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First Word

In just a few short weeks, Robert and I will be in Charlotte, NC. We first joined the SCA in nearby Davidson and it will be interesting to return to that place ten years later. Certainly, many names and faces will have changed. But, Sacred Stone will once again be our home Barony. It seems very fitting that we began our SCA involvement there and we will, in all likelihood, end it there. Will it still feel like home? Probably not. But it will provide us with an all new opportunity, not to revisit our own pasts, but to help participate in the SCAís future there.

While Iíve never been an especially big fan of Thomas Wolfe, I agree with his sentiment: you canít go home again. All that means though, is that home is never the way you left it. And most assuredly, Sacred Stone is not even remotely the way we remember it! Hawkwood is its own barony now. Hindscroft has returned to Sacred Stone as a canton. The Guardians changed their name to Charlesbury Crossing. And what were only brand new cantons when we left, dominate the Baronial landscape. In addition, numerous barons and/or baronesses have put their personal stamp on the Barony. Itís fairly safe to say that, weíll be spending some time reacquainting ourselves with this all new, all different Sacred Stone.

But isnít that all a part of the fun of the SCA? Moving from one city to another in America brings about a lot of changes and adjustments. But moving from one SCA branch to another should be less disconcerting. Iíve always laughed at the way SCA members fit into various ďtypesĒ regardless of where weíve ever lived. Upon moving to Houston, when I first went to the local SCA meeting, I was struck immediately by the people I saw. Though Iíd never encountered a single one of the people before, I instantly could tell who was the branch seneschal, the local herald, the marshal, the stick jocks, the A&S folk, etc.

And, shortly after introductions were made, all of my various assumptions proved accurate. People in the SCA tend to gravitate towards certain activities. And, years of playing in any place, sort of prepares you to play in any other place. Sure, the local personality conflicts and/or politics may be specifically different. But the ďtypesĒ of politics are identical. Itís both sad and refreshing at the same time. I may not know anyone specific in the room, but I kind of do.

I suspect it will be the same back in Charlesbury Crossing. The faces will have changed. But the officers and players will be similar to every SCA branch. That is not an indictment of the types of personalities the SCA attracts. Instead, it is an acknowledgement that the various niches in the SCA have become so fine-tuned, so specialized, that you gain an almost immediate insight into the various players. I actually think itís quite charming!

The real challenge, of course, is making sure that I donít fall too easily into an SCA type. The transplanted Peer, the I-remember-when know-it-all, the well-in-my-day-we... Well, you get the idea. Just as surely as you can recognize whoís the local herald, you can always spot a fresh arrival. Iíll do my best to sit on my hands and keep my big yap shut while I learn how this Sacred Stone does things, why they do things; and, most importantly, who does them.

Thereís always a great temptation to try and revisit or recreate your own heyday in the SCA. The thing is: right now is someone elseís heyday! And they like it just fine, thank you very much. And they donít need me criticizing it or waxing nostalgic for the way things used to be. Things are the way they are. And, while things can always be better (and we should all always be working towards that end), they will also always be different. And thatís a good thing!

My time in Caid wasnít anything like I thought it would be. The lay of the land is such here that, despite finally being in the same Kingdom, I actually had very little time with Giueseppe and Medb Renata. In fact, I seriously think that I saw them more when I lived in Atlantia than I do living here with them!

While I made a conscious decision not to get too involved in the SCA while living in Houston, I had planned on an opposite approach while here. The problem was, I never really got that excited or invested. It didnít help that my apartment here is small and I require lots of space for SCA play. I also didnít get enthused or inspired like I thought I would get. Thatís no oneís fault. Or, if anyoneís to blame, the fault lies in myself. For one reason or another, I simply occupied myself with other things here. And, while I tried to keep my finger in the SCA pie, it was only through Atlantian proxies in House Corvus that I stayed engaged. Helping Mistress Julianna with the Mountain Mayhem was fun for a while. But even that lost its luster. When she stepped down as Hidden Mountainís Chronicler, I was actually relieved. And, even though another member of House Corvus took up the Chroniclerís mantle, I was content to stay retired.

Now, part of that is, I have to admit; I donít care for the way a lot of things are done in the SCA anymore. LOL! See how easy it is to fall into that ďback in my day...Ē trap?

But Iím just not excited by online newsletters. I donít care for all of the various crap I see spattered across the Merry Rose. I donít like the constant taxing of the populace to carry the Crownís reign. And, yes, I know itís not actual taxation, but it comes off as such. Itís not even polite begging. Itís browbeating, plain and simple. If you canít afford to be the Crown, then donít fight in Crown Tourney. Sometimes, itís as simple as that. But, I digress...

