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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poetry Fishbowl Open!
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED.  Thank you all for your enthusiasm.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "pets and livestock."  (Or more generally, animals in a close relationship with humans; my_partner_doug and I talked about elephants this morning.)  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.

The linkbacks perk post is live, courtesy of minor_architect. Click to read "The Picket Fence Committee" or notify her of linkbacks to reveal more verses.

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 "pets and livestock." 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! -- Here is a progress meter showing the amount donated.  At $150 you get a free series poem; at $200 you get an extra fishbowl featuring a poetic series.

$158 raised, first goal MET, $42 to second goal

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.  The Twitter hashtag is #poetryfishbowl.  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.  minor_architect has volunteered to post the verses this month, so you'll need to notify her of your linkbacks in a comment to her post, in order for them to count.  "The Picket Fence Committee" belongs to the Monster House series and has 18 verses.

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 $150+ by Friday evening then I'll write an extra series poem after the Poetry Fishbowl, and post it for free.  Everyone will get to vote which series gets a new poem.  Current donors will get to leave prompts.  If donations reach $200, the perk upgrades so that you get a whole extra fishbowl for a poetic series, including a free poem.  Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it's likely to be a half-day rather than a whole day.

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 "pets and livestock."  I'll be soliciting ideas for animals that live with people, alien or fantasy pets, familiars, interesting equipment for pets and livestock, ways that pets influence people, the effects of livestock on culture, places where animals may be found, historic examples of pets and livestock, 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, an extra series poem  if donations reach $150+, and a series fishbowl  if donations reach $200.  Linkbacks reveal verses of "The Picket Fence Committee.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

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thesilentpoet From: thesilentpoet Date: September 6th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

I JUST sent you a message with some prompts, as I'm only just now getting on my computer, and I didn't know when exactly you'd start. (Lunch break is over in five minutes.)

I'll try to check back in when I can.
siege From: siege Date: September 6th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Pet rocks come to mind.

"Sea monkeys" (brine shrimp, anyway).

Other pet fads from less careful times?

Having a favorite anything and calling it a pet.

Miniature ponies and other miniature creatures. It has been a trope of fantastical comedy and sci-fi excess to show miniaturized animals of all kinds, especially elephants and mammoth.

Actually, what if someone kept a regular mammoth as a pet in modern times?

The act of petting an animal. Or "heavy petting", as the case may be, presumably with someone sapient.

What about the "kink" practice of keeping people as pets? I see it often enough in online discussion and chat that I've managed to become accustomed, but the idea on its own feels a bit creepy to me still.

What happens when you have to set a wild creature free, and it comes back and treats you like family?
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: September 6th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Speaking of miniature pets: http://www.petitelapgiraffe.com/photos.php :P
haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: September 6th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Serious one: there's a growing shortage of large animal vets because more and more students are choosing the 9 to 5 hours of being a vet to pets. Where is the James Herriot that will make modern livestock doctoring exciting?

Less serious: I want to hear whether aliens farming!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 6th, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)


From the prompt about large animal vets, I got the free-verse poem "What Matters." It speaks of the contract our ancestors made with the animals during the process of domestication.

41 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: September 6th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Herding instincts

Where does working dog part from pet? (Does it, always?) I'm thinking of the Yasiluu, particularly. :)


Imaginary pets.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 6th, 2011 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)


From the prompt about "working dogs" I got the free-verse poem "Dogged Persistence," relating how the Yasiluu dogs developed. I have posted this separately as today's freebie.

From: minor_architect Date: September 6th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
The linkbacks perk post is open for business! :)


(I'll leave another comment with poetry prompts when I've organized my thoughts.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 6th, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I've added the links to your post in a couple of places here: near the top, and down with the full description of the perk.
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: September 6th, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
What kind of mage would have a rabbit as familiar?

Does the Monster House family have pets?

Our (I and hubby) nickname for the lava lamp is 'Alien Aquarium' does it spark anything?

Do the Origami and/or Kirigami mage have companion animals who share their travels?

What kind of pet might a kitsune keep?

Signal boosted, by the way :)
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: September 6th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
>>What kind of mage would have a rabbit as familiar?<<

Moon Mages! :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 6th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)


aldersprig left an early prompt, referencing Tir na Cali and this cool article about domestication. The result is "Spotted," a free-verse poem about the domestication phenotype and the unexpected confluence of magic and science.

33 lines, Buy It Now = $15
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: September 6th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

**bounces excitedly**
my_partner_doug From: my_partner_doug Date: September 6th, 2011 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Pets in the Monster House, be they of mundane or supernatural variety.

