It really is amazing, and is, in part, responsible for how far the Society has come.
Occasionally though, internet communication can be annoying. There are misunderstandings. There are the inevitable trolls. There are those who spread rumors or who feel slighted over something who want to vent their frustrations. I think those who know their way around cyberspace eventually learn to sort these situations out and filter them when necessary so that they can get back to their joy of helping newcomers or researching their favorite 14th Century Thingamabob.
On SCA lists there are also those that like to toss out the phrase "The 'C' stands for 'Creative'..." This is sometimes to defend their own choice in doing something, but more often than not, I see it used not by someone who has posed the original question about something, but by a random individual on that list who seems to take offense that historic options are even being presented. Worse, it is also a phrase that is used to defend bad manners and flagrant disrespect for the game we all choose to play.
The SCA, as we know, is open to a broad range of people who have an even more broad span of interests within the Society. The one rule is that there be an "attempt" at pre-17th century costuming. That is it. It can be a good attempt, or a bad attempt, and it is all fine and good. Some people love to work on their kit, and some love to work in a kitchen or play on the field of battle. It is a system that works to bring many people together for a fantastic shared experience.
I will confess though, that that one phrase, "The 'C' stands for 'Creative'..." often means that a conversation is about to go downhill. It makes me cringe. However, I am not here to talk about others have claimed it should mean, but rather, I want to explain what that "C" means to me personally.
- The "C" means that I have the option to wear glasses should I need too. It gives me the ability to wear some very ugly, modern shoes at events where I will be walking or on my feet for hours on end (and that, in turn, means that I will still be able to walk the next day). It means that if I need to whip out my long (and very old) polar fleece cloak as an additional layer on a very cold day that it is ok.
- The "C" means that I can sew my garb by machine or by hand as I so choose. At this point, I will be handsewing much of my new garb, and I almost always hand sew seams that are visible, but that "C" reminds me that it is ok to dig deep in the garb bin and wear something I made years ago that might be entirely machine sewn. It means that a newcomer can use a costume pattern and a sewing machine and some synthetic fabric and do their best to make something to come to their first event and fall in love with the game.
- The "C" means that it is ok for me to weave textiles on a more modern loom than would have been used in my chosen historic period. I understand the historic process, but at this time I do not have the space or time to construct and weave on that historic loom type.
- The "C" means that I can camp in semi-modern comfort at events. It means that I can take a system to keep a phone charged. It means a fantastic shower set-up for events like Pennsic. It means an easier time cooking for the masses at an event or in camp.
- The "C" means that I can still wear the garb I made before I did in-depth research. All that time and effort into something that I later discovered was not-quite-as-accurate as I would now like, but yes, I can still wear that dress.
- The "C" means that the SCA has developed its own customs and traditions that might be outside of the history process. These are integral to what we do and are part of this shared experience that brings us together.
- The "C" means that I can do all of the things I love with my amazing friends, who might just not be as into historical accuracy as I am. I can also meet new amazing people with different views and share in their joy of this shared Dream as well.
- The "C" means that I can accept someone else's choice in shoes or garb or feast gear as their own version of what the "C" should be. It is a reminder that we all play a slightly different game with overlapping facets.
- Most of all what the "C" means to me is that in the SCA I get an opportunity to be creative. This IS my outlet as an artist. And the SCA has built an incredible environment that fosters the creativity of its members. It encourages people to learn and build and teach and CREATE. Everywhere you go in the SCA you see art and artisans working and expressing themselves through arts of the past. That, more than anything else, is what the "C" means to me.