As a fantasy writer you get ideas from everywhere and no where all at the same time. Some days a ton of ideas hit you and you just go with one or two or them. Other days nothing comes and you just go with what you have already or don’t worry about it. You can force yourself to write but you can’t force it to be good. But there are some days when the clarity just hits you hard and you know what you write from this piece of inspiration will be great, no matter what anyone else says.
Being part of the SCA has been a great experience for me in many ways. I have learned a lot about myself and what I can and can not handle. I have learned more about my tolerance for pain. And it is very funny how years ago when I did not think I could take the hits in heavy weapons, that now I show off my bruises. But watching some of the fighters who have been doing this for a while are a highlight.
One of them I am still terrified to fight. It is not that he is better than me, which actually means nothing because I have fought other people better than me and survived. He is just intense. In melee he either races in ahead of everyone else and dies or takes out three to four people before the rest of the group catches up. He is scary to watch. This intensity is seen in single combat as well
What does this have to do with writing and inspiration? That image of him racing in to fight during the melee must have made an impression on me because the other night I woke up to it and thought how there is a story to it. I am not sure just what yet but I know that since I saw it with such clarity a tale will emerge over the coming weeks.
There are times, such as these, that I wish these flashes of greatness would come sooner and faster so I could be the great published writer I want to be. And I am sure some would say it takes me writing all the time to be that person. In a way I do not disagree. But at the same time when I have seen some people forced to write, it has not been as good as when inspiration has hit. So I say write when the inspiration hits.
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This past weekend was another local event. In our kingdom local is defined as anything that is within an hour and half drive, at least for the “peasants”. Royalty is supposed to make as many events as possible. Depending on where they live this can be difficult with mundane lives and how far some events are, but I digress. Not only was I going but I had decided to have a new experience and retain that day.
Retaining is where you follow a member of royalty around and fill their cup, hold whatever they have in their hands (sans their cup), and make sure they don’t do anything really. For some royalty it’s an easy job, for others it’s not. It depends on the person, what they are doing, time of day, etc. I had volunteered to do it, provided I could fight later in the day. And when the schedule came out I was retaining for the King first shift, 10-12.
This event was an hour away. Being how I am more active this time around in the SCA I wanted to attend. A friend of mine was going and so we decided to carpool. It is also nice that he has a big van so he drove and we could pile all our stuff in his van. Unfortunately the morning was not to be ours. We got a late start. And we got lost a few times. I kept calling my friend Sven for directions. I was grateful for cell phones more than ever on this day. We arrived 20 minutes before I had to retain. I had been hoping to get there early enough to get my armor inspection and then change into my other garb.
Instead I had to jump out at Troll (where you pay the site fees), jump back into the car to be driven down to the field (too long to walk), change into my dress garb in the van (again thankful for tinted windows), then race to find the king and arrive just in time to begin my retaining time. Luckily my friend unloaded all my stuff and set up my cover shade for when I was done.
Retaining is at once boring and very interesting. You have to be deaf for the most part, especially with the king or queen, since they talk about the most important things. The worst part about my retaining was the first forty-five minutes when the king had a meeting with several knights. I will be good and not say what it was about since I was trying to be deaf. It was terrible standing in the sun. At 10 am you would not believe it would beat down so much, but it does. I spent part of the time watching a hawk flying in the sky and a good deal watching across the field for people I knew, seeing who was arriving and setting up their sites. The rest of the time wasn’t too bad. Some in the royal tent where I could watch the list field (and yell at one of my friends as he was authorized and the king just laughed at me). At one point I even saw one of my friends get squired to one of our new knights. I cried at that.
I was glad to be done though. Standing for two hours is hard when you are not used to it. And even though we spent part of the time under the pavilion, we also spent enough in the sun that I got sun burnt (no time for sunscreen with when we arrived remember?). I would do it again but probably not at every event. Unfortunately the heat and sunburn made me not up to fighting. But one of my friends did put it in a good perspective. It’s a hobby, do what you want.
Yesterday, being Labor Day, there was a parade in my town with various organizations, schools, groups, and other people in the parade to entertain the locals. When I was in high school I walked in the parade with the group I was in then. Being in the SCA now I found out they march every year to promote the organization, help recruit, and just kind of show off. We also have a demonstration after the parade for people to come and see what we are about. I decided to march in the parade with the group.
Anyone who wants to march is allowed. There are armored combat fighters who stop every once in while to battle each other to applause and cheers. I didn’t actually count but we had 5-6 fighters. They are in full gear like when they really fight, because they are hitting almost as hard as during actual combat. The only difference here is that all the shots are arm, shoulder, and body since no one is going to die and leg shots are not allowed so everyone can still walk.
We also had one archer, one of the comedic actors, one boffer fighter in full gear, one boffer carrying a sword only, a few children in garb, one gentleman in garb and several ladies in garb. The gentleman and one of the ladies in garb had pamphlets to hand out to those who seemed interested in what we were wearing or did while we marched. We also had a banner to show off who we were. It was a generic SCA banner that did say Society for Creative Anachronism. I helped carry the banner by choice. I had decided previously I wasn’t going to try and fight and walk.
It was hot and miserable; even in short sleeves and thin material. It wasn’t a light color, unfortunately, but I don’t own many in light colors yet. Of course most people were wearing long sleeves so they weren’t any better off than me. We try to keep up with the cars in front of us, which was the group in front of us. We did ok for a while, but when we got up to where they announced each group, somehow they got ahead of us by a lot. And we ended up very spread out as well from the fighters stopping to fight. The announcers also said anachronism wrong. I think we should tell them how to pronounce it prior. Some people applauded as we walked. Probably those that know what we are about already. At one point I heard a bunch of little kids point at the fighters and say “Look Knights”. I had to laugh since not all fighters are.
At the end we all were hot, sweaty, and grateful for the water that had been hidden in the wagon which was pulled along by someone. We all drank to cool off and were sprayed with water bottles as well. Then we made the short trek back to where the demo location was going to be a little later. It was a fun experience I will definitely do again. Unfortunately there are not any pictures yet but once I have some, I will post them.
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With Independence Day today, I thought a nod to the undertones in movies to this was appropriate. It wouldn’t seem like there would be that many but in fact there are some everyone when you start to look at things in different ways. Many of them are about getting out from tyranny but even that is independence.
BBC’s Robin Hood, one of my weekly posts, is definitely about independence from the evil Sheriff who is abusing his power while the king is away. In other versions it is Prince John who has this role and the Sheriff is just a helper. But Robin and is gang are always trying to thwart the bad person and gain independence for the people from the evil being done.
Movies such as Elizabeth, Krull, and Princess Bride have elements of this as well. Elizabeth may be the ruler of England but she is just a woman. And in the time period she lived, woman were considered inferior so she was not thought to be able to rule properly without a husband. Elizabeth is trying to get her independence from the Lords who want to rule the country for her. Krull has a prince who must save his girl from the evil creature that wants her for himself. The destruction of this creature will also set the entire world free from the vile minions he uses to get his way. Princess Bride is about gaining independence from Prince Humperdink who wants to use the Princess to start a war.
And there are games like Dungeons and Dragons where the gaming group many times is freeing people from this evil Lord or that Dragon who wants slaves to do their every whim. Not all adventures are like this but the majority are. Of course if you have players who like to be the bad guy you will be the one doing this.
Many entertainment forms are about independence in one way or another. They might be subtle but they are there. Some movies are specifically about this while others just have the elements of it.