October 11th, 2011

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Parasol Tutorial

Learn how to make a real parasol from an ordinary umbrella.  You can make it to match any outfit, plain or fancy.  And despite the impression that a parasol isn't a practical piece of weather gear, it has  a purpose: to protect against the sun.  Umbrella for rain, parasol for sun.  They both keep the weather from ruining your day.  They can look terrific, too.
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Talking About Love

Nicola Griffith has a cool post on the way her characters talk about love.  It includes the observation that she can't stand being in the heads of characters who don't know and speak their own feelings.

Me, I find it entertaining to watch the sparks fly between a character who is emotionally fluent and one who is not.  There are other things I strongly dislike, though -- stupidity is a big one for me.  Both as a reader and a writer, I hate it when characters do obviously stupid things, or especially, keep making the same mistake over and over again.  I also dislike characters who let other people mistreat them and don't do anything about it.

What are some of your literary turn-offs?
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Economic Lies

Here are some big economic lies that are wrecking the country. (Link courtesy of my_partner_doug). They aren't myths or mistakes.  They're falsehoods that some people are deliberately promoting.  For instance, lowering taxes doesn't grow the economy; it shrinks the economy.  That's because it promotes the concentration of wealth to the point that most people can't buy what they need.  This feeds into another problem: businesses are stalling due to lack of demand, not due to regulations.  People who don't have jobs, or who can't earn enough to live on, are unable to buy the goods and services that businesses are pushing.  This is the kind of mess you get when people in charge are allowed to rule based on faith, authority, emotion, or any other non-factual basis.  The facts bite you on the ass.

monster house

Poetry Fishbowl on Tuesday, October 18

This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, October 18, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  The extra series fishbowl comes as a perk from the October 4 fishbowl reaching the $200 goal.  An audience poll selected "Monster House"as the poetic series to be featured.  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.

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week.  This fishbowl is open to everyone, but I'm not actively  promoting it away from my blog, because I think it will make more sense to people who are already familiar with Monster House and the fishbowl project in general.


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. 

I'm going to host a Poetry Fishbowl on my blog on Tuesday, October 18. I'll be soliciting ideas for thematic characters, objects, plots, settings, and poetic forms in particular. Chances are I'll spend about half the day, from early afternoon to evening, alternating between this site and doing stuff offline so my back doesn't weld itself to the chair. 

Perks: I will post at least one of the resulting fishbowl poems on the blog for everyone to enjoy, and an extra one if there's at least one new prompter or donor. The rest will be available for audience members to buy, and whatever's left over will go into my archive for magazine submission.  I'm not running the whole perk stack since this fishbowl is itself a perk, but you still get those two.

If you enjoy my poetry -- or if you just love poetry in general, or want to promote interest in Monster House -- please mark the fishbowl date on your calendar. Drop by and give me some ideas, comment on the posted poetry, encourage people to come look, whatever tickles your fancy. I hope to see you then!