I've been pondering for quite a few days as to what I wanted to ramble about medievally. So I thought I would start with "why I do medieval recreation and why I am in the SCA" (for those unfamiliar the SCA stands for The Society for Creative Anachronism - a npo that studies the European middle ages up to 1600 c.e. with sideways explorations into other cultures and sometimes pre- and post- medieval eras).
1. I consider myself a scholar. I like studying and this time period interests me. In particular (but without limitation to) Scandinavian Scotland prior to the 14th century. I enjoy learning about all the different aspects of everyday life, what society was like, what was going on in the world politically, and how things were made. I have a particular fondness for heraldry (book and court), cooking, dancing, fiber arts, costuming, metal casting, illumination and calligraphy, hats, music, and theater. I do this because I enjoy it. I don't do it for awards, honor, glory, or because it might make me a Peer someday.
2. I enjoy sharing what I have learned with those around me. I like seeing someone else get excited over learning a new skill, just as I get excited when someone shows me how to do something new. I share what I know, not to draw attention to myself, but so that others can enjoy Doing as well.
3. I was a music theatre major in college and putting on costume, learning a new "role" and "acting" on this "known world stage" is FUN for me. When it ceases to be fun, I go somewhere that I can have fun.
4. Vikings. It's sort of like Elizabeth Swann saying, "Pirates" but different. Vikings are fun, silly, smart, creative, and endearring. Vikings.
5. Wherever I move I know I can find the local SCA group and more easily make friends and get to know the community. I like all my "cousins." In the same vein, I like that I can go to events all over the place and not know a soul around and find that "6 degrees of separation" and an instant bond with someone.
So that is it in a nutshell. As I go on, I am sure that I will find more reasons that I do this.
Now to answer some FAQ's that I come across from time to time.
Q. Aren't you a little old to be dressing up and playing games?
A. I hope I am never that old. I enjoy this "game" and it keeps me young.
Q. Isn't there a lot of drama in the SCA?
A. Yes; but you don't have to adopt that drama on yourself. You only have to be as involved in the drama as you like. And there are healthy groups of people that are fun to hang around and the only drama you will experience with them is that found at a movie theater on a Sunday afternoon.
Q. Don't your children think you are weird?
A. Yes; but then they have always thought that and they are pretty weird in their own ways as well.
Q. Where are you now?
A. Currently I reside in the kingdom of Meridies, although we are hoping to move in 2007 to An Tir. (Go to http://www.sca.org for more information on where those kingdoms are located.)
Q. Who are you?
A. In the SCA I am The Honorable Lady Melbrigða Leifsdottír. Mel (for short) is a 11th century Scandinavian Scottish lady who is her communities spinster midwife and knows much about herbal remedies and textiles. In the modern era I am Michelle Leifur. Michelle is an unschooling mom to three children living with her best friend and three mostly adorable cats. She's liberal, outspoken and fairly radical.
Q. I'm just in the SCA to have a good time. Is there any reason why I should care about being more authentic?
A. That's really up to you. But I would ask you a question to ponder. Why are you in a medieval recreation and education organization if you don't care a flip about being authentic? There are lots of places that you can have a good time, drink until you fall down, find a one night stand, and lie about how wonderful you are. There are good parties all over the place. Heck you can go back to college (or stay in college) and get the same thing without having to spend money, time and effort on funny clothes. Why did you choose the SCA for that venue? And if you are going to spend money, time and effort on funny clothes, don't you want them to be period? When I was in high school and college I played a lot of D&D. When I found the SCA I found a new way of role playing and left the medievalesque fantasy stuff at the D&D table. I like both. But they aren't the same thing. I won't insist that my DM create a believable medieval world. Likewise, I expect my fellow SCAdians to want to work towards that medieval world. I don't expect everyone to be good at everything. Just take pride in what you do and put a bit of effort into being more and more medieval.
That's enough lecture for now. :-)