Friday, June 18, 2010

Character Sketch - The Toymaker

The Toymaker – A Character Sketch

He sees games in leaves falling from trees in the fall. The leaves could be caught, collected, put into piles. Counted. Someone could win this game. Someone could lose.

He notices faces in objects. Doorknobs are noses and the screws are eyes. Patterns on the tiles in the kitchen have always held personalities, faces running the length of his floor in duplicate. Wood is most expressive, and he sees ghosts and beasts and genies in the swirling patterns of wood.

A simple can is so many things. A phone, a character, something to squash and mold. The toymaker has used cans for years to entertain the young ones.

The adults are not as amused at the old man's antics as the children. They say he's wasting his time. He never did make a dime off the toys and games. Adults don't understand hobbies like the young do. If the toymaker had made a living off his toymaking, he wouldn't have liked doing it anymore. The point of games and toys is to escape the usual things in life. Making toys and games was almost as fun as playing with them once he was finished creating.

His hands are full of lumps of arthritis. Still, he creates his toys for the kids. The grandchildren. The neighborhood youth who come around to visit his toy poodle and look at his collection of toys. His wife is the only one who gives him a knowing grin when the kids come. She doesn't say a word, only watches as he shows off his newest invention. He tests it out. Later, she gives him feedback on how the children reacted. He listens thoughtfully to her observations.

His house is a collection of shelves full of knick-knacks, both made and collected over the years. Some say it's busy, but he likes busy. His wife never complained about his collection. She once commented that the house would be empty without the rows of dolls, stuffed animals, tops, boxes, tins, plastic people, tin army men, dice, board games, action figures, and seemingly random artifacts which no one could figure out what they were.

The toymaker worked, but he didn't call it work. He called it fun.


Cherie Reich said...

I really enjoyed this character sketch, Lisa. I also see ghost and beasts and such in the swirling patterns of wood. We have this wooden door in the bathroom at my house, and I swear the way the wood pattern looks it reminds me of an alien.

Aubrie said...

That's the best job you can have when it's not work but fun. Sometimes I feel that way with flute, but not all the time.

I love this character sketch!