Kenna McKenna is an Alchemist, poet, playwright, and hanger-on at the Tudor court.  He divides his presence between Bankside and his patron's dinner table, and his time between the immoderate flattery and unfortunate satire of his Baron and Baroness.  He can be reached at: mckenna(takethisout)werks {at} gmail-dot-com.

Persona "Postcards" from Uncle 'Traveling' McKenna

 This exposition is the last time an entry will be out-of-persona: 

Persona play can be a lot of fun.  While it has been around since the SCA's earliest days, its practice seems to have fallen off in recent years.  I had done it on occasion since AS V, but I truly got hooked on it by His Grace Sir Cariadoc of the Bow when I was living in the Barony of Axemoor, Meridies.  12th Night, AS XVII (IIRC) he was holding forth in a room off the event hall telling stories in persona. I stopped by to listen, and decided to play too.  So in the unsophisticated way of a Dublin Viking I asked him who was this Allah?   What followed was an amazing time as the educated moor tried to explain Allah and Islam to the heathen and skeptical infidel, and the earnest young Viking tried to explain why little guy from al-Andalus had totally missed the boat.  It was one of those magical SCA-moments when we weren't David and Robert, but a moor and a Viking trying to describe our worlds to each other.

I'd like to see this sort of thing revived and as common as it once was.  Hence my A&S 50 Persona Challenge:  Fifty Persona 'Postcards' from Uncle "Traveling" McKenna.

It's probably dating me to an unfortunate extent, but I confess I enjoyed watching Fraggle Rock with my daughters when they were children.  One of my favorite characters was Gobo's "Uncle Traveling Matt" who sent his nephew postcards from "Outer Space" (the world of humans). 

I will be writing a series of brief letters to my "nephew" a "master A. of Ledgefield" who is of an age to be instructed, from his uncle Kenna, a courtier of the "Earl of Stafford"—Literati may note an homage to Cecilia Holland's The Earl; there is no "Ledgefield" and the honor of Stafford actually belonged to the Earl of Chester.

The conceit is that I am traveling from the Earl's court near London to meet with some persons on the continent on the Earl's business.  My destination and mission will perhaps become discernible from context as the series progresses, but this fictional embassage is not my focus.  While they will present an example of persona, and even 'persona story,' the main thrust is to describe the details of some aspect of 16th century life that the reader may find useful in integrating into their persona, or as a springboard to research into similar matters.

Originally I had intended the letters to range from the 13th to 16th centuries in no particular order of location.  My own persona (for now) is an alchemist, poet-philosopher, and courtier (the time and place vary on mood and what garb I feel like wearing).  I still don't feel constrained to slavish adherence to the space-time continuum of our shared objective historical reality, but I have decided it is more in the spirit of the AS 50 Challenge if the letters may follow a logical and chronological route and pattern.

In order not to spoil the atmosphere the letters are not footnoted or documented, but after the final letter a list of references consulted will be published.  It might be appropriate to add I've been researching medieval life since I learned how to read in Kindergarten (that's 48 years) and while the letters meet the the A&S 50 Challenge criteria of having been written since A.S. XLII, the research goes back years.  Also the search is half the fun, and I'm not trying to spoon-feed you facts, but to encourage you to wonder "what would I have known about that?" and then to set off on the hunt to find out.  

I would also like to encourage others to consider writing me back.  Because I am an Alchymist and poet-philosopher I don't feel we need be constrained to slavish adherence to the space-time continuum.  After all, we've already happily abandoned shared objective reality.  While my letters are intended to follow a logical route and sequence in the 1590s, my correspondents need not be from the same year (or even century). 

These posts should be coming every month or so until the SCA's 50th Anniversary.


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