Taking a break from my ongoing series on joining the renfaire to talk about  who is writing this blog.

In the last blog entry I poked a little fun at those who feel compelled to tell you how smart they are. Well, keeping that in mind, I’m NOT going to tell you that but I am writing a little about myself and you can make your own judgment.

I attended King Richard’s Faire in the 80’s and was hooked, as is my husband. We hadn’t really thought about involvement with faires until my husband, doing his day job, ran into “Bob the Pirate” in HIS daytime job, hustling grade-schoolers through an ice-cream shop.

Shoot forward a bit and we started as part of sword group for a tiny but well-loved festival that was so close to home that falling out of bed was already halfway there. I won’t go into specifics but that group imploded and we started our own group. And we started with a bang by taking a contract halfway across the country. I won’t lie, we did sweat it and it was a near thing, but the end result is that we had a working performance troupe.

We also do scholarly work with sword manuals and physical practitioners.  This takes a certain mindset and patience level that isn’t found commonly, so having peers and discussion groups is fantastic and I enjoy this as much as performance.  I have a background that includes working at museums and presenting demonstrations so for me, the steps leading up to stepping out on stage are integral to all that I do for Phoenix Swords.

One part of these interwoven worlds is sexism and gender expectation.  That could be a series of blogs on its own but that’s not why I mention it. I mention it because it exists and if you decide to perform then one needs to think about how much energy needs to be devoted to dealing with the effects of this issue.   For me,  I do it with unflagging devotion and longevity and developing rhino-skin. It makes me angry when any gender is told “You aren’t allowed that role.” Historically there are examples of people who defy what we consider “conventional” and when we challenge that, well, then we are simply carrying a long tradition. So it amuses me when I am quoted as “that guy” when someone hasn’t met me in person. Not so amusing is being dismissed because of my gender, or someone’s expectation of my physical form.

I am middle-aged, female and overweight. I have arthritis and before practice on cold days it’s not uncommon to take some Advil because I know it’s going to help me keep moving. The flip side? I can climb stairs with little issue, can withstand travelling rigors pretty well, and know my stuff.  I have not spent the last 12 years sitting on the sidelines atop my hands . If you met me, I would not come across as threatening  or overbearing  and you would trust me to sit next to your kids or messenger bag. But I absolutely do know my sword history, how to hold certain types and use them, and am not even *remotely* interested in an “unzip and whip” contest because I am years past that adolescent need.  When I offer advice it is grounded with personal experience and will notice if slighted.

Most of the posts I’ll make here are pulled straight from our experiences as individuals or as a troupe.  If anyone has a question, I will answer if I can, tell you if I can’t and probably redirect you to someone who can take it that extra step if needed.  And even if I don’t receive comments regularly, I know this is being read because I can check it with the WordPress statistics. 😉   I’m just another person who has experience with being a performer and have flung myself onto this public forum because I genuinely want to help, share what I know and be a resource for others.  It’s not completely un-altruistic,  I’m chatting up the group! But it is genuine and if I can spare someone a selection of bad experiences with an anecdote, then Go Team Phoenix Swords!

Feel free to contact me, comment or suggest topics.