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First Word

Itís so bizarre living in the year í01. Just say it out loud and youíll see what I mean. New Yearís is always an odd time. Like most people, I reflect on the year that has gone by and resolve to improve myself in the year to come. Again, like so many people, in some areas Iíll succeed and in others Iíll likely fail. But the goal is always a good one. Who of us canít be a better person? And, certainly, even the effort to be more than we currently are, is about as wonderful an undertaking as has ever been conceived by the mind of man.

Iíve noticed that, as Iíve gotten older, my New Yearís resolutions have taken on a smaller scope. Itís as if, through all of my practical life experience, Iíve diminished my goals so that I have a better chance of actually achieving them. Why lose forty pounds when ten is so much more do-able? You know, that sort of thing. Well, screw that! Itís the year ONE! And I have big plans for this millennium!

Along with personal, familial, and professional objectives, I naturally turn my eye towards the SCA. As far as Iím concerned, there is no SCA except for House Corvus this year. What does that mean? Well, no, Iím not dropping out of sight or becoming any less committed to the service Iíve done in the past. But, Iím also not going to let it distract me from the most important job Iíve EVER had in the SCA-- leading House Corvus.

I donít know whether itís my recent dissatisfaction over the Triton Herald thing or just a general apathy when it comes to serving on a specific level, but Iíve noticed that I havenít shown much leadership to Corvus since Pennsic. Certainly, thereís always that post-Pennsic lull. After all, we all put so much effort in to that event that itís only natural to need some time to re-energize and regroup afterwards. But, what with one thing and another, Iíve simply allowed myself to become distracted and havenít always been choosing the right priorities. Sure, Iíve still been busting my ass in the SCA, but where are the benefits to all of you? And, not to sound selfish, but whereís the satisfaction I used to derive out of those things?

You all know how much I like to be busy. And, to be sure, Iíve managed to have one hell of a year when it comes to doing things both SCA and mundane. But, I find the work isnít as satisfying as when Iím doing it for you guys. Case in point -- I actually canít recall how many events Iíve autocratted this yearÖ at least one Kingdom and two Baronial though. They all turned out very well, perfectly in fact. And my last Mabinogi could not have been a better event for me! And yet, the single most satisfying thing I did ALL year SCA-wise (no kidding) was painting those stupid little shields for everyone at Pennsic. I canít think of anything Iíve done that has made me smile so widely or feel a more satisfying sense of accomplishment. The only thing that even came close was making those benches over at Lord William and Lady Alysís house. And, I suspect it wasnít so much the benches as the fun it was to all be there together working on some Household projects.

Itís obvious to me that itís you who make the SCA fun for me. And even though Iíve done a lot of fun things this past year, no Coronation was as grand, no event as joyful as the simple pleasure of your company at that circle at Mabinogi.

Sometimes, itís so easy to be swept up into the Big Picture that thereís the accompanying tragedy of losing sight of the little things in your life. And, no, wise guys-- Iím not implying that you or House Corvus are little things in my life. Quite the contrary, in fact. But, because you all contribute so much to my life in such an unassuming way, and because you ask so little in return, itís easy to respond to the more loquacious demands of the people around you.

Now, donít get me wrong. Iím not stupid. Iím not going to miraculously become the perfect leader this year. However, I am going to be a little more decisive and make sure we donít lose sight of our shared goals.

As a service household, itís evident that we take our imperative seriously. While updating the Sacred Stone web page this weekend, I noticed how many offices we hold, how many events weíre undertaking this year, how much we want and need to contribute to the greater SCA world around us. As a group, we play key administration roles in a wide range of SCA branches. Between us all, we autocrat over a third (a third, my GOD!) of all SCA events in the South!

I like to think that we have the strength and energy to do this because we are a part of House Corvus. We are a part of each otherís lives. At least, this is how I feel. I know that every time I do something whether it be event, office, or Acorn coverÖ I do it to bring pride upon my housemates. And, even when youíre not with me at an event-- you are. It may sound prosaic, but you have no idea what I truly get out of your fellowship. Just knowing that youíre there, that together we comprise something that I get to be a part of-- well, itís about the most empowering thing I can imagine.

