August 16th, 2011


Read "The Ibabesh Bridge"

If you're a Torn World supporter, you can now read my poem "The Ibabesh Bridge."
This poem praises the Ibabesh Bridge over all other bridges in the Empire.

If you like this poem 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.

Poetry Fishbowl Open!

The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED. Thank you all for your enthusiasm.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  This is the perk for the main August fishbowl meeting the $200 goal.  Today's theme is "Monster House."  (If you're new to this series, you can read the previous poems on the serial poetry page.)  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 "Monster House." 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) 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.

3) 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"

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) 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.

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 "Monster House."  I'll be soliciting ideas for family members, their monster housemates, in-laws, other people who interact with them, household items, magical artifacts, quirks about the house, other preternatural locations in the area, personal conflicts or challenges, side scenes from previous events, everyday issues transmuted into urban fantasy versions, 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.)  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.
monster house

Poem: "Weed by Weed"

Here is today's freebie, prompted by ellenmillion and jenny_evergreen who wanted to see the garden behind Monster House. Silverbell is my conceptualization of a fey version of bindweed, inspired by a nursery rhyme line ("with silver bells and cockle shells"). Both moly and raskovnik are mythical plants.

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monster house

Poem: "Restoration"

This poem was inspired by prompts from aldersprig, the_vulture, and moonwolf1988. It comes early in the Monster House series, between "Home Shriek Home" and "Sticky Fingers."

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them. The rate is $.50 per line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.  

So far sponsors include: the_vulture, zianuray, laffingkat, kitrona, thesilentpoet, Anonymous, general fund

110 lines, Buy It Now = $55
Amount donated = $39
Verses posted = 17 of 25

Amount remaining to fund fully = $15
Amount needed to fund next verse = $3
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $4

See an adorable sketch of "Restoration" -- the scene with the monsters peering through the oven door at the radiator dragon -- illustrated by meeksp on LiveJournal or on Dreamwidth. Thoughtful comments and donations both count towards refinement of sketches, and there are perks for driving traffic too. Please comment and mention that I sent you.

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monster house

Poem: "Thunder Without Rain"

This poem was inspired by prompts from siege, janetmiles, jenny_evergreen, and meeksp. It was sponsored by jenny_evergreen. It belongs to the Monster House series.

Thunder Without Rain

That boy at school who sits behind me
and always tries to dip my ponytail in the paint
during art class whenever the teacher isn't looking
has this black cloud hanging over his head
that he doesn't even know is there.

So that's where the grumbling is coming from.
I'd been wondering since I met him in kindergarten.
I could always hear it, low and mean,
like a thunderstorm somewhere over the horizon
busy making tornadoes to tear the roofs off people's houses
and drive straws into telephone poles
like my grandmother says she saw once as a little girl.

The morning after my sixth birthday,
when I wore my new necklace to school,
the Eye of Fate showed me the world in a whole new light.
I could see the trails that people made
as they moved through each other's lives,
and some strange things and creatures -- though oddly
some others disappeared when I wore it.
It only seemed to show things that mattered,
or things that had a Fate, or something like that anyhow.
That was the first time I saw the cloud over his head
and the black look on his pale face
and his blank eyes like the eyes of a dead fish
lying on the ice in the supermarket when nobody wants to buy it.

In art class, I sit facing forward, with that boy behind me,
because I don't want to look at him,
because when I do, sometimes I start to see flickers
like lightning in that overhanging cloud,
and I don't want to see anything by that light, ever.
That thing that hovers over him
isn't the kind of monster I'd want to live with.
Not even the bogeyman makes the hair on my neck
stand up the way it does on a stormy day
when the sky is full of thunder and lightning but no rain.

He's not a nice boy. I don't like him.
The teacher says I am silly and won't let me move
but I know better, and now when I sit down
I pull my ponytail over my shoulder, onto my chest.
monster house

Poem: "House Rules"

This poem was inspired by prompts from kelkyag and zianuray.  They wanted to know about interactions with more mundane folks, and things that go missing but then reappear; and that all stuck with earlier requests to see more of the daughter of the house.  So here's a list of notes taken from parental advice and one other role model.  This poem was sponsored by zianuray

This is a list poem.  There are various ways to write list poems; this one is a numbered set of rules.  It's partway between couplet verses and prose poetry.  Though written in a prose style, I did go back and neaten up the line breaks, and all the verses did wind up with two lines.  But I didn't change the breaks too far from where they originally fell, nor try to make the lines of similar lengths. Eh, and then I had to fiddle again when LJ hashed the line breaks.

House Rules

1) Do not say "hello" to other people's houses.  Most houses aren't
people, and most people don't know that some houses are people.

2) Ignore any monsters in someone else's house, unless the host
or hostess introduces them.  It's rude to call attention to them
if they are hiding.

3) No bringing home extra monsters from around town.  We have
enough monsters right now.

4) When other people lose something and say, "Well it didn't just
grow legs and walk away!" that is usually true for them. 
And if it isn't, don't point that out.

5) Helen Keller was right: The only thing worse than being blind is
having sight but no vision.