November 1st, 2011


Schrodinger's Heroes: Evil!Schrodinger Alone

Schrodinger's Heroes  is an apocryphal television show about quantum physics and keeping the Earth safe from alternate dimensions.  If you're not familiar with it, you can browse the menu page.  The following images may make more sense if you have read the descriptions for Melannen's characters and my characters.  LOL_Heroes is a branch of LOL picspam inspired by Schrodinger's Heroes.

This batch of images deals with certain alternate dimension versions of Schrodinger, appearing here by himself.  Core!Schrodinger is a black neutered male, generally considered a hero.  In the unscreened episode "A Thorn in the Foot," an evil alternate of Midge appears -- and an early clue to weirdness is that she thought Schrodinger was a white  cat.  This introduces the idea of a white Schrodinger in the context of evil, and in the fandom, any evil version of Schrodinger is customarily portrayed in white.  Most often he is a shorthair with the same blocky body as core!Schrodinger, but the elegant lines and half-long hair of the Turkish Angora are quite popular for evil!Schrodinger.  White kittens sometimes appear for maximum contrast between cuteness and destruction.  Also note that the "Eat Me" image is a reference to Wonderland crossovers described in the list of fanfic.  For full-size images, see the "Evil!Schrodinger Alone" gallery in my LJ scrapbook.

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Torn World: "Snow-Unicorns & Steam Cities"

ellenmillion says that the new Torn World coloring book Snow Unicorns & Steam Cities is available for preorder.  Copies should reach her by the end of this week.  There will be art from Torn World along with a few written tidbits, including some of my poetry.  Note that it costs less to buy directly from EMG and registered Torn World users get a discount.

Halloween and the Isness of Being

For most people, Halloween is a once-a-year opportunity to pretend to be something they're not.  Other folks do that all the time, because what they are is inexpressible or awkward to express or downright dangerous  to express.  [personal profile] teafeather elegantly describes this effect from the perspective of being an asexual trans* person.  Believe me, I know a lot of folks for whom much the same applies, for quite a wide range of different traits and natures.

If you only pretend to be something you're not for one day a year ... count your blessings.

Advance Announcement: 2011 Holiday Poetry Sale

This is an advance announcement of the 2011 Holiday Poetry Sale, as requested by various audience members.  This way you can plan ahead for your holiday shopping and budget if those are concerns for you.

During the week of December 12-18, fishbowl poems from December 2010-November 2011 will be half-price.  You'll be able to buy poems for yourself or as a gift for someone else.

There's a volunteer opportunity here, if someone would like to collect a list of unsold poems with their thumbnail descriptions from the fishbowls.  That's something I can do myself, but it would save time if someone else did.  Contact me if you're interested.
Special thanks to marina_bonomi for volunteering to collate the list of unsold poems for the 2011 Holiday Poetry Sale.

Handcrafted Poetry Pages
I print out poems in a nice font on colorful craft paper.  These are suitable for framing or storing in a scrapbook.  If you want to make poetry into a tangible gift for someone special, this is a great way to do that. See examples.  November through early December are good times for requesting a handcrafted poem for a holiday gift.

Poetry Fishbowl Open!

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

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "humor & whimsy."  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.

Watch for the linkbacks perk to go live.  Click to read "Winter Apples" (Fiorenza the Wisewoman) or notify minor_architect of linkbacks to reveal more verses.  Remember that you need to comment on that post so that she'll know to tally your signal boost! Currently the poem is one-third posted.

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 "humor & whimsy." 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) Swim, Fishie, Swim! -- A new feature in conjunction with fishbowl sponsorship is this progress meter showing the amount donated.  At $150 you get a free series poem; at $200 you get an extra fishbowl featuring a poetic series.

$162 raised, first goal MET, $38 to second goal

3) 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.

4) 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"

5) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network.  The Twitter hashtag is #poetryfishbowl.  Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl.  If you have room for it, including your own prompt will give your readers an idea of what the prompts should look like; ideally, update later to include the thumbnail of the poem I write, and a link to the poem if it gets published.  If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.

Linkback perk: I have a spare series poem available, and each linkback will reveal a verse of the poem.  One person can do multiple links if they're on different services, like Dreamwidth or Twitter, rather than all on LiveJournal.  minor_architect has volunteered to post the verses this month, so you'll need to notify her of your linkbacks in a comment to her post, in order for them to count.  "Winter Apples" belongs to the Fiorenza the Wisewoman series and has 21 verses.

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) Sponsors of the Poetry Fishbowl in general, or of specific poems, will gain access to an extra post in appreciation of their generosity.  While you're on the Donors list, you can view all of the custom-locked posts in that category.  Click the "donors" tag to read the archive of those.  I've also posted a list of other donor perks there.  I customarily leave donor names on the list for two months, so you'll get to see the perk-post from this month and next.

4) 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.

