inclusion SCA

New FB group: “SCA Neurodiversity”

Hi everyone. This continues to be a challenging time, and finding the energy and will to blog regularly is much heavier. And I’m pushing through that today, because there are some recent developments I think are worth taking the time to share.

Recently, I have made a significant change around my moderation duties on Facebook. After eight glorious years, I have handed over the reins of the SCA Bardic Arts group to my long-time co-moderator Aneleda Falconbridge, and recruited a new team of moderators to help keep the group thriving into the future (more on that below). I’ve done this to provide me time and space to focus on a new FB I’ve just launched, SCA Neurodiversity. The group has been operating for nearly 3 weeks, and I’m very pleased with the growth and the responses from new members.

People who’ve been following this blog or my bardic career will no doubt be aware of my passion for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity issues, especially within the SCA. As an adult with ADHD, and the father of a teenager on the Autism spectrum, I endeavor to be a particular advocate around invisible differences, particularly learning and neurological differences. Neurodiversity refers to the community and discussion of these differences from an IDE and advocacy lens.

I received my diagnosis (then called simply Attention Deficit Disorder) back in the summer of 1993 at age 24. The diagnosis transformed my life and my relationship to my struggles in the space of one year, though the work of growing and adapting has been ongoing and continuous since then, and will continue long the rest of my life. Within a year or two, I was starting online discussions (yes, back when AOL was almost the only game in town) about ADD, self-help, and self-advocacy. For a few years after that, a number of self-help and education books about ADD listed my AOL email address as an online resource, which is part of the reason I maintained the address long after AOL ceased to be a major player in the online space.

I first joined—and left—the SCA in 1991 and 1992 (right before the diagnosis). When I got active as an SCA bard eight years ago, I found myself re-evaluating my challenges connecting and finding my place when I had first joined. And, as I jumped in with a passion (maybe an obsession?) around proving myself and getting known, my self-awareness about what is now known as ADHD didn’t necessarily protect me from making all sorts of mistakes. While my ability to pick up on other people’s emotions and social cues has definitely improved with time and practice, it continues to require an active effort on my part, and it’s easy for me to tell myself that I’m “safe” in a community of history geeks, and that I don’t have to do the extra work of constantly monitoring for pitfalls. As so many of my neurodivergent friends have shared with me, the effort of “masking” and following the unwritten rules of any community can be absolutely exhausting.

I’ve learned a lot since then, and it’s become clear how very not alone I am on this journey. And yet, so much of SCA culture seems to me to continue to emphasize neurotypical behavioral norms around courtesy, tact, and diplomacy. These are of course crucial skills and virtues that help keep a society cohesive and healthy (and many of us have seen what happens when a society starts to devalue these behaviors), and they are highly challenging for many neurodivergent people. And when I or others fall short (regularly) in performing these behaviors and addressing the emotions and comfort of those around me, it is very easy for people to interpret our motives less charitably than might perhaps be helpful.

As I’ve learned, the great power of the online community is the ability to share our experiences so that those of us on parallel journeys can teach and learn from and support one another. That is the intention behind the new group.

I want to thank my new co-moderators in SCA Neurodiversity:

  • Hilla Stormbringer, ND (neurodivergent), she/her pronouns, of the Midrealm.
  • Fox Fierlin, NQ (neuroqueer), whatever pronouns, of Æthelmearc.

I also want to thank the new SCA Bardic Arts moderator team for their past and future service:

  • Aneleda Falconbridge of the East Kingdom, will continue her moderating duties.
  • Laila al-Sanna’ al-Andalusiyya of the East, previously Caid.
  • Rhys ap Gwion Baird of the West Kingdom.
  • Iselda de Narbonne of Atlantia, previously Ansteorra, Northshield, and Ealdormere.

Additionally, I want to thank the literally thousands of people who have shared their love of performance in this space, to the point where I am confident that I can continue to participate as simply one performing geek among equals. The respect and sense of fun that has always flowed through the group is joyous and infectious.

Thank you, everyone who has participated in these journeys with me. You teach and uplift me every day.

In grateful service,
Drake Oranwood, ND (neurodivergent), he/him, East Kingdom

fundraising SCA


Today is June 19, or Juneteenth, as it’s celebrated the Black community in America. I had started a lengthy post…and I’m deleting it. You don’t need to hear me talk about this stuff today. (Not familiar with Juneteenth? You can find anything you want to know with a quick Google search.)

