11 articles tagged as Pennsic!

In case you desperately missed me, I was at the 44th Pennsic War – it’s hard to describe, but, basically, it’s a two week medieval encampment.  I camp, I go to the field and do fencing tournaments and huge melees (I am in the Kingdom of Aethelmearc, in case you are in the SCA and were wondering which side I was on) – for melees think two large groups of fencers fighting each other – then go take a nap, read a little, before going for long walks in the torch lit and moon lit darkness, going to a few parties before going back to camp to sit around the fire with friends.  

I only go one week, because I primarily go to fence.  

This was my 8th Pennsic, and I still can’t describe it.  It is an experience like none other, and every person (well over 10,000 attendees every year) has a completely different one…there are a ton of classes (I even taught one…I lead a class that I and my partner in crime created, while she lab assisted) on everything you can think of, archery, thrown weapons, dancing, and tons more.  Lots of merchants (though none had a sword belt like the ones I wanted) and parties and interesting places to walk.  Several camps have very ornate set ups, and this year a group of us wandered to Casa Barducci to see their Italian Villa.  (They build it every year.  It has a fresco ceiling, a dance floor, bed chambers, and a second story porch over looking the lake.)
So, if you missed me, it was because I was indulging in mass acts of swordage.  I have several ideas of new projects that I want to make, old projects I want to do, and am ready to train harder and create more classes to teach.

I always take too many books and never get them read – I got a good chunk of Snuff, by Terry Pratchett, done, but that was it.  I also tried a brand new tent out – a three room, L-shaped tent with a porch in the lee – and felt so very glam with my two bed rooms and a dressing room.  (I share with my mum.)

Now I am back.  A couple of days to clean up and transition back into this world, and I’ll start on my book again.

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Encampments at Pennsic

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And for good melancholic measure, here are some beautiful Pennsic photos taken by Darter the Chronicler

le sigh.

The Pennsic war is a place of magic…you can fence all day, then walk around and look at the beauty of the fire-lit camps and the moon over the lake, hear distant drums and the laughter of friends.  I really do love it.

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It feels like that time of year. I know that there is still, technically, lots of summer left to go, but still…to me, it feels like Fall.

I spend big chunks of my summer contemplating, preparing, and sewing for the Pennsic War, and so, when it is over…when I have spent my week outside, fencing all day and enjoying the magic of firelight and drumming and good humor all night…and I go to my car to pack it up and go, the wind in the trees seem to change. The leaves turn over, and there is a slight change in the air, and I know that my summer is coming to a close.

I feel this way, in part, because of the academic calendar I live my life by. I have only a few more weeks until it’s time for the semester to start, for all the students to come back. But mostly, it’s because the weather has a different feel…especially since this year the weather leading into Pennsic was hot and miserable. These last few days it has been lovely…what we call “war week”, when all the fencing/fighting and main activities take place was beautiful, and it just seems to be getting cooler and nicer. This morning I walked down the hill in the fog, chasing a flock of birds without meaning to, as they scattered this way, then realized that I was still coming so they scattered and landed that way, and I tried to avoid them the best I could.

It’s a time for me to look back over my shoulder, to see what I have neglected over the summer. It’s a time to clean and make things organized, to prepare for the winter. Deep inside of me, I still have that instinct, to buy ahead on the things I need, to see that I have oil against the darkness of a power outage, as well as propane for the heater and camp stove. Cans and jars and paper supplies…I feel comforted by being ahead, by knowing that even if it happens to snow too much for me to make my escape out into the world, I will have what I need to get by. You may laugh, and maybe you should…but I did have one winter where I was without power for nine days, but because I always have this tiny-animal drive to stock up, I was OK.
But for now, I am determined to enjoy the non-snowy weather while we still have it, to bask in the warmth.

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So, a little while back, someone made a smart remark about authors and personal posts on their journals, and I thought I’d shrugged it off but somehow I never get around to cross posting my LJ posts here any more.

So, here’s some cool stuff about Pennsic, then I’ll post something else, a good proper post. 🙂 If you read my LJ, ignore this, you’ve seen it.


