SCA… that’s Society for Creative Anachronism. I’m in it. I love it.
But… what is it?
It is a group of reenactors and researchers interested in pre-modern Europe, generally during the Middle Ages, though they have stretched that a bit these days to cover pretty much pre-17th century. There are also those who research Asian and Pre-Columbian American cultures as well.
Fancy verbiage aside. We like Medieval stuff. We like dressing up and reading and playing and beating each other with sticks.
We love those magical moments when we can suspend disbelief for a twinkling of time and watch the banners fly, the men and women on horseback, the crafters and kings, the fighters on the list field. For a few breathless seconds, it’s almost like we’re there, centuries back, in a whole other world.
I brought my love of reenacting into the Journeymen series. In the story, the time travelers learn their skills through an SCA-like group called the Medieval Reenactment Association. Yeah, it’s a bit of a cheat, but I’m too poor for unhappy legal tangles.
Anyway, they learn everything from fighting to tailoring to cooking and a thousand little details that would be handy to know in a pre-modern world. You know, in case you step on a portal and get thrown back to, say, 1578 Italy.
Our post-industrial world doesn’t really appreciate what goes into the things we use every day and take for granted.
One of my favorite things to do in my World History classes is to give my students a tuft of wool. I have them comb it out and then try to spin it into thread. After varying degrees of success, including showing them a spindle, I let them know that’s step 1. Now let’s weave it, dye it, cut it into a pattern, hand sew the pieces, and all the rest to create a garment. By then, they get the point.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m deeply appreciative of living in a modern world with industrial manufacturing of goods so I can own several pairs of shoes and never visit a cobbler. It’s just that we should also appreciate what our world was like before mass production.
Anyway, I just love the fact that I can use my reenacting experience in my book as well. Like so many things I’ve written about, I just sort of stumbled into it and it has would up being perfect.