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Re: picking a persona (was: Ontario newbie)

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  • Clare
    Coblaith, that was a great post. I know it was directed at Ontario Newbie, but I got a lot out of it. I m going to be at Denvention this August. Surely there
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 6, 2008
      Coblaith, that was a great post. I know it was directed at Ontario
      Newbie, but I got a lot out of it.

      I'm going to be at Denvention this August. Surely there will be some
      SCA people there to talk to, if I don't get in touch with a local
      group before then.

      I'm kind of leaning toward Welsh/Irish fighter/archer, but there's
      plenty of time to decide. I still want to wear my Italian Renn gown,
      though. I put enough work into it, after all.

      --- In scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com, Coblaith Mhuimhneach
      <Coblaith@...> wrote:
      >
      > Freda wrote:
      > > Plan on getting involved and would like to find out
      about. . .persona.
      >
      > Like almost everything else in the SCA, the type and degree of
      persona
      > play you do is a matter of personal choice. Many people never do
      more
      > than choose a personal name (a "first name", in modern American
      > parlance) to use at events. A much smaller group do "high
      > persona"--meaning they never break character while at an event,
      but
      > speak and behave (as much as they are able) as though they actually
      are
      > the individuals they portray. The majority fall somewhere in
      between.
      > Around here (and things do vary from region to region within the
      > Society), almost everybody has selected a culture (I'm Irish
      Gaelic,
      > for example), a general time period (I'm from the late 9th to
      early
      > 10th century) and a locale (I'm from Munster). It makes things
      like
      > putting together outfits and a name easier, because it narrows the
      > focus.
      >
      > A lot of people pick a name they like or identify clothes they want
      to
      > wear, figure out the where/when/who that relates to that, and
      build
      > from there. Others start with a culture they're interested in--
      maybe
      > that indigenous to an area they've visited and loved, or that of
      their
      > ancestors, or that from which a particular craft they do or want to
      do
      > comes. Still others begin with an SCA passion, and put together a
      > persona who would've been passionate about the same thing.
      (Rapier
      > duels, for instance, were done only at the very, very end of the
      SCA
      > period, and were of widespread popularity in a limited number of
      > settings. Some rapier enthusiasts select their personae from
      those
      > settings at that time, specifically, so that rapier "makes sense"
      as
      > part of their persona play.)
      >
      > You can do whatever works for you. There are a few hard, fast
      rules
      > you should remember:
      >
      > 1) You're not obligated to do any persona play. You can even use
      your
      > mundane name, if you choose to, at events, though it's recommended
      that
      > everybody have an SCA name because it helps distance events from
      the
      > "everyday" for them and everybody else.
      >
      > 2) You're not obligated to fit all (or any) of your SCA
      activities
      > into your persona. A 10th-century Dane can fight rapier, and an
      > Elizabethan gentleman can recite skaldic poetry. Choosing a
      persona
      > should never mean limiting your involvement in any part of the
      Society.
      >
      > 3) You're not limited to one persona. Some SCAdians change both
      > clothes and name between the archery range and the dance floor,
      and
      > again before they present their Arts & Sciences competition
      entry.
      > People will probably know you by one name more than others, and if
      > you're given awards they will bear one name, though, so it's a
      good
      > idea to decide for yourself what your "primary name" will be, and
      make
      > sure people are aware of it.
      >
      > 4) There's no hurry. Take your time deciding on a name, and make
      sure
      > you like both it and the persona that goes with it, before you
      start
      > telling people that's who you are.
      >
      >
      > If you WANT to choose a persona right away (whether your only one
      or
      > just one to go with your primary name), and want a fully-developed
      > persona where everything "makes sense" together, here's my
      > recommendation:
      >
      > Step 1: Think about what's really important to you as a SCAdian.
      > Fencing? Big, poofy dresses with pearls sewn on their bodices?
      Doing
      > Opus Anglicanum? Learning more about Spain? Not having to be
      > Christian? Using your own hand-made stoneware at feast? The idea
      is
      > to identify those elements that you really want to make a big part
      of
      > your S.C.A. experience, and pick a persona into which those
      elements
      > fit logically. Often, when you read that list, where/when you
      should
      > "be from" becomes VERY obvious. And even if it isn't, you should
      be
      > able to use it to start narrowing down your options.
      >
      > Step 2: Visit the Medieval Names Archive
      > <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/>. Read the articles on choosing
      a
      > medieval name. Then visit the guides to names for the culture(s)
      > you're considering. Or, if you haven't narrowed it down that far
      yet,
      > pick a few that seem likely (countries you've always wanted to
      visit,
      > cultures whose music or art you admire, etc.) and read up on
      those.
      > You may find the names from certain cultures grate on your ear,
      while
      > others seem to resonate. Remember you're choosing a name to use
      every
      > day, not just to put on scrolls. You want to like the sound of it,
      and
      > be willing to answer to it. (What's the point of picking out an
      > authentic moniker if you're going to end up telling everybody to
      call
      > you "Candy" because it just doesn't sound like YOU?)
      >
      > Step 3: Visit the costume and clothing section of the Atlantian
      A&S
      > Links site
      > <http://moas.atlantia.sca.org/wsnlinks/index.php?
      > action=displaycat&catid=10>, and look at the recommended resources
      for
      > the cultures and periods you're most strongly considering. If
      there's
      > not much there (or if there is, but you want more), go to the Web
      > Gallery of Art <http://www.wga.hu/index.html>, the Artchive
      > <http://artchive.com/ftp_site.htm>, or the Wikimedia Commons list
      of
      > illuminated manuscripts
      > <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:
      > Illuminated_manuscripts_by_century> and look at period images.
      (This
      > will be more effective for later periods.) Some of the clothing
      may
      > make you giggle, or wrinkle your nose in distaste. You may
      think, "No
      > WAY I'd go out in public in THAT!", or, "Ooh! I want one!",
      or, "Now
      > THAT looks comfortable!" when you see what's characteristic. Or
      you
      > might realize that you don't have and don't plan to develop the
      skills
      > necessary to make it, and must consider whether you could afford to
      buy
      > everything you'll need. Remember you're choosing clothes to WEAR,
      > maybe for a week or more at a time (if you go to the big wars).
      You
      > want to like the look of them, and feel good putting them on.
      >
      > Step 4: Consider all of the things you learned about yourself in
      steps
      > 1 through 3. Is there a single place/time that stands out, now,
      as
      > being "just right" for you? If not, investigate the front runners--
      the
      > politics of the time, the other cultures with which they had
      regular
      > contact, the technologies they used. Remember, the S.C.A. is all
      about
      > learning. If you pick a persona from a place and time you find
      > interesting, you'll enjoy fleshing it out more, and will
      ultimately
      > learn more in the process.
      >
      >
      > If you do all of that and still don't know what your persona should
      be,
      > you're not ready to pick one. Chill out, enjoy getting your feet
      wet,
      > and wait for inspiration. There's no rush.
      >
      >
      > Coblaith Mhuimhneach
      > Barony of Bryn Gwlad
      > Kingdom of Ansteorra
      > <mailto:Coblaith@...>
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
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