October 15th, 2008


Done for the Night

Went to get a cup of tea. House was mostly dark.

Thought I heard something in the laundry room.

Silly writer. Too much horror tonight. Get the darn tea and go back to work!

*rattle* *SCREECH*

*writer jumps a foot in the air* *heart gallops*

*flip switch flip switch*

D’oh. New housemate. Housemate has pet rats. Rats are nocturnal.

Must not barbecue rats. Housemate would cry.

I am now done for the night.

Poetry Fishbowl Report for Tuesday, October 14

This month's poetry fishbowl got off to a slow start (comments turned off again, but I caught that after about an hour) and gradually picked up speed. It was going wild there for a while! I started around 11:30 AM and wrapped up a little after midnight, with lunch and supper breaks.

I wrote 23 poems, the majority of them medium-length. Oddly, all of them were free verse -- not another form in sight. There were several prompts that I used repeatedly, and most of the poems drew on more than one prompt. I also noticed a surprising tendency towards vulgarity, something that appears rarely in my poetry; I tried to tag those accordingly in my descriptions, so if you dislike crude language, check yesterday's post before voting in today's forthcoming poll. The freebie poems are "The Doll House" (with 15 comments) and "The Repair Job" (with 4 comments; be aware that this poem is snide and gruesome political humor). There were 38 comments on the main fishbowl thread, and 9 people posted prompts. One of those prompts led to a site with lots of horror images, very productive.

This month's donors are: dakiwiboid, dulcinbradbury, minor_architect, janetmiles, and je_reviens. Thank you all for your generosity and support. I have posted the sponsored poem "Motherless" (with 8 comments) in a separate post. This one is getting mixed responses, and that's okay. Constructive criticism and discussion of a poem's strengths and weaknesses are welcome, as long as people don't get gratuitously rude. I'll get to posting the general sponsorship poll and the donor perk post as soon as I can. The poll is going to be huge this time, so keep an eye on my blog -- I may need to do a tie-breaker or something.

I really appreciate everyone's enthusiasm. I asked you for scary stuff and you gave me prompts that turned into some truly hair-raising poems! I'm delighted with the results because I don't ordinarily write a lot of horror poetry, and I got a huge amount yesterday. It's good to stretch my wings.

EDIT 2/7/10: Two poems from the October 2008 fishbowl were sponsored and posted following the February 2010 fishbowl. One of the February poems was essentially a prequel to one of the October poems. Then I wrote a sequel to the other October poem. So you might want to read...
"Eviction, Noticed" (written 10/14/08)
"Home Shriek Home" (written 2/6/10)
"The Dream Dump" (written 2/6/10)
"Nightmares for Sale SOLD" (written 10/14/08)

Generally Sponsored Poetry Poll for October 2008 Fishbowl

Okay, folks, this one is going to be a circus. Out of the 23 poems I wrote yesterday, 3 have already been published here. The remaining 20 are ALL eligible. There is one $5 poem: "The Wax Wife." There are ten $10 poems: "The Cackling of Crones," "Eviction, Noticed," "Masking the Light," "Second Date Data," "Signal to Noys," "SKPA in San Francisco," "Three-Faced," "Tunnel Revision," "Under the Bed," and "What I Miss the Most." There are eight $15 poems: "Evil Fruit," "Fly Away Home," "The Hungry Organ," "If the Slipper Fits," "The Mummy Child," "Nightmares For Sale SOLD," "Playing the Bones," and "The Spectres Ahead." There is one $20 poem: "In the Glass."

With $48 in general donations, you have a vast array of options, so I'm just going to list all the poems individually. I had to break them into two questions this time, so the $5 poem and the $10 poems are in the first question, and the $15 poems and the $20 poem are in the second question. (You can spread your votes across both questions if you wish, there just wasn't room to cram everything into one question.) This month's donors -- dakiwiboid, dulcinbradbury, minor_architect, janetmiles, and je_reviens -- may each vote for a total of FIVE poems. Other audience members may each vote for a total of THREE poems. Later I'll look at the results and compare them to the available funds, then see if that produces a final combination of poems to publish. If necessary I can do a tie-breaker poll or something.

Poll #1279074 Generally Sponsored Poetry from Oct. 2008 Fishbowl

Which of the following shorter poems would you most like to see published here?

The Wax Wife
The Cackling of Crones
Eviction, Noticed
Masking the Light
Second Date Data
Signal to Noys
SKPA in San Francisco
Tunnel Revision
Under the Bed
What I Miss the Most

Which of the following longer poems would you most like to see published here?

Evil Fruit
Fly Away Home
The Hungry Organ
If the Slipper Fits
The Mummy Child
Nightmares -For Sale- SOLD
Playing the Bones
The Spectres Ahead
In the Glass

Water Regulations

This came through Physicians for Social Responsibility. This is the kind of nonsense that contributes to the skyrocketing rate of chronic diseases among Americans today. We allow all these pollutants in the air, the water, our food, everywhere. They do bad things to our bodies. These substances are not "safe."

