Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "A Link to the Handmade Past"

This poem came out of the August 4, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, [personal profile] readera, and [personal profile] technoshaman. It also fills the "Youth" square in my 6-1-20 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest.


"A Link to the Handmade Past"

[Sunday, March 15, 2015]

Several days had passed
since the soul scream incident,
and Saraphina still clung like a burr
to Aidan or Drew or anyone else
she was attached to. Mostly Aidan.

Fortunately Drew already knew
how to do most things one-handed,
and how to tie a toddler sling, since
since Edison preferred to be worn
rather than walk on his own.

Aidan needed time to use
the bathroom and stand up
straight without trying to keep
an eye on his daughter.

Other people kept turning
to Drew for comfort, too, and
he shared his coping skills.

Today it was Saxon, rubbing
his head and grumbling.

"Headache again?"
Drew asked him.

"Yeah, the telepathy
keeps stuttering on and off,"
Saxon said. "There aren't
nearly as many people here
as my old apartment, but ...
sometimes it's still a bit much."

"When that happens, you need
to rely on artificial shielding until you
learn how to shield your own mind
from others," Drew reminded him.

Saraphina chattered a protest.
She wasn't really the shut-out type.

"Yes, I know, you like sensing
all the people around," Drew said.
"Some people like it quieter, is all."

"I've used the privacy field, and
that helps, but it's only sort of
portable," Saxon said.

Drew chuckled. "Yeah, it's
portable like a massage table.
You carry it somewhere and
set it up, rather than walk around
with it turned on," he said. "Do
you have a baseball hat?"

"Yeah, I think so," Saxon said.

"Get it and I'll show you how
to muffle things a bit," Drew said.

He brought out a craft box
and put it on the table, then
plopped Saraphina in a chair.

"Shiny," she said, staring
as he pulled sheets of foil
from the box of supplies.

"It sure is," Drew said.
"Would you like to color
on this?" He gave her
a sheet of aluminum foil
and a few grease pencils.

Saraphina began scribbling,
with the black for stems topped
by red and yellow flowers.

Saxon came back with
an old baseball hat.
"Will this do?" he said.

"Perfect," Drew said.
"Watch, and you can learn
to do this for yourself.
It's not very hard."

He cut pieces of
aluminum foil to match
the petals of the hat and
pressed them to the inside.

Then he threaded a needle
and tacked them down in
a few strategic places.

"Pick a liner," he invited,
waving at the folded cloth.

Saxon sorted through until
he found a midnight blue,
darker than the hat's denim,
sprinkled with tiny white stars.
"How about this?" he said.

"That looks great," said Drew.

He cut out the fabric pieces
and tacked them over the foil.

"Okay, important safety tip here,"
he said, pointing. "Make sure
to punch your air holes, because
otherwise you'll overheat. Foil
doesn't breathe like fabric."

"Got it," Saxon said. "The foil
doesn't show when it's done?"

"Not if I do this right," Drew said,
snipping off the last of the thread.

"You're amazingly good at this,"
Saxon said. "Doubt I could do it."

"Craft is more than just a combination
of skills and experience, it’s also a link
to the handmade past," Drew said.
"In these mass-produced times
I think that it’s something we
really need to hold on to."

Saxon watched Saraphina
coloring. "Yeah, probably."

"Okay, the idea here is that
aluminum foil disrupts telepathy,"
said Drew. "Don't try to cover
your whole head, it's not safe.
A hat that covers about half will
just muffle things, so it sounds like
people are talking in the next room
instead of shouting in your ear."

Saxon tried on the hat, then
grinned. "This is awesome!"

"I've been making these since,
what, junior high I think," Drew said.
"It's a good training tool to use while
you're waiting for your shields to grow in.
This way, you can feel the shift when
you put it on and take it off. Shields
should give you a similar shift."

"Mine's more like a window screen,"
Saxon said with a grimace.

"It'll get better with practice,"
Drew said. "You've got Aidan
to help, so you should get
the hang of it before long."

"I was doing better until --
well," Saxon trailed off.

"Yeah, so was Saraphina,"
Drew said, tipping his head
toward the toddler who was
pressed against his side.

"Flè," Saraphina said,
waving her foil picture.

"What?" Saxon said.

"Flè, flower," said Drew.
"Those are pretty flowers."

"Pitty flows," Saraphina said.

"She's learning fast," Saxon said,
"That's encouraging to see."

"Yeah, she's a little behind for
a lot of reasons -- feeling as much
as talking, a rough past, and now
learning a new language," Drew said.
"But she's a great mimic, and so
she's making great progress."

Saraphina had regressed a bit,
because it had been a crummy week,
but she was starting to bounce back.

Aidan thought she might make
the jump to longer sentences soon.

"Come on," Drew said, scooping
Saraphina onto his hip. "Let's go
show Aidan what we've made.
He's a huge fan of using what
you have for what you need."

Aidan had, in fact, showed Drew
woodworking and finger-weaving and
a bunch of other interesting things.

None of it was something that Drew
would want to do for a living, but
he had enjoyed the experiences
and found crafts a nice hobby.

Today, the look of relief on
Saxon's face was reward enough.

* * *

Notes:

“The need to make things has always been there for me, and when I’m in the ‘flow’ it feels like a form of meditation. But craft is more than just a combination of skills and experience, it’s also a link to the handmade past. In these mass-produced times I think it’s something we really need to hold on to.”
Becky Pearce – Jewellery Maker and Designer

Grease pencils come in red, yellow, and black. They are good for drawing on aluminum foil, and can even be used for kitchen lithography. You can also use Sharpies to draw on foil.




Aluminum interferes with mind powers. A hat of aluminum foil may look ridiculous, but makes it harder for a telepath to read the person's mind. Aluminum in the brain is also associated with certain types of dementia, and those people are harder to read too. Compare with a Faraday cage, which you can indeed make from aluminum foil. These instructions for making a baseball cap include lining.

flower / n flè
Tags: crafts, cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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