Pets for non-human races (in general), or for Trolls in particular -- or is "pet" equivalent to "snack saved for later" to our Sort of Hero Brod?

Do sharks consider the remora a pet -- or is it the other way around?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 7th, 2011 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)


Scroll up to see the thumbnail for "Pet Projects" about Monster House, under marina_bonomi's prompt.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 7th, 2011 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)


From the prompt about Shahana and Ari meeting other animals, I got the free-verse poem "Salt and Pepper." Ari gets a lesson in woodslore -- and Gailah's sacred animal isn't any of the usual things one might expect for a goddess of grace and peace.

73 lines, Buy It Now = $36.50
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: September 6th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whatever happened to the cow that Jack traded for the magic beans?

What happens in the next life to people who were careless of or cruel to pets in this life?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 7th, 2011 02:20 am (UTC) (Link)


The prompt about Jack's cow led to the free-verse poem "Jack and the White Cow." It plays on a number of traditional European motifs, and more obliquely, the similarity of fairytales to video games that reset challenges.

31 lines, Buy It Now = $15
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: September 6th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
All I've got is chia pets. Siege took all my good ideas, even the ones about Pet and Pony play. :P

Edit: No, wait - there's also finding a familiar. :)

Edited at 2011-09-06 08:05 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 6th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)


These two ideas -- about pet plants and sentient pets -- stuck together in my mind. It got me thinking about some aliens I know, who are sentient plants, and the Freedom System in my main science fiction setting, which is all about alternative sexuality. The result is "kept," a poem written in unrhymed tercets. It tells of an alien plant who wants to belong to a gardener. It is, in a way, also a platonic love story; and I think it does a very sweet job of describing why pet play is satisfying ... by way of some very exotic framing.

68 lines, Buy It Now = $34
ladyqkat From: ladyqkat Date: September 6th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
How does Bast (or Diety of Choice) assist a pet who crossed the Rainbow Bridge long after their original owner, find that owner in The Summerlands?
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: September 6th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remember somebody somewhere presenting a chewing out for that idea; apparently escorting the dead to the afterlife is the job of Anubis.
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: September 6th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Animals kept as hunters (for game wanted by the people who keep them) -- hounds, hawks, ferrets, and so forth. I think historically cheetas were kept as royal hunting beasts?

Or by contrast, animals kept to hunt vermin -- barn cats, rat terriers.

Plow animals. The horse as the backbone of the pre-industrial (western) farm.

Losing a pet.

Rescuing an abused or abandoned animal.

Guide dogs and other service animals.
(Deleted comment)
moonwolf1988 From: moonwolf1988 Date: September 6th, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Livestock as pets - when people keep something purely because they want to eat it but get all soppy about them and find that the animal has become a pet.

An alternate universe where tigers and wolves are pets while the domestic animals are wild.

Giant guinea pigs/rabbits/hamsters.

How pets communicate about their humans.

Another AU where humans are the pets of giant cats or dogs - how do they treat us?
my_partner_doug From: my_partner_doug Date: September 6th, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
An alternate universe where tigers and wolves are pets while the domestic animals are wild.

Elizabeth & I riffed on this over lunch, and she asked me to post the spin I put on it: She already has a science-fiction setting in which Earth's population was expanding off-planet, and many ethnic, religious, or otherwise special-interest groups were able to request their own planets for colonization. I suggested that the militant vegans would ask for a colony planet, and not take along any predatory animals: only bunnies, and squirrels, and other 'cute' furry friends. This would be a story of a failed colony, given the subsequent ecological disaster...

[Footnote: I do a fair amount of vegetarian cooking (mostly Indian), have many obligate vegetarian friends (and a few that are philosophically vegetarian), and have nothing against the voluntary practice of same. It's only the folks that ignore all of the biological indications that human beings are *omnivores*, and try to force their 'meat-free' philosophy on the rest of us, that I get snarky about.]
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: September 6th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Could you do a learning rhyme about the proper care for a pet goldfish?

No fishbowl, they need space to swim (13 gallons per fish is the minimum).

At least 2 fish together, they are gregarious

Proper food (pellets or flakes and vegetables: peas, zucchini, carrots, salad)no bread crumbs

let the water 'set' before changing it, a sudden change in temperature can kill the fish

Provide plants and nooks they can explore and hide in, they are curious.

This way they'll grow to full size (up to 12 inches not counting the tail) and live out their lifespan (more than 20 years, some went over 30, average lifespan of a fishbowl goldfish is 3 months).

Edited at 2011-09-06 08:28 pm (UTC)
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: September 6th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Goldfish, wow...

My dad won me goldfish every year at the firemen's carnival growing up... no wonder they never lived long.
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