November 5th, 2019

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DIY Composting Toilet

It's surprisingly easy to make your own toilet.  In fact, survival kits often come packed in a bucket toilet.

Handy tip: liquid creates most of the challenges in a composting toilet.  To minimize problems, either use very generous amounts of dry plant material, or separate liquids using a universal portable urinal.

This knowledge can make life a great deal more comfortable while camping, living off the grid, or dealing with a natural disaster.  You are more capable than the authorities want you to believe, and humans have been handling this shit since we walked out of the woods.
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Poetry Fishbowl Open!

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

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "Language is fun."  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 more relevant series for the main theme:

Clay of Life deals in Jewish folklore, with snippets of Hebrew and Yiddish.

Feathered Nests features the alien Fifers, sometimes touching on their language.

Fiorenza the Wisewoman is Italian historic fantasy and includes bits of Italian.

Frankenstein's Family sprawls across French, Latin, Romanian, Hungarian, Romani, Dacian, and various other languages.

Hart's Farm features Scandinavian and a little Celtic folklore, with a few words from those and other languages.

Lacquerware is Edopunk, drawing inspiration from Japanese.

Polychrome Heroics has characters who speak many different languages.

The Steamsmith includes a lot of alchemical vocabulary.

The Time Towers involves traveling to many different cultures.

Or you can ask for something new.

Currently eligible bingo card(s) for donors wishing to sponsor a square:

Hurt/Comfort Bingo Card 6-18-19

Ladiesbingo Card 9-2-19

People-Watching Bingo Card 10-31-19

Transbingo Card 11-1-19

Click to read the linkback poem "Life in a Stone" (5 verses, standalone).  Today is Election Day in some areas.  If you volunteer at the polls, vote, or otherwise participate then tell me so and I'll reveal an extra verse for you.  I'm running the linkback today.


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 "Language is fun." 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.  "Life in a Stone" has 5 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; four of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be four 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 bonus piece 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 "Language is fun." I'll be soliciting ideas for linguists, xenolinguists, polyglots, children, fish out of water, refugees, immigrants, tourists, other foreign language learners, language teachers, historians, ancient language scholars, writers, bards, heroic leads, antagonists, intelligent beasts, talking artifacts, magic users, explorers, ancestral spirits, deities, other people who work with language, speaking, listening, reading, writing, researching languages, inventing languages, reviving languages that are declining or dormant, exploring new discoveries, learning magic, learning a new language, creating connections, coming of age, learning what you can (and can't) do, accomplishing the impossible, recovering from setbacks, returning home, libraries, schools, language nests, grandparents' home, theaters, squares and plazas, caravans, castles and towers, monasteries, other places where people share languages, language window, the Rosetta Stone, home language, religious language, secret language, lost language, vernacular language, alien language, invented language, wordplay, writing that nobody can read, the printing press, alphabets and other writing systems, the heroic journey, tomes and scrolls, words that don't translate exactly, other interesting vocabulary, alternative pronoun sets, personal growth, imprint vulnerability, rites of passage, 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 "Life in a Stone."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for future use.
Fly Free

Poem: "Life in a Stone"

This is the linkback perk poem for the November 5, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was written outside the regular prompt calls. It fills the "Stone" square in my 9-1-19 card for the Arts and Crafts Festival Bingo.

In addition to promoting the fishbowl, you can also reveal an extra verse if you are participating in an election today.


Life in a Stone


There is life in a stone that
sits in a field or lies on a beach,
taking on the memory of that place.

It's there in the lichens and moss
that grow over the surface.

When you take up the stones
and carry them to your garden
to make a wall for the herb spiral.
you carry with you the memory
of all the different things that
those stones have witnessed.

The memories of the stones
go into the ground, and the water,
and then up into the herbs.

So be careful which you pick.

* * *

Notes:

"There is life in a stone. Any stone that sits in a field or lies on a beach takes on the memory of that place. You can feel that stones have witnessed so many things."
-- Andy Goldsworthy