January 9th, 2012

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Changing the Economy

Thomas Thurston Thomas has a brilliant essay about the shifting economics of the modern world.  (Oh, and I recommend his novel Crygender.  Excellent genderfic.)  This is what happens when science fiction authors look at economics.  They consider what has been, what is, what could be.

He's hit on something I've been suspecting: employers aren't keen on employees anymore.  They don't really want to support a nation of workers with a living wage.  Well, if we're not going to meet people's needs that way, we have got to find some other way and switch over.  Because needs don't go away, and unmet needs cause fulminating problems for everyone sooner or later.

I'd like to see a method that compensates people for all the useful labor that most societies leave unpaid: things like raising children, keeping a house, caring for elders, etc.  Women's work, mostly.  Stuff that isn't always pleasant to do but had by gods better get done or things fall apart.  I'd like to see support for repair and maintenance too, both of civilized infrastructure and nature.

It's not like we don't have  resources.  We just aren't distributing them in ways that take good care of all the people in America and the physical manifestation of the country itself -- its roads, dams, bridges, buildings, levies, forests, plains, farmland, waterways, wildlife, etc.

Clearly the government doesn't give a flying triple backflip about anything other than its own power and profit.  So, it's up to us.  Somebody else is going to have to figure out alternatives and test them out, preferably before the mainstream melts down completely. 

Some options to consider ...

* Construct communities that are as self-sufficient as possible.  It's not possible to produce everything  locally but you can sure come close if you try.  For examples, see Transition Towns and the Federation for Intentional Community.

* Develop a local currency to support small businesses and the local economy, or use barter.  If you can't get your hands on enough government money to meet all your needs, there are other options -- and the broker people are locally, the more useful these alternatives get.  Cash only works when there's enough of it to go around.

* Forge close human relationships for a support network in times of need.  Chances are the government won't take care of you, or not completely, or not very well, if you need it.  Try to find people who care enough to help.  Be there for them too.  There are networks that help people connect to trade volunteer hours in various services, such as HourWorld.

* Create alternatives to government, megacorporations, or religious organizations that may not meet people's needs properly.  Options include nonprofit organizations, charities, small businesses, grant foundations, professional associations, etc.  Identify a need, plan a solution, pick a framework that seems promising, and begin.

* Use crowdfunding to detour around the bottlenecks created by big banks, publishers, and others standing in the way of getting stuff done.  When the mainstream sources dry up, forget them, do something else.  Kiva specializes in microloans, mostly for launching or improving small businesses.  Profounder focuses on crowdfunding for businesses.  Quirky does product development.  Spot.Us News offers journalism.  Sellaband specializes in music.  Unbound publishes books.  IndieGoGo and Kickstarter are just two of the many sites that accept all kinds of crowdfunded projects.  You can also use communities like crowdfunding or Crowdfunding on Dreamwidth to find an audience and/or projects.

Watch for methods that work then seek ways to expand and replicate them.
Rose-Bay

Rose and Bay Awards Update

 This award recognizes excellence in cyberfunded creativity aka crowdfunding.  Visit the 2012 Rose & Bay Award landing page for full details.

The nomination period is open through January 31.  Here are the nomination posts for all six categories and their current numbers of nominations:

Art: 6
Fiction: 5
Poetry2
Webcomic: 2
Other Project4
Patron: 4

As you can see, only a handful of nominations have come in thus far.  I'd like to see the nominations surpass what we got in 2011, which were Art (6), Fiction (18), Poetry (4), Webcomic (11), Other Project (10), and Patron (12).  Poetry and Webcomics are the lowest.  Try looking for poetry book projects on Kickstarter if you need ideas.  Webcomics are really popular and there's a list of archives on the nomination page.  As for Patron, there are a lot of creators in this community -- if everyone would nominate at least one of their own patrons for their projects, this category would be thriving.

