Sliding Through September

Well, I did not accomplish everything I had set out to, but that’s ok. Sometimes life does not allow things to go as planned.

Events – There were four fantastic events since my August Update. Bjorn’s Retreat, Coronation, Harper’s Retreat, and Falling Leaves. I learned that going to an event with company is better for my mental health. I attended Bjorn’s Retreat alone. My anxiety spiked on the way, and I considered turning around even after I had arrived. But I was able to spend time with good friends, and make new friends and stand in court for the first time as Champion. Coronation was slightly easier, as I was accompanied by the lovely Nobildonna Fiore now Her Excellency, Baronessa of Carolingia. Had car trouble which caused my anxiety to spike. But I also got completely ready, make up and clothing in less than 20 minutes, a new record for me. I met my fellow Champion in person, which was a true delight. Standing in court next to him was wonderful. I met a dazzling array of people that day and swore fealty to the newly crowned Emperor and Empress. I did decide to wear junihitoe + uchiki instead of full karaginu mo. This was a great decision, as I was already overheated in what I was wearing. Harper’s Retreat was a lot of work. My partner attended with me. We recorded Carolingian Investiture (the ceremony where the baronage is turned over to new heads) and I taught 2 classes (more on those shortly). It was our first time setting up the camping equipment in the dark, and it went rather well. Watching my dear friend receive his writ for Laurel (given notice that he will be elevated to the order for excellence in the arts and sciences) was the highlight of that event. Falling leaves was virtual, and I had some conflicts, but was able to attend the last court of Thomas and Raziya and the first court of Fiore and Frithuric.

Classes – At Harper’s Retreat I was scheduled to teach two classes. On Saturday for my Heian Women’s Clothing course, I didn’t have any “actual” students. Her Excellency Raziya and the Consort’s Bard, THL Agnes kept me company and workshopped my class with me. I am grateful for their questions and insight and will be revising the handout. My other class, taught on Sunday, Pilgrimage and Power: The Travelling Outfit, had two students. These ladies also asked a number of questions, and I will be revising my handout for this class as well to include more information. That handout needs more pictures. Ok, so they both need more pictures. Once they are revised I will create a page on the website for class handouts and provide links so you can view/download as you like.

1000 Tanka – Current count is 909. I can almost taste the finish line on this project. As it’s drawing closer to the finish, I’ve begun some work to tidy up the document. I didn’t actually number the first 375 or so poems. I had counted through, and left a few numbers, but I didn’t start really numbering the individual poems until I was already more than a third of the way through with the project. I found one bit misnumbering early on that corrected itself a dozen or so poems later. But I skipped 388 entirely. So I made a note and created a poem for that spot, appropriately dated, to take the spot. If anyone ever reads the whole document, I hope they can chuckle at the error. Reading through the older poems as I numbered was like reading a diary. I didn’t realize how much of myself was in all of this.

Consort’s Champion – Meet the Artist Mondays is going very well. I still need to create the wiki page for it. I’ve gotten to in person stand in court 3 times now. It’s fascinating. And it’s such a privilege to watch deserving gentles be recognized for their prowess, service and art from behind/beside the thrones.

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – So this didn’t go as planned. I have not yet made the kosode or kake-obi. I’m not sure when I’ll pick it back up. At the moment I’ve shelved all of my projects with the exception of 1000 Tanka while I focus on my family.

An August Update

It’s going to be a busy rest of the month. But, let’s start with a bit of catch up on July’s progress.

I finished the super secret project, a Tang inspired award scroll. I hope you enjoyed the progress photos and reading about my process.

In the same court in which that scroll was presented, I was honored with two awards, the Sovereign’s Order of Excellence and the Order of the Maunche. You can watch that portion of court at timestamp 44:22 of this video on the East Kingdom’s YouTube channel.

1000 Tanka – Current count is 816. There are just under 3 months left. I’m writing two poems per day, and I’ll need to write at least 3 for 20 or so of the remaining 84 days to hit the mark.

Awakened from sleep By a sudden hard downpour Rain against shutters

Interrupted dreams fading As the storm batters my mind

Language – I had been using two programs, but this past month I mostly used Duolingo. I need to get back to using Rosetta Stone daily as well. Also received some advice on getting practice with a native speaker, though I don’t feel ready for that yet.

