December 5th, 2017


Poetry Fishbowl Open!

The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED.  Thank your for your time and attention.  Please keep an eye on this space as I'm still writing.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "hearth and home."  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 "Growing Green, Growing Gold" (9 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 "hearth and home." 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.  "Growing Green, Growing Gold" has 9 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.

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 "hearth and home." I'll be soliciting ideas for homemakers, couples or moresomes, odd couples, zucchini, construction workers, chimney sweeps, hosts and guests, people who work from home, outcasts, the homeless, beat partners, other work relationships, building houses, installing woodstoves or fireplaces, setting up fire circles or other outdoor hearths, building fires, cooking, crafting, grandmothering, creating your own job, facing thresholds, belonging, learning what you can do, discovering new relationships, caregiving, kinmaking, building a support network,  learning what 'normal' is, woodstoves, fireplaces, fire circles, summer kitchens, outdoor brick ovens/grills, other places where fires are built, housing design, houses, apartments, vardos and other traveling residences, other types of home, neighborhoods, lairs, alien residences, intentional neighboring, fireplace tools, firewood or other fuels, household supplies, work ethic, housework, equality and inequality, emotional labor at home and at work, self-discovery, self-awareness, erasure, alienation, rejection, personal space, privacy, 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 "Growing Green, Growing Gold."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

Poem: "Growing Green, Growing Gold"

This is the linkback poem for today's fishbowl. It came out of the September 5, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl, inspired by a prompt from tigerbright. It also fills the "bully in the alley" square in my 9-1-17 card for the Pirate Fest.

Growing Green, Growing Gold

Autumn comes, and with it,
the return to school days,

coordinating consequences
and strategies and responsibilities
across three neurodiverse parents
and two neurodiverse kids.

It's shopping for school clothes
and a different list of supplies
for each individual classroom,
wrangling the conflict of
tastes and budgets.

It's dealing with
the bully in the alley
in a way that doesn't
get anyone arrested.

It's seeing friends again,
and if they're in ones or twos
rather than crowds, it's fine:
not everyone needs to be
in the "in" crowd.

Autumn is the harvest
of energy that has been
growing green all summer,
growing gold now.

It doesn't mean the same thing
to each person, but that's okay:
it still has meaning.

Family isn't only
about sharing blood
or thinking the same way.

It's sharing the green and the gold,
spending the summer and the autumn,
threshing together the days of your lives
into a storehouse of memories.
Fly Free

Poem: "Make Logs, Carry Water"

This is the freebie for today's fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] kyleri. It also fills the "autumn" square in my 12-3-17 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest.

"Make Logs, Carry Water"

When you have a hearth
but no firewood, use your head.

You can buy fire bricks of
sawdust or compressed paper,
or better yet, make your own.

Roll wet newspaper into logs,
pulp or crumple it, and then
press the result into bricks
and wait for them to dry.

Mix wax with sawdust
or even coffee grounds
to make fire blocks.

Enlightenment is seeing that
you don't need to burn trees.

All you really need
is carbon, ingenuity,
and elbow grease.

* * *


"Chop wood, carry water" is a Zen tenet.

There are various alternatives to firewood, such as bricks of compressed paper or sawdust, used for ecological reasons.  Learn how to roll newspaper logs, make paper bricks from pulp or pages, and make wax-bound bricks with sawdust or coffee grounds.