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Stepping back a bit
A note, probably more because I need to say it than that anybody needs to hear it.

I'm burned out. Really on quite a broad level, but particularly on the SCA. There's a lot feeding into that -- certainly a lot of miscellaneous annoying politics over the past couple of years, plus a general feeling of having gotten stale.

It's been building for a while, but this year has driven it home: my life has been *so* insane (between selling the house, planning weddings, settling Jane's estate, starting Querki and all) that I really need my recreational time to be fun, and I haven't been having enough fun in the SCA lately.

So I need to step back and refocus a bit. This isn't an "I'm quitting!" flounce -- I expect to stay active in some guilds, and maybe even take up some new ones. It *does* mean that I'm largely taking the summer off from events, though: I've gotten into too much of a mindset of feeling that I *have* to go to local events (combined with some dumb ego about the proportion of local events I've been to over the past 30 years), and that's a lousy reason to attend.

Hence the timing of this note: I'm probably going to skip Known World Dance, and I don't want anybody taking that as a Statement or some sort of criticism of the event. I had really planned on attending, but have realized that I just can't deal with the effort right now.

By and large, I'm just taking a pass on most/all events for a few months, to clear my head. I already didn't go to Cohasset Wars, am definitely skipping Pennsic, and GNE is 50/50 at this point. It's going to be a quiet SCA summer for me. I expect I'll ramp my activity level back up down the road, but need to do it for the right reasons, which means finding my Fun again...

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Yep, quite right. The "should" is getting in the way of the "want to" right at the moment. It's not the first time that's happened to me, but it does seem to be the hardest it's hit me.

Experience says that, when that happens, I need to pause, take a breath, and find something new and different to do. Where "new and different" is sometimes something I just haven't done in a long time, mind: I have a suspicion that, eg, I will wind up getting back into archery and getting the Low Company going again...

Music, maybe? If you want to come to KWDM and do nothing but sit in a corner and play with me, I will happily defend you from importunate dancers... :D

Thanks, but I'm really not much of a musician. I noodle on the hammered dulcimer, but I've never been anywhere near performance level. Indeed, I can't really read music -- I can play a fair chunk of the SCA dance repertoire, but that's entirely by ear, because I know all of that music intimately after teaching the dances for so many years.

The truth is, dance is still one of my favorite activities, which is why it took me a long time to admit to myself that I just can't muster the energy to travel for a weekend event right now...

I understand.

By the way, playing by ear is a completely legitimate form of musicianship, and one I wish I were better at! I'd still be happy to sit and noodle with you just for fun, any time you like.

Thanks. I really should get my little portable dulcimer tuned and start bringing it places again.

My main dulcimer is an enormous 14/15, triple-strung -- it keeps its tune well and is loud enough for an entire hall, but it is *bloody* heavy (it's a yard across, and the walls are 3/4-inch-thick hardwood), so I tend not to transport it unless I'm serious. (I sometimes refer to it as "my piano soundboard".)

But I've also got a cute little 9/10 that I picked up at Pennsic about 25 years ago, single-strung and hand-painted, weighing only a few pounds. Too quiet for anything serious, but nice for noodling...

3/4...inch...hardwood? Yikes.

I second the comment that playing by ear is a fine skill to have. I hope you and your dulcimer get more opportunities to play together.

3/4...inch...hardwood? Yikes.

Yeah, it's kind of a monster, but a damned useful one.

The thing is, my father gave me this *beautiful* dulcimer for my wedding to Caitlin, way back when. Light and delicate, fabulous tone, beautiful inlay -- the thing's a work of art.

It is also tuned chromatically. It took me a year or two to figure out that that was why I couldn't play dance music worth a damn. If the good lord had meant us to have more than one B-flat, he would have designed it into the dulcimer in the first place.

So eventually I basically said to Dad, "Look -- this dulcimer is beautiful, but kind of useless to me. You, OTOH, have two dulcimers: your good one (with the lovely shiny-black soundboard), and the old munitions-grade one you never use. I will happily trade you the beautiful-but-useless for the old one." Dad accepted the trade, and I've been using the munitions-grade one ever since. (And he, being a far better musician than I, could experiment with the chromatic one.)

Like I said, in most ways it is a marvelously practical SCA dulcimer -- big, remarkably loud, holds tune quite well (the advantage of 70-some-odd strings and a rock-solid case that laughs at temperature changes) and has a nice wide range. But it weighs a ton and a half, and completely fills the trunk of a typical sedan. (Fortunately, it is solid enough that you can put a suitcase on *top* of it.)

I hope you and your dulcimer get more opportunities to play together.

Thanks. Now that I'm fully moved, I really should pull it out (for the first time in ages) and check its tune. It's right here in the closet in my office. But I should wait until I'm sure the neighbors are awake first. And I really need to repair the padding on my good hammers, simply as a mercy to those in the neighborhood...

Sometimes stepping back is the best thing to do. Enjoy the journey, wherever it takes you :-)

I completely and totally hear you.

Been there, once decided to take six months off, much to the consternation to some folks who wanted me to attend an event in the middle of that. :)

Go do something else. If you find a way to come back and have fun doing it, do so, otherwise we will still be your friends, no matter what you choose to do.

alexi and i are doing a quintavia cook's guild on 8/11 here at camelot, if you wanna come make pies :)

Re: fyi if you care

Hmm. Possible. Any particular kind of pies?

Re: fyi if you care

savory is the current plan

Re: fyi if you care

Well, it's certainly possible -- let me put it on my calendar as a maybe. What time?

Re: fyi if you care


Re: fyi if you care

(Although I note that that appears to be NELCO weekend, and I'm definitely going to that...)

Taking a few months at the right time prevents taking years off too late.
Enjoy the hiatus, enjoy your marriage.

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