Consort’s Champion – The Sovereign’s Champion and I have decided to start a series of bi-monthly Facebook posts, Meet the Artist Mondays, to spotlight Artisans of the East. That link will take you to the first post. In the next few weeks, we’ll get a wiki page set up for the series so that those who do not use Facebook can also read the posts.

Coming up:

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – The project is coming out of time out and I’m going to race to finish it. This will mean fixing the sleeves of the hitoe, making the red kake-obi, and creating a kosode. I’m racing because I will need it for an event next month. Also, I’ve discovered through the book that I acquired that the kosode’s length should be about a foot past floor length. (It’s tucked up for wear/walking) I do not have the yardage for that, so that will be another little thing that isn’t quite right with the outfit, but it will be as close as I can make it.

I have two events this month, and one next – in person events. At Bjorn’s Retreat on the 14th I’ll have the great privilege of standing in court as Champion for the first time. And then on the 28th, Coronation. And for September, Harper’s Retreat where I have volunteered to teach two classes, Introduction to Japanese Women’s Clothing (working title) and Pilgrimage and Power – The Travelling Outfit. I’ll be working on those handouts for the next few weeks. I’ll also be attending a virtual event in September, Falling Leaves, where I’ll display my finished kosode.

Now it’s time to get to work, there’s a lot to do!

A Tang Inspired Scroll

On July 11, Lady Phaedra de Vere was inducted into the East Kingdom’s Order of the Silver Wheel for her service. With Þorfinn Hróðgeirsson’s words, I created a Tang Chinese inspired scroll for the occasion. This was my first scroll for the East Kingdom.

Gouache on Pergamenata

This was the most difficult scroll I’ve ever completed. I failed twice in its making. I lost faith in myself and my skill at times. But with the help of dear friends I kept going, and in the end it came out beautifully. And the recipient is very happy which is the most important part. What follows is the timeline of events leading to the completed scroll with progress photos.

Thursday, March 18 – I receive word that a dear friend is to be inducted into the East Kingdom’s Order of the Silver Wheel. An image forms in my mind for the scroll. I see the recipient, resplendent in her Tang garb gazing into a pond that reflects the moon as the silver wheel she is being awarded. Her heraldry is a white lily, so I muse that including white lilies might be nice.

Friday, March 19 – I reach out to the Tyger Clerk to volunteer to create the scroll.

Sunday, March 21 – Instructions for how to officially volunteer for scrolls are provided. In my excitement, I misunderstand the instructions and started happily working on the scroll. I reach out on the SCA Scribes and Illuminators group on Facebook to find a calligrapher. I have a few offers and recommendations from that group. The post is briefly shared to a group the recipient is in. I fret that the surprise has been blown.

Monday, March 22 – A translator that had been recommended reached out to me. Information was shared and as they know the recipient, and agreed to compose an appropriate poem for the occasion. I order two each of two different premounted scroll blanks. I reached out to someone who offered help with research and composition. And I am indebted to Taylor Chen for their assistance. I’m in luck that my initial idea can be done in a decidedly period fashion. My artistic consultation provides a plethora of research options and a crash course in Tang culture and art. I create a webpage for my scribal work so the Scribal Office can see my past work, and fill out the forms to be an official East Kingdom Scribe.

Thursday, March 25 – The scroll blanks have arrived! Oddly enough, the slightly smaller scroll blank is my preference. It is backed in silk while the slightly larger is backed with paper. (I somehow fail to notice that the larger is paper for the ground as well.) I also like the darker contrast fabric framing the cream silk around the paintable area more than the solid white one.

Luckily I will be able to use my new lightpad with either, and that relieves some of my stress knowing that I won’t have to freehand the whole thing. I need to start sketching soon, as the image/painting needs to be complete before I can send it to the calligrapher. I’m terribly excited (and a little nervous) about the whole project. I think I’d like to get the illumination (painted) portion of the scroll finished no later than the end of April so there are 2 full months available for the calligraphy.

March 27 – After an email from the Tyger Clerk, I realize that I was working on the scroll prior to having the official assignment. It causes me some anxiety that I had made that kind of mistake, but is sorted when I then receive the official assignment email.

March 28 – I confirm the official assignment. The scroll is due July 4th, so I relax my end of April deadline a little to May.

