Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008: My Walkabout Year

This year was one of change for me, and because of these changes, I haven't had the time or the emotional investment to write much on StE(r). I rallied a short time in October, but by the end of the month I decided that needed to finish out my year, get it out of my system before really getting into blogging again.

My walkabout affected my reenacting, wargaming and my interests as a whole. I haven't done too much, so I haven't had much to write. Too distracted by changes in my own life, and picking up new interests that have been adding to the quality of my time.

Have I gotten religion or have a dread disease? Naw, I've maybe become little bit more spiritual, and definitely have become more healthy than I have been for many years. I've just been dealing with some painful personal stuff that drags along with it regret, anger and fear. So, I took time off from life to deal with it.

I've discovered the simple joys of hiking, and that has led me to a healthy lifestyle. I can now hump a decent 10 mile hike and not feel too sore afterwards. I'm lugging (as of this writing) 41 less pounds on my body.

As a reenactor, that may sound like the thing -- now I can actually look baggy in my clothes, and maybe look like a half-starved Confederate. Or come as close as I can. But, along with the changes has come some personal reflection. I'm still a military history buff - a path that lead me into reenacting in the first place. But my reenacting career has come to a crossroads.

My decision is to go down one of three paths. The first is to jump back into the hobby and just go on as I've always done. The second path is to pick up on a under-represented area of US history and present it at "Military Through the Ages" type events. The third path is to stop active reenacting and do some reenacting tourism. Be a insider on the outside looking into the hobby. Critique events, spotlight great impressions and do some travel around and see as much as I can. As you can probably tell, I'm leaning toward the last path.

This decision has been brewing for some time. You see, I've been doing some sort of reenacting, on and off since 1982. I love the hobby, but there have been times lately that I've just wanted to see more than the yearly Civil War event and show people that reeacting is diverse and for almost everyone who loves history.

Seeing the Elephant(recreated) is a product of that desire. When I first started writing, it was to record my own experiences in the hobby. Then I expanded out slowly. Then one day, realized that I missed a magazine that I subscribed to in the mid '80s - Living History Magazine. I loved it. It looked at all aspects of living history in the US. It told me about General Miles Marching and Chowder Society, the wonders of WW1 reenacting, and spotlighted the fact that people actually recreated the French and Indian Wars. I wanted StE(r) to be like it. A record for everyone who like to study military history from more angles than books alone can provide.

So to quote one of my favorite scfi characters, Malcolm Reynolds from the TV show Firefly:

"So here is us, on the raggedy edge."

Whatever my decision, Seeing the Elephant will go on, better for it all.

Have a Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring the best for everyone.

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