August 7th, 2018


Poetry Fishbowl Open!

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

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "Poke a Bigot in the Eye: Ableism Edition."  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.

I have some series that feature disabled protagonists and/or other aspects of disability:
An Army of One -- a majority of characters are autistic, which some people consider a disability
Clay of Life -- Yossele the golem has prosthetic feet of inert iron attached to a body of living clay
Diminished Expectations -- a majority of the characters have severe physical disabilities
Frankenstein's Family -- Igor has a deformed back, Victor is trans and has dysmenorrhea, Adam has scars
Monster House -- the daughter is blind
The Moon Door -- a majority of characters have (or had) chronic pain and other disabilities
One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis -- a majority of characters have addiction issues
Path of the Paladins -- PTSD and communal trauma as far as the eye can see
P.I.E. -- Brenda uses a wheelchair
Tripping into the Future -- the second-person protagonist has PTSD and depression
Walking the Beat -- Dale walks with a cane; Kelly is Deaf

Polychrome Heroics features numerous disabilities. Aquariana can't wear clothes or let her skin dry out. Cassandra had her superpower crippled by clipping. Cuoio has traumatic grief. Dr. Infanta has PDSD and is stuck in a child's body. Turq (and the rest of Carl Bernhardt's victims) in Officer Pink has PDSD, scars, and superpower dysfunctions due to mad science torture.  Pips has migraines. Shiv has mental and physical scars from years of assorted abuse. There are more outside those threads too, so browse around if you need inspiration.

Click to read the linkback poem "Where Symbols Had the Power" (10 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 "Poke a Bigot in the Eye: Ableism Edition." 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 Dreamwidth, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, 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.  "Where Symbols Had the Power" has 10 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 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 "Poke a Bigot in the Eye: Ableism Edition." I'll be soliciting ideas for people with disabilities, friends, relatives, bullies, bigots, police, lawyers, clergy, superheroes, supervillains, minions, employers, employees, activists, other people who deal with ableism, acquiring a disability, living with disability, raising a disabled child, protesting, traveling, troubleshooting, discovering problems, finding creative solutions, confronting bullies, poking a bigot in the eye, asking questions, exploring new techniques, discovering yourself, learning what you can do, challenging discriminatory laws, inventing helpful devices, offices, streets, homes, playgrounds, classrooms, battlefields, courtrooms, churches or temples, stores, other places prone to disability conflicts, adaptive equipment, assistance animals, magical adaptations for disabilities, visible vs. invisible disabilities, prejudices, laws, bait and switch, unforseen circumstances, when the whole world changes out from under you, cape fights, boundary violations, unbelievably rude things people say or do, "nothing about us without us," random acts of kindness, public accommodations for disabilities, "universal design" isn't, theories of disability, 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 "Where Symbols Had the Power."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

Fairy Tales Bingo Card 8-7-18

Here is my card for the Fairy Tales bingo. It runs throughout August, featuring fairies and fairy tales.

(See all my 2018 bingo cards.)

If you'd like to sponsor a particular square, especially if you have an idea for what character, series, or situation it would fit -- talk to me and we'll work something out.  I've had a few requests for this and the results have been awesome so far.  This is a good opportunity for those of you with favorites that don't always mesh well with the themes of my monthly projects. I may still post some of the fills for free, because I'm using this to attract new readers; but if it brings in money, that means I can do more of it. That's part of why I'm crossing some of the bingo prompts with other projects, such as the Poetry Fishbowl.

Underlined prompts have been filled.


fairymusicmodern wildernesslost / abandonederrand
soldier / sailorstorytellingguideurban settingneutrality
wise / learned personsurpriseWILD CARDstudent / apprenticesecret
magical artifactneeded travelspacefaring futurebetweenstrange visitor
unhappy familythreenatural disasterNative American (modern)hill