April 1 – Last night the person writing the words sent the first draft of the poem. It’s amazing. And beautiful. And so well researched and constructed. They’ve taken the generic scroll text I came up with and created a poem in an ancient Chinese style IN CHINESE. I am in awe of this individual’s talent.

April 2 – I’ve essentially finished my research phase of the project. I have a curated selection of period images and a couple from later but still within SCA period as well as a modern painting or two. The later period examples (circa 1500) are for style suggestions, and a cheeky but hopefully subtle inspiration from paintings of the goddess of the moon. The modern painting details lilies. I have a Tang reference image, provided by Taylor, but the modern one shows a detail in use of colour that I think I would like to emulate. I’ve also done an initial sketch of the scroll, full size. I’m encouraged by it. I’m going to alter the figure’s stance to emulate a Tang image of a court lady, the farthest left from Zhou Fang’s Court Ladies Adorning Their Hair With Flowers. I plan to have the figure holding a long handled paddle fan. I aim to complete at least one sketch per day until I have the final image.

April 3 – Second sketch done. This is more a line drawing than a sketch. I think I have the proportions right, the angles all look good. The pond is discernably a pond. The lady actually looks like she’s looking into the pond. I stretched the silver wheel “reflection” just slightly and tried to match the angle of the water to good effect. There’s this beautiful line created through the composition from the moon through the figure’s gaze and into the pond’s reflection that just makes me SO happy. This is not the line angled through the piece, that was to mark off the space for text. I spend just a moment wondering how to detail the hands before sketching the long-handled paddle fan in. It’s perfect. The next iteration will detail the hair.

April 11 – Third iteration complete. I based the hair on the recipient’s wig called “Steve.” I share a picture with the person who helped me with research. They suggest that the leaves of the lilies blow in the breeze as the figure’s scarf is “fluttering in the breeze”. I make the change and it gives the image a wonderful sense of movement.

And then I could not art for a month.

May 14 – I “complete” the final line drawing. This is the version that is ready for transferring onto the scroll. It does not yet have the patterns for the fabric details as I’m mulling those over.

May 15 – The calligrapher may have an issue.

May 23 – The wordsmith wants a little time for rewrites. Not a problem as I no longer have a calligrapher to write his words. Herein starts a mad scramble to find a new one. Spoiler alert, I don’t.

May 24 – I briefly lose my mind about the project. I consider redesigning to a late period English style. I seek advice from a friend who helps me break everything down and be much more rational about the whole thing. I owe His Lordship Roibeard mac Neill mhic Ghille Eoin a great debt. He asks for progress reports in return.

May 25 – Baroness Audrye Beneyt begins her 25 minutes for 25 days challenge. I use it as a prompt to get the scroll completed, sort of.

May 30 – Practice image created on scrap silk using ground Chinese ink.

Image transferred to the scroll blank. I first taped the line drawing to the lightpad and then the scroll blank over that. It was traced directly onto the silk with freshly ground ink.

And then I stared at it for days. And I mixed the paint colors.

June 7 – I let the wordsmith know I’m unable to secure a replacement calligrapher. I ask if they mind if I do it. I’m confident I can copy the characters legibly.

And then I stared at it some more.

June 10 – The recording session in which the recipient is awarded her silver wheel happens tonight. She was very surprised.

June 11 – I add fabric details to the line drawing and tape down the practice silk to cardboard. I did not take photos of progress on the practice silk.

June 12 – Base paint layer of white added. Green added to lilies. That halo of white around the moon is a portent of things to come. Cue my anxiety over how much the paint is going to bleed. I’ve painted silk before, but not quite like this. The nagging doubt I had about how well the “prepared” scroll blank was actually prepared seems warranted.

June 14 – Skin, hair, moon and flower in the hair painted. Minimal bleeding.

June 16 – Water, lower skirt and wheel painted. The bleeding of the paint is slight, but it has me very worried. I paint the band at the bust and want to cry. But I think it’s still salvageable.

June 18 – Painted in the large color block and the paint bled very badly. I reach out to a different friend to see if it’s as bad as I think. She confirms what I already know.

