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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Here's an article about why Generation Y is so unhappy.

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ysabetwordsmith
Becomes very sharp in moving from shortlist to winner of major literary awards.  These awards influence future contracts and earnings.  When they go almost entirely to men, that contributes to the overall trend of women being paid less and otherwise rewarded less for the same jobs.

It would be great to do a study with people ranking stories by quality.  In the control group, leave the original author names intact and have equal amounts of stories by male and female authors (plus other, if you want to be fully inclusive).  In the second group, switch the genders of the authors.  In the third group, remove all the names and just judge based on stories.  See if the perceived authorial gender changes how people rate the stories.

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ysabetwordsmith
Here is my card for the Tones fest on [community profile] allbingo. It will run from September 1st through 30.  The point of this month's theme is to explore tones and voices. The suggested length is 200 words or less -- or whatever "small" is in your medium if not words -- to encourage people to try new things. (See all my 2015 bingo cards.)

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've had a few requests for this and the results have been awesome so far. This is a good opportunity for those of you with favorites that don't always mesh well with the themes of my monthly projects. 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.

Underlined prompts have been filled.

TONES BINGO CARD

sarcasticpeacefulfranticbraveoptimistic
desperateexhaustedencouraginghopefulwelcoming
soothinganxiousWILD CARDsuspiciouslyrical
angrycreepyproudmournfulmiserable
sentimentalenthusedsympatheticbitterurgent

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ysabetwordsmith
This month I made 25 fills in the As You Like It bingo fest. 

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ysabetwordsmith
Here's an interesting post on convention panels about diversity. Now for some further discussion of particular points ...

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ysabetwordsmith
These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
Poetry Fishbowl Report for August 4, 2015
Social Justice in Science Fiction
Unsold Poems from the August 4, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl
Terri Windling on Perfectionism
Unsold Poems from the July 21, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl
Poetry Fishbowl Report for July 21, 2015
Enjoy "Raising Dion #1"
Read "Triage"
Viridi Game
Real Sex Education
Ocean Currents and Flotsam
Power Reveals
The Sound of Animation
First Draft Checklist
Trigger Warnings as Respect


There will be a Poetry Fishbowl on Tuesday, September 1 with a theme of "yarn, thread, and string." I hope to see you then!


Poetry in Microfunding:
"These Tiny Little Steps" belongs to Frankenstein's Family.  Victor is a determined father, a good doctor, and a terrible patient.  "With Your Brain and Your Resourcefulness" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Antimatter and Stalwart Stan.  Captured by the supervillain Velvet, Lawrence and Stan struggle to find some means of escape.  "Neither Automatic Nor Inevitable" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Danso and Family.  When SPOON captures the clipper who injured Cassandra, she confronts him in hope of obtaining justice.  "Coming Back to Your Breath" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Aquariana.  People worry about Steel and Moderato after the whaling incident.  We're closed for further microfunding until some of these finish.

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 is mild.  Sweet alyssum, torenia, blue lobelia, portulaca, ice flowers, clover, shasta daisies, echinacea, yellow coneflower, Queen Anne's lace, and compass plants are blooming. 

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ysabetwordsmith
Disappointed by commercial offerings, more and more women are making clothes for girls that challenge gender stereotypes. Even better, now they're banding together.  :D  I love genderflexy clothes.

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ysabetwordsmith
This month's theme was "friendship, kinship, and families of choice." I worked from 12 PM to 6:15 AM, so about 16 hours 15 minutes, accounting for lunch and supper breaks. I wrote 10 poems on Tuesday and another 6 later.

Participation was a little lower, with 18 people leaving prompts. None of them were new.


Read Some Poetry!
The following poems from the August 4, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl have been posted:
"American Roots"
"American Wings"
"Carrying On"
"Muscadine Days"
"A River So Long"
"The Surface Tension of Injured Souls"
"The Trees That Came for a Wedding"
"Walking with a Friend in the Dark"
"Whakaeke"


Buy some poetry!
If you plan to sponsor some poetry but haven't made up your mind yet, see the unsold poetry list for August 4, 2015. That will include the title, length, price, and the original thumbnail description for the poems still available.

All currently sponsored poems from this session have been posted.  There were only seven donors this time, all regulars: [personal profile] janetmiles[personal profile] mama_kestrel[personal profile] lone_cat[personal profile] dialecticdreamer, LJ user Ng_moonmoth, Anthony and Shirley Barrette.


The Poetry Fishbowl project also has a permanent landing page.

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ysabetwordsmith
Here's another essay about the Hugo Awards and whether science fiction is devolving into social justice stories. 

