March 2nd, 2010
1) It is a guest's responsibility to inform the host of any dietary requirements. An explanation is not required, but is helpful.
2) It is a host's responsibility to meet a guest's dietary needs, or say if it is not possible to do so. Other arrangements may be made if necessary.
3) It is not okay to pester someone else about their dietary needs or choices.
4) Not every dish on the table has to be something that everyone can eat.
5) There must be enough food on the table, in varieties acceptable to the diners, that everyone will enjoy the meal and fill up on what is there.
One that is not a rule, but a gradually increasing tendency: As I get less and less pleased by commercial foods, I am slowly buying more things that are just raw ingredients to cook with. It is a great deal easier to make things that are edible for everyone that way, and the taste and nutrition tend to be loads better too. The main limitations to this trend are time and expense. It takes more time to make things from scratch, although I'm finding some handy shortcuts. Plus organic/grass-fed/free-range/etc. food tends to cost a lot more than factory junk. Sometimes, though, the good stuff is cheaper. I'm getting better at taking advantage of such bargains.
Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open! Today's theme is "elements and elemental spirits." (Western, eastern, scientific, or other sets of elements are welcome. Western elemental spirits are most famous but others are fine too.) </span> </span>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.
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 "elements and elemental spirits." I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.
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.
Today's first freebie poem was inspired by siliconshaman and concerns the relationship between mystical elements and states of matter, between matter and energy, and between ideas of the past and the present.
Matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed,
When first our ancestors began to contemplate the elements,
they sorted the world into the four material elements, and one extra --
Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Spirit.
In time we discovered that there are many elements,
which may exist in the four states of matter, and one extra --
Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, and Energy.
These ideas are related, united,
held within the material of our bodies
and the dancing patterns of our minds.
Knowledge can be neither created nor destroyed,
only discovered or lost.
This poem was inspired and sponsored by new fishbowl participant technomage. The original prompt got me thinking about the tradition of "antagonistic elements" so this was the result.
Air reaches for Earth,
a slim dark finger of cloud
touching down to stir the dust.
Earth reaches for Air,
rocks suddenly flying down slopes
to launch themselves into emptiness.
Fire reaches for Water,
lava bursting up through seams
into the waiting embrace of the ocean.
Water reaches for Fire,
diving from pure white clouds
into the upthrust arms of the forest fire.
Through the attraction of opposites
all the antagonistic elements
strive for common ground.
This poem was inspired and sponsored by dianavilliers, who sent as a prompt one of her daily photos. (If you are not watching her blog, you are missing some magnificent photography.) I love these glimpses of sights that few people get to see.
Like a velvet blanket
it unfolds itself across the sky,
all plush purples and fiery orange
spread above the earth's black skirt
sequined with silver cities
just before dawn.
Of these things the stars are made,
Shining in their vast parade:
Light that glimmers in the dark,
Kindled from a primal spark
Wind that blows the dust about,
Breathing ever out and out
Fire that beats back the cold,
Making elements of old.
Of these things the stars are born,
Bits of matter rent and torn --
Thus they make lifeforms as well,
Hearts and tongues their tales to tell.
Air of Fire:
firebirds flick their burning wings
against a black sky,
shedding feathers for heroes to find.
Fire of Fire:
dragons roar from their volcanic lairs
to bring forth the magma flows,
leaving gold and silver and gems.
Water of Fire:
salamanders slip from the ends of logs
disappearing like rain soaking into sand:
somewhere, down there, are the hot springs.
Earth of Fire:
soot sprites settle like velvet dust
pointing here, pointing there
to show what needs to be made pure.