July 7th, 2011


Generally Sponsored Poetry Poll for July 2011

This is the generally sponsored poetry poll for the July 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  You have $34 to spend.  There are two $10 poems left: "The Ones They Leave Behind" and "Half-Baked Ideas."  (Note that "The Ones They Leave Behind" is a direct sequel to "Shine On," concerning Ari's brother Larn as his sister leaves the village; and that "Half-Baked Ideas" is a sequel to "Where the Action Is, and Was, and Ever More Shall Be" describing how Brilla the baker has her shop across the street from Dron the barkeeper.)  There is one $20 poem left: "Wipeout."  There is one new epic poem available here: "The Blackfly Tribute" for $32.

There are also three open epics to which you could direct funds: "Enki's Messengers" needs $32.50 to be fully funded; you could finish it off.  "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son" needs $38.50 to be fully funded; you could almost cover all of that.  "Igor's Creature" needs $45 to be fully funded; you could put a big dent in that.

The following poll has multiple sections.  First, decide how you'd like to distribute funds across the sizes of poetry.  Next, there are some followup questions for selecting specific poems within those categories, depending on which category option proves most popular.  Please vote in all of those, not just the one(s) relating to your favorite option, because it could go any way and your input will help all around.  Note that the particular choices in the microfunding questions are aimed at getting you at least one new verse of the selected poem(s) insofar as that is possible; this and the general fund remnants have made for some funny-looking numbers, so rest assured there are reasons for that.  I will check this poll Thursday night.  If there's a clear winner at that time, I'll close the poll; if not, I may let it run a bit longer.

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Fly Free

Poem: "Playing with Babydoll" (Part 1 of 4)

This is the second freebie from the July 5, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl, courtesy of new prompter angela_n_hunt.  Now it happens that she watched the movie Sucker Punch  and was appalled by it, and dissected its flaws in a post.  Then she left me a prompt basically asking me to fix the plot.  Well, I haven't seen that movie; I looked up the plot.  Reading that made me want to twist its nuts off with a lug wrench and reassemble the pieces into something that would not suck like a black hole made by Microsoft.  So my Muse brought out the WD40 and the duct tape and we went at it.  The resulting poem is over a thousand words, so I have subdivided it to avoid making LiveJournal hangfire; I'm going to post the four parts one day at a time, so that you can enjoy them as a miniseries.

WARNING: This entire poem is violent, and contains many misogynist characters bedeviling the heras.  It may be triggery for some people.  Part 1 contains murder, references to abuse, and betrayal.  If such imagery tends to upset you, then you might want to skip this poem.  But if you're okay with valiant heras struggling against terrible obstacles, here it is.

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Torn World: Read "One-Tick Literature"

If you are a supporter, you can now read my short story "One-Tick Literature" on Torn World.  This story is reprinted from the anthology Family Ties and Torn Skies.

Rai and Bai do a writing assignment for class.

"Today for reading, we are going to learn about one-tick literature," Teacher Rreffein announced as she wrote the term on the slateboard. "The name refers to something short enough to write -- or even read -- in the span of one tick. Now, one-tick literature can be either fiction or poetry. There are various kinds. We'll start with a simple example of each."

Bai leaned over his desk, busily writing down what the teacher said. His twin brother Rai stared at the teacher, because he couldn't see the slateboard. He just concentrated on memorizing everything he heard. His study-servant Methlen still helped him by taking notes, but Rai needed them less and less. He liked being able to rely on himself rather than someone else.

If you like this story and want to see more like it, please consider sending me credits or karma through Torn World's crowdfunding options.  Not a Torn World member, but still want to support the work? I have a permanent PayPal button on my LJ profile page.


Thought on Characters in Wheelchairs

 [personal profile] fajrdrako explores the appeal of characters in wheelchairs within a superhero context.  I like the arguments -- it's interesting to have someone influence the action but NOT be in the physical fights.  This caught my eye partly because I just did "The Shortest Night" based on an audience prompt requesting three crippled heroes (though not actually a wheelchair).

July Perk Poll: Free Series Poem

The July Poetry Fishbowl has met the $150 threshold, so you get a free serial poem.  You can read about the open series on the serial poetry page.  We just did Fiorenza in the last perk, so that series is off the list this time.  However, folks have expressed interest in seeing more of Shahana the Paladin and friends; I'm adding her.  Note that you have nearly a blank slate on this one, with only "Shine On" published and "The Ones They Leave Behind" still available.

