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Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "surviving the worst."  I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems.

Click to read the linkback poem "To Choose a Direction" (Heliodrax, 17 verses available).


What Is a Poetry Fishbowl?

Writing is usually considered a solitary pursuit. One exception to this is a fascinating exercise called a "fishbowl." This has various forms, but all of them basically involve some kind of writing in public, usually with interaction between author and audience. A famous example is Harlan Ellison's series of "stories under glass" in which he sits in a bookstore window and writes a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Writing classes sometimes include a version where students watch each other write, often with students calling out suggestions which are chalked up on the blackboard for those writing to use as inspiration.

In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is "surviving the worst."  I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.


Cyberfunded Creativity

I'm practicing cyberfunded creativity. If you enjoy what I'm doing and want to see more of it, please feed the Bard. The following options are currently available:

1) Sponsor the Fishbowl -- Here is a PayPal button for donations. There is no specific requirement, but $1 is the minimum recommended size for PayPal transactions since they take a cut from every one. You can also donate via check or money order sent by postal mail. If you make a donation and tell me about it, I promise to use one of your prompts. Anonymous donations are perfectly welcome, just won't get that perk. General donations will be tallied, and at the end of the fishbowl I’ll post a list of eligible poems based on the total funding; then the audience can vote on which they want to see posted.

2) Swim, Fishie, Swim! -- A feature in conjunction with fishbowl sponsorship is this progress meter showing the amount donated.  There are multiple perks, the top one being a half-price poetry sale on one series when donations reach $300.



3) Buy It Now! -- Gakked from various e-auction sites, this feature allows you to sponsor a specific poem. If you don't want to wait for some editor to buy and publish my poem so you can read it, well, now you don't have to. Sponsoring a poem means that I will immediately post it on my blog for everyone to see, with the name of the sponsor (or another dedicate) if you wish; plus you get a nonexclusive publication right, so you can post it on your own blog or elsewhere as long as you keep the credits intact. You'll need to tell me the title of the poem you want to sponsor. I'm basing the prices on length, and they're comparable to what I typically make selling poetry to magazines (semi-pro rates according to Duotrope's Digest).

0-10 lines: $5
11-25 lines: $10
26-40 lines: $15
41-60 lines: $20
Poems over 60 lines, or with very intricate structure, fall into custom pricing.

4) Commission a scrapbook page. I can render a chosen poem in hardcopy format, on colorful paper, using archival materials for background and any embellishments. This will be suitable for framing or for adding to a scrapbook. Commission details are here.  See latest photos of sample scrapbooked poems: "Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"

5) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network.  Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall.  Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl.  If you have room for it, including your own prompt will give your readers an idea of what the prompts should look like; ideally, update later to include the thumbnail of the poem I write, and a link to the poem if it gets published.  If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.

Linkback perk: I have a spare series poem available, and each linkback will reveal a verse of the poem.  One person can do multiple links if they're on different services, like Dreamwidth or Twitter, rather than all on LiveJournal.  Comment with a link to where you posted. "To Choose a Direction" belongs to Heliodrax and has 17 verses available. 


Additional Notes

1) I customarily post replies to prompt posts telling people which of their prompts I'm using, with a brief description of the resulting poem(s). If you want to know what's available, watch for those "thumbnails."

2) You don't have to pay me to see a poem based on a prompt that you gave me. I try to send copies of poems to people, mostly using the LJ message function.  (Anonymous prompters will miss this perk unless you give me your eddress.)  These are for-your-eyes-only, though, not for sharing.

3) Sponsors of the Poetry Fishbowl in general, or of specific poems, will gain access to an extra post in appreciation of their generosity.  While you're on the Donors list, you can view all of the custom-locked posts in that category.  Click the "donors" tag to read the archive of those.  I've also posted a list of other donor perks there.  I customarily leave donor names on the list for two months, so you'll get to see the perk-post from this month and next.

4) After the Poetry Fishbowl concludes, I will post a list of unsold poems and their prices, to make it easier for folks to see what they might want to sponsor.

5) If donations total $100 by Friday evening then you get a free $15 poem; $150 gets you a free $20 poem; and $200 gets you a free epic, posted after the Poetry Fishbowl.  These will usually be series poems if I have them; otherwise I may offer non-series poems or series poems in a different size.  If donations reach $250, you get one step toward a bonus fishbowl; three of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be three months in a row.  Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it may be a half-day rather than a whole day.  If donations reach $300, there will be a half-price sale in one series.


