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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Thanks to an anonymous donation, "Never Laid Open" is now complete.  Watch Shiv flounder his way through new coping skills.  

This means that the sequel "As We Grasp Them" is unlocked and available to be sponsored and posted.

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ysabetwordsmith
Thanks to a donation from Anthony & Shirley Barrette, there are 12 new verses in "These Tiny Little Steps." Victor struggles with surrender; Kálmán tries to help.

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Good news includes all the things which make us happy or otherwise feel good.  It can be personal or public.  We never know when something wonderful will happen, and when it does, most people want to share it with someone.  It's disappointing when nobody is there to appreciate it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our joys and pat each other on the back.

What good news have you had recently?

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Thanks to a donation from Anthony & Shirley Barrette, "The Injury That Provokes It" is now complete.  Find out some of the natural consequences  that come from Andy being a dick.

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Marvel is picking up Red Wolf again.  It's representation, but far from ideal.  I've listed my Native American superheroes here.

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This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, August 4, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "friendship, kinship, and families of choice." I'll be soliciting ideas for friends, frenemies, nemesis, spice, parents and children, zucchini, other relatives, making friends, arguing, making up, falling in love, growing a family, getting into trouble, deciding to help someone, getting out of trouble, asking for help and getting it, when help goes horribly wrong, enemy mine, enemites to friends, enemies to lovers, friendship benches, home, school, workplaces, playgrounds, bars, other places important to human relationships, friendship tokens, wedding rings, baby handprints, photo albums, souvenirs, our song, people skills, emotional first aid, endings and beginnings, marriage, divorce, other major life changes, and poetic forms in particular.

I have a linkback poem, "Qui Gatti Ci Cova" (15 verses, Fiorenza the Wisewoman). 

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week.  (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts.  I am now.)  Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog. 

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ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the July 21, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] natasiakith, [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah, and Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "make new friends" square of my 5-20-15 card for the Wellness Toolbox Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series, and is a sequel to "Coloring In."

Warning: This poem contains some touchy material. Highlight to read the detailed warnings, some of which are spoilers. It mentions uncontrolled use of a superpower, physical stress deriving from superpower overstrain, having to depend on a total stranger for help, nonsexual intimacy during a minor crisis, aftereffects of past head trauma, graphic description of disability coping skills, a close look at how superpowers can screw up your life, teen angst, and other sensitive material. But mostly it's a very positive look at Ansel being awesome again. If these are concerns for you, please consider your headspace before reading onward.

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ysabetwordsmith
See an animated map of the slave trade.  If you pause the animation, you can click on any ship for details.

Around 2 million Africans died on the slave ships alone, and more before and after that.  Never forget.

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ysabetwordsmith
These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
Gloucester Addiction Relief
History of Jamaica
The Strandbeests Are Coming
Ursula K. LeGuin on Literature
Quality of Life Scale
Invisibility in the Animal World
When is a magical Indian not a magical Indian?


The Poetry Fishbowl went well. Read the Fishbowl Sales Update.


Poetry in Microfunding:
"These Tiny Little Steps" belongs to Frankenstein's Family.  Victor and Igor argue over who should take care of the villagers.  "Never Laid Open" belongs to Polychrome Heroics, in the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread.  Shiv encounters consequences for his behavior.  "The Injury That Provokes It" belongs to Polychrome Heroics.  There are eight new verses, in which Andy blames everyone else for his own problems.

Torn World writing update:
Approved as canon: "Unicorns on Parade" "Spruce Deer" "Wandering the Heights" (poetry).  Back to me for edits: "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" "Beach Pies" "Unsolid Ground" "Riding from the Rescue" "To Ride Death" (poetry), "Rammer" (nonfiction).  Currently writing: "Catch of the Day," "A Cold Clear Night" (fiction).


Weather here has been a little cooler and drier.  Sweet alyssum, torenia, blue lobelia, petunias, million bells, portulaca, ice flowers, clover, shasta daisies, echinacea, yellow coneflower, and Queen Anne's lace are blooming.  And so are my prairie grasses!  The side-oats grama in the wildflower garden has its little seedheads dangling.  I am also excited because the big bluestem in the prairie garden has bloomed.  I've been planting native grasses for several years now, with only so-so success.  But there they are, a good six feet tall, waving their turkey-toes in the air.  :D  Happy naturalist is happy now.  Blackberries and apples have green fruit, and so does the plum tree for the first time.  Yesterday I made spaghetti sauce from farmer's market veggies, and we've still got the fixings to make up a batch of sloppy joe filling.

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ysabetwordsmith
Today I was making spaghetti sauce and it needed molasses.  I took the molasses out of the cabinet, went to the crockpot -- and found myself holding a jar of ginger paste.

The little fuckers had taken the molasses OUT OF MY HAND and REPLACED IT with something else.  What the actual fuck.
Two minutes of me threatening dire retribution later, they put the molasses back ... on the kitchen bar.  Uh huh.  Yeah thanks. My life was somehow not weird enough already.