Everyone is welcome to vote in this poll for the extra poem.  I'll check the results Friday evening, and if there's a clear winner, close the poll then.  If not, I may let it run longer.  Donors will then get a chance to give me prompts on the chosen series.

Poll #1759730 July 2011 Perk Poll for Serial Poetry
This poll is closed.

Which series should get the extra poem?

The Inkseer
Monster House
The Origami Mage
Shahana the Paladin

List of Unsold Poems from the July 5, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl

The following poems from the July 5, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. They may be sponsored via PayPal, or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

"The Blackfly Tribute" -- 64 lines, $32
From your prompt about bugs (and a favorite Canadian cartoon) I got the free-verse poem "The Blackfly Tribute." In low fantasy, as in dark fantasy, sometimes attempts to save the day go terribly, horribly wrong. Find out what happens when three armies pick a fight in blackfly territory.

"Following Along" -- 123 lines, $61.50
I get a kick out of villains, henchmen, and other overlooked characters. So here is "Following Along," a free-verse poem about a hero sent to rescue his young cousin who's gotten into the wrong sort of work. But he has a hard time catching up to the fellow, and once he does, nothing is quite as he expected it to be ...
Someone has expressed interest in sponsoring this poem, though it's still available at present.

"From the Free City" -- 79 lines, available after "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son" is finished SOLD
I liked the prompt about how war might affect Fiorenza's village. A search of Italian history turned up plenty of wars all over the place, and it happens that Fermo has survived a number of sieges and other conflicts. "From the Free City" is about the aftermath of one, when a caravan of wounded soldiers passes through the village. One of them winds up in Fiorenza's care, and all is not quite as it seems. This poem is written in free verse.

"Half-Baked Ideas" -- 24 lines, $10 SOLD
Oh, look!  Dron the barkeeper has a neighbor across the street. Brilla the baker doesn't make fancy stuff like the palace bakers do ... but she does have one enchanted item on the menu. "Half-Baked Ideas" is written in unrhymed quatrains.

"In the Bag" -- 87 lines, $43.50
From the prompt about a broken bag I got the free-verse poem "In the Bag." It involves a magical junk shop, a siege, and a catapult. You don't need to do the math because the two heras have already done that.

"The Ones They Leave Behind" -- 24 lines, $10 SOLD
The prompt about heras' relatives matched perfectly with the poem I just finished, "Shine On." So here is "The Ones They Leave Behind" also written in unrhymed quatrains. It picks up the perspective of Larn, who has just watched his sister walk out of his life, leaving him to help rebuild the ruined village. Because it's not the heroic figures who keep the world going. Despite its connection to the other poem, I think this one stands on its own pretty well, for anyone familiar with low fantasy and what a war typically does to the countryside.

"Wipeout" -- 44 lines, $20
I was utterly taken with the idea of practical magics and their role in a society's level of leisure. "Wipeout" is written in unrhymed quatrains. When Jenina moves from her family's pig farm to the city, nobody wants to believe she can do magic. So she starts doing research in areas that nobody else is pursuing ... but everybody needs.

Poem: "The Henchmen's Hitch"

This poem came out of the April 7, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was sponsored anonymously. It was inspired by prompts from janetmiles, who wanted a character trying and failing to be evil; and minor_architect, who wanted an oversized sword and/or a sword given not to the purest character, but the one most in need of redemption.  Enter Nib and Brod, two henchmen in service to a not-very-understanding Master ...

See a sketch of "The Henchmen's Hitch" by meeksp.
A sequel to this poem emerged during the July 5, 2011 fishbowl: "Following Along." It's also connected with the previously published poem, "If It Weren't For Her."

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Poem: "If It Weren't For Her"

This poem was originally published in Flashing Swords #11.  I'm reprinting here because it connects with "The Henchmen's Hitch" and "Following Along."

It's also interesting to compare this character with Fiorenza.  Both are herbalists, and both are connected with a village.  But this one is more tightly focused on healing, isn't into cooking as much, and also does some healing-related magic.  Unlike Fiorenza, she has the further challenges of catering to adventurers and dealing with clients who aren't all human.  She crosses paths with Nib and Brod later.

If It Weren’t For Her

They don’t sing songs about her,
but they should.

She’s the one who keeps the heroes
coming back for more.

You’ll find her high on the hilltops,
working alone.

Her grey cloak whips in the wind;
her brown hair snarls.

Her basket, already growing heavy,
swings from her hand.

