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Up ] History Exam ] [ Essays ] Composition Contest ] 


Journeyman Jueann put together a small essay contest on the subject of "Why I Love the Harpercraft?" inspiring the following essays:

Saundethen's Essay


Date: Tue Sep 21 17:12:55 1999 CDT
From: Saundethen (#15023)
To: Jueann (#5565)
Subject: Re: Essay Contest

'Twas hard to decide between IC and OOC... You said IC'd be preferred, but I could think of good reasons for both. I can only settle upon one essay combining both, if that's alright...


What first drew me, as a player, to the Harper Hall I'm not exactly sure of now. Currently, I find that when RPing about the hold, Harpers seem to be a good deal more respected than other Crafters; which may or may not be totally true. It's come to be a good thing for me and Saun--Both of us can explore ourselves more, musically and otherwise, odd as it may sound. I think it came as quite a surprise, the knowledge that is expressed between fictional characters on this MOO. While it might be nothing new for an apprentice to learn great, new things from their master, but I, at least, thought it oddly wonderful that the people somewhere out there, behind these bits of text and programming were so well-educated and informative on the subject. But maybe it's just me.


The craft also offers one of the best chances I've seen to mingle with hold-folk in other ways than taking orders for items or some-such. Not only gathers, but even a chance mention of apprenticeship on the beach can elude a short concert, which also happens to be one of the best RP sources I've found. It encourages co-operation, when playing in a group, among all those other literary-related things that are helped with the development of good RP skills. Something else, that I think plays a big part, is the lack of need to be a musical genius when RPing. It helps, sure, but almost anyone with a good ear for sound can pose their character playing through scales, express the dynamics and tempo of the piece, and even attempt to elude a certain feeling from the audience (without powerplay, of course).


Saundethen, my character, is certainly not exempt from all these OOC benefits. It's given me a chance to expand on him, and his history; and in an odd sort of way, it's helped him get to know himself. It's certainly not just plain ol' experience that's made Saun into such an interesting character, In my own eyes; of multiple alts, he's one of the few that's developed such a unique personality. Search, I've debated a few times for him--but I do think his future lies with the Harpers. Three Turns into his apprenticeship, he could still be taken off to the weyr, I suppose, but it might not be for the better.

Being a Harper is just to be a darned fun person doing a darned fun thing, things, actually. I can say that I've probably learned more than a few things about real-life harper things from Out of Character, certainly, and even In Character lessons. It does take a certain amount of work, though: I'd say that if I didn't know as much about music as I did when I joined the craft, I'd probably've had a harder time. Which isn't to say, of course, that I wouldn't have had as much fun! If anything, it's hard not to. There's something different, setting the Harpers far apart from the other crafts. You can tell it in the books, of course, but with other, real people out there, it just comes to life... Learning, teaching, performing, crafting. Long live Harpers, huzzah!


Lil' ol' Saun

Torlan's Essay


Date: Sat Sep 18 16:25:55 1999 CDT
From: Torlan (#6213)
To: Jueann (#5565)
Subject: Essay... Spammy.

Why I love the Harper Craft


There are so many possible answers for that. We're the music-makers, lesson-teachers, musicians, performers, singers, archivers, mediators and so much more.


When I first heard about Harper's Tale, it was from a friend of mine (some of you might know him...) who told me how great of a place it was. I looked into it, but, alas, I hadn't read any of the books. I borrowed a copy of Dragonsong from another friend of mine and read through it furiously one morning in about two hours. I can still remember sitting on that couch and reading that book, being in awe and amazement of the characters and the world that Queen Anne had created. Needless to say, I wanted more.


I asked him if I could borrow the other two books in the series, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums, and he said yes. Right around this time my family took our semi-annual trip to Disney World. I, of course, took both of the books with me, along with the Dragonriders of Pern trilogy. I can still remember the look on my parent's faces as I read while waiting in line, during meals, and even /during/ some of the less exciting rides... I was hooked.