Devolving?  Really?  The genre that began with Mary Wallstonecraft  Shelley's scathing condemnation of a protagonist who was everything society lauded and also an imbecilic dick?  The genre where Gene Roddenberry cast his bridge crew with all the colors?  The genre that has, basically, made a profession out of screaming "NOT THAT DOOR!" at society and occasionally giving us a Tomorrowland-esque vision of awesome the future could be if humanity would only pull its head out of its ass?

Shut.  The fuck.  Up.

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ysabetwordsmith

The following poems from the August 4, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. Poems may be sponsored via PayPal -- there's a permanent donation button on my LiveJournal profile page -- or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

There are still verses left in the linkback poem "Learning to See."  Linking to this page will reveal new verses of that.



"The Brightest Thing in the Day"
Your prompt about self-harm dovetailed neatly with notes I've had for Cassandra. Past and present stresses push her into some desperate measures. Groundhog finds out -- but his reaction is very different from previous experiences she has had. Competent dispatcher is competent. I have a competence kink. Let me show you it. "The Brightest Thing in the Day" is written in free verse.
536 lines, Buy It Now = $268

It's over now, or at least
it's supposed to be over,
but Cassandra doesn't know
how to feel about that, except
it doesn't feel over.

She's gone through the meetings
with people for and against clipping,
from forks to concerned parents, and
even met a few other survivors like herself
.

"Only in Acceptance"
This combined with several other prompts to make the free-verse poem "Only in Acceptance."  Damask muse about their situation and how to improve it, thinking about what makes friendship and family work.
110 lines, Buy It Now = $55

Maze

We remember what family is like,
what Maisie grew up with.

We're not Maisie, but
we still want to have a family.

"Spinning Family"
Your age-set prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Spinning Family."  It describes the primary social connection for Northerners.
37 lines, Buy It Now = $15

"To Put Together a Family"
A Monster House prompt inspired the free-verse poem "To Put Together a Family."  An unsympathetic home leads the nephew to seek refuge in the house on Hollow Oak Drive.  Fortunately SOME people know what family is all about.
144 lines, Buy It Now = $72

In the coldest, darkest part of January
my nephew showed up on the porch.

In his shirtsleeves.
Shivering.

I pulled him into the living room
and said, "What the heck is going on?"

Continuing with Ansel's storyline, he gets into some soup issues at work, resulting in a triptych of free-verse poems.  You'll see some coworker relationships and also how he deals with other soups.

"The Individual's Own Reason" shows Ansel starting to take on more cases believed to involve superpowers, which are challenging for the police to handle.
216 lines, Buy It Now = $108

"I want you to start taking
more of the soup cases,"
Chief De Soto said to Ansel,
entirely without warning.

"What?" Ansel said, startled.
"I don't ... I mean, you know that
I'm not a real soup, right? That is,
the color change is real, but I don't
have any powers beyond that. I can
do the outreach, talk to kids like Skippy,
sure, but supervillains?" He shook
his head. "I don't know if I'm
cut out for that, Chief."

"Forgotten to Breathe" introduces some new supervillains who are making Ansel's job more difficult.  He gets in over his head.
484 lines, Buy It Now = $242

Ansel was in the middle of lunch when
Bert hollered, "There's a theft in progress
at an ATM -- patrol's already on the way
to cover that -- we're heading for where
someone spotted that blue dog to see
if we can catch whoever's behind
all these crazy-colored critters!"

Already in motion, Ansel
wolfed down the rest of his food
and scrambled for his patrol car
to follow Bert and Justin in theirs.

"When We Get the Rough Times" features Ansel and Chief De Soto discussing how the incident went and what could be done better in the future.  Also Skippy is really, really serious about his role as soup mentor.
464 lines, Buy It Now = $232

Ansel woke to find himself
stretched out in a hospital bed
with Chief De Soto sitting beside him
reading a children's magazine.

He felt worse than that time when he had
accidentally gotten shot with a zatzer in training.
His whole body felt half-numb and prickly,
like a foot that had fallen asleep and was
just beginning to wake up and complain.

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ysabetwordsmith
Terri Windling has written a lovely essay on perfectionism and how it can destroy creative people.  Now consider that the educational system is less and less inclined to tolerate mistakes of any kind, ever, at all.  It raises the stakes from a very young age, which predictably results in more children getting suspended (they're doing that in preschools now) and vomiting from stress during standardized tests.  Imagine what that's doing to the creatives among them.  >_<

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ysabetwordsmith

The following poems from the July 21, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. Poems may be sponsored via PayPal -- there's a permanent donation button on my LiveJournal profile page -- or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

There are still verses left in the linkback poem "Learning to See."  Linking to this page will reveal new verses of that.