Feed the Fish!
Now's your chance to participate in the creative process by posting ideas for me to write about. Today's theme is "surviving the worst."  I'll be soliciting ideas for urvivors, desperate people, heroes, villains, innocent bystanders, being prepared, facing challenges, solving problems, thinking outside the box, proving yourself, glorious success, abject failure, damage along the way, souvenirs and mementos, the bad part of town, dungeons, doom planets, the wilderness, that place everybody told you not to go but you did anyway, situations where the deck is stacked, shipwrecks or other transportation failures, endings and beginnings, worst case scenarios, whatever doesn't kill me had better run for its life, the end of the world as we know it, survival skills, coping skills,  and poetic forms in particular. But anything is welcome, really. If you manage to recommend a form that I don't recognize, I will probably pounce on it and ask you for its rules. I do have the first edition of Lewis Turco's The Book of Forms which covers most common and many obscure forms.

I'll post at least one of the fishbowl poems here so you-all can enjoy it. (Remember, you get an extra freebie poem if someone new posts a prompt or makes a donation, and additional perks at $100-$300 in donations.  Linkbacks reveal verses of "Unfamiliar Feelings.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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 ... but hilarious to watch, as a weasel takes an unexpected ride.

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Grand Prairie Friends is trying to raise money to buy 91 acres of forested property in Coles County, Illinois.  It's adjacent to two other large parcels already owned by the same organization, making it useful for protecting species vulnerable to habitat fragmentation.

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I was pleased to see some articles about diversity today.  This one discusses skin-toned fashions such as hosiery and shoes being expanded to cover more shades of nude.  This one presents a department store that's planning to offer gender-neutral clothing and organization, instead of men's/women's; alas, a temporary showing, but it's a step in the right direction.

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 LJ user Lb_lee is hosting a Selfathon.  Leave prompts about "self" and get ficlets.  There are perks for donations.

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The theme this month was "What makes a wo/man?"  I worked from 12:30 PM to 6 AM, so about 15 hours 30 minutes allowing for breaks.  I wrote 11 poems on Tuesday and 13 later, with a nice mix of lengths. 

We had brisk participation this month, with 46 comments on LJ and 56 on DW.  A total of 22 people sent prompts, all of them returning prompters.


Read Some Poetry!
The following poems from the January 6, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl have been posted:
"The Baghdad Debacle"
"Beth Marks"
"Cutting Through the Tape"
"Every Color of the Rainbow"
"Fragmented and Disconnected"
"A Man Is Not Complete"
"The Spirit's Wings"
"Star Deity"
"Taking Refuge in the Triple Gem"
"Too Expensive to Ship Back"
"What the Words Would Have Been"

"The Friendship Bench" (Polychrome Heroics, 1/15/15, outside prompt calls)
"Shaken" (Polychrome Heroics, 1/6/15 fishbowl)


Buy some poetry!
If you plan to sponsor some poetry but haven't made up your mind yet, watch for the unsold poetry list from February 3.  That will include the title, length, price, and the original thumbnail description for the poems still available.

Currently sponsored poems from the February 3 fishbowl have been posted.  Prompters have their backchannel copies.  Per the $200 goal, "Shaken" was the free epic.  Per the $250 goal, that's one tally toward a bonus fishbowl.  Per the $300 goal, the bonus material is "Meet the Floppits."

The donor post has not yet been written.  This month's donors included Stephen Laird, DW user Lynnoconnacht, DW user Dialecticdreamer, janetmiles, Anthony and Shirley Barrette.  There were no new donors.


The Poetry Fishbowl project also has a permanent landing page.

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These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
Strange Dragons
Learning by Osmosis
Asexuals in Entertainment
Moment of Silence: Leonard Nimoy
Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance


The next Poetry Fishbowl will be on Tuesday, March 3 with a theme of "Surviving the Worst."  Please drop by then and leave me some prompts.


Poetry in Microfunding:
"Often Buried Deep" belongs to the series An Army of One.  It follows Astin on the trader's loop.  "Settled" is the third piece of the Polychrome Heroics triptych about the fight at SPOON, taking place the next morning as Aidan and Hannah help Danso cope with what happened.