Baroness Audrye’s Challenge ends, and instead of a finished scroll, the scroll has to be started over. Fail one. I attempted to use the paper scroll blank and found very quickly that it would have the same bleeding issues. Fail two. At least fail two was quick and relatively painless.

So I changed the proportions of the image just slightly, lowering the moon and changing the pond bank on the right side and transferred the image onto pergamenata. I also correct a mistake in the skirts that I found after zooming in to see the fabric details on the lower skirt. Because of the resize I left the lilies off as they would need a bit of redrawing to fit properly, and since I was redrawing them, I decided to pull them more in line with the period images as I think they look very western. In the end, I decided to leave them off entirely.

June 19 – First layers of paint added to the scroll.

June 21 – Another layer of white base on the figure, moon and wheel. Flower and water painted.

June 23 – Silver added to the moon and wheel. Large color block is painted. The perg has gone wavy on me despite being taped to my lightpad. The scroll is in an “ugly phase” and I worry that I’ve created another failed attempt. I go to the art supply store and buy all new brushes.

June 24 – Lower skirt painted.

June 25 – Repainting the lower skirt, moon, wheel and flower. Detail at the bust painted.

June 26 – Gold details added. I also used a brush with just a little water to “erase” a bit of paint from the figure’s shoulder. Pattern added to underdress. The scarf has been given another coat of white. The fan is given another coat of white, this time on top of the gold of the handle/support to create a sheer fabric effect. Tiny black details added to the gold in the lower skirt.

I add white and black details to the headdress and begin the black outlining with the headdress and moon.

Black outline and details added. Makeup and face details painted.

June 27 – Necklace painted. The illumination part of the scroll is complete.

June 29 – I am not a calligrapher. I have always “drawn” any calligraphy I’ve done. I have no experience with Chinese calligraphy and barely any practice in Japanese calligraphy. I know that my brushstrokes will not be in the right order or even direction, but I know that I can copy the characters and they will be legible. First, practice. I can’t get the detail I need with a traditional brush. I practice the calligraphy with an archival brush pen and then with an 18/0 round brush and gouache. My lines are more fine and clear with the paint.

June 30 – The calligraphy is complete and with it, the scroll.

The first person who got to see it was the wordsmith. The two people I took into my confidence so I could ask for artistic help were given sneak peeks. I take the best picture I can of it and send that off with the words to the appropriate place.

July 1 – I create a scroll holder out of foam core boards, copy paper and masking tape to protect the scroll until it is delivered.

July 11 – The scroll image is shown in court. The recipient loves it.

July 12 – Scroll delivered to the Vox.

Big lessons learned:

(1) ALWAYS zoom in as far as you can on your examples. There are some small changes I made in the finished version of the scroll that would have been made into bigger changes earlier in the process if I had zoomed ALL the way in.

(2) It’s good to have someone to talk to about a secret project.

(3) Practice. I already knew this one, but we can all use the reminder.

(4) Always have a backup plan. And a backup to your backup. The final scroll was my plan C.

(5) Invest in your tools. They really make a difference. This project was made so much easier with new high quality brushes and a great lightpad. My ring light was also invaluable.

Taking a Break

From blogging. I’m taking a hiatus until I have my super secret project finished. All active projects are still in progress, but you’ll have to wait a while on an update.

Struggling

Content Warning: Discussions of mental health.

In the information on my splash page I state, “I fight anxiety and other challenges.” Right now those other challenges, and the anxiety, have me struggling. And it’s all been a little too much. My projects are suffering. I’m suffering. And I’m entirely overwhelmed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still doing things. But it feels like dragging myself through mud filled with broken glass. I’m slowed to a painful pace in everything I do. And everything takes so much more energy than it should.

I’m going to have to let as many projects as I can sit idle for a while, though not many can.

Saishi – The first is my Japanese Hair Accessory class. I’ve postponed the class for a few months. I’d like to get some more research done before I feel comfortable speaking to actual people on the subject.

Bardic War is entirely done. Which is a huge relief. Unfortunately the recording of the Original Poetry warpoint seems to have disappeared from Facebook. I did record my portion, just in case though. More on that in the next section. The best news is that the East/Atlantia alliance won the war!

Laurels’ Challenges are essentially done. Helping to set up pages for entrants was fairly quick and easy. I will need to meet with each of the Laurels for the challenges I entered in about a week. You can find my entries here. The recording of my performance for Bardic War is also available on that page.

