From the Office of the Thuban Herald, September 2007
As I step up into this office, I am reminded of the great amount of work that stretches before us and myself. We have so much to do!
What we need most right now is Silent Heralds. Volunteers. People who are willing to jump in both feet and SIGN! My goal in coming months is to have at least one Silent Herald in each region of the Midrealm. We have several here in Pentamere, where I'm from. Unfortunately, I just can't make it down to many of the events that are farther than a 3 hour drive from here. So even if you can only sign a little, every little bit helps! If you can, please email me at email@example.com and let me know what you have been up to so that I can include it in my report, or you can click the "report" link on the main page and fill out the form.
We are currently working on a Midrealm Silent Herald Manual, and on making signs for each of the Midrealm awards. Until then, use your imagination, and let me know what works! I fully support the use of other kingdom's manuals until we can formalize a Midrealm Silent Heraldry Manual. Many of the Midrealm signs are being adopted from Sara de Lindley of Aethlmarc's excellent treatise on the subject.
What can I do to help? Volunteer! It's not as hard as you'd think to become a Silent Herald for your area. Some tips from the experts:
Don't be intimidated!
Don't let the fact that you are not an interpreter stop you! Just the ability to fingerspell is enough to begin being a Silent herald in your area. Remember, something is better than nothing. If you can point to the person receiving the award and spell "A-O-A", at least then any deaf or HoH members of the audience will have SOME clue of what is going on right then in court.
You need to be able to hear and be seen.
It does the audience no good if you are stuck behind a throne, or on the floor in front of the stage where you are blocked by the front row of people. The Silent Herald needs to be placed where they can be seen, but don't let them put you so far away that you can't hear what is going on. Be sure, also, to wear a color that contrasts with your skin tone, and avoid floppy sleeves, so that your hands are visible and you are not batting away clothing all the time.
Ask to be treated just like any other Herald
Don't be afraid to (politely) let the court herald know that you need to be present for the pre-court meeting. It helps a ton to be able to see the spellings of the award recipients, or make sure that you have time to look up any signs that you may need to know and don't off-hand. Plus, if you know the order of the activities of court, you can be better prepared for what happens there. Part of the Silent Herald's job is to convey the audio parts of court, for example, if there is a fanfare or music, you may sign "music playing." You can concentrate on letting the audience know what is happenening, rather than trying to figure it out for yourself.
Don't get discouraged
Don't feel frustrated if there aren't any Deaf or HoH folk in the audience right away. Many Deaf and HoH people don't go to court BECAUSE they can't hear what is going on and there is no interpreter. Word of mouth needs to spread that there is signing in court before this program will really take off. If you want to get the word out faster, consider having a Silent Herald's point or class during the day of the event. If you have time, offer your services to help the Deaf and HoH community understand what is going on around the event, or by helping them cruise the merchants. You can generate a lot of interest by having a few printed articles and a single page Manual Alphabet for people to take.
HAVE FUN DOING IT!
This is a volunteer organization. You don't have to do anything you don't want to, and who wants to do things that aren't fun? Have fun! Take heart in knowing that what you are doing is a boon for all of the Deaf and HoH people out there.
-Lady Hiordis Reginsdottir, CW