September 22nd, 2011


Updates from Kajones_writing

Over on kajones_writing, the September Surprise Story Week has concluded.  There were 7 stories.  I particularly liked "21: Richard: Afterlife" (with on-the-job training for Death) and "2.71828: Vitali: Pagan Collection" (about coping with amnesia).

A new piece of bonus material is up, "Aurora's World Magic."  There's a rather intricate system in construction there, in which the hour, day, month, and year will influence available talents and their strength.  It puts me in mind of the Mayan calendars.

Finally, kajones_writing is currently testing a system of credits.  Doing helpful things -- such as finding typos, linking to the project, or friending the journal -- earns you credits.  Then you can spend them on things you want, such as new stories or naming a character.  The system will be tested for a month, and is open to suggestions and feedback.  If it works by bringing new people into the project and raising activity, then it will be continued.  Otherwise something else may be tried instead.  So if you're into crowdfunding, I recommend that you look at this system.  It is loosely inspired by some others, and we may be seeing more of this kind of thing as creators explore ways to draw attention and income while rewarding readers.

So far, I'm enjoying the credit system. I think it's more effective, letting me bundle my influence into something big if I want to, like a piece of the worldbuilding, rather than creating a hydra where each story spawns 2+ more stories as perks for feedback/typos. I had fun deciding what to do with the credits I got, so that will also help with the testing. I'll let you know what results from that as the items appear.
watch, hawk

Poem: "Hawk in the Night"

This poem came out of the September 6, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was prompted by zianuray and sponsored by Shirley and Anthony Barrette.  You can read more about red-tailed hawks and their symbolism online.

Hawk in the Night

A red-tailed hawk flew through my dream.
It moved into my barn and spoke to me.
Sometimes it would land nearby and preen my hair.

Hawks are the bringers of vision and insight,
symbols of leadership and energy.
Their power lies in taking the long view,
yet they can also focus on the tiniest of details.

When they come in the day,
they are creatures of the sun.
At night, in the owl's hour,
they borrow a subtler magic
as the moon reflects the hidden sun.

It is said that to be preened by a hawk
is to be groomed for a position of authority,
and for a wild creature to nest in a manmade place
is a message of balance between the wild and the tame.

I only know that something in me
is opening wings of bronze and copper,
taking flight to search the ground below
for hidden prey.

Do not tell me
that freedom is a vain hope:
I cannot hear you
over the hawk-whispers in my ears.


Poem: "New Eden"

This poem came out of the September 6, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from moonwolf1988 and my_partner_doug.  It was sponsored by Shirley and Anthony Barrette.  This poem is set in my main science fiction universe and relates the fate of one of its many colonies.

New Eden

The colonists left Earth
because they did not like
"nature red in tooth and claw."

They wanted to make a fresh start
in a new, green world
with no killing in it.

They brought along their crops,
and some beneficial insects,
but not the pests.

They brought along pets and livestock,
but only the herbivores,
not the carnivores or omnivores.

The terraforming worked
and the colonists populated the planet
with all the good things they had brought.

For a time, everything went well,
but then they began to notice
a flaw here, an imbalance there.

They wondered what could have gone wrong,
when after all, they had left
the pests and parasites back on Earth.

Some crops flourished
and began to act like weeds,
while others withered away.

The herbivores escaped,
devouring fields and gardens,
numbers exploding only to crash later.

Then the human population
suffered the same fate,
bodies dwindling, birth rate dropping.

When the archaeologists later discovered
the failed colony, they declared the cause of death:
unnatural selection.


Poem: "What Matters"

This poem came out of the September 6, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was prompted by haikujaguar, concerned about the dearth of livestock veterinarians.  It was sponsored by Shirley and Anthony Barrette. 

[EDIT 9/22/11: The "heifer" line has been revised with input from bovidae per discussion in the comments below.]

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Orca Tote Bags

Today at the grocery store, I saw a gorgeous reusable bag: red with a black orca in Pacific coastal art.  The lady had received it as a gift from a relative living out west.  Has anyone else seen something like that?  I'd love to have one.  I collect the basic reusable grocery bags in canvas or in recycled plastic fabric.  I am particularly partial to the ones with interesting images or messages on them.