How crippling it is when I lose sight of that. Thatís when I think of autocratting an event as a chore -- going to an event as an obligation. And I can directly link those feelings with when I start to feel detached from Corvus. When I allow myself to feel disconnected from you all, so too do I lose my link to the joy the SCA brings me. Itís why I reinforce that feeling by reading the House Corvus e-list, by writing the Roundtable, by sometimes, late at night, clicking through the House Corvus website.

You have no idea how much doing that makes me smile actually. Lady Signy said something to me this summer that still makes me giddy every time I recall it (which is almost daily). She bounced up to me at Pennsic, got right in my face and said, ďHouse Corvus is so cool!Ē And, you know what? Sheís so right.

With all of the tasks weíve taken on, I donít want you to experience any feelings of being disconnected. House Corvus is here to support every member. Sometimes, that support might be physical -- literally helping you pull off this, that, or the other at an event or in your office. Other times, that support is more esoteric. But itís no less palpable. The mere memory of Signyís comment at Pennsic has reinforced my resolve countless times already. An e-mail from the list, a phone call, a note card -- I am touched by your love every day! I hope you have similar experiences within House Corvus that make you swell with happiness at their recollection. If not yet, then letís make some! After all, those are the things that galvanize me to serve in the SCA. I need to make the SCA a better place because youíre all in it.

I guess what Iím saying is -- donít let personal projects and goals this year allow you to lose sight of the greater family we have created here. I know, I know -- youíre probably going, ďDíuh, Bran!Ē Still, itís easier to do than you think.

We all live such busy, full lives and we all have so many things we want to accomplish. And I want to share in those accomplishments even itís just as interested observer. The fact is, we all take pride in each otherís accomplishments. Itís one of the reasons were all together in House Corvus to begin with.

The year one will be filled with amazing things for House Corvus and everyone in it. The bottom line is, from now on, when I think of Signyís comment at Pennsic, Iíll be taking a cue from Al Gore (and how horrific is that?) -- when someone says, ďHouse Corvus is so cool!Ē I only have one responseÖ You ainít seen nothiní yet! --BRAN

Gimme Shelter

Meanwhile, back at the Pavilion FundÖ Although weíre still a long way off from our $2500.00 goal for the new House Corvus pavilion, weíve definitely been making small steps. I want to thank everyone whoís contributed something so far! It is so appreciated. This would be an impossible expense for any one of us to manage. But, together, we can make it happen! It just takes teamwork, dedication, and keeping our eye on the prize. I still think we can manage this for Pennsic.

Iíve noticed that, for Lord Robert and I, itís just a matter of remembering to send Mistress Rhiannon a check every month. Itís never for a lot, maybe ten or twenty dollars. That way, we make it as financially painless as possible but still manage to make a difference in the overall Fund.

I try to keep a bowl handy and when Iím about to go buy something I know I donít really need, I think, ďMaybe I should just give that to House Corvus.Ē I toss the money in the bowl and, sure enough, once a month I manage to contribute about twenty dollars to the Fund. For me, itís easier than just writing one lump check. When I think to myself, ďCan I give a $100,Ē the answerís obvious. Of course I canít! But over five months, itís been easy. The money would have been spent anyway; I just redirect it to something more important. I know that Lord Robert, Mistress Rhiannon, and Baron Peter make similar small, but steady contributions.

Leave it to our sister in Caid; Lady Medb Renata to show us all up though and demonstrate how big thinking can achieve big results! This month, Lady Medb Renata did a juggling gig for a pavilion fundraiser. She contributed $150.00 all at once! WOW! Thanks so much, Renata. Thatís incredible! And what an inspired idea: actually holding your own fundraiser. This kind of innovation really makes a huge difference in helping House Corvus achieve its goals. And itís something I would never have thought of on my own.

Iím so used to acquiring things though ďslow acquisition.Ē A little here, a little there and, eventually, you achieve your goals. Even in terms of a Household fundraiser, my thinking mirrored that personal philosophy. I thought of the Corvus t-shirts being a method for us, as a community, to raise small contributions to the Pavilion Fund. After all, tacking five bucks on to a t-shirt was about as painless a thing as I could imagine. But, Iíve taken Renataís notion to heart and I hope itíll inspire all of you in the same way. Iím going to start thinking of some individual fundraising I can do. That way, money for the fund doesnít come right out of my pocket.

