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Poem: "Stillpoint of the Spinning Wheel" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Stillpoint of the Spinning Wheel"

This poem was prompted by rix_scaedu and sponsored by kelkyag.  It's a Monster House poem about grandmother-granddaughter bonding, growing up ... and what lies beyond that secret laboratory in the basement.

Stillpoint of the Spinning Wheel

When I got my period,
my mother gave me the talk
about women's bodies and boys' wants
and the importance of being careful.
I just nodded and pointed out
that we went over all that in health class
even though I couldn't see the pictures.

That weekend we went to visit Grandma
and after everyone else was asleep,
she took me by the hand and said,
"Come into the kitchen, dearie."

We walked down the creaking stairs
to her laboratory, my seeing-eye gremlin
frisking around our feet.
Grandma went to the one gizmo I could see,
its glowing blocks slowly rotating through each other.
"Close your eyes," she said to me, "and step through."

I obeyed, closing out the cubist lightshow
and the panting grin of the gremlin,
following the warm tug of her hand
that had led me safely through honking traffic
so many times before.

The world whirled away from us
and then, as the floor steadied beneath my feet,
Grandma said, "Now you may look."

When I opened my eyes, I could see.

I could see everything.

Grandma grinned at me,
her wrinkles a map of delight,
as I twirled in place to look at all the people
and the buildings made from walls of light
and the gizmos with their blinking buttons.
There were humans and monsters and aliens
and things I couldn't even begin to describe.

"Welcome home, granddaughter,"
she said to me.
"This is when I come from."

"Why can I see it all?" I whispered.
If I was dreaming, I didn't want to wake up.

"We are at the center of the spacetime continuum,
so everything that exists here touches Destiny,"
Grandma said.  "This is the stillpoint of the spinning wheel."

"Why I am I here?  Now?" I asked her.
Grandma took me by the shoulders
and turned me around to face one building,
shaped like a cluster of blue and white balls.

"That's a school," she said,
"for people who want to keep the worlds
rolling safely along their tracks.
You may study there if you wish;
they accept legacies, and you're mine."

"But I have to go back to junior high on Monday,"
I protested.
"I can't learn everything in one night!"

"You won't have to learn it all in a night,"
Grandma said to me.
"We have all the time the world."

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13 comments or Leave a comment
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: January 4th, 2012 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Amusingly, my first reaction is to be slightly indignant on behalf of the granddaughter that she'd be accepted (only) as a legacy rather than on her own merits.

This raises so many questions I won't even start on them, but just settle for saying that I hope you do more with this space.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 4th, 2012 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)


They have to be careful who is allowed access to that dimension. It's pretty much butterflies all the way down, in terms of how much damage could be done with a careless misstep. The legacy connection is actually the lower of the two requirements. Notice that there are other relatives who haven't been brought there. No, I don't know all the qualifications yet, but I suspect it's a great deal more that mere gadgeteering.
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: January 4th, 2012 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
The legacy connection is actually the lower of the two requirements.

Yes, this is why I'm (slightly) indignant on her behalf that she's being brought in through the legacy door, when I think she will (perhaps eventually rather than now) be able to qualify without that boost.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 4th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. Just wow.

For some reason, I'm picturing the Addams Family moving in next door, finding out about the monster house, and being envious. (After all, in one episode of the series, Morticia said she wished she could live in a haunted house.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 4th, 2012 06:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

When I was little, Morticia's line made me giggle, because of course we do have houseghosts here.
From: siliconshaman Date: January 4th, 2012 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
..and now I'm wondering if this is sort of the Gallifrain advanced academy...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 4th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC) (Link)


A little bit like that, though not exactly. They do focus on keeping the multiverse as safe as possible. They seem to draw from people who are born there, or from the extended families of people who settle in far-flung place. But they've got more than one species doing that.
kengr From: kengr Date: June 9th, 2017 02:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

I'm suddenly reminded of the old Brit SF(?) Fantasy(?) series Sapphire and Steel. It's not to everyone's taste, but it sort of fit here.


BTW, I disagree with the wiki article regarding "old things should be abandoned". I got more of an impression that you had to be *careful* with things that might have absorbed something over the years or got tangled up in something.

Rather like magic, eh?
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: January 4th, 2012 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful... good for her.

But going back to school, to Jr. High, after that....!!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 4th, 2012 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)


It's hard to go from one context to another, when you have more respect and authority in one place compared to the rest.

But I think she already gets that, going from a tolerant and supportive home to the mainstream world treating her as a little blind girl. She has always been endowed with a great deal more perception than average, and that's inherently alienating in a world where most people sleepwalk through their lives. Many of the previous poems about this character highlight aspects of that.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: January 4th, 2012 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wow, what a branching off of the series! Monster House becomes just backstory for our hera now...but that's okay! :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 4th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)


Monster House is getting huge and now covers a substantial span of time. Depending on how things work out, it may wind up getting released in issues that feature different phases of the family life. It doesn't have a 'closed' story arc with a beginning and end the way a few other series do, so that would make it possible to release some of it without closing the series.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: September 21st, 2012 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

I like it that Monster House may never end.
13 comments or Leave a comment