She bends to pluck the bitter leaves
of healing herbs.

Oh, if it weren’t for the herbalist
there would be  no heroes –

They’d all die after the first fight and
never live to gain their fame.


Poem: "The Ones They Leave Behind"

This poem came from the July 5, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from marina_bonomi and tabard, then sponsored out of general funds.  It's a direct sequel to "Shine On" and shows the perspective of Larn as he watches his sister leave the village.

If you want to read more about Shahana the Paladin and friends, that's an option in the July perk poll for serial poetry.

The Ones They Leave Behind

Larn watched his sister walk away from the village
at the side of the steadfast paladin.
It was said that a paladin had come from here, once,
or somewhere around here, or something like that.

Now the paladin had come and gone,
the way the raiders had come and gone --
to be sure, one bringing good and the other evil,
but neither staying in the ruined village.

It was up to Larn and the other young boys,
with the help of the old men and women,
to rebuild whatever could be salvaged
and try to replace what had gone astray.

He was the last of his family, and likely to stay that way,
all the girls gone long since except a few toddlers.
Parents dead, aunts and uncles and cousins too.
Brothers and sister walked off into the world.

No Ari to gather unicorn hair to trade
to the traveling merchants -- that would hurt.
It had been months since anybody saw one, though;
perhaps the war had run off the unicorns anyhow.

Larn hitched up the mule that the paladin had left.
There was time yet to plow and replant.
He rubbed his hands together and tried to find
some tendril of earth-magic to revive the trampled ground.

The mule turned a quizzical head to Larn
and pushed his soft muzzle into the boy's calloused hands.
There.  There.  The magic twined around like a morning glory vine,
binding boy and mule, plow and seeds and soil.

No one would ever sing songs about them, but they didn't care.
Songs were for the heroic ones going upon the great campaigns.
It was up to the others, the ones they left behind,
to see that there was something to come home to.


Poem: "Half-Baked Ideas"

This poem came out of the July 5, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from eseme who wanted to read about a baker; and tangentially by the_vulture who gave me the idea for Dron the barkeeper in "Where the Action Is, and Was, and Ever More Shall Be."  Of course a village has more than one establishment, so here is a poem about Dron's neighbor across the street, Brilla the baker.

Half-Baked Ideas

Brilla the baker
watched Dron the barkeeper
toss out a couple of drunken dwarves
followed by a broken chair.

She smiled and waved
at her neighbor across the street.
Dron was good for the business around here,
always bringing the adventurers in (and often out).

Brilla was a practical sort herself.
She kept the bakery,
and that was good enough for her.
It didn't have to be fancy.

Oh, there were bakers in the palace
who turned out enchanted candies
and pies full of live birds
and other such nonsense.

Brilla didn't bake anything like that.
She made hardtack and waybread
and pocket pies that would keep for a week.
Adventurers loved that sort of thing.

She only had one magical item on the menu,
a particular sort of nutcake that never suffered
from overcooking or undercooking
or any other kind of distraction.

Brilla put a batch in the oven every morning,
because the oven's outer wall attracted apprentice bards
who couldn't afford a room with a fireplace in it,
so they huddled against the warm bricks and sang.

The dough for the nutcakes was very forgiving,
and particularly sticky, so that as the magic rose up
from the huddle of bards it soaked into the dough,
and Brilla always knew when the batch was done.

Then the baker would pull out the hot cakes
and put them up on the counter:
Half-Baked Ideas, 1cp.
She always sold out by early afternoon.


New Verses in Microfunded Poems

The general poll for July 2011 directed $14 into microfunded poetry, spread across three active poems.

There is one new verse in "Enki's Messengers."  This is essentially a sidebar to the Sumerian myth "The Descent of Inanna," focusing on the kurgarra  and the galatur  created by Enki.

There are two new verses in "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son."  See Fiorenza the Italian herbalist musing about social roles and gender dynamics, at a time when there is NOT a major preternatural crisis going on.

There is one new verse in "Igor's Creature." This is a mix of horror and science fiction with a large helping of sociology and a wry twist of humor.

Greenhaven Website Updates: Greenhaven Tradition

>I've done a bit of reorganization and revision on "Greenhaven Tradition."  The list of "Things We Don't Do" has been moved to the bottom of the page, so that the top has a more positive focus to catch and hold people's attention.

Also "Memories of Samhain 2004" has been revised.

There is a new blog post in "Havenspeak" describing today's class, "Knot Magic I."