On today’s installment of Inside the Bardic Circle, we spoke with 2016 Bardic Champion of Settmour Swamp, Rowan Auley. I had the pleasure of watching them perform at the Black Gryphon Inn last year with a Shakespearean Sonnet that had me in tears because I was laughing so hard. Hopefully we will be able to see and hear more from them soon! A kind soul, a fearless performer, and a fierce equal-rights activist, Rowan brings their unique voice to the Swamp and to our bardic community.
1. What is your favorite word?
Right now? Hyacinth – it’s a protective flower, to me, and happens to be what my girlfriend is named after.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Snowflake – I was there at the very start of when it made its recent skyrocket to infamy. 4Chan, 9Gag, as Reddit /b and /pol trolls coined its current iteration to target literal children with ptsd from abuse, then autistic kids, then queer children, then any kids with any mental health issues. It was coined as part of trigger and harassment campaigns, where they would literally try to doxx at risk minors, and try to incite mobs to harass them into suicide or self harm. As a queer child abuse survivor with ptsd, who was there in the thick of its coining? I fucking hate that word. I don’t care who uses it, unless you were one of us kids originally targeted, it’s not yours to reclaim.
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Activism. It took me a very, very long time to just be allowedto be angry at experiencing horrific, traumatic mistreatment. Now that I am, that fire unlocked my voice.
4. What turns you off?
Willful ignorance, devils advocates, double standards, and moving goalposts.
5. What is your favorite curse word (bonus points if it is a period appropriate slur)?
Any of the fun Scottish or Shakespearean ones. Putrid Walnut is probably decidedly modern, but one I’ve oft returned to, of late.
6. What bardic-related sound or noise do you love?
A stilled room just before someone performs. Like the very air is holding its breath.
7. What bardic-related sound or noise do you hate?
Any kind of condescending or patronizing commentary.
8. What area of bardic performance (other than those that you already working in) would you like to attempt?
Probably something violin or harp.
9. What area of bardic performance (other than those that you already working in) would you not like to attempt?
Anything involving guitar. They frustrate me, and don’t bring me enough joy to play to compensate.
10. Your name is called to appear in court. What would you hope to hear Their Majesties say?
My proper pronouns, and gender neutral forms of address.
What are you currently working on?
Mundane songs, mostly — stuff about my queerness and ptsd.
But I’ve also got a fun idea for a Greensleeves interpretation I’ve also been simmering on back burner, and would like to perform in society, someday