"As a Model for Others"
TeJay takes Eric to a presentation on Rosa Parks Day, where they discuss issues of oppression and equality.  "As a Model for Others" is written in free verse.
104 lines, Buy It Now = $52

TeJay knows that Eric's mind
is mostly on Christmas, and
that's okay as far as it goes.

He knows darn well
that doesn't go as far as it used to,
though, and TeJay feels a bit
responsible for that
.


"Collarboned"
I came across some other inspiration elsenet and figured it would attach well here. "Collarboned" is about empathic abuse, and it's also a sequel to "Touching the Ties That Bind."
70 lines, Buy It Now = $35

At first she is flattered when he proposes
that they move in together so soon
after meeting, that it must be
love at first sight.

It is wonderful for a month.

Then he begins to draw her away
from her friends and family
.


"Berettaflies"
Your wasp prompt contributed to the free-verse poem "Berettaflies." Facet goes out on a call to investigate complaints about venomous butterflies. Not even his insect powers are really up to the challenge at hand.
102 lines, Buy It Now = $51

When hysterical calls came into
the Easy City SPOON office complaining
about venomous butterflies, they
sent Facet to investigate.

He found a fractured lab,
a swarm of vivid insects, and
a supervillain with a butterfly net
.


"Forging Ahead"
Based on your paladins prompt, I took the opportunity to write the poem in which Ari gets her star sword and full status as a paladin. "Forging Ahead" is written in unrhymed quatrains.
140 lines, 35 verses, Buy It Now = $70

It had been just over a year
since their first meeting when
Shahana declared the end
of Ari's time as a novice.

"You are ready to become
a paladin in your own right,"
said Shahana. "It is time
to get you a proper sword."

"If Old Hymns You Like"
From this I got the free-verse poem "If Old Hymns You Like." It's an exploration of how badly people speak of Loki, and what the words really mean if you look a little closer.
45 lines, Buy It Now = $20

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ysabetwordsmith
This session's theme was "anything goes," which next time I will try to clarify further: not just riffing on that phrase, but you can ask for whatever you want. I worked from 12:15 PM to 6 AM, so about 15 hours 45 minutes allowing for lunch and supper breaks. I wrote 7 poems on Tuesday and another 11 later.

Participation was decent, with 20 people sending prompts. Please welcome new prompter [personal profile] shiori_makiba , whom you have to thank for the second freebie.


Read Some Poetry!
The following poems from the July 21, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl have been posted:
"By Our Limited Human Understanding"
"Coloring In"
"Come Through Your Door"
"Everything Goes"
"Hearing What Isn't Said"
"Humbug or Hope"
"Neither Automatic Nor Inevitable"
"Seeking a Happy Medium"
"silkbag"
"Silken Wings"
"Touchbacks"
"Where We Love Is Home"
"With Your Brain and Your Resourcefulness"


Buy some poetry!
If you plan to sponsor some poetry but haven't made up your mind yet, see the unsold poetry list for June 21, 2015. That will include the title, length, price, and the original thumbnail description for the poems still available.

All currently sponsored poems from this session have been posted.  There were only four donors this time, all regulars: [personal profile] janetmiles, LJ user Ng_moonmoth, Anthony and Shirley Barrette.


The Poetry Fishbowl project also has a permanent landing page.

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ysabetwordsmith
Today I discovered Raising Dion. It's about a single mother of color, who does not have superpowers, raising a son who does. Gorgeous art, adorable characterization, attentive ethics, really cool power use, positive family values -- all stuff I love. You can download a free PDF of the first issue, or buy a print-on-demand hardcopy here. Regrettably I could not find a plain donation button, but the hardcopy is only $4 so that should fit most budgets. If you want to support them more, you could always buy extras for some friends.

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ysabetwordsmith
 [personal profile] finch has written "Triage" based on my prompt in his Birdcage event.  I asked for a supervillain with a problem that can't be solved by hitting.  This definitely qualifies.  But Mary Sand is trying a supervillain approach anyhow.

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ysabetwordsmith
 Viridi is a game for people who don't like shooting, hitting, lots of blinking lights, nerve-wracking counters, or the other stuff typical of video games.  You grow succulent plants.  :D  It's meant to be a more relaxing, meditative experience than other games.