One canít help but notice that, as a Household, Corvus has mirrored my own ennui. Many of our individual members are working as hard as ever. But that esprit du corps that I feel is so essential to truly great SCA houses needs a bit of reinvigorating. Hopefully, my return to Atlantia will help facilitate that. But, thereís no way I can do it without your help. The problem with easing off of the SCA as an activity is that thereís always something to take its place. Thus, it makes getting re-involved something that requires extra special planning and commitment. Together, we can do just that. --BRAN

Polishing Your Perceptions

Two weeks ago, I was honored to attend Golden Rose Tourney with Baroness Elizavetta Aleksandrovna. Now, for those of you who don't know who that is, she was more commonly known as Eliska, and served as Baroness of Sacred Stone with Master Bran Trefonnen. She hasn't been to an event in over 10 years, although, through Bran, Deirdre and I, she has kept up with happenings. It was sheer happenstance and good fortune which convinced her to attend with me, and I had all kinds of hope that the day would be a good one, so that she would have the kind of SCA experience she remembered fondly.

Fate was smiling well that day, and we did have exactly that kind of day. Even though, the temperature was sweltering, everyone seemed determined to ignore it and put forth a smiling, cheerful demeanor. We were all shining, happy people.

During the course of the day, Eliska asked me what it was that kept me in the SCA? Was it days like that? And after thinking for a moment, I answered no. And not just for my friends, either, although, you are all a huge part of my SCA experience and enjoyment. But what keeps me in the SCA are those moments in time, those snippets which transport me from Beverly to Rhiannon and give me a glimpse into what it is we are actually trying to re-create here.

For example, as I sat melting in the heat, I happened to notice a lady walking by in a simple, plain Flemish gown, with a little white hat and apron. From her head to her toes, she was the very picture of the good wife, going down to the laundry to check on the servants. And for that moment, I was transported. When the moment passed, I thought, "Gosh, I want to be like that when I grow up in the SCA". Yep, my biggest goal in the SCA is to be an inspiration. Thought I'd reached all my goals, didn't ya? Nope. To me, the journey is ever-continuing and we all can be ever-evolving.

Too often, however, we get caught up in the mundanity of the SCA. Oh, yes, there is mundane. It's mundane to do paperwork, to deal with politics or bureaucracy, to listen to others whine, or even, to bitch ourselves. And how easy it is to do and to get in the habit of negativity! Why the internet makes bitching and moaning an art form! From Tweets to Blogs to Emails, we can vent ourselves silly, releasing all our negative emotions onto the rest of our society, never once realizing that we're caught up in a never-ending game of passing on bad feelings from one to another and back. Sometimes, without you even realizing, it can be days before you post something, anything, positive and upbeat! The SCA internet has become your psycho-therapist, but all you get back, is someone else's negative attitude. Enough of that, and suddenly, your whole outlook on the SCA can sour. Especially if that is your primary or most predominant contact with the SCA.

It's a hard cycle to break. And it requires conscious effort. But it's easy enough, if you just put your mind to it. Focus on the positive. I know, I know, it sounds trite. However, it really does work! Both in the internet, and in just SCA attendance in general. The SCA isn't in these black boxes from Dell or HP or Mac. The SCA is in those "moments". The breaking of the war arrow at Pennsic. That incredible piece of bone carving in the A&S display. That double-kill between the two top fighters of the day. That good wife... on her way to the laundry...

It's kind of like finding inner peace, this focusing business. You have to set your mind to look for those moments. But once you stop distracting your head with thoughts like "OMG, it's so hot!" or "I have to get signatures from Bob, Sue and Steve today before I leave", and open yourself to just experiencing the day, I think you'll find more of those moments do pop up.

We practiced that in the food court last Pennsic, one evening during dinner, when everybody was cranky and sniping, and I asked them all to stop for a moment and find one thing in the crowd around us that they liked. It took a couple of minutes. Not because there wasn't anything to appreciate, but because it takes some effort to reset your thought patterns. But once we did, we found a number of things which pleased as well as amused us. And the day seemed somehow brighter, cheerier, ever much more so...

Is your SCA tarnished and dull? Do you plod through an event thinking the same old thoughts and complaints? Is it really the SCA? Or maybe, it's you. Maybe you need to dust off your perceptions and shine up your appreciation, whimsy and lightheartedness. Maybe you just need to focus on finding one positive thing... --RHIANNON

Corvus Calendar

JULY 2009
4th - INDEPENDENCE DAY!
8th - Sineís Birthday
9th - 12th - Northshield: Warriors and Warlords in Nordskogen (Boscobel WI)
11th - Atlantia: Kingdom Assessments in Black Diamond (Booneville, NC)
12th - Adeliza & Thorgrimr's Anniversary
15th - Umberto's Birthday
18th - Caid: Anniversary and Investiture in Lyondemere (Long Beach , CA) Medb Renata is autocrat.
21st - Una's Birthday
22nd - Pied Piper arrived in Hamlin (1264)
23rd - Chloeís Birthday
24th - August 9th - Pennsic War XXXVIII in Aethelmearc (Slippery Rock, PA)
31st - Columbus Arrived in Trinidad (1498)

