Last time I talked about setting a good example and keeping up your own standards.
When my husband and I moved to Atenveldt, I believed that most people, given the opportunity, would want to learn. It might be the smallest thing, but I believed that there was a spark inside everyone in the SCA that if only fanned with the right stuff, would blossom into a bright light. They would want to make their brews more accurate, their clothing more accurate. I understood budgetary restraints – I had them as well, I understood time constraints – building our new house was a time consuming task, I even understood limitations on people’s ability to fully understand the esthetics of previous periods.
What I didn’t understand was an apparent lack of devotion to the historically based game that we play. Now, I’m not demanding that SCA members spend all of their free time or their free cash exclusively on the SCA experience. But I do look for a spark in every one of us. A good friend explained it to me this way, “For you the SCA is a lifestyle choice, for many other people it is just a hobby – an excuse to get together with friends on the weekend and have a party.” (Smart person!)
But I have found some people who are kindred spirits. Not as many as I have out of kingdom, but there are a few here who really understand my devotion to the game. And I have helped to “corrupt” a few people by encouraging them to take classes that gave them their own passion for some part of the game. We joke that “Resistance is futile “. If you will honestly try a bunch of different things, you will eventually find something that you love.
I prefer the carrot to the stick whenever I deal with people – but I have to admit there are people who I would sometimes like to hit with a stick. Who are those people? The people who just don’t care about trying anything historically accurate AND make fun of those who do. Mostly it’s about their lack of respect for the parts of the SCA that are important to others. It’s your right to play your own game, but don’t rain on my parade. Don’t make fun of people who want to learn, who want to improve their game.
I make a point of ignoring the blatantly bad clothing, the glaringly modern brews, so they should be able to ignore my authenticity. If people want my opinion on an item that I have hard knowledge about, I try to give it as gently as possible. The jokes about authenticity Nazis are not funny. So I counter in my classes that I can’t possibly be an authenticity Nazi, because Nazi’s aren’t period for us. That always at least garners smiles and chuckles.
Extending Your Search for Kindred Spirits
There will be times, no matter how good your collection of local kindred spirits, that you just need more. And that is where internet groups can come in. I belong to several select yahoo groups and several closed Facebook special interest groups. I personally look for groups where quality research and information is shared on a daily basis. Most of the groups that I am on are also totally unforgiving of bad behavior. Snarky comments are just not acceptable, and I like that. These people become your long distance research family. They share a passion for a topic that you simply may not be able to find locally, no matter where you live.
One of my great delights is when I finally actually get to meet one of them at an event. I have had people come to my classes, or into my booth, and be totally delighted to meet me because we have shared information long distance. Is it as good as sitting around a table and chatting while you work on a project? No. But it sure beats feeling totally isolated and on your own. And don’t forget this approach for side-projects, too. The resources that you can access this way, can be totally amazing.
We travel to several large out-of-kingdom events. With a little pre-planning this can be can a great opportunity to expand your circle of kindred spirits. If you’re shy it can be a challenge to get out and meet people, but it’s worthwhile. Look for an event where a special interest group gathers to meet, discuss, and trade information. Go to a class. Meet the people in the class. Trade contact information.
If you are concerned about making information too freely available, consider establishing an SCA-only email account, web page, Facebook page and the like to allow like-minded people to contact you. In short, do research to find kindred spirits. Don’t have the skills to do that type of research? Find a friend who has the skills and will share them with you! Research on!
Don’t let THEM spoil your game!