Of course, we all donít share Renataís performance talents. I know I donít! But there are things I can do and ways I can earn some money to contribute. At first, I thought of something as simple as a yard sale. Problem is, I donít have that much excess stuff and, oh yeah-- I donít have a yard! What I opted for is to sell some stuff on eBay this week. I do have a few, odd collectibles which really do me no good at all. Why not make them work for all of us? So, I decided to put them on eBay and donate whatever they bring to the fund. Iíll let you know how that goes next issue!

The important thing to remember here is that we all bring unique talents to House Corvus. Iím sure that, with some creative thinking, a Household pavilion is really within our reach. Whether through small, steady steps or giant single leaps, the important thing is that we all get there together at the finish line!

Gulf Wars Reminder

Once New Yearís had passed, I went ahead and confirmed our regular room block at the hotel for Gulf Wars X in Lumberton, Mississippi. As we have for every Gulf Wars, (sheesh, has it really been ten years!?!?) House Corvus has a block of five rooms set aside for our members. That means, we have space for twenty people total. If youíre planning on attending, Iíll need to know a.s.a.p. so that I know how many spaces weíll have for guests.

I realize that a lot of Corvites donít do Gulf Wars, but, for me, it has become the closest thing to an actual vacation that I take every year. Thereís no camping and weíre only about an hour away from New Orleans, which I love visiting.

As Lord Robert will begin his rotations in medical school next year, I know that this will be the last Gulf Wars heíll be able to attend for a while so weíre both planning on doing lots of fighting this year. After my extraordinarily good time at Trimarisí recent Panhandle Skirmishes, I know Iím really looking forward to hitting the field. For the first time ever, Atlantia and Trimaris will actually be fighting on the same side! Itís a dream come true! I hope you come!

Pennsic XXX Invitational

Concurrent with this issue of the Raven Roundtable, Mistress Rhiannon and I have sent out the invitations to the House Corvus Pennsic XXX Encampment. Yes, yes, I know it seems like Pennsic still so far away, but I urge you to review the materials in your invitation carefully. Youíd be amazed at how long it takes to really pull this all together. That can only be done because we use a series of carefully planned and immutable deadlines all leading up to the actual event.

If you only think you are going to be able to go but arenít completely sure, itís still better to pre-reserve and then cancel rather than wait and wait only to find that, come April 1st, we canít get you in! So, if you really want to go, but have financial, scheduling, traveling, or tenting difficulties -- let me know! Letís see what we can work out. What makes the Corvus camp at Pennsic so much fun is that we all work together to make it great. That mutual effort starts long before the event. In fact, the teamwork and camaraderie our Household typifies may actually be what gets you there in the first place. But, in order to help, we all have to know whatís going on. Donít delay. Read over the materials and letís start putting it all together.

Lord Oshiís already set up the special Corvus-only Pennsic XXX web page for us to check our progress, review camp chores, and post policies. The URL to that page will be included in your monthly Pennsic updates.

2001: A Corvus Oddyssey

This is just a brief overview of some of the events and obligations I know about for us in 2001. Obviously, weíll be refining/adding to this over the course of the year. But, as you can plainly see, weíre already filling our calendar out quite a bit. Keep it in mind when planning your schedule.

January 13th - Atlantian 12th Night - Rhi steps down as TPH.
January 27th - Foolís 12th Night - Oshi/Sine cooking.
January 27th - 22nd Tourney of Manannan Mac Lir in the HM Canton of Tear-Sea's Shore - Bran MoLing.

February 10th - Bright Hills Investiture - Rhi takes Isabella as protťgť.

March 12th to 17th - Gulf Wars X.
March 31st - Inn on the Road in the SS Canton of Aire Faucon - Alys autocratting.

April 28th - Sacred Stone Novice Tourney - Rhi MoLing.

May 5th - Atlantian Spring Crown Tournament - Bran autocratting.
May 19th - Hidden Mountain Baronial Birthday - Bran autocratting.

June 16th - Warriorís Games in the HM Canton of Tear-Seaís Shore.

July 28th - Tourney of the Blue Mountain in the SS Canton of Hawkwood - Adeliza autocratting.

August 3rd to 18th - Pennsic XXX.

September 1st - Sacred Stone Baronial Birthday - Adeliza autocratting.
September 15th - Golden Moon in the SS Canton of Hawkwood.

December 8th - Feast of St. Andrew in the HM Canton of Tear-Sea's Shore - Bran Autocratting.

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