EPA Ups "Safe" Level of Rocket Fuel in Tap Water -- Tell Them What You Think!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has formally refused to set a drinking-water standard for perchlorate, a chemical in rocket fuel that has been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women, newborns and young children, and is asking for public comment on the issue.

The maximum safe level for perchlorate in drinking water is now 15 times higher than what the EPA declared safe in 2002. Under this new standard, more than 16 million Americans are exposed to unsafe levels of perchlorate in their drinking water, and independent analysis shows anywhere from 20 to 40 million Americans at risk. Perchlorate has been found in the drinking water in 35 states in the U.S.

The EPA is asking for public comment before November 10, 2008.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has endorsed legislation requiring the EPA to set a federal standard for perchlorate and to monitor levels of the chemical in tap water.

Tell the EPA to regulate perchlorate in drinking water:
1. Follow this link.
2. Click on the yellow icon next to "Post Comment"
3. Tell the EPA that you think this decision is harmful to public health!

Sample Electronic Letter:

This is a Public Comment Regarding EPA's refusal to regulate Perchlorate under the Safe Water Drinking Act (Docket ID EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0692):

Perchlorate is a chemical in rocket fuel that has been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women, newborns and young children. Not regulating this harmful chemical in our drinking water is unacceptable.

Perchlorate is found in drinking water in 35 states, and according to the EPA's own data, 16 million Americans are at risk of being exposed to this dangerous chemical.

Setting a standard for perchlorate will absolutely present 'a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction.' I urge you to do so in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and protect Americans' health.

Click Here to Learn More.

Michael McCally, MD, PhD
Executive Director

Poem: If the Slipper Fits

This poem has been funded out of general donations for the October Poetry Fishbowl. It blends horror with classic fairytale motifs and a dash of feminism. This was based on a prompt by minor_architect.

If the Slipper Fits

My liege sent me into the countryside
To find his bride-to-be.

The road was rough, the coach driver
somewhat less than careful.
The slipper was cool and smooth
and so very, very small.
I held it in my lap so it would not break,
wondering how any woman
could have feet so dainty
they would fit inside it.

The tour of my liege’s land
did not take very long.
Five villages, a few dozen peasants in each;
some several merchant families;
the eligible daughters of his vassal lords.
Then came the tour of his neighboring peers
and their daughters; not much longer.

When I finally found her,
my stomach clenched to see
what it was that my liege found so winsome.
She was a scarecrow of a girl,
her hair as pale and dry as straw,
red spots pecked on her cheeks,
her hands like little twigs.
She put her foot on my knee
and it weighed nearly nothing,
the bones of her ankle like knobs on a stick.

The glass slipper, tiny as it was,
went on with room to spare.
No wonder she lost it, running away.

Let me just say this:
if the slipper fits, drop it on the stones
and say you lost your grip.
That’s what I did.
There are ships enough at harbor to hide in
and surely, somewhere,
saner lords to serve.

Poem: The Cackling of Crones

This poem has been funded out of general donations for the October Poetry Fishbowl. It uses a prompt from moosl and also draws on Norse and Greek mythology.

The Cackling of Crones

Oh, you can show all those photos
of movie monsters and madmen,
but they don’t scare me.

I’ll tell you what does.
It’s Fate.

Fate is the matador
getting gored by the bull.
Fate is the hunter
having his own gun backfire into his chest.
Fate is the driver
watching the mountain air open below him
as his car careens over the edge of the cliff.
Fate is the soldier
hearing the whistle increase to a scream
as he scrabbles at dirt that refuses to embrace him.

Fate is three old women
crouching in a forgotten cave,
safe even from prayers now that
mortals no longer believe in them.

Fate is watching your death draw near
and knowing there’s nothing you can do about it
but listen to the cackling of crones.

Followup Poll

There's enough left in the general donation fund for two $10 poems OR one $15 poem and the $5 poem. I'll list the available combinations based on the most popular of the remaining poems.

Poll #1279514 Followup Poll for October 2008 Fishbowl

Which of these combinations do you most want to see published here?

"The Wax Wife" & "The Hungry Organ"
"The Wax Wife" & "Playing the Bones"
"Masking the Light" & "SKPA in San Francisco"
"Masking the Light" & "Under the Bed"
"SKPA in San Francisco" & "Under the Bed"

Featured Community:

Most folks on LiveJournal belong to a bunch of communities. Some of the good ones are kind of obscure. The "Featured Community" meme encourages people to share their favorite communities.

  1. Cite a community that you enjoy.
  2. Summarize its purpose and parameters.
  3. Invite your audience to join the community and/or reply with their favorite communities.

Today's featured community is dawbooks. It's a delightful gathering place for DAW authors and their fans. Regular posts announce newly released novels. People often post reviews and book discussions. If you enjoy speculative fiction, you'll love this community.