Consort’s Champion of A&S – I have a discussion later this week with the Consort’s Bardic Champion for a potential joint initiative.

1000 Tanka – not a project I can stop, nor do I want to. Writing poems is often very cathartic for me. They serve as an outlet for my emotions and creativity. I find writing them helpful for my mental health. So this stays. Current count is 626.

The writing desk sits Patiently waiting for me To pick up my brush

There are more poems to write, Another story to tell

Samurai Training – this is also something I will not be giving up. Physical health is vital to mental health. I’m still struggling with my injury, but I get stronger every day.

Language – it seems that I’ve moved to a Monday through Friday schedule for this. Unit 3 milestone today and then off into unit 4.

This blog. Not something I want to give up. I may not get the posts up exactly when I want to, but they will go up.

Secret Project – I have one secret project that I can not put down that is the source of a lot of my stress. I talked it through with a wonderful friend this morning and have a clear plan for my next few steps. But this project tests the limits of my skill and that has had me paralyzed with fear for over a month.

Listing it out you may not wonder why I’m still so overwhelmed. Perhaps it has something to do with not being willing to make some projects idle? But there are also things on my plate that are not SCA/Heian related projects. I have responsibilities to my family that can not be put down. There’s also still a pandemic going on. And I’m still reeling, months later, from both the death of my companion parrot and the loss of my job. Both have me in tears daily. I wish I was exaggerating.

So, yeah, I’m struggling. And I’m still doing my best.

It Feels Good to Finish

I get to mark a few things off the list this week starting with Bardic War.

Bardic War – My live performance of Original Poetry is complete. I have no idea if I’ll ever know how I scored, but I’m proud of the job I did. It hasn’t been posted to YouTube yet, but it can be seen on Facebook. My performance is at minute 33. The A&S warpoint will go live on YouTube later this week. I’ll post its link when it’s available.

Laurels’ Challenge – Officially done with the entrant part.* I entered into (1)The Planning Stages – for this I created a document explaining how I planned my travelling outfit complete with pictures of my first longhand notes. (2)Stretch That Comfort Zone – for this I created a small write up of how I planned for the performance and how I felt before and after. (3) Solo Performance/Bardic War Performance – this one required that I share a bit about the process and a performance. (4) Period Poetry – for this one I submitted a brief description of my inspiration for the 3 poems that I wrote for my performance:

Delicate branches Exploding in pink blossoms Brighten the garden

One wonders what Spring whispered To prompt such a sudden blush 

***

One hesitant bloom Unnoticed amongst the rest Waits, undecided

It knows Spring can be fickle And tomorrow might be cold

***

The occasional Chill of early Spring will be Forgotten quickly

The gardener is patient As he goes about his work

Once the website goes live I’ll include a link.

1000 Tanka – Current count: 600.

Language – I’ve learned how to say a thing is clean or dirty, whether something smells good or bad and I know that feet are called ashi.

Samurai Training – Definite progress! I’ve been upgraded in the difficulty of my physio exercises.

Consort’s Champion – the official handoff of regalia is complete. I know that we had already done our recording, but we appeared “in court” at the recording session this week. I actually wore my regalia, a sash and a collar of office during my Bardic War performance. His Majesty Alberic praised me for the job I’ve been doing so far as Champion in waiting (Poetry Month Challenge). There were a lot of big feelings. This will be in the June 13th court. And now back to that * I put on Laurels’ Challenge. Being Champion makes me a Kingdom level A&S officer. As such, I have the privilege of helping the Ministry of A&S when called upon. My first bit of helping will be setting up webpages for a number of entrants to Laurels’ Challenge. It’s going to be fun work because I’ll get to see a few of them before anyone else.

Momentum

I hope the bit of momentum I have after completing a couple of things can carry me through and help me finish a bit more.

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – I finished the new sleeves on the asetori. I may take a pause on this project for a little while.

Consort’s Champion – I met with the outgoing champion and received the regalia. My partner filmed the handover, and then edited it with some music. I think it’s magical. It’s been given to the webminister. I’ll post a link to the court it’s used in when it goes live in June. It was very surreal to do something in garb with another person.

