ysabetwordsmith: Victor Frankenstein in his fancy clothes (Frankenstein)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the January 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] kelkyag, [personal profile] gingicat, and LJ user Freshbakedlady. It also fills the "furnishing the home" square in my 9-4-15 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] technoshaman. It belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.


"Life Is an Improvisation"


The castle was stuffed with things --
some that Victor and Igor had brought,
others that had been left by previous tenants.

Igor hated to throw anything away,
because he had grown up without
the kind of means that Victor enjoyed.

"Why do you keep all of this rubbish?"
Victor asked as they tidied up the lab.

"If you stay alive long enough,
everything ends up being useful
at some point," Igor said with a shrug.

The castle was also ...
busier than it had once been.

The werewolves spent more time indoors
to avoid the harsh winter weather, milling
through the rooms in their small pack,
primarily the kitchen and the great room.

Evike and Egyed came and went
as they attended to the cheese room
and the equipment that it would soon need
when the goats began giving milk again.
Sometimes their daughter Crina
came along to help them.

Laszlo ghosted along the walls,
trying to avoid being seen or, especially,
approached by anyone along the way.
He reminded Igor of their cat Woodsmoke,
who was still shy around people.

Vladimir puttered about, tending this
and fixing that and asking after tools
that he had not brought with him.

More often than not, Igor had
whatever was wanted.

"Why do you even have that thing?"
Victor wondered as Igor handed over
an odd wrench made from several parts.

"It's a coach wrench," Igor said.
"I found it in the barn. I suppose
someone must have kept a carriage."

He knew that Victor considered it quaint
to be such a packrat, but Igor could not
quite seem to shake the old habit.
Besides, it came in handy.

"They're quite useful if one can't afford --
or can't carry -- a whole set of wrenches,"
said Vladimir. "The jaws adjust to fit
quite a variety of nuts or pipes."

"Carriage," said Adam, dragging
a brick across the floor. Then he
made a surprisingly apt whinny.

"Have you any chalk?" Vladimir asked.

"I have a slate in the library,"
Victor said. "The chalk is there."

So Victor brought out a bit of chalk,
and Vladimir enticed Laszlo to come
draw wheels and doors on the brick
so that it better resembled a carriage.

Then Vladimir painted over the raw brick
with some liquid that dried clear, so that
the chalk marks would stay put.

When Egyed fretted about the weather
in case the baby goats might freeze,
Igor brought out the short sections of
copper pipe that he had saved from
repairs to the limited plumbing.

Then Igor fastened the pieces together
so that they lined the edges of a large box,
fitted a smaller box inside, and filled
the gaps with fine clean sand.

"Now all you need to do is pour hot water
into the open end of the piping, and that
should keep your newborn goats warm
until they toughen up a bit," said Igor.

They were working in the lab again
when Crina came to announce supper,
and one wobbly old table gave way at
the barest brush of her hip, sending
several beakers to smash on the floor.

She set about sweeping up the shards
without a fuss, then frowned over the dustpan
and how difficult it was to reach underneath
the tables and cabinets in the lab.

So Crina went to the broom closet
and fetched out the broom handle from
the one whose head had come off,
along with a length of wire that
had been hanging on a hook.

Then she attached the long handle
to the dustpan using the wire as
a swivel, so that the pan could easily
reach into corners and underneath
the closed cabinets while she used
this broom or that one to gather up
fragments of glass from the floor.

"Whatever gave you that idea?"
Igor said. "It's really quite clever."

"The time my sister broke a glass
in the kitchen and I had to get down
on my hands and knees to clean it up,
and I cut myself," said Crina. "This way
is safer because of the long handle."

"Life is an improvisation," Victor said,
and went off in search of Laszlo
to sketch up a pattern for it.

To Victor, the castle was
somewhat of a manor house, and
he made a better lord than he realized.

To Igor, it was an exceptionally large closet
filled with things that were bound
to be useful someday.

* * *

Notes:

"But one of the things I learned from improvising is that all of life is an improvisation, whether you like it or not. Some of the greatest scientific discoveries of the 20th century came out of people dropping things."
-- Alan Arkin

Packrats tend to be people who have survived financial hardship through frugality. There are ways to reuse almost anything.

A coach wrench is one type of adjustable wrench.

Learn how to make cars and other toys from household items. Used to be, toy carriages filled the same niche that toy cars do now.

This is a simple swivel dustpan on a long handle.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-01-11 03:54 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
> Coach wrench

Oh! So that's what it's called. I have something pretty close -- an adjustable wrench with a hammer head on the back -- although I think mine has wooden scales on the handle. Can't check because it's down in the garage somewhere, and that place is a disaster area. Igor would love it.

I like the differences

Date: 2016-01-11 05:16 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Not just in the inventions, which are varied and indicative of age, personality, interests and experience, but the idea that there's LOGIC behind "potentially useful thing" and the trend toward keeping "extra stuff," since it's a trait that's currently being treated like a PROBLEM automatically.

Then again, I could re-read the poem just for competence in action!

(no subject)

Date: 2016-01-13 11:18 pm (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
This kind of "it might come in handy someday" saving works really well IF you have either (1) a comprehensive memory of what you've got and where it is, or (2) at least the level of organization of "well, if we've got something like that, it's going to be in this area". Lacking either of those, it turns into hoarding, and when your kids go to clean it out after you die they find duplicates of all sorts of stuff because you couldn't find the old one when you needed it. And I, at least, am starting to reach the age of "out of sight, out of mind", which is yet another issue.

We're about halfway between what you describe here and the above, and we're currently making a concerted attempt to cut down on the level of "just in case" Stuff, because otherwise we're going to be living like hoarders in a few years. Plus there's a lot of genuine, non-useful trash in the mix that just needs to Go Away to make room for things that might actually come in handy someday.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-01-11 06:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhodielady-47.livejournal.com
I agree with Igor especially where books, tools, and useful "ingredients" (like canning jars) are concerned. As long as I have the room to store such useful stuff, I will.
I do however take a dim view of saving broken-down computers, microwaves, and plastic stuff.
:^}

Thoughts

Date: 2016-01-11 06:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> I agree with Igor especially where books, tools, and useful "ingredients" (like canning jars) are concerned. As long as I have the room to store such useful stuff, I will. <<

Yep. They're raw materials.

>> I do however take a dim view of saving broken-down computers, microwaves, and plastic stuff.
:^} <<

If it's not something in usable condition, the main reason people keep those is because it costs money to dispose of them -- or even, in some cases, there is no way to dispose of them. Garbage service may be out of someone's price range, or may refuse to take whole categories of items. So it gets shoved in a corner.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-01-12 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lone-cat.livejournal.com
Or, if there is someplace that takes broken-down computers, microwaves, etc., it's a drop-off site.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-01-12 02:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Which of course makes it difficult or impossible for many people to get to.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-02-11 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paantha.livejournal.com
I love this lot. ^_^

Yay!

Date: 2016-02-11 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I'm happy to hear that.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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