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Poem: "The Wizard Who Did Windows" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Wizard Who Did Windows"

This poem came out of the November 1, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by ellenmillion and sponsored by janetmiles.  It's a sequel to the first poem in the Practical Magics series, "Wipeout."


The Wizard Who Did Windows


Jenina detested doing windows.
As a little girl, it had been her job
to clean and re-grease all the oilskins
stretched across the windows of their cottage.

After making a name for herself with diaper charms,
she bought herself a library and a castle and
built the Brown Tower of Practical Magics,
filled with cut crystal windows to let in all the light.

It had seemed  like a good idea at the time,
but Jenina quickly discovered that crystal windows
collected cobwebs and dust and bird droppings
and thus needed constant scrubbing.

At first she considered inventing a spell
to clean windows, but she'd have to make
one for each kind of window, which would be
a tedious task to accomplish.

Instead, Jenina invented a spell to create
a Transparent Wall Window anywhere,
which worked just as well on a wooden cottage
as it did on a fancy stone castle.

She hired a bunch of little boys
to make up cute rhymes about the new spell
and sing them on street corners,
in exchange for sweets.

     Transparent Wall Window's a marvelous thing!
     You put it up once; you can see everything.
     It never needs cleaning, or other such care.
     Transparent Wall Window -- it works everywhere!

Jenina made quite a bit of money from
people who wanted windows but didn't have any
and from people who had windows
but didn't want to keep cleaning them.

Then a few people put them up without thinking
and one enterprising fellow did so quite deliberately,
and the other wizards discovered that sometimes
the windows broadcast their images into scrying spells.

So Jenina had to call together her troop of boys
and ply them with toffees and pocket pies
to come up with a hasty addition
to the advertisement for her spell.

     Transparent Wall Windows will work in both ways,
     From inside and outside to bypassing gaze.
     Don't put them in bedrooms whatever you do
     Or else you will give the whole world quite a view!

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19 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: November 3rd, 2011 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee! You'd think that people would get that transparent = transparent, but maybe not.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 3rd, 2011 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Well...

If you're used to crystal windows, yes. If you're used to oilskin, it's not so obvious: those windows are translucent but not transparent. And nobody was expecting the side effect of occasional broadcasts into scrying spells.

The voyeur, now, he was alert to the implications and willing to exploit them.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 3rd, 2011 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Good point. It became possible to make crappy glass full of fog and bubbles long before clear glass, and cut crystal in small pieces before larger panes. You don't get a real good view through either of those, unless you press your nose against a clear spot. A big chunk of spell that looks like a hole in the wall ... mmmmyeah, not a good thing to put in the bedroom, and different from the previous options.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: November 3rd, 2011 06:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember reading that people in the dark ages, finding bits of glass from ancient Rome, thought it was some kind of faery magic.

You know, I hadn't given any thought to windows in the Lyria storyverse. Hell, I only just realized a half hour ago that the adamantium armor wouldn't need slits; it can be made transparent if necessary. (This I realized after reading a Cracked.com article and putting it together with the fact that adamantium from Lyria's world and crystalanium from the Traipah universe are basically the same substance, and realizing that the Traipah universe has ships with windows made of transparent crystalanium.)

So, windows... I don't know about other folks, but I'm pretty certain Lyria has transparent adamantium windows. Her fortress, Stinovangora Fortress, only *appears* to be made of stone... it's an adamantium structure with a stone facade.
Of course, something that happens in passing in one of the stories will have to be edited, now.

Still, there are ways of using magic to do something similar to the spell in your poem. Force a bit of air to stand still, making a solid but transparent barrier. Kind of like how, in the book "So You Want To Be A Wizard?", Nita and Kit walk on air to get to a portal. I was just thinking, earlier, that a similar process could be used to walk on water. With even Forizano's developing magic skills, using magic to tell the water molecules to hold still while he stepped on them would require only concentration and a little magic.
The spell also resembles a "structural integrity field" spell that residents of Port Insanity use to keep the constant hurricane-force winds from blowing their houses down.