Bardic War – My documentation and entry video have been submitted for the A&S war point. I’ll post a link to the YouTube video after it airs with timestamps. For the Original Poetry performance, I recorded a full dress (except glasses) performance and had people review it. The overwhelming response was to increase the pause between my verbal documentation and the poems, and between the tanka themselves. I was more critical than the people I asked for review. This will be a live performance streamed live on YouTube on the Bardic War channel. Original Poetry is slated to start at 9am this Sunday the 16th of May and run to approximately Noon. I do not have any idea where I will be in the order.

Laurels’ Challenge – I need to continue to fill out the document I’ve started for the planning challenge and create a framework post for the stretch your boundaries one to be filled out with final thoughts after the performance. I’ll need to read over what kind of information is wanted for the bardic performance and original poetry challenges. 4 challenges may seem like a lot, but 3 of them center around my the three poems I wrote for the Original Poetry warpoint for Bardic War, so it doesn’t feel like a lot.

Language – Slow and steady wins the race.

Samurai Training – I think I’m getting better. I’ve been able to accomplish all of my exercises staying in the “sore” range of sensation. More professional help tomorrow.

1000 Tanka – Current count is 581.

The rhythmic tapping Of the handle of my brush On the writing desk

Words marching to my heartbeat Advance across the paper

Responsibility

All hobby progress stops for mundane needs. It has to be that way. There were things I just didn’t get to this week.

Samurai Training – My age is playing a larger factor than I thought it might, I guess. I get injured more easily and sleeping wrong put my shoulder out of commission for days. But I say this not for sympathy, just to acknowledge that it will be harder now than it would have been 12 years ago when I first authorized to fight. And that’s ok. It’s going to take time to get into the kind of shape I have to be in to fight heavy list in the SCA. And even if I discover it’s not really for me, I’d prefer to get into shape now and stay that way. I’m not getting any younger, but being in good condition will help me live better and longer. Currently I have an hour of exercises of physical therapy, a two mile walk and a light calisthenics routine every day. I’ll probably add yoga back in soon.

Consort’s Champion – The Poetry Month Challenge is now complete. There were 62 participants who wrote more than 450 poems. There were 7 people who wrote to each of the 30 prompts and a couple more who only missed one or two. I’m very impressed. I also created an East Kingdom wiki page so the poems could be easily found and read. The page just provides links to the individual Facebook posts, though a Facebook account is not needed to click on the link and read the poems. This Saturday I’m meeting with the outgoing Sovereign’s Champion of A&S to do that in person, in garb recorded hand off. That should be a lot of fun. And a little stressful.

Bardic War – I got the confirmation emails about the two war points I’m involved with. I have one week to finish things for submission on the 8th. I still need to practice the poems in front of people. I hope I can manage it all.

Laurels’ Challenge – No progress aside from a little thinking.

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – No progress.

1000 Tanka – Current count is 557. I wrote this one for the end of the April Tanka Challenge and the Poetry Month Challenge:

A month of poems Drawing now to a finish As the last day ends

Gathered words released in lines Meaning given to phrases

Language – I’ve missed a few days, but I’m still determined to learn.

All in all I’m a little overwhelmed and I’m feeling a lot of pressure. There’s a lot to do on a short time frame. There are people counting on me, so I’ve got to do my best.

The Project I Don’t Talk About

No, not the secret one. This one. This blog.

It’s a project in itself, and I haven’t really thought about it that way. It’s been a component of a project, but once version one of the travelling outfit was complete and I transitioned the blog to weekly project updates, I never stopped to think that it had become it’s own project.

And I’m struggling a bit keeping up with it along with all of the other projects I’m juggling.

I’ve stretched myself quite thin.

Here’s the weekly update:

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – I’ve pulled all the stitching from the piece outside of the edge finishing. That seemed like a smart thing to leave. I’ve decided not to take in the side seams. Next step is to press and then cut the old sleeve into the two new sleeves (which is just cutting it in half). It’ll be tricky in a few spots attaching the sleeve without removing the seam finishes from the side seams and armscye. I’ll attach the sleeve to the body and then sew the asetori closed from the part of the sideseam under the arm that was previously (erroneously) left open through to the sleeve cuff. Then I’ll finish the seam. I’m still undecided on the collar. That’s not quite right. I don’t want to do the collar, but I will, at some point in the next few months.

