December 8th, 2009


Poem: "Skydiving Through Time"

This poem came out of the January 6, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from janetmiles, minor_architect, and moosl.  You can read more about the indriso form here.

stonetalker gave this poem as a gift to bodhifox.  Happy holidays!

Skydiving Through Time
– an indriso

Life is a climb
Up the strange stairs of time:
A spring to wind, a pump to prime.

When you get to the top, you dive,
Soaring till you arrive
At birth, alive.

This is the soul’s eternal pantomime.

This is the flight from which all dreams derive.

Presents Arriving!

*sleigh bells jingling* 

stonetalker has given the gift of poetry!

janetmiles, you get "Warning Sine"
haikujaguar and miintikwa, you get "Choralia"
bodhifox, you get "Skydiving Through Time"

Eee, squee!  My favorite part of the holidays is watching other folks open presents I've given them.  It never occurred to me that the Holiday Sale would activate my pleasure center in the same way.  But I am having SO MUCH fun with this!

Holiday Poetry Sale Update

Yesterday I launched the 2009 Holiday Poetry Sale ... rather late in the day, because it took a long time to pull together all the information I needed.  So I'm reposting about it now in case some folks missed it. 

The original post with all the poetry choices and bargain prices is here.  Amazingly, natasiakith has redone the list of poems by month, in order of comments, with the original fishbowl posts linked so that folks can read the thumbnail descriptions in the comments as an aid to selecting poems.  Wow, and thanks!

Links for the first three gift poems appear in this post; you may be pleased to hear that both ongoing epics have been fully funded.
Crowdfunding butterfly ship

Crowdfunding Nonfiction?

Recently we've had an ongoing discussion about loneliness, community, social skills, and introverts:
"Loneliness and Fraying Social Fabric"
"Very Basic Steps"
"Friendship Tips for Introverts"
"Role Models for Introverts"

Along through here, I mentioned that I have a previously written class, "Friendship 101," created in response to seeing a lot of folks express a lack of friendship skills.  It's not currently available online, although I'd like to have a venue for offering classes.  I have several dozen  classes, I don't know how many articles, and assorted other bits of nonfiction in my archives.  (The recommended reading lists have been gradually appearing over on Hypatia's Hoard of Reviews.)  mdlbear suggested that I try crowdfunding for nonfiction.  I have previously considered bundling some of my nonfiction into ebooks, or making it available through a "buy this article" site; but I hadn't really thought about doing it with crowdfunding.  Two aspects that particularly appeal to me: 1) being able to keep my older nonfiction in print so that more people can benefit from it, and 2) being able to generate a steady trickle of income from older material, a bit like royalties.

So, I'd like to open a discussion on this topic.  What kind of nonfiction might you like to see from me?  What are some funding options that appeal to you?  Would you be interested in reprints of older material (which I can let you have cheaper, but you only get to pick from available items) or hiring me to write Just What You Need (which would cost more, but be more flexible in topic and form, and tailored to what you-individually or you-collectively ask for)?  What format(s) would you prefer for crowdfunded nonfiction?  Is there anything else that you'd like to request, propose, or discuss about the process or content of crowdfunding nonfiction?

To see examples of my nonfiction, you could simply read my blogs -- I've posted a lot of mini-articles this way, including the loneliness series above -- or you could type "Elizabeth Barrette" into your favorite search engine.  (Fair warning: last time I did this, the first 25 pages of hits were all me, so it can be a real timesink.)  There's stuff of mine online that I wrote years ago for print markets that, apparently, somebody typed or scanned.  I also have some of my earlier articles on my old archive website.  Oh, and you can look at the Amazon page for my book Composing Magic.

Over to you...

Resources for Introverts & Fighting Loneliness

Per multiple requests, here are some books and other resources I have found useful for social skills and socializing...


The Art of Friendship: 70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections by Roger Horchow & Sally Horchow. St. Martin’s Press, 2006.

A Beginner’s Guide to Crossing Cultures: Making Friends in a Multicultural World by Patty Lane. InterVarsity Press, 2002.

Everyone Wins! Cooperative Games and Activities by Sambhava and Josette Luvmour. New Society Publishers, 1990. Indoor and outdoor games for all ages.  Best book on cooperative play.

Friendshifts: The Power of Friendship and How It Shapes Our Lives by Jan Yager. Hannacroix Creek Books, 1999.

The Friendship Factor: How to Get Closer to the People You Care For by Alan Lov McGinnis. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 25 Anniversary edition, 2004.

Fun Friend-Making Activities for Adult Groups by Karen Dockrev. Group Publishing, 1997.

The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin. Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1980; also updated ebook format. This is the core text which introduces the whole Gentle Art paradigm. The ebook edition is available at various places, including this one Best book on nonviolent communication.

How to Be a Gentleman
by John Bridges. Rutledge Hill Press, 1998. Recommended for BOTH genders, as the matching “Lady” book is much less practical. This volume includes many fine examples of how a genteel person should reply to potentially awkward questions and comments, along with common conversational mistakes to avoid.

Johnson's Emotional First Aid: How to Increase Your Happiness, Peace, and Joy by Victoria Ann Johnson. Blue Dolphin, 1997. Practical techniques for coping with troublesome feelings.  Best book on mood management.

Overcoming Loneliness and Making Friends by Marianna Csoti. Sheldon Press, 2006.

Raising Compassionate, Courageous Children in a Violent World by Janice Cohn.  Longstreet Press, 2001.

