Pennsic 2011 Diary: Wednesday, August 3

morning – Marauders

Apparently I am incapable of sleeping in past 8:15 at Pennsic, no matter how late I go to bed, canvas tent or no. Alas.

Anyway, last night was fun. Supper was turkey with all the trimmings (you’re so awesome, Seraphina!), and then I noodled around in the common area for a while. Simonetta passed by at some point, walking down to Harpwood, but no one was in camp when we showed up, so we decided to go our separate ways for a while.

Seeing that I was in the area, I stopped in at Bardicci for a while. It’s definitely coming along! Alaric says they’re back on track now. They offered me corn on the cob, but I was still stuffed from dinner. Instead, I sang “The Feast Song” and then had a long, philosophical talk with Alaric about bardic and awards and suchlike. He may have commissioned me to write a piece for a friend of his who’s being elevated to the Knighthood. He wants to get some friends together so they can tell me stories I can reference, so we’ll see if we can all find a time to get together.

Then I moved over to Harpwood Hall. Things were just getting underway, but grew pretty quickly when the music started. I think we held steady around thirty people, give or take, about half of whom were musicians. (I do not count myself in this number. I was beating out quarter-notes on my bead pouch, which works decently as a shaker. One year, I’ll get off my butt and re-learn an instrument.) The music was phenomenal, as always, with a bunch of drums, a few guitars, a flute, some recorders, two violins, and a hammered dulcimer. Michael Kelly was there. I forgot how much I like hearing him sing. He did an especially beautiful rendition of Gwen’s “Wind on the Sea.”

Marian and Pierro had not yet shown up on-site. Even though we did our best to summon her by performing a bunch of her songs, she stubbornly remained not-here. Oh, well. She’ll show up eventually.

The circle broke up around 12:30, and I walked with Cynric back to camp while Lorelei went off to sing with Michael at his camp. I got into bed around 1:00, and then got on top of my covers because it was just so hot. The night never cooled down. It took a long, long time to fall asleep.

We had two little squalls last night that filtered into my consciousness without entirely waking me. I woke up at 6:20, rolled over again, and finally got out of bed at 8:15. Even going to bed late, and with nothing to do until noon, I can’t sleep in. Grumble.

Anyway. I’m teaching “Your Persona in an Hour” at noon, and there are a few classes I may attend, none critical, and then Haakon’s circle tonight. So War is slowly ramping up. I suppose it’s time for me to get dressed properly.

early afternoon – Marauders

My class went well. I got somewhat over 30 students and timed it better this year so I actually ended on time. Got some good audience participation also. All told, I’m quite pleased.

Afterward, I took a class on “Persona Pitfalls” that was interesting, a bit of a different take on persona stuff than my class. We both agree, though, in our hatred for highly implausible, overly complex persona stories.

I went over to the Tudor House and hung out for a while. It’s been drizzling / misting all day, and I felt like eating something hot, so I got a vegan chili bread bowl. They’ve got a mac and cheese bread bowl, but that just sounded much more unhealthy than I felt like eating right now. I performed “Megan is Baking” for the Tudor House crew – Maggie says it’s her favorite song – and now I’m here, waiting for 3:00 so I can go to John Lyttleton’s bardic coaching. It’s at Performing Arts, so less than a block to walk in the rain. I love my camp.

The only mar on the afternoon so far as been realizing that I sewed seam #3 on the apron-dress backwards and need to redo it. The seam is re-sewn, but I haven’t finished whip-stitching the edge yet.

before dinner – Marauders

A long but extremely productive three hours. I love John Lyttleton’s class. He gives such focused, spot-on suggestions, and you can pretty much learn something from everyone up there. I did my new piece about St. Basil. The most overarching and useful advice was to remember the story arc and emphasize the important bits. He also gave me some useful gestures to add clarity.

And now we’re puppy-piled on John’s bed.

after dinner – my tent

Sorry, last journal entry was interrupted by “testing the ropes” on John’s bed by piling on four bards. Lorelei had only heard part of my St. Basil story at the workshop and wanted to hear more, so I repeated it to a small group of Marauders. I flubbed one line, but otherwise I think it went pretty well.

By the time I was done, it was suppertime. On the menu tonight: chicken, veggies, and rice. (Thanks, Seraphina!) After dinner, it was raining, so I called Marc from John’s tent long enough for it to slacken, then came back to my tent to brush my teeth. As I was finishing, I met one of the women from the bardic workshop – Elinora – who apparently lives across the street. She’s been seeing me walk past for two days going, “There’s the lady in pink!” Yes, my tunic is apparently that noticeable.

By the way, have I mentioned how awesome it is to be in a tent that doesn’t leak? Pretty damn awesome. Thanks, whoever’s tent I’m using!

I haven’t been down to the Bog yet today, and I probably won’t. Between the rain and the fact that Haakon’s circle is across the street, I’m not terribly inclined to wander. On the other hand, I may close my eyes for a few minutes before I leave my tent.

late night – my tent

Haakon’s circle was, on the whole, quite good. Maraha turned a story about Finn McCool into an Indian tale, which was very good. Morgana did the one about Haakon and his skald in a fight 12 to 50, in which the Valkyries perform a deus ex machina (literally). Haakon performed a story about the half-ton of angry pot roast. There were some good stories from people I’d never heard, also. A woman named Scholastica did one I’d previously heard from Dahrien, about a man who gets paid in a different kind of item every day, to hilarious effect. [Editor’s note: It’s a similar story to this one.] She performed it really well. Ana, the young up-and-comer, did a few pieces. On the whole, I enjoyed myself, performing “The Not at Pennsic Blues” (video performance here) early in the evening and “Serious Steel” later, both of which seem to have gone over quite well.

Of course, when I say “on the whole,” that means “not entirely.” For one thing, it seemed to be very hard to maintain a stable mood, especially at the end. People went from depressing to silly and back again like a yo-yo, to the point where it was a little disconcerting. I realize that some people only have a limited repertoire (I was there once, too), but it’s still a bit like whiplash.

For another, there were some songs that just weren’t appropriate. We had a few “ahrr pirate” songs, which I can perform with the best of them but find aren’t quite right for Haakon’s circle. And there was “One Tin Soldier,” which twigged my anachronism-meter the same way the song from Pocahontas did last year. I don’t know why it does. I have no problem with obviously-modern filk. In fact, Haakon pulled out a Pennsic-related filk to “One Tin Soldier” (“Go ahead and beat your neighbor, go ahead and drink his beer / Do it in the name of Pennsic, it happens every year”), and I didn’t mind that at all. I thought it was very funny. But for some reason, obviously-modern non-filks, songs not written for the SCA or related scenes, just rub me the wrong way. Meh. Nothing I can do about it now. (Frankly, nothing I could do about it then, either.)

I’m trying to get a relatively early night tonight (i.e. before 12:30). It’s too soon in War to be heavily sleep-deprived. (Minor sleep-deprivation is expected and par for the course.)

Tomorrow I may need to teach before I finish washing dishes, and I’ll be on a security shift for another half-hour or so after Efenwealt arrives in our camp. [Editor’s note: I had arranged before War for Efenwealt to come sing for his supper in our camp.] I just timed tomorrow poorly, I think. In any case, I don’t have much planned for the middle of the day after teaching, so if the weather is decent, I may wander down to the Bog. I want to see if Marian’s in yet and if Alaric has found a time to get together with his friends.

Anyway, time to go to bed, I think.

Back to Tuesday, August 2
Forward to Thursday, August 4

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