5) If donations total $150+ by Friday evening then I'll write an extra series poem after the Poetry Fishbowl, and post it for free.  Everyone will get to vote which series gets a new poem.  (If it's one that already has unpublished poetry, you'll get to pick from that.  Otherwise, I'll write something new, and November donors will get to offer me prompts.)  If donations reach $200, the perk upgrades so that you get a whole extra fishbowl for a poetic series, including a free poem.  Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it's likely to be a half-day rather than a whole day.

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 "humor & whimsy."  I'll be soliciting ideas for comic characters, famous comedians, tricksters, funny props, ridiculous objects, jokes, humorous plot twists, unexpected events that make you laugh, funny settings, places where weird things happen, locations that are normally serious so they can be made fun of, silly ideas, random whimsy, amusing or ludicrous combinations, 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, an extra series poem  if donations reach $150+, and a series fishbowl  if donations reach $200.  Linkbacks reveal verses of "Winter Apples.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.
Fly Free

Poem: "Third Road Signs"

This is the freebie for today's Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from minor_architect.

Third Road Signs

They say the road to Faerie was lost long ago,
when the hollow hills were leveled for subdivisions
and all the holy groves were harvested for firewood,
but that simply isn't so -- the Third Road moves,
slow as a snake on a cold day,
undulating its way across the landscape.

You can see signs of its presence
on posts that make you turn your head
as you go by, wondering if you read them right --
Hidden Entrance  and Men Shirking  and
Road Subject to Pudding.

Even the Stray Sod has a cousin
who lies in wait near the exits
and causes unwary travelers to get lost.
So remember, if you find yourself miles from anywhere
with no idea how you got there, just pull over
and turn your jacket inside-out and put it back on,
then you'll be able to find your way home.

Of course, if you prefer, you could just keep going.


Poem: "The Funny Farm"

This poem was inspired by the_vulture and siege.  It was sponsored by the_vulture.

The Funny Farm

It took years for the CIA to figure out
how the KGB managed it, but eventually
they discovered the trick of having
someone's sense of humor surgically removed.

They sent all the government agents
to the newly codenamed Funny Farm to have it done.
It made parties at the White House
somewhat safer, albeit a great deal more boring.

After a while, though, they ran into a problem
with medical waste: the Funny Farm
was plagued by pranks and strange incidents
for which nobody would take the credit or the blame.

Then someone suggested a solution worthy of
old Victor Frankenstein: instead of discarding
the sense of humor after removal,
simply transplant  it into someone new.

Soon the Funny Farm was turning out both
humorless agents and high-powered tricksters.
The latter were sent to Moscow, where they
hacked into the government computers and left viruses

with notes saying, "Thanks for all the laughs."

Origami Mage

Poem: "wadding"

This poem came out of a long thread in which the_vulture, siege, and marina_bonomi discussed tricksters, Buddhism, and paper magic.  It was sponsored by marina_bonomi.  This poem belongs to the Origami Mage series; you can find the other poems in that series via the Serial Poetry page on my website. 

You can find "If You Love, Love Openly" and other koans on the Zen Koans page.  I've always loved koans.  Some of them have an obvious answer or connection.  Others are more subtle, with many layers to unfold.  This is one of the subtle ones.


origami mage
and kirigami mage were
having a bad day

everything they tried
to make came out wrong somehow --
crumple, snag, and rip

a monk stopped to watch
them work beside the road and
glare at each other

he asked them: what is
the sound of one crease folding?

but they just grumbled

he told the koan
of the nun Eshun and her
shy admirer

then he said to them:
if you love, love openly
as a buddha loves

but if you hate, then
wad it all up and throw it
over your shoulder

paper must be clean
otherwise emotions get
in the way of art

two rivals looked at
each other, wadded up their
work, and walked away


Poem: "Dancing in Rain and Sun"

This poem was inspired and sponsored by rix_scaedu.  In case you're curious, you can read more about Dionysus and Iris.

Dancing in Rain and Sun

One day Dionysus brought his wine
to a party on Mount Olympus.
He and Iris got roaring drunk
and went to dance naked in the rain.

They were so drunk
that they tripped over a rainbow
and busted it into a billion pieces.

While Dionysus and Iris
sat on their butts in the mud,
laughing like idiots,
suddenly the sun came out
and the broken pieces took wing

and that was the beginning of butterflies.

monster house

Poem: "The Other Truck"

This poem was inspired by a prompt from janetmiles.  It was sponsored by rix_scaedu.  In case you're not familiar with it, you can read more about haggis online.

The Other Truck

A squall of accordion music blares from the speakers
as the Bad Humor truck turns the corner.

The bogeyman and the lurking shadow
scramble to grab wooden nickels
out of the jar on the coffee table.

Soon they are arguing cheerfully
over whether to split a bowl of haggis
or each get their own skewer of garlicy brussels sprouts
while the air fills with the scent of liver and onions.

The golem in front of Naomi's house bounces impatiently on his toes.