Well, being at best computer semi-literate, this is my first attempt to post a "blog" - do forgive me if it isn't nearly as "professional" as some on the internet, but I primarily live in the 12th century after all!
This is Baroness TSivia bas Tamara v'Amberview's personal blog site for her bid to become Landed Baroness of the Barony of Skraeling Althing within the Society for Creative Anachronism. Many thanks to fellow-candidate, Lady Lucia d'Enzinas, for permission to use this flattering photo from the recent joint 12th night between the Baronies of Skraeling Althing and Septentria, wonderfully hosted by the Shire of Bastia de Lac.
TSivia joined the Society for Creative Anachronism back just after they finished baking rocks (Duke Finnvarr de Taahe goes back to when rocks were doughy and soft, about 3 months earlier!), in 1971 (A.S. VI), in the Kingdom of Atenveldt. When her family returned back to Canada in 1973, there was no SCA in Ontario. About 1974 she hear rumblings of a burgeoning group starting at the Univ. of Toronto (the shire of Eoforwic), but did not find them for almost a year afterwards. She did stumble on an errant Tolkien club which decided to switch over to becoming a SCA branch (the now-defunct Shire of Noerlanda), where she became the founding Seneschale. Work relocated her from Eoforwic to more easterly wild lands, and there she founded the Canton of Skraeling Althing in 1977. Except for a short stint in Septentria when her father died in 1978, she has remained both an active member of the Society (membership #5489) and a citizen of Skraeling Althing.
TSivia holds service awards from both the Midrealm and Ealdormere (AoA and Grant levels), arts awards from the East, Middle, and Ealdormere (AoA, Grant, and Patent levels), is a Mentor Chirurgeon and past Midrealm Arts and Sciences Decathalon winner. In 2008 she stepped down as Kingdom Chirurgeon of Ealdormere after just shy of 3 years in the office, during which time she nurtured the ranks of the kingdom's Chirurgeonate from 4 members to approximately 30. She is a Baroness of the Court of Reynard and Brynhildr (Midrealm), Grand Puntiff of Ealdormere's Whimsical Order of the Ailing Wit, or W.O.A.W. (so proclaimed by the Grand Puntiff of An Tir), and maintains that her AoA promissory is older than about 3/4 of the populace of Ealdormere. She is currently on Vigil and contemplating the offer of Their Lupine Majesties Etain and Valfreya, to join the noble Order of the Pelican.
The following text is excerpted from TSivia's letter of Intent to the polling committee on why she is running for the position.
The SCA corporate office is constantly amazed at how it is that the Canadian SCA groups prefer to be in some level of affiliation (a discussion I remember back to the talks about separating Skraeling Althing from Septentria as a distinct Barony); most American SCA groups prefer to be independent, and not "tied" to other groups. It is not our way in Ealdormere, to be single shire-groups, but as we are seeing now, growth pains certainly accompany changes in the structure and internal perceptions of the Barony. Perhaps this is why my mundane training as a cultural anthropologist will serve me in good stead as Baroness. I am trained to analyze these sorts of cultural trends in groups of people.
Differences in geography, the physical distance between our furthest-afield groups, and demographics all play a part in the situation in which we currently find ourselves. Which groups are younger? Which have older members? Which groups are more successful bringing in new members vs. which ones appear to be "stagnating"? Where are older members becoming jaded, or disillusioned, at how things are going? Where are they saying "This is NOT what we envisioned?" and WHY? Who feels as if their canton is the "ant" sleeping next to the elephant (Caldrithig), and why? These are all issues I believe this Barony must needs discuss openly and without "blame" if we are to continue to grow and flourish as Skraeling Althing. And I believe that I can be a strong hand on our rudder.
I would like to believe that I am not seen as part of any of the cliques currently active within the Barony: I have indeed, worked hard to remain friendly with everyone, yet also to not be considered part of "THIS" or "THAT" sub-culture. I have nothing vested in winning: I am already a Baroness of the Court, a Laurel, and if TRM's wish it, a Pelican before we vote on this issue. I am not putting my name into the competition in order to "get" anything from this. Rather, I have stepped aside more than once since the creation of this Barony so that others who I felt were more suitable, could take the reins and guide us. I now feel that I can offer Skraeling Althing the nurturance and guidance, the open heart and cool temper, that she deserves in a leader.
I am as financially stable as anyone can be during these times of economic turmoil, and have no intention of leaving my regular teaching "gig" - I am happy with them, and they with me. I earn an acceptable wage and the demands on my time are somewhat flexible. I own a trustworthy vehicle, and my health is in the best condition it has been in since my teen years. I feel confident that I can offer this Barony the 4 to 5 years which it needs from a Baroness.
Some may be concerned that the position of being the titular head of this Barony under the King and Queen calls for a PAIR as Baron and Baroness: however both history and current practice show us that this is not necessarily so.
- Septentria, where we started, was run by Mistress Gillian d'Uriel until she returned back to what is now Northshield.
- Skraeling itself started under the guidance of Dame Enid Aurelia of the Tin Isles, who sat as solo baroness until the Barony voted to invite her husband, Baron Henry of Linlithgow, to join her as our Baron. She served for 7 years BEFORE Henry stepped up for the last 2 years of their joint tenure.
- In Septentria, Adrielle and Ieun may have stepped up as Baron and Baroness, but Ieun abdicated, leaving Adrielle to finish her term as Baroness alone (for approx. 3 years).
- Ramshaven had a solo Baron for approximately a year after their Baron and Baroness started mundane divorce proceedings.
- During their tenure as Baron and Baroness of Skraeling Althing, Baron Eric was posted and so Baroness Xristina ran the Barony alone for some time towards the end of their tenure [approximately 2 years, she informed me].
- Again, our good Baroness finds herself running the Barony on her own, this time as our Vicar, for approximately 1 1/2 years.
To run as Baroness WITH someone as Baron, I would have to know and trust this man implicitly, as there are many hysterical late-night calls from members of the Populace with (what to them are) emergencies. Both the Baron and Baroness must show a strong and unified face to the Barony (and Kingdom), and I am sad to say that although there are many fine men in the Barony who would probably make great Barons, I know none of them WELL ENOUGH to put him, myself, or the Barony, in that position. And so it is that I have decided to run on my own, on my merits and with my personal track record, as Baroness-candidate for Skraeling Althing.
And if I do not win the position, whosoever wins will have my support and loyalty, for I love this Barony fiercely. If the populace of Skraeling Althing decide that they feel more comfortable with a couple, I will sleep well at night knowing that I have offered all that I can and all that I am, and that I will continue to offer my services to the Barony in different ways.
I do not wish to put "my personal stamp" on the Barony. I do not wish to influence it to a certain time in history, a certain culture, or to a certain style. I do not wish to "force" anything on the citizens of Skraeling Althing. I want to offer the knowledge of 37 years of being a member of the SCA, of life in 3 kingdoms, and most particularly, to offer my passion for this Barony. I want to set the populace alight such that they are proud to be members of Skraeling Althing. I want to get their creative juices going and remind them why the SCA is FUN. And I want my child, this Barony, to flourish.
And if those aren't enough reasons to throw my coronet into the ring as it were, then I am simply not the person to be Baroness.