You can also help by boosting the signal.  Post about the award and encourage your audience to come nominate projects. 
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Monday Update 1-9-12

These are some posts from the later part of last week, in case you missed them:
Torn Tongue: Nouns beginning with "P"
The Rhysling Award now accepts crowdfunded and self-published poetry!
Making Honeycrack and Other Traditional Candies
Poem: "A Love Like Air"

Ezine in Progress
My Poetry Fishbowl Records
Family Skills: The Phone Stack
Read "The Sword Without a Hilt: Concepts of Evil"


This month's fishbowl was a success, meeting the $200 goal and improptu $250 goal.  Read the Poetry Fishbowl Report for Tuesday, January 3, 2012 to find free poetry and other perks.  There will be a mid-month fishbowl on Tuesday, January 17; I'll poste a poll later so you-all can pick a series to be featured.

See the pictures based on my prompts from the latest Sketch Fest.


Poetry in Microfunding:

"The Inescapable Agony of Being" is a $20 poem about aliens masquerading as human.  It only needs $2 to be fully funded!  "The Morose Mascot" follows Horace the porcupine as he flees his horrible mistress.  It needs $53 to complete.

"With Mortal Flesh and Iron Will" is science fiction about disabled soldiers protecting the Earth against alien robots.  This was a perk poem and  is now complete.


Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2012 Rose & Bay Awards which honors crowdfunding excellence in the categories of Art, Fiction, Poetry, Webcomic, Other Project, and Patron.  Please visit the nomination posts to browse projects and nominate your own favorites.  I have been nominated in the Patron category, thank you [info]moonwolf1988!  (The Poetry Fishbowl project is not eligible in 2012, as it won in Poetry for 2011.)  Full details for this award are on its landing page, and the nomination pages have category details.  

Nominations are also open for the Rhysling Award recognizing exceptional speculative poetry.  The SFPA has posted some Rhysling eligible poems online and mine are also available on my website.  If you're a SFPA member, please nominate your favorite poems for this award.  Also, this award now accepts crowdfunded and self-published poems!  So all of my 2011 fishbowl poems are eligible -- look under the "poem" tag to find them.


Weather has been moderate here, and it's sunny today.  We visited our local nature center for National Bird Day.  Their feeding station near the picture window has 15 different feeders, wow!
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Series Poll for the January 17, 2012 Bonus Fishbowl

Based on the December 2011 fishbowl reaching the $200 goal, you get a bonus fishbowl on Tuesday, January 17.  The theme will be one of the poetic series, as selected in the poll below.  I'll keep this poll open at least until Tuesday (Jan. 10) evening.  If there's a clear winner then, I'll close the poll; otherwise, I may leave it open a little longer.

Poll #1809540 Series Poll for January 2012 Bonus Fishbowl
This poll is closed.

Which series would you like to feature in the Jan. 17 fishbowl?

Fiorenza the Wisewoman
9(52.9%)
The Ocracies
1(5.9%)
Path of the Paladins
6(35.3%)
Practical Magics
1(5.9%)
Crowdfunding butterfly ship

Crowdfunding Creative Jam Announcement

The next session of the Crowdfunding Creative Jam will run January 14-15 in the Crowdfunding communities on Dreamwidth and LiveJournal. The theme is "Disabled People (visibly and invisibly disabled)" based on a previous poll. Mark the time on your calendar so you can leave and/or claim prompts.


Want to do some advance planning for this Creative Jam?

Torn World has a number of disabled characters including Rai (owned by me, blind), Marai (adoptable, deaf), Kalitelm(adoptable, dwarfism & club feet), and Ularki (adoptable, mentally disabled).

Here are some articles:

"Blind Characters: A Process of Awareness"
"Deaf Characters: Behind the Fiction"
"Depiction of Intellectual Disability in Fiction"
"On the handling of disabled characters"
"Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Fiction"
"Writing About Disability"
"Writing Characters with Mental Illness"
"Writing My First Wheelchair Bound Character Has Been Enlightening"
"Writing Realistic Disabled Characters"

"1001 Drawings"
"Disability & Art"
"The Disability Paradox: Ghettoisation of the Visual"

"Fantastic Films, Fantastic Bodies"
"Media Representation of Disabled People"
"Movies with Characters with Disabilities"
"Top 10 TV Shows with a Disabled Character"

"Famous Disabled People in History"
"Well Known People with Disabilities"


Also, I'm open to having other folks host the Crowdfunding Creative Jam in future sessions. If you'd like to volunteer, please let me know and we'll discuss which month(s) you want. The aforementioned poll listed a bunch of themes that people were interested in writing about, so you can pick one of those.