Why I’m leaving the New York Ren Faire

The title of this post is a lie.

I am leaving the New York Renaissance Faire; that is, I’m no longer going to work there. That part is not a lie. The lie is that I’m not going to discuss the reasons why in this post.

Why the lie? Because of my own natural tendency to prolixity (that is, I find it hard to be brief). I find that I want to go over my entire history with the Ren Faire, to put my reasons for leaving in context. I think that, some years from now, I may want to revisit why I made this decision. After all, I started working at the Ren Faire in 1996, and first walked through its gates in 1988. It will take more than one blog post to examine my relationship with the Faire. I’ll save them on my computer, in case I want to look at this moment in my life again.

The purpose of this post is to go over a couple of things that are not reasons for my departure. To that end, I’ll quote from a part of the letter I wrote to Dayle Rowlands, the Craft Co-ordinator of the NYRF:

I regret to tell you that I’m not going to return to the NYRF in 2010.

There are two points I’d like to make clear:

– This is not about money. Yes, this was a bad year financially for me at the Faire and FoF, but everyone has bad years occasionally. Money was not the issue.

– This has nothing to do with the management of the New York Renaissance Faire. Just the opposite: I’ve always found you folks to be helpful and supportive. All the people with whom I worked (including Deb, Dayle, Wanda, and Vince) were all friendly and (hardest of all!) good listeners. You offered a sense of warmth of camaraderie that, in the end, probably kept me at the NYRF longer than I should.

I wish the best of luck and success to you all as individuals, and to the NYRF as a whole.

So it wasn’t because I didn’t make any money in 2009, or because anyone was mean to me.

Even though I made my decision to leave in September, and sent that letter in November, I’m still processing my choice. I know there will come a time when I’ll feel some regrets, especially when summer comes around next year.

In the meantime, I try to focus on the things I definitely won’t miss about working at the Faire:

– No more rifle or cannon shots outside my booth at the Forest of Fear as I try to read Tarot cards.

– No more freezing my butt off at the Forest of Fear.

– No more sitting for hours in that booth, feeling my legs cramp up in the chair as I did one reading after another.

– No more deciding whether or not I could make a quick run to the privies and leave my booth unattended for five minutes, or risk a patron fiddling with the candles or taking something.

– No more driving through Sloatsburg and Tuxedo on Route 17, sticking rigidly to the speed limit, wondering if the traffic police were looking for excuses to give everyone a ticket anyway.

– No more giving up four months worth of weekends from July-November.

Let me make it clear: Working at and for the Ren Faire was not gloom and doom and misery. Quite the opposite; for many years the joys and delights far outweighed the above nit-picks. How and why that changed will be the subject of my next few posts.

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