Try To Feel It My Way: New Help for Touch Dominant People and Those Who Care About Them by Suzette Haden Elgin. John Wiley & Sons, 1997. Detailed exploration of one preferred sensory mode; touch-dominant people are a minority and often have trouble making friends with sight-dominant or hearing-dominant people.

Virtual Foreplay: Making Your Online Relationship a Real-Life Success by Eve Hogan.  Hunter House, 2001.  Despite the title, this is also good for friendships online.

When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You by Jan Yager. Fireside, 2002.


Ask Culture vs. Guess Culture,” no author listed, reference taken 8/25/08. See also related discussion on LiveJournal.

Big Brothers Big Sisters – A volunteer organization that matches children with older mentors.

Chrononauts: The Card Game of Time Travel” – A fun game to play that balances cooperation and competition.

Facebook – A popular social networking site that connects friends online; lets you share your news, blog posts, photos, links, etc.

Fluxx” – A wacky card game of ever-changing rules that exists in several differently-themed decks; terrific for parties or just hanging out.

Imaginiff” – A fun party game that’s good for getting to know people better; you ‘imaginiff’ each person were a type of item and pick options from a list, trying to match what other players will say.

Twitter – A social networking and microblogging service that helps people stay connected in realtime.  Twitter fans say you can develop a kind of "social proprioception" for understanding what your friends are doing through the day.

Volunteer Resources” – Offers tips for successful volunteer experiences.

What are some other books or resources you'd like to add?


Wishlist for the Wordsmith

For those folks who'd like to know what kind of holiday gifts would make me go SQUEE ...

My Amazon Books wishlist is up to date. Type in "Elizabeth Barrette" (there were two, last I checked; mine is the central Illinois entry).

Other good bets are things that don't matter if duplicated: 
Austrian crystal window prisms, suncatchers, stained glass, ornaments made of mirror bits, other sparklies
Stickers, lasercuts, or paper for scrapbooking
Things that glow in the dark

Unique things:
If you are a writer or artist and your work is not so widely available that I probably have it already, copies are most welcome. I love having things by people I know personally.

If you live far from Illinois, local arts or crafts are a good idea.

Tiny animals carved from semi-precious stone.

One or two 12x12" nonstick cookie sheets or baking trays with a shallow edge. That's the interior size of my oven racks, and the trays that came with are definitely not nonstick.

An oyster knife, which is a bluntish kitchen tool for prying things apart. I want something safe and effective for separating frozen hamburgers and the like.

From Looney Labs:

Martian Fluxx
The Computer individual Fluxx card
Small Pandora's Boxx

Jewelry -- necklaces are probably easiest.  I love colored semi-precious gemstones, Celtic knotwork, and Pagan motifs.  Also I am eagerly awaiting the collaborative jewelry that's supposed to appear for TalysMana.
EDIT 12/14/09: First TalysMana artifact is the viewer.
EDIT 12/15/09: Argh! Now this is limited edition version. Might or might not have an open edition later.

I have just one two scrapbooking border punches right now, one with little hearts in it and Elegance which is a scroll pattern. Fiskars is my favorite brand, with patterns like Boundary Waters, Leaf, and Lace.  I'm also hankering after the EK Moon & Stars, Alpine Trail, Candles, or Snowflake border punches.

From the Particle Zoo, so far I have Dark Matter and I am most interested in adding a Strange Quark, a Tachyon, and a Photon.

If you really want to spoil me, I covet some Cutco kitchen tools. (These are expensive five-star tools.) In order of preference, I want the ice cream scoop, the vegetable peeler, the 2 3/4" paring knife, and the 4" paring knife. The peeler and paring knives are actually available as a "Deluxe Peel n' Pare Pack" which would be beyond awesome. I would prefer the pearl handle color, but classic is fine if that's what you can find.

General parameters:
I think homemade gifts are cool.
I think gift cards are cool. (Favorite bookstores include Borders and Barnes & Noble. Favorite craft stores are Michael's and Hobby Lobby.)
I strongly prefer paper books to electronic books, but will resort to reading ebooks if something really cool lacks a hardcopy edition.

My t-shirt size is Large.
My favorite color is blue, but I like most bright colors, and black. I hate pink.

Poem: "The Secret of Göbekli Tepe"

This poem came out of the March 10, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from ladyqkat and sponsored by Ahmet Yazman as part of the 2009 Holiday Poetry Sale.  Happy holidays, and thank you!

Göbekli Tepe is a real place; people are still arguing over interpretations of it, as you can read here.  The archaeological speculations gave me some haunting ideas ...

The Secret of Göbekli Tepe 

What do you do when your god dies?

You lay him down low on the temple stones,
between the priests who have died of their grief,
and you cover them all with the skins of the sacred foxes.

You bring stones until your fingers bleed, raising a cairn
to bury them – god, priests, foxes, temple, and all – until
the cairn becomes a hill and no hint is visible of what lies below.

Then you walk away, and you try to forget that you ever had a god,
that you were ever among the chosen people, and you hope –
because you can no longer pray – that no one ever digs up the past.


"The Mummy Child" in Star*Line

One of my fishbowl poems, "The Mummy Child," recently appeared in Star*Line 32.5 September-October 2009.  This poem came out of the October 2008 poetry fishbowl (horror theme) and was inspired by a prompt from dulcinbradbury.  (Speculative poems appearing in conventional markets are eligible for the Rhysling Award; nominations will open for that early next year.)  Thank you all for your encouragement and inspiration.



Life Rating

I was intrigued by this quiz which attempts to rate various aspects of one's life.  Most of it is reasonably apt.  I note, however, that advice to "live within your means" is only sensible if one has  some means to begin with.Collapse )