This is called The Big Journal because there are quite a few things I have to talk about. Stuff going on in my life now, plans that I have, and what the future might hold for myself and my projects.
First of all, I have not done much involving the SCA lately, since I've been at college. But I'm still communicating with my friends in the group and I plan to start attending meetings nearby at least once a month. I will be going to Lilies War this June. I have several friends who are also interested in it, so if we get a good-sized group together, we can probably have our own campsite there. I'm working on making more outfits, including a Knight Hospitaller robe and mantle. I've also made a rattan sword to start practicing for SCA heavy combat. I went with the traditional hilt design rather than the basket-hilt that you see on most SCA swords. I'll upload a picture of it as well as some of my period clothing sooner or later.
I also plan to attend Planet Comicon in Kansas City this year. For the last few years I've gone to Naka-Kon, the local anime convention, which is on the same weekend. I've never liked anime but I always went there to hang out with friends. Unfortunately that friend group has sort of dissipated, so instead I'm going to Comicon with other friends. I'll be cosplaying Ser Jorah from Game of Thrones. He's probably my favorite character in the series, even if he's not exactly as depicted in the books. I just love Iain Glen's portrayal of the character, and I hope I can imitate it closely enough for the con.
College is going fairly well. I've got two History classes and two Graphic Arts classes this semester, and I'm still working at the college press. Press work definitely isn't what I plan to do in the future, but I actually enjoy it quite a lot. The people who work at the press are like one big family and I couldn't ask for a better work environment.
I have been volunteering at a local shelter for troubled girls lately. It's a state-run facility, part of the Division of Youth Services. The facility is set up like a sort of camp in the woods, with cabins for the girls to stay in. Most of them are 13-17 years of age, and they come from a variety of backgrounds; some have had trouble with drugs or alcohol, violence or abuse, and sometimes they take in girls from the Witness Protection Program. They all have their issues, and sometimes it can be risky to have close interactions with any of them, but going there just to spend some time and be a good influence on them is really important to me. The Director at the shelter has told us volunteers that she believes the benefits greatly outweigh the risks, and I definitely agree with her. It's been as much of a learning experience for me as it is for the girls, and I plan to continue volunteering there as long as I am in college down here.
As a side note, I'm also dating someone right now, which has been really nice. She's beautiful and she laughs at all of my jokes, even the really bad ones, so I couldn't have hoped for anything better.
Some of you may have seen the Order of the White Hawk Flag
I posted a while ago. Like I mentioned, some friends and I are trying to start a charity/service group which is essentially an order of chivalry. There are only a few of us involved in it as of now, but once we start doing things we hope to gain more interest. It's just hard to get the group going while all of us are in college and involved in so many other things. I do have a single-fold brochure made that explains some of the group's inspiration and ideals, which I might post here at some point. Basically, it's inspired by the earliest orders of chivalry, the Medieval military-monastic orders, particularly the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights, whose origins were in charitable work. The Knights Hospitaller started as hospitallers, of course, providing medical care for Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem before the beginning of the First Crusade. Eventually the hospital order began to also take in knights who protected their hospitals and the pilgrims traveling through the Levant. The Teutonic Knights also started as a hospital order, probably originally a German branch of the Hospitallers in Jerusalem. Our group, the Order of the White Hawk, is dedicated to serving God and Mankind, and knighthood is earned as recognition of that dedication. If anyone is interested in the Order, shoot me a note and ask whatever questions you might have. Like I said, I'll try to put up that brochure sometime soon.
In regard to my fantasy project, I have had several ideas as of late. I'm still working out a lot of details about the world and the plot of the stories. I've drawn up a new map with all of the regions and major cities named, as well as rivers, lakes, forests, mountains and islands, none of which were on the old maps I put up here before. I'm trying to decide what art style I want the maps done in before I upload a new one. I'm coming up with a lot more minor people-groups which may or may not be involved in the stories themselves, but I like having all of those details filled in for the sake of context. Maybe someday I'll open the world to roleplay, but that won't be any time soon. I still haven't written much more than an introduction to each of the three stories, since there are a lot of plot kinks that need to be pounded out, but I have decided that I want them published in a very particular way. I've been studying Medieval manuscripts and early printed books, and I love the old styles of writing, illustrating and decorating text. Even though my stories are fiction, I want them to be believable, so I plan to have them designed and produced to look like old books. I'm going to design and build my own font based on some of the Medieval documents I have references of, something legible but still bearing that old, calligraphic look. I will also include larger illuminated drop-caps to put into chapter or section beginnings, and I plan on coming up with a number of Medieval woodcut style illustrations to put in as well. I'll likely need to find a publisher willing to work with me and my ideas. If anything, I might be able to get them published where I work now, though I will have to pay out of pocket for the materials. It's an exciting thought though, and I look forward to getting everything written that's been floating around in my head.
I haven't really had time to do art lately but I will hopefully get around to working on some soon.
That should be just about everything I needed to say. If I think of something else I will make an addendum here later, but for now, this is Hawk signing off.