I'm also reminded of the thing some people in developing nations are doing. Their little lean-to shacks don't have windows, and they often don't have electricity (or they turn it off during the day to save money), and so now it's a fad there to cut a hole in the ceiling, fill a plastic pop bottle with water and bleach, and stick the pop bottle in the hole. During the day, this makes for a DIY light-bulb that gives you light without windows or using electricity. (The bleach bit is important; it's so things don't grow in the water.)

One last thing: skylights and other windows in bathrooms have always perplexed me. Skylights may once have been okay ideas, but with airplanes, gliders, and spy satellites, no longer such a good idea in my opinion. Google Earth might accidentally post a picture of you sitting on the pot.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: November 3rd, 2011 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Now I'm picturing adamantium armor with a transparent faceplate, and someone not realizing this and hauling off to slug one of Lyria's soldiers in the face, and unwittingly breaking his hand in the process. :-D
ankewehner From: ankewehner Date: November 3rd, 2011 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
We have a bathroom without a window, and it is highly annoying to have to switch on the light every time you nip in there because you left your glasses or something in front of the mirror. Ventilation is also rather inconvenient.
Frosted glass, pebbled glass, clear glass with sheer curtains in a pinch -- that should work, but if I'd ever build a house, you can be sure the bathrooms would have windows. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 4th, 2011 05:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Non-see-through glass is a good idea. Small, high windows can also work.
From: siliconshaman Date: November 3rd, 2011 12:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Adamantium is a type of metal. right? You can chase one metal type with another... so a silver chased transparent adamantium visor = one-way mirror. [which is basically just a mirror with a thinner than usual metal backing].

Hmm... admantium mirror shades anyone?
fayanora From: fayanora Date: November 3rd, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh cool! :-D
From: rhodielady_47 Date: November 3rd, 2011 09:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Definitely a topic that hasn't been used much if at all in fantasy: Little, everyday or domestic magics. And a very nice treatment too.
:)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 4th, 2011 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

That seems to be the focus of this series, magic used for everyday purposes. It deserves more attention than it gets, I think.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: November 4th, 2011 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

Well, it makes sense that ordinary people would only have ordinary little magics. Like the housewife who has the ability to disappear when she knows the town gossip is heading toward her with a packful of nosy questions or her MIL when she's too busy to talk. Her neighbor lady might only have the ability to keep her cookpot from boiling over or burning.
:)
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: November 3rd, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
*Smile* I love this! It's cute, and as another commenter mentioned, every-day-life in fantasy is very pleasing to see.

(We recently had to hastily cover all the front windows in our new house. It still throws me off that the back ones (North, and only two) are still uncovered, but if someone is in our back yard, well...)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 4th, 2011 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you like it. With this as part of a new series, more everyday magic is available upon request.


Yes, windows can be a challenge.


tuftears From: tuftears Date: November 3rd, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heeheehee. ^_^
siege From: siege Date: November 3rd, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Jenina is not much of a systems designer, it seems. One can automate the cleaning of each kind of window by designing a spell which determines the necessary set of actions. The spell itself (as with a computer program) will necessarily be more complex and have more parts to it, but if you only have to make two spells, it's probably better to have one spell that does all kinds of oilskin windows and one spell that does all kinds of glass windows. Then you can focus on making an autocaster which can determine which kind of pre-loaded spell is necessary (or if it does not have the necessary spell) and cast that one for you.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 3rd, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

>> Jenina is not much of a systems designer, it seems. <<

You're right. She takes a practical approach rather than a theoretical approach. Sophisticated magic that does a lot of things is not her forte. She looks for a simple, prosaic approach. Both can work, to be fair. That's why there are different towers!
eseme From: eseme Date: November 11th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm also a fan of ordinary, everyday magics. I am also very amused by the windows, and the rhymes sung in the street. Very catchy!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 12th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm happy to hear that. I like this thread of everyday magics because they're something necessary for a high-magic society, as haikujaguar pointed out.
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