Sometimes I wonder if I am the poster child for reasons not to work at the renaissance faire. My first experiences were mixed (understatement)  I am not a particularly romantic or nostalgic person and as far as I can tell, despite being the most critical of how things can go, I am still doing this after over twelve years.

So unlike past blogs, I’m going to be a little more about me, me, me.

The first faire I worked had some ingrained problems,  no one was going to fix them, the fest depended a little too much upon the goodwill of a limited number of people and I think this graphic sums up:

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When I stopped working at that festival, the group we’d been with exploded in a spectacular way. Although it wasn’t obvious to others, the staff had endemic issues that eventually led to the end of that faire.

Some great things came out of that so I focus on those.  We started Phoenix Swords “with 500.00 and a grudge.” (one of our members jokes to me “at least you still have the grudge.” And if you wonder what a good money amount to begin would be…)   Most of the acts at that faire have gone on to be organizers and nationwide acts

Wanting to use swords but not necessarily in performance led to Higgins Armory Museum and the sword guild there. I really learned to love manuals, history and did some Western Martial Arts  for a number of years and I made some great friends-all related to swords and study.

Another great set of friends came from sharing my bad experiences online and as others experienced their groups exploding. What could have been terrible, they turned around and made the best of it.  We commiserated and were better for doing it. There is nothing like experiencing a crucible and coming out the other side to confirm commitment and self.

For me, I am a magnet for strange people and I sometimes evoke hostility from people who consider themselves “Alphas” in the various communities where we perform. (I’m told it is because I am not a very readable person and my ‘just hanging out’ vibe is taken as a challenge.)  If you, dear reader, and I went to a faire together, I *promise* you that within the first hour, costume or not, you would have an experience leaving you with a face that looks like this.

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 I’ve made my peace with it but it has tested my love of performing and being around crowds.   So the advice I give people is this:

Have a support system unrelated to the renaissance faire community-if you can. Sometimes it is your support system but *everyone* is worthy of love and respect-and you should start with yourself. Beware the people who use passive- aggressive, negative energy to try and hold you back or control you.

Yes, what I do is silly, let’s move on to the next obvious statement. Still on that? Let me make fun of your Fantasy football league or obsession with “Reality Shows.”

Every performance is a learning experience, good or bad. Come back fighting and never be content with “the usual.” Go back and look at your old performances, try not to wince, but be proud of where you are.

Experience Wonder. This is one I need to occasionally kick myself to make the point. You may be a jaded, elitist snob but not everyone is and you need to keep that to yourself. And frankly if your energy is at tearing someone down, you need to refocus that.

The Japanese believe that longevity is linked to purpose. Have a reason to visualize, stretch and learn every day.  I’m not saying we all don’t have lazy or sad days, but you need not to let them string together for too long. Every Spring I go through a cranky, snarky slump and whine about getting out and working the moneymaker.  Once I hit bottom and the rest of the troupe laughs at me, it’s time to make some magic and that begins with my feet hitting the ground .

I’ve written another blog that I may or may not go back to but if you want to read about my adventures with Phoenix-it’s here. (You’ll have to scroll back through A LOT of Good News Friday to get to the meat)

I encourage the folks who have been on this journey with me to totally self-promote in comments and out yourself because you are awesome and people should know who you are. 🙂

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