Guest Post: GISH in the Time of Covid-19

IS Note: It’s been a hot second since I hosted a guest post here on the ol’ blog, but I’ve been seeing people post about GISH on my social media, and was kind of curious to see what it was all about. Jennifer Nestojko, who I have hosted here previously, was kind enough to send her thoughts. Read on…

Jennifer Nestojko, in her guise as Mistress Leofwen, SCA Bard.

It’s the Summer of the Pandemic, or at least what I hope is the only summer of Covid-19, as opposed to The First Summer of the Pandemic. I have been juggling training tutorials and arguing over distance ed options, because being a teacher feels a little like being led to slaughter with the push for in-class education in the fall. I have been wondering what to do. I need to write my will. I need to clean the house.  I decided to try my luck at the GISH Hunt for a novice endeavor. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

              So, here I am, slogging through Canvas tutorials and delving deep into never-ending piles of laundry, with my creativity smothered by anxiety and paperwork – or so it seems. I am also writing strange poetry and roping my children into staging scenarios from old paintings. Dinner tonight will be a challenge, and I mean that literally. There are challenges in this Hunt, and in my team I have taken on a few, and these are the consequences.

              Perhaps dinner tonight will cause my family unreasonable pain and suffering, perhaps that will be caused by the activities we have planned for later in the week, but the family that suffers together buffers together. (Yes, those training videos have left their mark. It is sad, really.) Weird is a way of life, and this week, during the Hunt, we are going to embrace the weird.

              After all, 2020 has already sent us people protesting life saving devices so terribly complex as layered fabric over their faces, it has sent us schools scrambling for ways to reach out to students now confined to home, it has sent us demon seed dreams and presidential tantrums. (To be fair, we had those tantrums happening for a few years, now.) 2020 has separated us from friends and extended family. There were murder hornets, or at least panic about them. I write horror and 2020 makes me wonder why all the good plot lines are suddenly claimed. Why should we allow 2020 to bogart all of the strangeness?

              People are strange, as Jim Morrison sang, and we should revel in that strangeness. We shouldn’t fear it; we should claim it and harness it and use our powers for good, even if that good causes unreasonable pain and suffering in the process. We already have that pain and suffering; we might as well have joy and creativity as well. GISH allows us that opportunity, in abundance. Therefore I am prepared to enjoy the Hunt. After all, signing up seemed a good idea at the time. It still does.

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