If you want insights around race and the SCA, I invite you to spend some time with these accomplished gentlemen:

Also, I’ll mention that I’m donating any proceeds from my solo music (including the new remaster, which is dropping a day early) to the NAACP Defense Fund through the end of 2020. But that feels like the least I can do.

general SCA

Settling in for the marathon

As of this weekend, I have been Queen’s Bard of the East for a full three months–a quarter of the year that champions are supposed to serve. I continue to be honored and deeply humbled at this opportunity, and recognize the good fortune and privilege that allowed me to compete and to serve. With that said, I need to level with you about something:

This position does not look like it did on the brochure.

SCA SCAatHome video

Kingdom Dance-off: Eye of the Tiger (East)

For those who don’t know, the kingdoms of the SCA have been creating videos of each populace dancing to popular songs as a way to stay connected and keep our spirits up during this time of being stuck at home.

The East Kingdom just brought it. This is my kingdom. East is the Beast.

bardic SCA SCAatHome video

Performing my work

My friends (those I know and those I don’t yet):

If you wish to perform a song of mine on a livestream, in an online bardic circle, or in a video, know that you have my blessing and permission, as long as it isn’t for money, and you credit me as the author. (This was true prior to the current crisis, and will be true after it is over.)

Feel free to check the Bardic Work page for the full list.

In service,
Drake Oranwood, Queen’s Bard of the East

(Thanks to my friend Mistress Aife for modeling this offer.)


Fall Crown Tourney 2019

Saturday was my first Crown Tourney in a while. I had missed serving as a list herald, which is as combat-adjacent as I get using my particular skillset (i.e., my voice). It was a busy event, albeit a cold one (thank you, Suba, for the loan of your pink gloves partway through the event, for which I received many fashion compliments!).


A death in the community

This past week, a beautiful, vibrant, and much-loved young woman, Debbie Waldinger, known in the SCA as Catalina Beatriz de las Torres, was taken from us. The events surrounding her loss have shaken the East Kingdom to its core, along with the rest of the Society.

I had only just started getting to know Cat, and can only imagine how her many close friends and family must feel. They are in my thoughts. I offer our Queen my support, as do so many in our kingdom and the SCA at large, as she continues her new reign on her own.

Out of respect for the loss and the feelings of everyone in our community, I have de-listed the song page and the video for the filk that I wrote and performed for our royalty recently. I do not wish it to be a distraction in this time of grief and sorrow.

bardic filk SCA

Falling Leaves (and “Prince Luis”)

We headed up to Carolingia (Massachusetts) on Saturday for Falling Leaves. There were two primary reasons we ventured so far from home. The first was that our Marauders campmate Eadgyth æt Stæningum was on vigil for the Order of the Pelican. And the second? Well, I had accepted a challenge from her Highness Margarita, and had agreed to answer it in court, resulting in a new filk, “Prince Luis” (the page has lyrics, backstory, and documentation, because I had the time and couldn’t resist)

[UPDATE 10/13/19: In light of recent events, I have removed the song page and the video from public listings.]

bardic SCA

Thoughts on Known World Cooks & Bards

Last weekend’s 8th Known World Cooks and Bards event, held in the Barony of Shattered Crystal in the Middle Kingdom, was absolutely wonderful. (I’ll do my best to avoid excuses for taking so long to write about it, though I am looking at the fading bug bites all over my arms and legs, and reflecting on recovering from a general lack of sleep. Still wouldn’t be the first time it took me a week to post about an event.) It was my first time traveling by plane to an out of kingdom event, and indeed, the first SCA event I’ve attended that wasn’t held in my home kingdom of the East, or neighboring AEthelmearc. It was also my first KWCB, since the last one was held five years ago.

bardic concert SCA

Known World Cooks & Bards

I’m in LaGuardia Airport waiting for a flight to St. Louis. This weekend is the 8th Known World Bardic Congress and Cooks Collegium (aka Known World Cooks & Bards, or KWCB). I’ve wanted to attend this event ever since I decided that “bard” was a thing I wanted to do. Known World gatherings for any given interest, or complementary pairing, usually happen every other year. (Other interests that have gatherings include dance, music, scribal arts, and brewing. There are many.) KWCB, however, is being held for the first time in 5 years, because various challenges came up (including the recent spate of 50th anniversaries for the SCA and the earliest kingdoms, as well as the challenges of finding a suitable site).