Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it...yet.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Confessions of a Teenage Caduceuturg

Oh, I know what you're all wondering: What on Middle Earth is a "caduceuturg?" Well just hold your hippogriffs and we'll get to that.
This all started more than a year ago now, around January of 2010, all because I wanted to make my cousin (we'll call her "Hermione) a wand for her birthday in March. I started sketching out designs, and then asked my dad (hereafter labeled "He-Who-Can-Do-Anything") for help with the specifics.
The first step: planning and design.

Hermione's wand: Linden and Dragon Heartstring, 9.65 inches.
I continued working on Hermione's wand, but really didn't think that much of it until my own birthday in February.
My family and I were all in the dining room for my birthday dinner when my brother looked out the window and said, "Is that an owl?" He then went around to the door, and returned with a package. A brown-paper-wrapped package. With a label on it. And the label had not only my name and street address, but also the exact room we were in. Now almost hyperventilating with excitement over the best prospective birthday gift ever, I tore off the packaging to reveal this:
That's right, folks. My dad had made me a wand--Willow and phoenix feather, 8 and three-quarter inches. And from there, things kind of went crazy. My dad created three separate wand companies with three distinct styles and started churning out unique, hand-made wands like mad.
H.L. Gryphon and Sons (Purveyors of Fine Magical Mercantiles since 1327) use a shaft-and-handle construction like mine and Hermione's.
Wilkinson and Silverwood make turned wands on the lathe.

Greensward of Glencoe specializes in single-piece nature-inspired wands.

Dad made wands for every member of our extended family, and then we started selling them. Dad took them to his work, and I was the official vendor at my high school. The reception was fantastic--especially around Christmas and, oh, November 18th. (The day of the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1). In fact, that week we completely sold out! Dad calls himself a caduceator, using the Latin word "caduceus," meaning "wand."
Now, Dad's the real craftsman here; he makes every single wand himself (except for my friend "Bellatrix," whose wand was made by my brother.) But I myself got more and more involved--after all, I did inadvertently start the whole thing. I was head saleswoman, but after a bit I was also head...consultant? Wand-lore-and-Harry-Potter-expert? C'mon, I needed a cooler name than that! Caduceuturg. Yep, that'll about fit the bill...and, ok, so it does just mean wand-expert...but it sounds all cool and Latin, right? Right.
Here's what I do. In general, I'm in charge of wand description--I measure them, choose the cores, and make sure anything that's Harry Potter-related is accurate.  (That last bit has become less necessary as we started selling them--copyright issues, you know.) I get to experiment with lots of fun terms, too: "variegated walnut," "power nodes," "engraved pommel." Wands have endless invented vocabulary. Usually, though, I'm an employee of Wilkinson and Silverwood's. We specialize in "historical" wands--that is, we make them, but they come with certificates detailing their long and no doubt glorious past. And I'm in charge of writing those certificates. I research some minor historical figure, usually an alchemist or something of that kind, from a few hundred years ago or so, and then invent names and dates and events all about how the wand came to be in the possession of its current lucky owner. You may now admit that I have the coolest job in the world.  
The three most common cores: Dragon Heartstring, Phoenix Feather, and Unicorn Tailhair.

The certificate which accompanies a W&S wand.
As of right now, we only sell wands ourselves. I keep telling Dad that he should open a shop on the internet--so many people would want one of these! They're completely one-of-a-kind, handmade, can be personalized, and they're much cheaper than any other wands out there. Dad's worried about the time it would take to keep an internet shop up, but who knows? Maybe if enough people expressed interest, it could win him over.
My wand--shaft, handle, and core--in the first phases of construction.

My brother's wand, modeled partly after the Elder Wand as depicted in the Harry Potter movies.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Cartographer

I'm making a map of my heart in the hope that
by remembering where I've come from
I'll learn where I'm going.
Because I don't know.

I'm making a map of my heart.
Compass and telescope
aren't much help here.
This journey is in landmarks.
Ink stains. Tears.
The echoes of laughter.

I'm making a map of my heart.
I blow the dust off old boxes of memories
I haven't looked at in years.
And I find things
discover things
I didn't even know I'd lost.

I'm making a map of my heart.
Smell of baby lotion.
Color of baby blanket.
I sweep the cobwebs off old toys
and turn the pages of childhood books
and I smile.

I'm making a map of my heart
and I'm learning things
just as I'd hoped
but some of them surprise me.

I'm making a map of my heart.
As I walk among family and friends
new and old 
I look through the faces for
just that one that is
I know you are here, I just don't know

I'm making a map of my heart.
And maybe
when I find that place
that X-marks-the-spot
maybe I'll also find the courage
to show you that map
where you are.