Long, long ago, in a kingdom not very far away, I was a Lady. Shut up.
Yeah, back in the dear dead days of the 1970s, I was the Lady Maude McEwen (poetess) in the Middle Kingdom of the Society for Creative Anachronism, SCA or the S.C.A. for short. The SCA is “an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe.”
What put me in mind of it was this book I’m currently reading, MURDER AT THE WAR, by Mary Monica Pulver. It doesn’t just showcase the SCA, it’s set at the Pennsic War, an annual event now about to take place for the 44th time.
I never went to the Pennsic (hello? camping without modern amenities aka flush toilets? sorry, I’m a little deaf in that ear — can’t hear ya talkin), but my bes’ frien’, Jane, was at the FIRST Pennsic and she’s told me all about it. Yes, she was there. Yes, she was minus twenty-two years old at the time.
Because I’ve heard so many Pennsic War stories, I felt right at home with Pulver’s descriptions. When she had it begin to rain, I thought, “She’s been there!” It’s tradition for it to rain at Pennsic. Even when it doesn’t actually, it does honorarily by tradition.
When I was Lady Maude, I made myself a device (like a coat of arms). Here’s a sketch of it. That’s a lozenge, not a shield, o’ course. I can’t remember how it was colored, except that the dogwood blossoms (I was a Lutheran at the time) were in their proper colors. Those crossed things are steel pens. Because writing. I don’t know what the wiggly sword is in aid of. I wasn’t a fighter.
I don’t think it was ever registered, except I seem to recall someone told me it had been registered, but not to Maude McEwen, but to my other persona. See, I was Maude McEwen when I was at an event, and Edwina the Absent when, you know, I wasn’t.
I’ve been thinking about rejoining. If I did, I would make a new device. It would probably have knitting needles on it, but maybe not. Maybe steel pens and replace the dogwood blossoms with skeins of yarn? Leave the sword off. Maybe a tortoise somewhere about, in honor of SAGE.
If I did rejoin, I’d have to get some new costumes. I had one dress, made for me by my friend Beth Johnson, which I wore for about fifty years (not constantly, of course) until it disenthreadinated itself. Alas.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What would your main character’s device be?