minstrel: Advice (was: Something interesting. LONG!

Rex Deaver rdeaver at cgro.com
Fri Aug 22 15:23:53 PDT 1997

At 12:24 PM 8/22/97 -0700, Melvin, Stephen R. wrote:

>Perhaps we should look at these recent
>events as an opportunity to discuss how the satire could have been made
>more effective and the author could have attached his/her name without
>hurting him/herself. 

Tangwystyl's recommendation is very good.  

Aesop's fables are classic examples of making the song/story "anonymous
enough".  Unless you know the contemporary incidents at the time of their
authoring, you don't even realize that they were directed at very distinct
political events and persons.

The Old Testament provides other good examples.  Few people realize that the
parable of Solomon and the two mothers was interpreted far differently then
than it is now.  At the time of the story, Solomon's rule of Israel was
being contested.  The allegorical message for its intended contemporary
audience was that Solomon was more than willing to destroy Israel to prevent
losing it.

In both cases, good, well-crafted stories have survived long after their
initial propaganda value was irrelevant.

>	For others, I would ask, "What pointers do you have for the brand new
>'baby' bards as we sometimes call them?  Those who are past the level
>where they need to have a single person guiding their efforts and are
>now making mistakes on their own.  Most importantly, what mistakes have
>_you_ learned from.  I'll start:
>	As I said above, I wrote a satire called the "Manners of Caid". 

I presume this is a version of the ubiquitious "Everybody Should be  Quiet
at Feast For the Performers" song/story/poem.  Who of us has not written
such a beast? :):):)

First let me say that some years ago I came to the realization that if I
can't get and keep the audience's attention, then I don't deserve it.  If
they are talking over me, then I am doing something wrong.  (Rarely happens,
cause there aren't too many audiences I can't out shout :):):)  

"Baby bards" need to learn that all performers, and all performances, are
not for all audiences.  Feast halls are where people socialize; they want to
talk to friends they may not see very often.  If a performer wants to
intrude on that successfully, he/she must win the hearts and minds of the
audience.  Difficult to shame folks when they don't believe they are doing
anything wrong, much better to make them *want* to be quiet and listen.  

Also, since entertaining a feasthall is a very specialized skill that not
all have attained ( or ever will ) look at other performing venues...or
create them if they don't currently exist.

Second...I have written at least 2 stories that are of this ilk.:)  One is
fairly heavy handed...so it never saw the light of day.  The second is cute
enough that I get requests for it, the lesson doesn't really make itself
apparent until the very end and is presented gently and humorously ( even if
I do have to say so myself:):):).  I mostly use it as an introductory piece
when I am requested to MC a feast with performances.  

Rex Deaver
rdeaver at cgro.com	
"Fix the problem. Not the blame."

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