Consort’s Champion – We’ve set the date for the change over of office. It will happen in a recording session in May for June’s court. Nobildonna Fiore and I have plans to do an in person, in garb, recorded hand over of regalia. Poetry Month is drawing to a close. This is the final week of the Challenge. I’ll need to get in touch with someone in the webministry about creating an East Kingdom wiki page that can host the links to the Facebook group posts.

1000 Tanka – Current count is 527.

The quiet beauty In sadness that slips down cheeks Brushed away by sleeves

Emotion escaping from An otherwise serene form

Samurai Training – I’ve started a low impact exercise routine in combination with walking. So far, so good.

Language – I recognized a couple of words in music this week. It was a little thrilling.

Bardic War – I plan to practice and then record a performance, upload that as an unlisted YouTube video and share the link with a few people for feedback. I also printed out the rubric for the A&S warpoint and have begun reviewing it and some supporting documentation in preparation for rewriting my documentation. They require translations to be included in an appendix. So I’ll have to figure out how to format that, as well as actually write out all of the translations.

Laurels’ Challenge – I scaled back to four. Three of them are essentially fulfilled with the original poetry for Bardic War. The other is a write up of how I planned travelling outfit version one. I’ve started that and still have all my working notes.

Too Many Projects?

Well, I think I’ve gotten myself into it this time…

I’ve added projects to my list. I know I wasn’t supposed to, but, well, you see…

Bardic War – This is two-fold. (1) I volunteered for the A&S war point and need to reformat my existing documentation into the preferred format, I think I’ve mentioned this… (2) I was asked to also perform some period original poetry. This will be a live zoom event in May. I’m already super nervous. I don’t enjoy performing, but I felt it my responsibility as a Champion to do what I could. SO… Because tanka are quite short, I thought it best to compose a conversation between lovers and perform three to four poems in a back and forth. I have three tanka and my verbal documentation written so far. That may be it. I may have composed the right things. I need to perform the poems for friends via video and get feedback.

Laurels’ Challenge – There are a number of these that I would like to meet. I have to send an email by this evening to put myself in for the challenges I’m interested in answering. Most of these tie in to existing or already completed projects. That is not to say that it will be easy or not take very much time, because it will be difficult to meet all of the challenges and it will definitely take a good amount of time to do so.

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – The asetori is sitting, languishing, as I decide whether to take the side seams in or not and whether to redo the collar. The side seams may not be necessary, but the collar is wrong and will never lay quite right as it is now. I still hate the idea of ripping things out of this garment. With Pennsic officially postponed for another year, I will not have to have it ready for that war point. So there is at least that.

Champion – Poetry Month: more than 50 poet participants and 250 poems so far. It’s eating up more of my emotional energy than I had anticipated. Still very worth it. I had the suggestion come in this week to collect the poems for an East Kingdom wiki page. It will be a lot of work to do, but if my poets are interested, I’ll do it. This would be an after May project though. I’m trying not to add too much to my already overflowing plate…

1000 Tanka – I hit 500 and wrote this to celebrate:

Five hundred tanka Written in less than six months Halfway to the end

And now to repeat the work And write the next five hundred

Language – Today I will hit my second “milestone” in the program (Rosetta Stone).

Samurai Training – Professional help has been enlisted for my injury recovery and I keep adding exercises back as able. I’m going to attempt running again this week…

Saishi Class – I added a period source for the class, a comment from Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book from the First Day, or New Year celebrations. “This is the day when members of the nobility who live outside the Palace arrive in their magnificently decorated carriages to admire the blue horses. As the carriages are drawn over the ground-beam of the Central Gate, there is always a tremendous bump, and the heads of the women passengers are knocked together; the combs fall out of their hair, and may be smashed to pieces if the owners are not careful. I enjoy the way everyone laughs when this happens.”

I also found a reference about a guard who was poorly powdered and added that to the Heian cosmetics research I have also started. I found some wonderful tidbits in articles, including a 97 page Master’s Thesis by Rebekah S Hunter entitled Aesthetics of Womanhood of Heian Japan. I’m looking forward to diving in to it at some point soon. I have a feeling I’ll be able to add information to a number of my research projects and classes that are in the works. After all, what’s the point in learning something if you’re not going to share it?