Torn World writing update:
Approved as canon: "Unicorns on Parade" "Spruce Deer" "Wandering the Heights" (poetry).  Back to me for edits: "Cutting Cords and Clasping Hands (Parts 1-4)," "Winterheart" (parts 2-3), "Stinging Like Nettles"  "Off the Clock" (poetry).  Currently in front of the canon board: "Ghost Bat" (nonfiction). Drafted: "Like Ash Before the Wind," "From Dark to Bright," "The Inappropriate But Useful Disposal of Lettuce" "A Thin Red Trail" (fiction), "Changes in the Wind" (poetry), "Southern Breads" "Tangleweed Article" (articles), Jularei (character sheet).  In revision at home: "Water Dance," "When the Wind's Teeth Sing," "Raining Kittens," "Finding the Holes," "Broken Hopes," "Brewing Beauty," "Little Paws in the Licenses" (fiction), "The Smallest Invaders," "Raising the Future"  (poetry).  Currently writing: "Catch of the Day," "A Cold Clear Night" (fiction).


It has snowed thoroughly here.  Everything is still under a blanket of white, very sparkly in the sun now.  Seen at the birdfeeders this week: sparrows, male and female cardinals, lots of mourning doves, and just this morning a squirrel hanging upside-down on the hopper.  Also I've seen a rabbit scrounging for dropped seeds underneath.  The wildlife comes out more when their other food is covered.

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I was charmed by this display of kissing skeletons.  Regrettably I couldn't find the video on the Love Has No Labels website, but they have other cool stuff there.  I am particularly pleased to see that the demonstration included a wide range of prejudices to be set up and knocked down.  I'm also delighted that they highlighted different kinds  of love, including at least two different pairs of best friends.

In Terramagne, people do this kind of thing a lot, adding "Love has no power differential" for the soup/nary couples.

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This is my card for the Pi(e) Fest.  It's all about the food and the funny number that begins 3.14...

I'm hoping to attract some new readers through this fest. People are starting to show interest in specific prompts. If you'd like to sponsor a particular square, especially if you have an idea for what character, series, or situation it would fit -- talk to me and we'll work something out. I may still post some of the fills for free, because I'm using this to attract new readers; but if it brings in money, that means I can do more of it. That's part of why I'm crossing some of the bingo prompts with other projects, such as the Poetry Fishbowl. Any other ideas for monetizing this? Let me know.  See all my 2015 bingo cards.

Underlined prompts have been filled.

Pi(e) Bingo Card

Dream Pi(e)Humble Pi(e)A Finger in Every Pi(e)American as
Apple Pi(e)
Easy as Pi(e)
Cutie Pi(e)“Pi(e)-ku” poetry contest? (Think Haiku.)That's my Pi(e)Pi(e) EyedPi(e) means Thanksgiving and Christmas and picnics.
“Come to the nerd side we have Pi(e)”Pi(e) in the SkyImage and video hosting by TinyPicMissing Pi(e)Blue Ribbon Pi(e)
Let them eat Pi(e).Georgie Porgie, pudding and  pi(e) Pi(e) PlatePi(e) ThiefThat is not Pi(e)!
The Pi(e) CheerPi(e) a gift from the Gods.Pi(e) ThrowingThat person really knows their pi(e)."Shut your
pi(e) hole."

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You can now read the whole story "Marshmallow Hearts" by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer.  Part 5 just posted, or begin with Part 1.  Aidan helps Groundhog and Cassandra deal with the aftermath of the SPOON fight.

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Today is the last day to vote for the Rose & Bay Awards. Please drop by and vote if you have not already done so. Some of the categories have only a few votes, so it would really help if more people would chime in. Nomination links are included in case you want to brows the options before making your selections.

Art: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate art! Vote for art!
Fiction: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate fiction! Vote for fiction!
Poetry: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate poetry! Vote for poetry!
Webcomic: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate webcomics! Vote for webcomics!
Other Project: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate other projects! Vote for other projects!
Patron: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate patrons! Vote for patrons!

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It has started snowing here.  We're supposed to get several inches.  We've just come home from shopping; we have food and fuel, so there should be no need to go out driving in the snow.  I fed the birds, and they're already mobbing the feeders.  Sparrows, cardinals, and mourning doves as far as the eye can see.  I saw a rabbit too.  Sometimes they come under the feeders to scrounge for spilled seed. 

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There's a fun article about D&D's weirdest dragons.

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 Lovely fanvid.  Hankie warning.

