowing down, while someone else continues scrounging for fuel and another person is shoveling it into the engine. Like any SCA staff for any big event, they need massive amounts of rest, which they are largely saving for “when this war is over”.

They are doing this for you. For all of us. To lift our spirits, to bring us back together, to be a light in the darkness. They are exhausted like the rest of us, and they have chosen to carry this glorious, absurdly-ambitious enterprise on their shoulders, knowing it will add to their exhaustion.

I invite you to hold in your mind that service on this #WordFameWednesday, to see the gift this Bardic War staff is frantically building for your delight, your pleasure, and your succor. Sing their praises. Tap them on the shoulders and offer them hugs, a glass of water, what piece of gratitude you might have to offer at this moment. And be kind and courteous to them when you encounter them in this mad, inspired endeavor, as they lay the block markers on a war site of the imagination, where we will soon gather once more, in our hearts and on our screens.

For the staff of the First Bardic War:

Yours, Drake

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