minstrel: aid for baby bards

Lily-Rose lilyrose at prickly-wombat.com
Tue Mar 11 08:17:02 PST 1997

I want to jump in here as a "baby bard" and another Outlander.

On Tue, 11 Mar 1997, Pendar wrote:
> Repeatedly over the last several years I have been approached by people 
> who wish to learn songs or bardic skills of various sorts from me. I give 
> them what I can, and often nothing comes of it because they don't 
> practice. Thus I have become fairly cynical towards the whole teaching 
> process. I can give you the materials and the knowledge, but it is up to 
> YOU to put it to use. 

Understood.  But to go onto a tangent, here, let's face facts:  Outlands 
bardic circles (at least here in the south) SUCK.  There are only a few, 
and they seem to be entirely arbitrary.  Not only that, but the primary 
entertainment at all events is drumming/dancing.  I don't have anything 
against the drummers & dancers, and rather enjoy watching & listening, 
but how in the heck am I supposed to "practice" when there are so few 
bardic circles, and so few other opportunities (e.g., wandering from camp 
to camp) to practice?

I volunteered to tell stories at Midwinter.  I had two pieces prepared. 
Unfortunately, since NOBODY else volunteered to do a vocal performance
(there wasn't a lot of energy put into finding the storytellers), there
was no mike system.  Pendar, you KNOW that hall.  I'm pleased and proud
that the High Table heard me.  I told one story and was not asked (by the
entertainment committee) for a second, although His Excellency later told
me how much he enjoyed my story. 

Furthermore, and perhaps the point of my message is this, hereabouts there
is virtually no interest in and no respect for storytellers.  Sure, we get
a number of singers & a poem or two, but a good, short story (I've timed
them -- none of my pieces run over 10 minutes) is something that nobody
plans on hearing.  And yet, my audiences listen raptly -- and applaud
wildly.  The organizers of bardic circles in this kingdom "know" that
nobody wants stories -- but the audiences don't seem to agree. 

Perhaps this is the source of your cynicism, Pendar.  Those of us who are 
able and willing to tell stories, who want to learn and practice, are 
overwhelmed and distressed by the shocking lack of respect we get in this 
kingdom.  Few of us make the cut, few of us can face endless rejection 
from organizers and endless drowning out by drummers.

When you complain about the quality of the performers, your cynicism is, I 
fear, badly misplaced.

Vivianna an Ruadh
lilyrose at prickly-wombat.com

I'll be post-feminist in a post-patriarchy.

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