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Don’t settle for offering the “feeling” of participation—let people really take part, or understand why they can’t.
We are a society as well as a Society, and it takes a while to learn the culture. A new member has the same right as any other to take part in activities or not, but he doesn’t have an automatic right to change the culture he finds around him. As he adapts to the group, it will adapt to him and be different because of his presence, but that’s a very different matter from attempting radical change.
Quitting in a huff is the worst thing you can do—the other side wins effortlessly, and your friends lose your help.
How understanding tiny points about living in the Middle Ages makes both past and present seem more real—shields from The Nun’s Tale used as an analogy for the Trinity because they are made up of three things: “the wood, the leather, and the paint”—dress-lengths of the 13th century deduced from reports of the way court ladies walk when they want to hide thick ankles or show off slim ones—linen as camping garb because the wrinkles fall out—“the Dream” is a pale and insignificant concept by comparison to the delights of reality.
The problem of being so sure you know what somebody will say that you act on their response without waiting for them to make it....
“Thou shalt not be tacky!”
The difference between talking about the SCA and speaking for it—everybody does the former all the time, with friends, family, people in the community, but it’s necessary to be careful about making definitive statements on what the SCA is or does, and even more careful about promising anyone outside the group that “the SCA” will show up and do something. Only officers should make commitments on behalf of the Society...and only for the branch or group of branches they’re responsible for...and only after talking with enough people to be sure that they’ll be able to deliver. Once a promise has been made, the honor of the Society requires that it must be kept as far as humanly possible, even if the person who made it didn’t understand what was really involved.
Complex pun on “render” meaning decide and “render” meaning boil out the fat—lots of implications for the benefits of solving your own problems rather than having someone else render judgment on them.
|Board||The Board of Directors of the Society. Often abbreviated with the unfortunate acronym “BoD” or referred to as the “Imperium”. (The former sounds so silly that the Directors would like to see the last of it, and the latter was abandoned twenty years ago when the Board renounced the idea of having a formal role in the Current Middle Ages.)|
|Car||Archaic term designating a comfortable cart or wagon, and an excellent word for the vehicles people drive to SCA events. Often replaced by usages too unspeakably twee to quote here.|
|Lists||A field for tournament combat, and (by extension) the competition itself. The word is always plural when referring to combat. Although it derives from the same ultimate root as the singular noun we use for a group of names, the two separated so long ago as to be entirely different words now. The martial word comes to us by way of Old English for a boundary or border, while the collective derives from Old Italian for a strip of paper.|
|Mundane||Ordinary, routine, dull and boring. Often used as shorthand for “not in or of the SCA”—to the endless irritation of people who are not in the SCA.|
|Of||The preposition to use in SCA titles, such as Master of (not at) Arms or Seneschal of (not for) the kingdom.|
|Palatine||A type of barony where the baron and baroness win the title in competition rather than by royal appointment. Often misspelled “palantine,” but there is really no connection with Tolkien’s world!|
|Populace||The people in a Society branch or attending a Society event. Often erroneously replaced with the word “populous,” an adjective meaning “containing many people.”|
|Seneschal||The administrative officer of a branch. Often spelled with a final “e” to indicate either that the person designated is female or that the user doesn’t understand what he’s saying.|
|Small||The opposite of large. Used regrettably often in place of “child.”|
|The people listed as current (or suspended) on the Registry printout; all others participating in SCA activities are our guests. The phrase is also sometimes confused with a legal term of art denoting people with certain rights in membership corporations; since the SCA is a nonmembership corporation, the statutory meaning of the word “member” does not apply.|
(I kept a set of lists of kingdoms, ranking them by age, population, branch count and other factors, figuring on bringing it up to date and using it if ever the main column idea died or refused to jell. Most of the lists are too time-bound to be interesting if the numbers aren’t current, but these two seem to have some staying power.)
THE KINGDOMS BY VERY APPROXIMATE DRIVING DISTANCES:
(Computed prior to the Drachenwald elevation, using a large-scale atlas and tracking only full-status branches in North America excluding Alaska. Note that overseas territories make a big difference to the West.)
|2150||East (Lofty Mountains to Ar n-Eilean-ne)||750||Ansteorra (Seawinds to Northkeep)|
|1450||Atenveldt (Wealhhnutu to Stan Wyrm)||600||Calontir (Long Ridge to Lonely Tower)|
|1350||An Tir (Glyn Dwfn to Myrganwood)||550||West (Borderwinds to Wuduholt be Secq)|
|1200||Midrealm (Flame to Castel Rouge)||550||Atlantia (Tear Sea’s Shore to Highland Foorde)|
|1200||Outlands (Citadel of the Southern Pass to Grey Squirrel Haven)||400||Trimaris (Ac Scrin to Castlemere)|
|800||Meridies (Ardanroe to Nant-y-Derwyddn)||350||Caid (Calafia to Riesling)|
People often act as you expect, so don’t approach someone with whom you have a grievance as though you’re sure he’s going to mistreat you. If he wasn’t, he may anyway if you take that approach. The person you’re complaining to (or about) may react very badly if he didn’t set out to harm you and you say he did.
The benefits of looking for win-win ways around problems.
“Chivalry” and “Honor” and the other virtue-names should be used for their proper meanings and not as general purr-words—we lose track of valuable concepts when we can not differentiate them from vaguely similar things.
Branches on the borders will always be on the borders, even if they change kingdoms—what they need to do is help fill in the area around them, so they won’t be lonely.
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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).