November 7th, 2017


23,000 Sexes and Counting

Apparently there is a type of fungus that has 23,000 sexes and is still adding more.  Yes, they are biologically distinct sexes in that the configuration of specific components determines which individuals are or are not able to reproduce.  I am just all asquee over this.  I look at reactionaries having a wiggins over the fact that humans have more than 2 biological sexes and want to rub their noses in this.

I rather imagine that Erishkegal devised these things.  It's just her style.  Galaturri and kurgarri as far as the eye can see.

Poetry Fishbowl Open!

The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED.  Thank  you for your time and attention.  Please watch this post as I am still writing.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "Outlandish Occupations."  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.

Click to read the linkback poem "The Open Gyre" (12 verses, standalone).

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 "outlandish occupations." 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 feature in conjunction with fishbowl sponsorship is this progress meter showing the amount donated.  There are multiple perks, the top one being a half-price poetry sale on one series when donations reach $300.

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.  Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall.  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.  Comment with a link to where you posted.  "The Open Gyre" has 12 verses and stands alone. 

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 $100 by Friday evening then you get a free $15 poem; $150 gets you a free $20 poem; and $200 gets you a free epic, posted after the Poetry Fishbowl.  These will usually be series poems if I have them; otherwise I may offer non-series poems or series poems in a different size.  If donations reach $250, you get one step toward a bonus fishbowl; three of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be three months in a row.  Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it may be a half-day rather than a whole day.  If donations reach $300, there will be a piece of bonus material in one series.

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 "outlandish occupations." I'll be soliciting ideas for employees, employers, employment counselors, volunteers, assistants, mentors, apprentices, customers or clients, outcasts, unlikely coworkers, good/bad bosses, antagonists, black sheep, scapegoats, aliens, superheroes, supervillains, blue-plate specials, other heroes/villains, beat partners, other work relationships, working, othering, creating your own job, consulting, facing thresholds, belonging, learning on the job, questioning, debating labels, quitting, dropping out, learning what you can do, coming out, telling your own story, discovering new relationships, building a career network, mentoring novices, office buildings, mobile offices, classrooms, counseling offices, neighborhoods, plazas and other public places, alien planets, work ethic, employment, unemployment, self-employment, unions, other work-related organizations, promotions and demotions, oddjobs, genius is not public property, talent does not dictate profession, self-discovery, self-awareness, erasure, alienation, rejection, oppression, job skills, challenges of getting a job, sexual harassment, legal rights, 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 New Book of Forms by Lewis Turco 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, and additional perks at $100-$300 in donations.  Linkbacks reveal verses of "The Open Gyre."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.
Fly Free

Poem: "Driving on Ice"

Today's freebie was prompted backchannel by my_partner_doug.  It also fills the "season" square in my 10-31-17 Time card in the Space and Time Bingo fest.

"Driving on Ice"

While most drivers try
to avoid ice on the road,
some travel on roads
made entirely of ice.

These intrepid travelers
are the ice road truckers,
who cross frozen lakes
to deliver vital supplies
in the high north.

These frozen roads
are only traversable
a few months of the year.

During the driving season,
companies send shipment after
shipment as fast as they can.

It takes a delicate dance of
practical skills and physics
to make the trip safely.

Companies measure the ice,
mathematicians calculate speed
and spacing of the convoys, but

it's up to the truckers themselves
to feel their way across the groaning ice
and deliver supplies to those in need.

* * *


Ice road jobs are good for adrenaline junkies.

monster house

Poem: "Not Your Grandmother's Monster Hunter"

This poem was inspired by rix_scaedu  and sponsored by [personal profile] bairnsidhe. It also fills the "Monster Hunter" square in my 10-1-17 card for the Fall Festival Bingo. It belongs to the Monster House series.

"Not Your Grandmother's Monster Hunter"

We're at the powwow when
a strange-looking man asks if he
can brush the seeing-eye gremlin.

I boggle at him for a minute,
then manage to say, "... why?"

"I hunt monsters, but not to kill them,"
he explains. "I take their fur, or wool,
or quills, then sort what I get so that it can
be used to make regalia for people who
dance the Monster Twins or Hero Twins."

"That sounds extremely dangerous,"
I say, shaking my head in bemusement.

"Usually I work while they're hibernating,
but that one looks friendly enough," he says.
"Besides, my sister works with porcupine quills
and my brother grades deer hair for roaches.
It's an extension of the family business."

Well yes, a seeing-eye gremlin 
has to be comfortable with people.

So I ask my daughter, who is fine
with the idea, and we give permission.
It's interesting to watch him work, and
by the time he is finished with the grooming,

the seeing-eye gremlin has never looked so good.

* * *


Monster Twins and Hero Twins appear across a wide range of tribes, although it can be difficult to find references for them due to obscurity, diverse nomenclature, and people telling anthropologists to fuck off.  Each tribe has its own styles of regalia for special occasions.  As many myths are re-enacted for ritual or other purposes, masks and outfits sometimes resemble mythic figures and can be quite dramatic in appearance, such as kachina dancers.  Some regalia involves exotic materials.

Quillwork is a tribal art that requires sorting porcupine quills for embroidery or other projects.

A roach is a broad category headdress that can use various types of hair such as deer and porcupine hair.  Once again, these must be sorted before use.