March 21st, 2012

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The Introvert as Employee

I came across this imaginary description calling for an introverted employee.  I like the concept but think it needs work to rephrase everything in positive terms:

"If an employer were to post a job opening requiring an introverted personality, it might read something like this:

Must not be a team player
Must work best in a quiet environment
Must live in their head for the majority of time
Must not be a multi-tasker
Must like to work in solitude
Must not co-mingle with other staff members"

I suggest something like:

Must be a self-motivated worker
Must work well in a quiet environment
Must be comfortable with internal processes and "doing the work in your head"
Must be capable of concentrating on one task at a time
Must like to work in solitude
Must be self-sufficient socially in the absence of coworkers

There used to be a fair number of jobs like this, where the working conditions created isolation.  Lighthouse keeper, fire tower watcher, winter warden in national parks, etc.  Many of those jobs are gone, or at least rarer now.  But we've created other jobs that don't really require a "team" work environment.  In particular, work-at-home jobs are ideal for introverts and lousy for extroverts.  You don't have to be a pure introvert to work at home, any more than you must be a pure extrovert to work in an office; you just need to have that mode accessible.  

The problem is that employers rarely understand how to frame their needs for such positions, because -- aside from the technical skills of the job itself -- the workplace and interpersonal skills are opposite  what has been the norm.  Look at the complaints against work-at-home models, and you'll see a classic description of what goes wrong putting extroverts in isolation.  They wind down, get lonely, and have trouble doing the job.  Meanwhile introverts are thriving.  So it's vitally important that employers understand and describe clearly the working conditions for a job and the kind of personality that best suits it.

Feel free to share this with anyone who might be interested, especially folks who write out the "help wanted" ads.
paladins

Unsold Poetry from the March 20, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl

This fishbowl has SOLD OUT.  Thank you for your support!

The following poems from the March 20, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. They may be sponsored via PayPal -- there's a permanent donation button on  my LiveJournal profile  page -- or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

The Poetry Fishbowl also has a  landing page  with full details about the project.  See the series page for Path of the Paladins.



"Ari and the Atheist" -- 39 lines, $15  SOLD
Your prompt about atheists got me thinking. In a world where the gods are very obvious, "atheist" doesn't necessarily mean "unbeliever" as it does here. It can mean someone who thinks the gods are just ordinary but super-powerful beings; or who has bizarre beliefs about some imaginary force or being; or who follows a philosophy rather than a religion. And in a world that the gods have messed up horribly? Enter the conscientious objector, whom Ari meets in a village square, manning a bread-cart.

"Bouquets of Bygone Days" -- 77 lines, $38.50  SOLD
Your prompt about Shahana and a sweetheart led to the free-verse poem "Bouquets of Bygone Days," in which Shahana and Ari discuss how love interacts (or not) with a paladin's vocation. And it all starts when a boy gives Ari a bunch of flowers ...

"But One End" -- 173 lines, $86.50  SOLD
Previously the_vulture as asked about Ari's first experience channeling the power of Gailah. There have been a few other minor examples, but this is the first major one. A struggling village, a shopping trip gone wrong, and a ruffian who badly underestimates his choice of victim. The result is the free-verse poem "But One End."

"Follow Your Heart" -- 152 lines, $76  SOLD
From your prompt about a paladin commanded to do something bad came the free-verse poem "Follow Your Heart." There are smugglers, followers of Gorrein, a river-town militia, our two heras ... and a discussion of what a paladin is supposed to be.

"Knell" -- 68 lines, $34  SOLD
Actually I was captivated by your comment on today's free poem, regarding the allies of Gorrein and the opposition he faces. "Knell" is a free-verse poem about slipping alliances and what happens when people are faced with the consequences of a changing world. This is a two-part poem with some very tight parallels between the first and second sections.