AUGUST 2009
2nd - Medb Renata's Birthday
3rd - Columbus Set Sail (1492)
15th - Atlantia: W.O.P.P. - War Orphans Pirate Party in St. Georges (Pickens, SC)
18th - First American child of English parents born (1587)
19th - Miguel's Birthday
19th - Michael B's Birthday
24th - Dagr's Birthday
24th - Mount Vesuvius Erupted (79 AD)
29th - Atlantia: Coronation of Vladimir and Kalisa in Stierbach (Berryville, VA)
29th - Atlantia: Flight of the Falcon IV in Aire Faucon (Gastonia, NC)
30th - Cleopatra Committed Suicide (30 BC)
31st - Sarah's Birthday

Change is in the Air

As youíll notice on the back page to this issue, there have been several address changes amongst House Corvus members. The Birds have moved into their new house in Burnsville, MN. The Petersens have moved to Athens, GA. And, of course, Robert and I are soon to be in Charlotte, NC.

While I admit to having been fairly slack with the Roundtable (I just havenít had a lot to say lately!), I do make every effort to be up to speed on our changing info on housecorvus.org. I also take those changes and constantly feed them into the information printed here in the Roundtable. However, I some-times miss changes here and there, especially when it comes to changing phone numbers. For instance, I know that Adeliza and Thorgrimr have changed numbers several times lately. And, Lord knows, our various cel numbers often seem to change.

I donít usually post anyoneís cel numbers on housecorvus.org unless they specifically tell me to do so. However, I consider it imperative that accurate cel numbers be available to all of our members here in the Roundtable. The reason is simple. When Iím heading out to an event, or just about anytime I travel, I grab the latest Roundtable and take it with me. That way, if anything happens, I get lost, confused, want to touch base with someone already on site, or who has yet to leave home, I can be sure to get in touch with them on their cel phone. I think youíll agree that this is a good idea for anyone in House Corvus hitting the road.

Since only members of House Corvus receive the Raven Roundtable, no one but household members will ever have your private cel numbers. But I think itís very important that they do have those numbers handily available to them here. So, please review your information on the back page of this issue and contact me immediately with any updates, deletions, or corrections.

While youíre at it, why not take a few minutes to pop online to housecorvus.org and review your individual Corvus web page? I know that some of that info is outdated. Try and get it as current as possible by e-mailing me any changes, corrections, or additions. This is especially true for any offices youíre holding or awards you have received. Youíd be surprised how often I refer to these pages for important SCA info when Iím communicating with various Crowns regarding specific peopleís work. Update your links while youíre at it too. I know several of mine were dead. But, now, theyíre alive!

Iíll be aggressively updating the Corvus website and rededicate myself to producing a timely and regular Raven Roundtable. While I have tried to stay on top of housecorvus.org, my relative inactivity of late gave me little to discuss here in the Roundtable . But, thatís all about to change! I hope youíll be joining me as I rediscover much of what first attracted me to the SCA in the first place: fun times, doing fun things, with fun people. And, of course, the most fun is spent in your company.

Remember, the Raven Roundtable is not just a forum for me to prattle on about my topic of the moment. Itís your newsletter too and I try to fill it with information that is of use to you. Always feel free to suggest items youíd like included. Or, better still; drop me an article on a topic youíd like to discuss. Rhiannon contributed to this issue as other Corvites have done in the past. If itís on your mind, it has relevance in these pages. The website may be our public face to the SCA at large. But, the Roundtable is here for us. Letís use it to its fullest potential. --BRAN

Remember that Pop Quiz?

It was in the last Raven Roundtable of (Issue 47 in September í08, yeesh!) that I put in a picture of Master Eldredís (then) newly finished Rose Window (well, the heraldry parts anyway!). So, how did you do? Here are the answers...

House Corvus Rose Window created by Master Eldred.

1. Bran
2. Rhiannon
3. Peter
4. Michael B.
5. Medb Renata
6. Ealdthryth
7. Giuseppe
8. Sine
9. Robert
10. Signy
11. Isolde
12. Eldred
13. Miguel
14. Oshi
15. Una
16. Medb
17. William
18. Alys
19. Alriker
20. Isabella
21. Adeliza
22. Sara
23. Alessandra
24. Siobhan
25. Michael O.
26. Krystyne
27. Thorgrimr
28. Anne-Marie
29. Guillaume
30. Victoria
31. Deirdre
32. Raimondo
33. Griffith
34. Julianna
35. Luqman
36. Ronan
A. Caid
B. Trimaris
C. Northshield
D. Atlantia

Need More Rose Window?

Our good friend in House Sylveastan, Lady Sara of Denby Dale took a great photo of the Rose Window at Pennsic, cleaned it up, and made it available to us on the Greenwood Morris Dance Cafe Press store as an awesome T-shirt. You can go online at the web address below and order your own today! It comes in a multitude of colors but, for obvious reasons, the black or royal blue ones are the best choices for the fashion conscious Corvite! The T-shirts start at $22.00 with and additional $3 for 2X up. Simply go to... http://t-shirts.cafepress.com/item/housecorvus-dark-tshirt/118897228


Last modified on Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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