Every year the Order gives an award for a paper on a subject related to Druidry. This year’s Mount Haemus Scholar, Dr.Andy Letcher, author of the magnificent ‘Shroom’, has written a paper on what it might mean to be a bard in the modern age. The whole paper will be up soon on the Order’s website. Meanwhile here is an extract:
Performing is undoubtedly tempering. It necessitates honest introspection, a thorough self-examination of one’s limitations and motivations, one that is forcibly imposed during those lean periods of creative stagnation. The demon of self-doubt is never far away. One misconception about the word ‘performance’ is that it implies pretence or make-believe, and yet the opposite is true. The very act of standing up in front of others is willingly to place oneself in the stocks, to be pelted with projections and fantasies, desires and jealousies. In turn, the temptation is for the performer to project his own needs and vulnerabilities onto the audience. It takes courage and self-knowledge to stand firm, buffeted on all sides by these pushes and pulls.
Good performance requires integrity and honesty. What is it about someone like Chris Wood that when they walk on stage we fall into an expectant hush? Confidence, certainly. Presence, yes. But also humility, a humility born of honesty. Bards work to be more honest, to be more faithful to themselves and the tradition, so that the truth can be heard.
Andy Letcher, ‘What Is a Bard?’ The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids Mount Haemus Lecture for 2009