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AI specialists at the University of Maryland have created a robot that can learn by observing.  This one taught itself to cook by watching YouTube.

This is epic.  It's the "monkey see, monkey do" moment.  One of the most crucial steps in creating artificial life is the ability of self-learning instead of programming.  More importantly, learning by observation -- rather than being trained explicitly -- is a feature of higher lifeforms such as humans, cetaceans, and great apes.  It lays a foundation for the "aha!" moment of awakening to self.  A robot might go through the motions and then suddenly understand  what they mean.

Just remember, an AI is like a small child.  They learn what they see.  They mimic what you do, not what you say.  So treat them as you want to be treated.  Teach them well.  Then they'll do great things, instead of going insane and trying to destroy the world.  

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Here's a heartfelt post on why we need asexual characters, especially in positive roles.  But it's not just because asexual people need role models too.  It's because even sexual  people shouldn't be pressured all the time to get in a relationship.  Being single needs to be okay.

Ironically, one of the healthiest relationships in Polychrome Heroics is a quiet little villain/villain F/F.  Fortressa has declared that she is Through With Men.  Okay, fine, she can do that.  One of her henchwomen, Socket, has an almighty crush on Fortressa -- and has said absolutely nothing about it, because Fortressa isn't interested in a sexual/romantic relationship.  Instead, Socket is just always there for her, fixing up the battlesuit and making sure there's food in the shop fridge and generally trying to make Fortressa's life easier.  Because that's what true love is all about.  It's not about getting what you want out of the other person.  It's that condition in which somebody's happiness in integral to your own, so you do what you can to be there for them, however they  want you to.  It doesn't have to be sexual.  And what started out as a crush is slowly, inexorably, and quite beautifully growing into a squish which is fulfilling for both of them.

To find my asexual, celibate, demisexual, etc. characters, check out the QUILTBAG list.

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Leonard Nimoy has passed away.  He lived long, and prospered.  He both was and was not Spock.  But while everyone knows that role, I have another favorite too: he also starred in Brave New World, where it was utterly delightful to see him frisking around advising the other characters to be happy and have lots of promiscuous sex.

He taught us a lot about logic and emotion; more crucially still, the need to balance both in order to live well.  Along with the rest of the Star Trek teamfamily, he taught us about tolerance -- not just of others, but of ourselves.  He showed us glimpses, not just of one future, but of many futures.  In doing these things, he left an imprint that will last as long as our culture does.

So I'm sorry he's left us -- though he has left quite a lot to us -- and I'm really going to miss that man.  But on the other side...


Leonard Nimoy looks at the enormous mob burgeoning around The Great Con in the Sky.  Two cloud buses have arrived simultaneously.  One of them disgorges a flock of angels -- is that Metatron? -- while the other lets out a stream of tzadikim.  On the front lawn, a circle of Summerlanders are spit-roasting an entire ox.

Leonard shakes his head and sneaks around back in search of an open window.  Just as he is closing the window behind himself, a soft sound makes him whirl around.  "Gene!" he cries gladly.

"Hello, old friend," says Gene Roddenberry as they hug.  "Sorry about the crush out front.  People are excited to see you."

Leonard raises an eyebrow.  "Coming in the back way was a logical ruse," he says.  "But what are you  doing here?"

"Waiting for you," Gene replies.  "Since you made your peace with old Spock, I figured you'd take the logical route.  Come on, I'll show you where we stashed the secret Green Room.  If we hurry, we can get there before Isaac Asimov eats all the cookies."

Grinning, Leonard drapes a long arm over Gene's shoulders and says, "Lead the way."

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 Broadband internet access has been declared a utility.  I am pleased, and a little surprised that they actually got something right.

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This poem is spillover from the November 2014 Crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from DW user Dialecticdreamer.  It also fills the "Wild Card: Superpowers" square in my 9-1-14 card for the Genprompt Bingo fest.  This poem has been chosen for general funding based on an audience poll.  It belongs to the Danso & Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. 

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include:

320 lines, Buy It Now = $160
Amount donated = $39
Verses posted = 26 of 96

Amount remaining to fund fully = $121
Amount needed to fund next verse = $2
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $2


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 Flowers.

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Elizabeth Barrette
Name: Elizabeth Barrette
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"The Wordsmith's Forge" showcases the writing, editing, and other projects of Elizabeth Barrette. It also serves as a virtual living room for the discussion of diverse topics. Please pull up a cushion and join in.



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