I enjoyed Dragonsinger the most, I think, because it took place chiefly within the Harper Hall. The setting was so feudal, but so advanced and enlightened, it seemed almost like the old west meets an English boarding school meets King Arthur's court. I was especially interested in how the students had lessons in the morning and then dispersed for chore groups in the afternoon. Even though the chores weren't the most appealing, I actually found myself wanting to be in that setting, an emotional response that I rarely have the pleasure of enjoying.


Thus, having read up on the books, I came to Harper's Tale and head straight for, you guessed it, the Harper Craft. I managed to snag (ironically, since she's the one who asked for this essay) Jueann, and we had our little interview session like everyone else. I don't specifically remember any of my idiot blunders, but I still, to this very day, can't believe she let me in to the craft. She must have seen something in me past the twinkish outer layers...


When I first became an apprentice, I remember looking up to everyone. Caramak, Jueann, Seamus, Fletcher (even though he was Lord Holder by then...), Jayla, Kythias and Katja especially. Of course to many current apprentices half of those names won't ring a bell, but for the rest of us, we all know the good memories that came from these people. I can remember the gathers and lessons where I learned from these people and I literally idolized them. Sure, now I am among their peer-group, but the surviving ones still occasionally spark my memory back to days when.


I was never one of those apprentices who begged, nagged, clawed and scraped for lessons. For me, I simply enjoyed RP with whomever and whenever. Looking back, I find that astonishing, as I am only willing to RP with about four people, and only if we plan it about a week in advance. I can remember certain lessons, particularly a philosophy lesson with Jueann and Seamus (??) where we debated the old "If a tree falls in the forest" bit. That, to me, is what the Harper Craft was all about. Igniting intelligent debate and discussion among an enlightened group of open-minded enthusiasts of learning. I don't think I will ever be able to duplicate the feeling I got from that lesson in any lessons I teach.


The days and months, sevendays and turns passed and Harpers who I had seen enter the craft began whizzing up the it. Believe it or not, Torlan has been a Harper longer than the likes of Aife, Teraille, Kaeryn, Teza, Jerran and Myrna. An elite group, I know. This wasn't so much because of my inability to grasp the concepts of advancement, but my personal disinterest in advancing. I had tried to start Journeyman Projects several times before, but every time I lost interest and eventually gave up. Was I doomed to be Kierna's eternal partner in apprenticeship?


Apparently not. One late summer day I took a Poetry class taught by Teraille (during the infamous summer of Teraille lessons, numbering up to 4 a week). This class flashed me back to the feelings and experiences I had enjoyed back when I took that Philosophy lesson with Jueann a full two years before. I was ready. I personally had come to the point where I was prepared to do what it took to advance. Until you care about the craft more than about your character, until you know your fellow Harpers and teachers as well as you know your own character, until you can say this craft is you and you are the craft, you won't be ready to move into a larger role within it. I can now safely say all those things, and look where I am today.

I submitted perhaps my fourth project and successfully got it accepted. I was to do a Survey of Pern, in which I would gather IC and OOC information from 52 randomly selected players to get a good feel of what the current Harper's Tale population was like. Looking back, I am surprised this project got accepted. It didn't advance the Harpercraft in any way, and really didn't do anything that had much to do with the craft. It was early October by the time I got the project underway. I had set a December date to finish the project and I had to work fast. Of course, as most of you know, I didn't end up getting promoted until May...


So what happened? Why did I lose interest /again/? Perhaps it has to do with the anticlimactic stage where you've said what you're going to do, and now you have to go out and do it. I have to thank to people from the bottom of my heart for getting me through that project. Katja and Teza were the two reasons why I managed to finish it.


I originally approached Teraille to be my mentor for my project, but right as I asked her she become busy in real life and had to take a mini-sabbatical from HT. I asked Katja next, because I remembered her being so nice and generally helpful. She accepted me and I then began bouncing project ideas off of her. We narrowed it down to the aforementioned one, and she helped me compose a tasteful proposal. With her help, I sent it off and eagerly awaited response.