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Writing is actually going pretty well. Not great…my daily word counts are laughable…but Jacob and The Blue Girl keep pulling me along.

Jacob is an escaped slave who ends up helping the woman who helped him escape. She’s a strange woman, a stately, quiet creature who doesn’t really belong to our world, and she won’t tell me her name, so I end up calling her the Blue Girl. She gets her name from the peacock blue dress that people often see her wear. She doesn’t talk much, she mostly stares at Jacob. I’m a big dialogue person, so I find her a bit frustrating sometimes.

Jacob is interesting because I’m trying to see inside the head of someone who is not my gender and not my race; outside of the fact that humans are humans and we all have the same basic needs and wants, I want to make sure I’m doing the voice right, that I’m both believable and not insulting. So far, I think he’s OK. He’s slowly becoming a favorite of mine, at first I thought he was really quiet, but he has a dry sense of humor that serves him well. Thank goodness one of them speaks!
I’m also sewing like crazy…only a few days before vacation, and I need to unload my storage tubs of cloth so that I can use the tubs for food, garb, etc. I need to go to Wal Mart and pick up some food – canned stuff I can cook easily over a fire, dried fruits and nuts, something for the potluck dinner – and maybe a tee shirt that’s supposed to wick the sweat away from the body. I’m also trying to decide if I should buy a bottle or two of something alcoholic to give to camps that have been particularly nice to me. I plan on drinking very little — a couple of my fencing friends think the world needs drunken Gabby stories, and I most certainly think that we do not, but I also want to be a good guest. So it’s a bit of a conundrum…does anyone have any etiquette suggestions?

For those of you who might look for me at Pennsic, I plan to be on site starting August 1st.

And as for the Great Summer Project…I think I may be able to put up drywall Saturday, though part of me really wants to put it off until after Pennsic. Another day to sew and get ready wouldn’t be bad…

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It’s so hard to keep up with a blog sometimes…I was a bit over taken by life, so I apologize for the long time I was gone.

First, some Pennsic Shots. There aren’t a lot…when you’re wandering around you see tons of cool stuff, but since this is supposed to be a medieval re-enactment, it’s kind of hard to whip out the camera and click the shutter. I carried it around with me everywhere, too, except at night.

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I’ve been trying to form the words for this post since I got home…I don’t want to forget anything, I want to capture the whole of the Pennsic experience, but I’m not sure how. Partly it’s because there are SO many different versions of Pennsic, because there are so many things you can do. There are classes galore (I forgot to take any, or didn’t have the time.) some people are really big into hierarchy and court (I’m not…I’ve not been part of things long enough to feel like I belong) people who sit in camp all day and read (I only read when it rained), then put on their pretty clothes to wander the night, street performers who practice their talents, people who are very serious about period and dress very exactingly while practicing the fine arts of the past, people who are dressed as pirates or fairies who practice the fine art of drinking. Knights walk beside belly dancers. You can find Celts in full woad sharing a beer with a Samurai. The best word to describe Pennsic is overwhelming…there is so much to take in, so much to see and do. So many people taking these two weeks to be what they want to be, or at least a pretty close approximation.

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So, I am all ready.  I think.

Plenty of clothes.  Enough food.  I look at the stack of stuff I’ve packed, this of what my father said about “light packing makes for a light heart”, feel like I’ve messed up, go through my stuff again, realize that I’ve packed about as tightly as a fencing, middle eastern dancing, wants to be prepared for all eventualities in a reasonable manner female can do.  Tomorrow, on the way, I buy ice, bread, and fruit, and then I will be completely done.

I never DID get my frakking gloves from All Things Ren.  I am so going to make their lives misery until I get my money back, since I am buying gloves at Pennsic now.  Even though that means I’ll have to soak them to avoid “plague hands” (I’m buying black gloves…if I don’t wash out the excess dye, they will turn my hands green when I sweat in them.  Also, not thrilled about the staining they would do to brand new lovely blouse.) there…which means I’ll be fencing in damp-wet gloves.