"Loaf Mass" -- 70 lines, $35
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<i><span style="color:#ff0000;"><b>This fishbowl has </b></span><span style="color:#008000;"><b>SOLD OUT</b></span><span style="color:#ff0000;"><b>. &nbsp;Thank you for your support!</b></span>

The following poems from the&nbsp;March 20, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. They may be sponsored via PayPal -- there&#39;s a permanent donation button on &nbsp;<span><a href="http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/profile">my LiveJournal profile</a><span>&nbsp; page -- or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

The Poetry Fishbowl also has a &nbsp;<span class="Apple-converted-space"><a href="http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/730515.html">landing page</a><span>&nbsp; with full details about the project. &nbsp;See the series page for <a href="http://penultimateproductions.weebly.com/path-of-the-paladins.html" target="_blank">Path of the Paladins</a>.</span></span></span></span></i>


<b>&quot;<a href="http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/2243338.html">Ari and the Atheist</a>&quot;</b> -- 39 lines, <strike>$15</strike> &nbsp;<span style="color:#008000;"><b>SOLD</b></span>
Your prompt about atheists got me thinking. In a world where the gods are very obvious, &quot;atheist&quot; doesn&#39;t necessarily mean &quot;unbeliever&quot; as it does here. It can mean someone who thinks the gods are just ordinary but super-powerful beings; or who has bizarre beliefs about some imaginary force or being; or who follows a philosophy rather than a religion. And in a world that the gods have messed up horribly? Enter the conscientious objector, whom Ari meets in a village square, manning a bread-cart.

<b>&quot;<a href="http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/2238831.html">Bouquets of Bygone Days</a>&quot;</b> -- 77 lines, <strike>$38.50</strike> &nbsp;<span style="color:#008000;"><b>SOLD</b></span>
Your prompt about Shahana and a sweetheart led to the free-verse poem &quot;Bouquets of Bygone Days,&quot; in which Shahana and Ari discuss how love interacts (or not) with a paladin&#39;s vocation. And it all starts when a boy gives Ari a bunch of flowers ...

<b>&quot;<a href="http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/2455973.html" target="_blank">But One End</a>&quot;</b> -- 173 lines, <strike>$86.50</strike>&nbsp; <span style="color: rgb(0, 128, 0);"><b>SOLD</b></span>
Previously <lj user="the_vulture" /> as asked about Ari&#39;s first experience channeling the power of Gailah. There have been a few other minor examples, but this is the first major one. A struggling village, a shopping trip gone wrong, and a ruffian who badly underestimates his choice of victim. The result is the free-verse poem &quot;But One End.&quot;

<b>&quot;<a href="http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/2239867.html">Follow Your Heart</a>&quot;</b> -- 152 lines, <strike>$76</strike>&nbsp; <span style="color:#008000;"><b>SOLD</b></span>
From your prompt about a paladin commanded to do something bad came the free-verse poem &quot;Follow Your Heart.&quot; There are smugglers, followers of Gorrein, a river-town militia, our two heras ... and a discussion of what a paladin is supposed to be.

<b>&quot;<a href="http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/2238632.html">Knell</a>&quot;</b> -- 68 lines, <strike>$34</strike> &nbsp;<span style="color:#008000;"><b>SOLD</b></span>
Actually I was captivated by your comment on today&#39;s free poem, regarding the allies of Gorrein and the opposition he faces. &quot;Knell&quot; is a free-verse poem about slipping alliances and what happens when people are faced with the consequences of a changing world. This is a two-part poem with some very tight parallels between the first and second sections.

<b>&quot;<a href="http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/2320513.html">Loaf Mass</a>&quot;</b> -- 70 lines, <strike>$35</strike><b <span="&lt;span" style="color:#008000;">SOLD</span></b>
Following up on your prompt about Ari&#39;s village is the free-verse poem &quot;Loaf Mass,&quot; with Larn and some of the elders bringing in the hay and thinking about the grain harvest yet to come. And then a stranger arrives...

<b>&quot;<a href="http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/2243663.html">Storm Wrack</a>&quot;</b> -- 161 lines, <strike>$80.50</strike> &nbsp;<span style="color:#008000;"><b>SOLD</b></span>
The prompt about polishing weapons led to the free-verse poem &quot;Storm Wrack.&quot; It&#39;s a direct sequel to &quot;Follow Your Heart,&quot; in which Johan washes up in Three-Town Fork and reconnects with Shahana and Ari. He still keeps getting pulled into doing the work of a paladin, even though he&#39;s uneasy with it.
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How Misinformation Kills

Here's an example of how misinformation kills: a woman who believed the Fox News description of health care refused to see a doctor, and subsequently died.  Now, I support people's right to decide whether or not they want to seek health care.  Sometimes the system really can be hazardous.  But not the way Fox News has described it as being hazardous.  Now that misinformation has proven fatal to at least one person.