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ysabetwordsmith
Here is a hawt video of a Hispanic pr0n star demonstrating how to use condoms safely and effectively.  (Hey, you want to learn a topic, ask an expert!)  Gorgeous, full-view imagery of a guy having a good time with his body and his personal safety supplies.  :D  Now if we all had access to stuff like this, it would absolutely hold the attention of the sexual folks, entertaining as well as educating.  (Ace students may prefer a different demo using a banana just in case they ever need to explain to a friend.)  Obviously that video is NSFW for most folks.

This is one reason why Terramagne-America has a healthier view of sexuality, with consequently lower rates of teen pregnancy and other problems related to not knowing how to handle a crotch safely.  The good high schools have sex ed that looks kind of like this, and the banana option for people who don't want explicit demonstrations.  Once you are old enough for legal consent, you better know what you're doing; age-appropriate materials are available for younger classes.  Similar content is very widely available online -- especially in the darknet.  One of its more thriving uses is spreading accurate sexual information, along with the regular supply of pr0n, to places that don't want people to have that data.  So hey, you can educate your kids, or Kraken can do it for you.

Yes,  I have supervillains who are better at sex ed than most high schools.  LOL

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ysabetwordsmith
My partner Doug tipped me to a story about finding a very old message in a bottle from a science experiment.  That reminded me about the rubber duckies, which you can see on maps like this, or here with some time stamps.

So much of science comes down to "Let's see what happens."

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ysabetwordsmith
Civilization is relatively new, and not as great a thing as most people think, only they've forgotten the other options

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ysabetwordsmith
Here is a wonderful article about what it really means to be Pagan, and indeed, what Paganism is for.  Some of the quotes are by people I know, like Anne Niven -- it's always fun to cross paths that way.  For my part ...

I do magic because it works.  I am a devout empiricist; I don't care what other people say, I care what I can observe.  What I observe is that I get better results from behaving as if magic works than as if it does not, as if there are divine beings than as if there are not, and so forth.  I'm always looking for the model that delivers the best results.

Hence Paganism, doing science to magic and magic to science, and often annoying people on both sides of the field.  But to me it's not a pair of pigeonholes.  It's a torc, bent so that the two ends face each other and sparks dance across the gap that holds things like quantum mechanics.

One thing I've noticed is that climate change is changing how magic works.  This is not actually new, same thing happened when the Ice Age conked out, and wow was changing the climate inside a human lifetime something I did not  need to see again.  But at least I know how fast Gaia can move when she feels like it: quite a lot faster than most humans think.  Anyhow, it used to be the case that weather was fairly amenable to human input, if one had the relevant talent, skills, and/or knowledge.  Moods, yes, but mercurial ones; the clouds might ignore a request sometimes, but most of the time would mind a good weatherworker.  Now, not so much.  Trying to talk to the weather spirits now is like trying to talk to someone on a rampage beating cars with a bat.  O. Kay. Then.  0_o  So I learned, partly with input from some Pagan friends, to nudge the weather in less psychotic directions by asking the land spirits to intervene.  "Hey, could you ask them to tone it down enough to avoid tearing loose the trees?"  It helps.  

Another thing is thinking about context.  I've landscaped the yard for wildlife and human benefit.  Much of it is modeled after ecosystems -- the prairie garden, the savannah, the forest.  So too the magic is built into it, layers of shields for protection, and one other thing.  I created a kind of large-scale deadman switch, so that if civilization collapses, it will pull the handle on what amounts to an ecological life-raft.  Energy comes up from the node, hits the tight package of biodiversity, and then spreads outward carrying the plants and animals with it into what is currently barren monoculture. Hopefully we won't need it, but it's there just in case. 

Even in its dormant form, that kind of magic has influence.  One day a storm snapped a tree about 20 feet up from the ground.  I did a little quick research, discovered that standing snags are useful, and decided to leave it.  But there was all the rest of the tree in the way.  So we had that cut into firewood and reduced to wood chips.  Yay, mulch pile!  And here's where it gets interesting.  The mulch pile came into existence, and then it rained for two days straight.  On the third day, I went out to look at the new mulch pile.  It was already fully inhabited.  I could see webs of fungus spread over it.  There were pillbugs, beetles, centipedes, and spiders crawling through it.  Curious, I poked the chips with my trowel, and out hopped a toad.  The detritus food chain here at Fieldhaven is three days to apex.  Three days,  mind you, not three weeks or three months.  That interfaces with the macro food chain through small vertebrates such as toads and birds.  The whole process worked in miniature as soon as a situation called for it.  Great job on the storm drill, folks.

A lot of what I do with magic just comes down to making things work better, faster, more focused.

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