So, my shopping list is simple:

I will take a notebook, because I have an Ashton and Minerva story I want to write set at Pennsic…what better place to have a secret meeting among the clans of vampires and werewolves than a place where you are supposed to be someone else?  I see a fencing tournament by torchlight, a murder…I think it might be fun to sketch it out while I’m there.

I will own, I am a bit nervous.  I’ve never done anything like this.  I’m happy…I want to have adventures and not allow myself to just be a plodder.

And…this is not an exactly random thought, it was inspired, but even though the person who inspired it never goes on the internet much, I am skating around things.  It’s one of those things you HAVE to say, but you don’t want to hurt or be judgmental.

Anyway, during the conversation, I thought,  “Loving a man for his looks is like loving the sunset. It is hearts and souls and how people react to the world that matters.”

I usually find that, if the spark of attraction is there, that the more you speak to a man, the handsomer he becomes.  You have to give people a chance to unfold who they are to you, to discover what they really are like inside.  Because that is what you will have to live with.

I’ve known men of absolutely heart stopping glory…just so handsome you could stare at them all day.  And you fall a little, like you would at the perfection of a flower…but then, you get to know them, and they are vapid.  There is NOTHING going on.  Like maybe God made them pretty for a reason, and that reason was that they would have to have SOMETHING to get them through life.  Emerson discussed such compensations in one of his essays, it’s like you get this thing instead of that.  I have met men who were that handsome and smart, or that handsome and incredibly sweet, so, who knows.  But I’ve also met men who were not handsome, but who became handsome because what was inside them was just SO incredible.  It was this whole world of amazement and wonder.  In the end, those were the men I loved and regretted the most.

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I’ll be going to Pennsic next Monday.  As I mentioned in the past, I had been planning to go to the International Swordfighting and Martial Arts Convention in Michigan, but I couldn’t get the money for it.  *sniffles and waves pathetically at the fine gentlemen who run the convention…*  Pennsic, I can afford, and I’ll get to fight with swords there, too, so I will be happy…especially since Pennsic has more of my friends, including the ever spectacular Iona.  I am SO geeked about seeing her, her hubby, and the baby! 
I am really looking forward to it…the class list is huge, more dance classes than you can shake an epee at, some interesting looking sword classes and a ton more.  I’m going to concentrate on taking a few middle eastern dance classes, and there’s a tea under the stars event where they serve a traditional Japanese tea…definitely have to make that.
Mostly, my plans for the week include absorbing — just experiencing and enjoying meeting people and doing different things.  I want to hang out with fencers (I finished the armor arms yesterday…I can wear them under any outfit I wish, and with my really spiffy black doublet, I will be quite safe.)  and do some pick up fighting.  I am not heavy blade class authorized, so I mostly just have to annoy people into fighting with me.  😉  I also plan on carrying water and such…I’ll be fighting side by side with some of these people next year,  (Woah…already thinking about NEXT year?  What happens if I hate Pennsic and never go again?  But both my mum and Stacy think that this is a Highly Unlikely Prospect.) and I want to help them, I want to get to know them and, I guess, form some sort of camaraderie with them.  Because hopefully I’ll be around these people a long time.
So, I built the tent yesterday, and it works fine, even though I couldn’t get it all packed back into the little bag it came in.  XD  Decided since I will be rebuilding it in a little over a week (well, exactly a week, now.) that I could just live with it not being quite packed right.  Tonight I’m going to go over my garb one last time…remove the armor pads I sewed into my new shirt, since I won’t need them, put a drape on my fencing mask in the hopes that I do, indeed, find a gorget that I want, repair one of my older shirts.  After I’ve checked over all the garb I have, I might try to make one last chemise…what I would love is a waist cincher, rather than a full bodice, but I don’t think I have the proper material/time to make one.  So, I’ll finish my garb tonight, and maybe start the chemise as a bonus.
Next, I will take all my gear from the backroom and lay it out and pre-pack it.  I’ll make a list of what I yet need and either hunt it up or buy, if I need to, buy it.  And hopefully by Sunday everything will be ready to go into the car.  I need to stop and buy fruit and bread, and that should be that.
This week, work wise, I’m obsessing over making sure everything is done, because when I get back, there’s only a couple weeks until the Fall semester begins. 
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