I got it a few weeks later and had the green light to start working on it. At first it went great, and made some great progress on it. But I became holed up in my room more and more as I worked on it, and I also lost interest in the craft and in the people in it. It wasn't until one early December Saturday when Teza held a group vocal lesson that I again found that spark. Lyne (Helen, and eventually Helyne at the time) was obviously hung-over. As well all know, apprentices aren't supposed to get drunk and /then/ come to class. Teza started to get on 'Lyne's case and Torlan came to her defense. Torlan isn't the most level-headed person in the world, and, to make the long story short, Lyne and Torlan got house-arrest and extra chores for quite a while after that.


Part of that conflict with Teza was caused from an earlier incident about 4 turns back when Torlan had expressed interest in Teza (then Tereza). She was seeing someone else at the time, and thus did not respond with the reaction Torlan had wanted. After the lesson, Torlan and Teza didn't talk until sometime in January (some six IC months later). They bumped into each other, and when Teza prodded Torlan for a reason why he wouldn't speak to her, he took her aside and told her why. He confessed his love for her and the start of Torlan's second big romance, and big run with Harper's Tale (which humorously continues to this day) began.


Now every apprentice can recite the Harper Craft nonos. Right at the top of the list is that little one about no relationships. Imagine an apprentice and a journeyman together. How naughty and controversial! (It would, of course, later be learned that the same thing was going on with Jerran and Kaeryn, but...) Now I had IC and OOC reasons to finish the project and get promoted, for Teza had made it clear that they wouldn't get too much closer until Torlan walked the tables.


I worked hard that spring to get the project done. I completed it and turned it in, looking forward to reactions. They were overwhelmingly positive and I looked forward to the examination that would seal Torlan's fate. Would he pass, and join the elite ranks of the people he idolized? Or would he fail and go down in history as the first and only apprentice to fail to walk after taking the examination? I studied hard in the weeks before that to get ready, and simultaneously opened up my connections to even more friends and acquaintances. I met several of the people who keep me sane and lift my heart to the sky during those times.


I looked forward to the examination, but at the same time I dreaded it. I had heard horror stories of examinations running over three hours and of people crying after it was all over (I would like to know who left out that they were tears of /joy/, damn it!?). Torlan encountered Caramak on his way to the examination, and this is one of those moments that you remember ten or fifteen years down the road. Torlan made his way in to where the assembled group of masters and journeymen were seated. They asked question after question and three and a half-hours later I was all done. I would pass or fail, but either way it was over. I could sit back and breathe a sigh of relief, for I had given it my all. I had devoted much of the last few years of my life to and for this craft and character and I could proudly say, no matter what the end result was, that I had done it. I had made it.


A week and a few days later Kaeryn snuck up on Torlan in the Harper Lounge. She has some strange thing she was hiding behind her back and Torlan pressed her for what it was. She finally told him that his old knot was old and dirty and that she wanted to exchange it for a new one. There, in the quiet emptiness of the lounge, she handed Torlan the emblem that summed every moment of the last 12 turns of Torlan's life since the day he joined the craft. April 29th, 1999, was the day Torlan walked the tables, and I will remember it forever.


So, what was the reason for this long story? Why did I bother to examine every aspect of Torlan's experiences in and out of the craft? How did Torlan manage to be the only original character of mine to remain standing three years later? The answer? Each and every aspect of what I outlined, from lessons to elicit affairs, examinations to projects, is exactly why I love the Harper Craft. It has been such an enormous influence in my life, and years and years from now, in my old age, I'll look back and fondly remember the days I spent in this awe-inspiring craft. It let me examine characters in ways I never had before, look at life through a different set of skin, and teach me lessons of life and learning that I would never get anywhere else. That, my friends, is why I love the Harper Craft.




PS If this is too spammy, since I know you have problems with huge amounts of spam, I can email it so you can read it easily. Sorry for the inconvenience, in either case. :)






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