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Posts Tagged ‘Society for Creative Anachronism’

Still running on low brainage, and recovering from a wonderful long weekend at war. To tide you over, and also give you a really excellent perspective of what I do on the weekends, here’s a couple of fabulous short films made about the SCA by a very talented lady. Please to enjoy.

 

 

vimeo.com/176280231

 

vimeo.com/196029359

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    I have occasionally mentioned in these pages my (not-so) secret second life as an historical recreationist. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to admit I run around in costume various weekends pretending to be someone else, but it just never seemed something I needed to talk in depth about here. I’ve recently come to the decision that maybe it’s time to offer a little more on this alternate facet of my life. It’s been with me longer than just about anything else in my adult life, and is a large part of the reason I am who I am.
Darius & Elana

Me and my man in costume.

Way back in college, some friends turned me onto role-playing, specifically Dungeons & Dragons. That was in the early days of the game, and us poor college kids who were far from home and had little money spent a lot of time lost in the fantasy worlds created by each other. While I’d been writing since junior high school, it wasn’t until I started running our college games as the “Dungeon Master” that I really learned what it took to develop a story and keep it interesting. And it turned out I was pretty good at it, as people kept asking me to run the games so they could play. It was also occasionally frustrating, as I really liked to just play, too, but I consoled myself by pitting my intellect against the players’, challenging them with puzzles and mysteries of ever growing complexities. Our classmates were getting drunk at parties and street racing, while we sat in a dorm room rolling dice and living in a world crafted from imagination. A lot of fond memories from that time. I still have all my First Edition game books. There are some collectors out there that would practically kill for them, but I have too much sentimental attachment to let them go.

Then one day a friend mentioned a group he had run across in a park in his hometown. Said group was dressed in funny clothes and several were actually in armor, bashing each other with makeshift weapons. We found there would be a large assembly of them at the Texas Renaissance Festival, so we made a pilgrimage to meet them. It was a cold, rainy day and the fair was lightly populated. Those people in the funny clothes gave us a dry space to hang out, warm drinks and good conversation. We discovered kindred souls, people who were a little geeky, a little shy, and a lot too smart for the mortals around them. Our mutual love of fantasy and science fiction and role playing and all those other things that “normal” people just didn’t seem to get brought us all together into one cohesive group. That was the fall of 1980, and I’ve been part of that group ever since.

The Fighting Tannenbergs

I’m in green, hubby’s in the middle in black. We made a great team.

It’s called the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (“SCA”), and it was formed in Berkley in 1965. Originally intended as a one-off fantasy party, it has morphed into a not-for-profit historical education and re-creation organization that spans the globe and boasts some 30,000 paid members. The focus is on pre-1600AD Europe, and members develop “personas” for themselves of people that “could” have lived (but not actual historical persons) at some point during the studied centuries. I’m an early 10th Century Saxon landholder, living on the Baltic Sea. My husband is a late 15th Century Prussian mercenary. Others we know are Roman soldiers, or Spanish sailors, or Norman archers. And others still are just what we call SCA-generic: no particular place or time, but enjoying learning about as much as they can all over the spectrum.

Things we've made

Some things we’ve made.

The SCA is a hands-on participatory group. We try to recreate the clothes, armor, arts, food, dance, music, whatever of our respective personas and then share our knowledge with others either as exemplars or via classes and demonstrations. Being a bit of a tomboy, I also jumped into armored combat. Yup, I put on armor and beat other people with a stick. Full contact, full speed, not choreographed and the best aggression therapy available on the planet. A few years ago I took a break from fighting to have knee replacements, and while recovering really got into needlework and weaving, something I’d only toyed with in passing before. I’m much better at those arts than I ever was at fighting, but now that I’ve had to completely retire from combat because of the detached retina, I’m realizing just how much I’m going to miss bashing my friends in the head.

The SCA has been more than just a hobby for me. It’s a second life, a place where I can be the real me and not that corporate stooge who took too long to figure herself out. I gained confidence. I learned how to speak up for myself and others. I honed skills as a public speaker and a leader I might not have been able to elsewhere. I held officers positions, organized events, taught classes, and fostered those who were new. I met my husband on the battlefield and we were married in a pagan ceremony at a major event – an event we haven’t missed since. Most of my best friends are also SCA members. We are a community of intelligent people who value the ideals of honor and chivalry in a world where none of that seems to matter anymore.

Darius & Elana Wedding 2

Our wedding ceremony.

Nobody questions a little girl who puts on a foofy dress and tiara, but they tend to look sideways at an adult doing the same thing. Adults are supposed to be serious and hard working and responsible. But research has indicated that adults need to play just as much as children. It releases tension, builds social connections, keeps our minds sharp and boosts creativity. My entire life is so very different than it might have been had I not put on a costume all those years ago and pretended to be a sword-maiden fighting monsters. And so very much better.

Maybe historical fantasy isn’t your thing. But something out there is. Computer games, line dancing, Scrabble, basket-weaving, splashing in fountains, whatever. Go find it. Go play. Tag!

Home Away From Home

Home away from home.

© 2014   Cheri K. Endsley   All Rights Reserved.

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