January 2nd, 2018


Fandom Snowflake Challenge Day 2: "Favorite Memories"

Day 2

In your own space, share a favorite memory about fandom: the first time you got into fandom, the last time a fanwork touched your heart, crazy times with fellow fans (whether on-line or off-line), a lovely comment you’ve received or have left for someone. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

My earliest "best memories of fandom" cluster around inclusivity and peerage.  That is, fandom gave me a sense that other people like me actually exist.  The time I mentioned creating my own monsters and the person I was talking to said, "Doesn't everybody?"  The first time I saw someone else crawl under a table because it was the most expedient path.  Being able to talk with people who actually know what quantum physics or Jovian moons or fewmets even are.  To be real, to be seen, to be in a room full of people  instead of sleepwalkers.  It was very startling at first.

Fandom hasn't ever stopped surprising me, which is quite an accomplishment, because not much really does.  I got to know how fans think, but sometimes they still do something amazing.  I never expected to find people who would spend $100 in a year on poetry, but that happened -- and the first time someone did that in a lump sum blew my mind.  Later on, as the Poetry Fishbowl grew, I got used to it.  And then one time, someone sent me a donation of $500.  I was so stunned, I had to check if they meant it -- I thought it was a typo for $50 -- but it was real.  I've had folks writing in some of my settings, and most of that is little tidbit stuff, not surprising since other fans have always wanted to get into my settings, that's how I got into roleplaying.  But when a couple of people started writing novels  set in Terramagne?  I didn't expect that.  Fandom is amazing; my fans  are amazing.

Fandom Snowflake Challenge banner 2018

Poetry Fishbowl Open!

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

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "Do you believe in magic?"  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.

Among my projects that involve magic: The Ursulan Cycle, Clay of Life, A Conflagration of Dragons, Fiorenza the Wisewoman, Fledgling Grace, Gloryroad Crossing, Hart's Farm, The Inkeer, Kande's Quest, Monster House, The Ocracies, One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis, The Origami Mage, Path of the Paladins, P.I.E., Practical Magics, Seeing Hearts, and Sort Of Heroes. Polychrome Heroics has sorcery, but it's rare.

Click to read the linkback poem "Mysterious and Impermanent" (20 verses, Walking the Beat).

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 "Do you believe in magic?" 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.  "Mysterious and Impermanent" has 20 verses and belongs to Walking the Beat. 

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 half-price sale 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 "Do you believe in magic?" I'll be soliciting ideas for wizards, witches, familiars, gods and goddesses, outcasts, magical nulls, mystical creatures, spirits, other magical beings, casting spells, asking questions, reading tomes, setting up circles, facing thresholds, questing, learning what you can do, believing, disbelieving, woodstoves, temples, stone circles, hearths, the forest primeval, the dark, bottle shops, sacred groves, stages other places where magic happens, artifacts, magical books, wands and staves, enchanted jewelry, spells, curses, protection, stage magic, schools of magic, kitchen witching vs. altar witching, household supplies, regalia, equality and inequality, self-discovery, self-awareness, alienation, rejection, privacy, auras, energy, 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 "Mysterious and Impermanent."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

Poem: "Mysterious and Impermanent"

This is the freebie for today's fishbowl. It came out of the August 1, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl inspired by . It also fills the "art" square in my 7-31-17 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Walking the Beat.

Mysterious and Impermanent

The streetscape of Jamaica Plain
was colorful and constantly changing.

What Dale and Kelly loved the most
about it was the street art.

Dale's favorite was the mural
of flowers along the side of
Botanica San Miguel.

Kelly preferred the chaos of
Graffiti House, where each wall
featured a different image.

Sometimes they felt
saddened and confused
to discover a favorite mural gone,

but also hopeful that
another one may
be in the works.

Street art was mysterious
and impermanent like that.

It could appear or disappear overnight.

If you loved it, you had to learn
how to live with that.

So when Jamaica Plain
struggled to adapt to a surge
in new immigrants and refugees,

the community carried on
its conversation about the issue
through street art.

There was the mural
in Jackson Square that read,
We Are Family alongside
Welcome in several languages.

Youth Aim got together
and made a mural that read,
Time to take back our streets.

Dale and Kelly smiled to see
the changes, and took pictures.

There were guest presentations
by artists and immigrants, who talked
about how identity, like art, could be
mysterious and impermanent.

Not content with painting the town,
a local swim team painted themselves
safety orange and then floated in
Boston’s Fort Point Channel,
clinging to innertubes.

Each swimmer raised
10¢ per minute from each of
their sponsors, and the longest
of them lasted four hours
in the chilly water.

"Guess whose swimmer
outlasted everyone else,"
Dale said, showing Kelly
the results from the event.

So they ate a lot of ramen
that month, but it was totally worth it.

Some things have value without being precious.

* * *


"I felt saddened and confused to discover my favorite mural gone, but also hopeful that another one may be in the works. Street art is mysterious and impermanent like that. It can appear or disappear overnight. Murals like these are at risk of desecration, transformation, erasure. Someone's gonna piss on it, draw a mustache on it, tag it. The weather's going to make it fade. That's part of the beauty, I think. Murals have value without being precious."
-- Emily Raboteau

See the mural of flowers at the Botanica San Miguel.

This is the Graffiti House in Jamaica Plain.

Here is the We Are Family mural.

See the YouthAim! mural.

These are the orange swimmers.