Remember, it is difficult or impossible to make good decisions with bad information.  And if you create a system that treats people badly, or is believed to treat people badly, they are likely to avoid it even if they need it.  You need not only positive, functional social structures but clear and careful communication so that people understand them well enough to make personally appropriate decisions.
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Textile Ladyparts

This website offers patterns for knit, crochet, sewn, etc. ladyparts including various designs of uterus, vulva, and complete set.  The idea is to send a fuzzy pink clue to politicians who think it's okay to get all up in a woman's crotch without her permission: "You can't seem to keep your hands off my uterus, so I made you this one."

Too bad they don't have a pattern for winter hats shaped like vaginas.  Or rectums.
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Toxic Birdseed

Toxic food isn't just for humans anymore. Scotts Miracle Grow deliberately coated birdseed with insecticide, which is toxic to birds, to keep insects from eating the birdseed.  As if it's not difficult and expensive enough trying to find human food that's actually edible, and trying to find ways of supporting wildlife in a world that mostly wants to kill everything that moves, now we have to worry about poisoned birdseed.  Terrific.

When these guys go to hell, Lucifer is going to have to hike over to the Pagan afterlife and say, "Hey, do you guys have any eagles I could borrow?  I have some guys who need their entrails pecked out by angry birds."
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Science Fiction at Length

Here's an interesting article about story length in science fiction.  The author mostly talks about the importance of long stories, because science fiction requires more scene-setting than mundane stories.

There's more to the issue than that, though.  Any genre can be explored at any length of literature.  It's just that you can tell different tales in a haiku or a short story than you can in a novelette or a novel or a series.  A skilled author suits the length of the story to the amount of complexity it contains.  

That's where it gets complicated, because historically, certain sizes have been favored whether they were good for a given story or not.  There was the "dead zone" between short stories (capping at around 7500 words) and novels (starting at around 40,000 words).  There's been a recent trend towards frankly bloated novels where big publishers didn't want to see anything under about 80,000 words.  You know what it looks like?  A 50,000 word novel with 30,000 words of padding.

One cool thing about weblit and ebooks is that they're killing those problems.  While the favoritism is still active, there are now venues for other stuff that falls outside the narrow target range.  So if you love reading fiction between 7500 and 40,000 words, you can now find lots of it.  If you write it, you can sell it.  Yay!  Yay!  Same with shorter novels.  Then there's the serial.  Those used to be super popular in magazines and newspapers.  Then they nearly died out.  Now they are back.  Online audiences love serials.  So if you like to tell or read rather long stories in short pieces, you can do that again.  Yay!  Yay!

I'm exploring much the same ground with poetry.  I can write and sell short poems, or long poems, or epics.  Okay, my epics are a lot shorter than Homer's but by the time I finish a series, I do have about a book's worth of tale in it.  I think that's cool.  Serial poetry hasn't seen much attention even in historic times.  There are some examples but not a lot.  So it's up to me and my audience what we want to do with this.  Yes, I can do worldbuilding very concisely.  I can also spread it out.  I can even easteregg it and rely on my very savvy readers to snatch things out from between the lines, crack them open, and dance around with the chocolate candy yelling, "Hey, look what I found!"  I think it's awesome when people reveal hidden meanings, connections, and implications like that.  The size, then, is a matter of personal taste for the poet and for the audience, balanced against the demands of a given poem -- with an option to elaborate across multiple poems if so desired.

Science fiction.  Weblit and ebooks.  Paper too, if you like it, because there are more option there now in terms of alternative publication.  Pick whatever length you want to read or write.  Go have fun.
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Flowers in the Wind

Pear tree is in full bloom here at Fieldhaven; cherries are starting to bloom, and one of the apples.  Hyacinths are in full bloom.  When I walk downwind, I can smell them for yards.  Some daffodils are still blooming but most of them are past their peak.  The first of the tulips are opening.  It's odd: hyacinths used to bloom last here, but they're ahead of the tulips now.