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ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the July 21, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "primary colors" square in my 6-10-15 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest, and it fills the "Asked to give public safety lecture -- right after incident" square in my Superhero Bingo Card. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

WARNING: This poem touches on some sensitive topics. Highlight to read the detailed warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features bullying, vile language, discrimination against assorted groups, willing and unwilling changes in hair color, nonsexual intimacies, navigation through shifting identity, boundary issues, violation of body autonomy, canon-typical violence, emotional stress, and other challenges. On the whole, though, there's more fluff than angst, and it ends on a high note. If this is touchy territory for you, consider your headspace before clicking through.

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ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the July 21, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from LJ user Ng_moonmoth, [personal profile] ellenmillion, and [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Warning: This poem contains canon-typical violence, hostile language, boundary violations, and other minor mayhem. No supervillains or would-be heroes were seriously injured in the making of this poem.

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ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the July 7, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] thnidu. It has been sponsored by LJ user Ng_moonmoth.


"Habitat Foreclosure"
-- a vembletroon


Nincompoops in power cannot do the math of water shortages:
It's farms and factories at fault, not homes.
Take this to the bank: habitat foreclosure is at hand, aquifers running dry, glaciers absent without leave, and doom gathering in every empty lake.
Fracked! Cracked! Thanks to this, the water that remains is no longer potable.
Idiots.


* * *

Notes:

"Habitat foreclosure" is a phrase I coined some years ago to describe situations where environmental changes make an area unsuited for human residence. This is happening in parts of China, Russia, Africa, etc. where settlements are being abandoned due to drought, dust storms, and other problems which have exceeded feasible coping strategies.

Read about the vembletroon form.

The West Coast drought is behind the water shortages, but the highest demand is not from individual use but from industrial and agricultural uses.  Therefore the problem cannot be solved by individuals or cutting municipal supplies.  

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ysabetwordsmith
The ticker for the Poetry Fishbowl is broken, not on my site but on the provider site.  :(  Hopefully they will fix whatever they broke in their latest update that is trying to offer us new buttons that don't work.

Current tally = $562.50

Sold poems: 
"Silkbag" (freebie)
"Coloring In"
"Everything Goes"
"Hearing What Isn't Said"
"Silken Wings"
"Humbug or Hope"

All perks have been activated.  Tally is still open through Sunday night though, and will be closed on Monday morning.  I am continuing to post sponsored poems.  Today's project is making spaghetti sauce though, so my computer time is less than usual. 

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ysabetwordsmith
Here's an excellent way to reduce the damage done by addiction

Terramagne does things like this.  They put more effort into crime prevention, partly because the crimes can be a lot worse than here if they involve superpowers.  

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ysabetwordsmith
I have long said that the pyramid of needs is only one way of organizing those values.  Check out the Blackfoot version.

For me, the need to know and understand is fundamental.  Social connections are luxuries from a philosophic point of view, although in this context I need people for practical concerns; but I just don't have as much intrinsic NEED for other people as most folks seem to.  And my transcendence can't turn off no matter what I or anyone else may do; like my sense of self, it is indelible.  The base of my pyramid is, more explicitly than for most people although it is true for everyone, the biosphere of the Earth.  No biosphere, no nothing.  Because I know that, my behavior is very different from people who place their own body's needs at the base.

They're all just concepts.  You can prioritize them in any order you want.  Some orders are more effective than others.  I'm not terribly impressed with the planetwide results of personal-body-needs as a foundation.

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ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the July 21, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Anthony Barrette. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

Warning: This poem discusses natural disasters.

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ysabetwordsmith
 ... as unearthed by Nalo Hopkinson.  She's one of those writers who likes to do serious research for her F&SF novels.

I would like to add: the perception of stupidity, laziness, and clumsiness is not an accident or a random stereotype.  It is a misinterpretation  of the tactics for survival and resistance by slaves against their owners.  If the master thinks you're rebelling, you'll be punished or killed.  But if you can make them think you're unable  to do better, they're surprisingly easy to fool and will let you alone.  So slaves quite frequently wasted resources, broke or lost tools, dragged their feet, let the livestock out, stole food, and generally did everything they could, as discreetly as possible, to make the masters' lives less pleasant.  

Those strategies linger in poor communities today.  Why bust your ass when all the benefit of your labor gets creamed off for the benefit of people who hate you?  You'll never be permitted to earn more than subsistence wages, so you might as well do that with as little effort as you can possibly get away with.  Where there is no reward for harder work, you get passive resistance.

So when you read my writing about the slave descended cultures of the Americas and Caribbean, you can see many of the same roots.  It's often there in the language, the personal and community dynamics, the food, and especially the ways people deal with problems.  Each place is unique, with its own local culture -- Jamaica is different from Cuba and from New Orleans.  They're related through the common experiences of colonialism and slavery, yet distinct in local resources and historic events.  The diversity is beautiful.  As that plays out in my storytelling, you can see how people from different cultures might handle things like superpowers (Haiti is one of the bottom-ten countries for soups) or getting kidnapped by alien slavers (in which various black folks used their family lore to devise survival strategies).

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ysabetwordsmith
Based on an audience poll, there are 8 new verses in "The Injury That Provokes It."  Andy is back to blaming other people for his own problems.

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