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Poetry Fishbowl Open! - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poetry Fishbowl Open!
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED.  Thank you all for your time and enthusiasm.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "games and toys."  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.

Watch for the linkbacks perk to go live.  Click to read "Secondary Feathers" (Fledgling Grace, 18 verses).

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 "games and toys." I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme.  Prompting is free!  Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.  Finished poems become available for sponsorship.

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 new 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.  "Secondary Feathers" belongs to the Fledgling Grace series and has 18 verses.

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, you get a piece of bonus material relating to a poetic 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 "games and toys."  I'll be soliciting ideas for players, toymakers, referees and other gaming judges, game pieces, toys, famous playthings, foreign playthings, playgrounds, game rooms, places where games and toys are made, the history of playthings, playing with games or toys, interference or other mishaps during play, cheating, teamwork, breaking or repairing toys, gaming strategies, special occasions associated with games or toys, funny names for playthings, 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 first edition of Lewis Turco's The Book of Forms 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 "Secondary Feathers.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

58 comments or Leave a comment
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ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: December 4th, 2012 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
A distinctive Torn World toy

Dareg playing Bola-Ball

A 'game night' has eerie parallels in the players' actual lives

Brain Games

These two look more like they're playing a game than warring: http://ellenmillion.com/artpageview.php?id=191

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)


I liked the idea of Dareg in a game of bola-ball. "Playing the Field" catches him the summer of his adulthood tests, as the hot new favorite. Emphasis on hot. Come watch buff sweaty players run around with sticks and balls.

70 lines, Buy It Now = $35
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)


madshutterbug left me an image prompt earlier. It made me think about dolls and toys often getting color-coded for gender, and some of the subtle messages sent about what we wish for when we choose our playthings. The result is "Blue and Pink," written in rhymed couplets.

16 lines, Buy It Now = $10
madshutterbug From: madshutterbug Date: December 5th, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, good, because I thought I missed prompting you!

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2012 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)


Over on Dreamwidth, Elliemurasaki left a prompt ...

After the Fledging, various games had to be modified to account for players with wings. "Swish" tells about how basketball was affected.

45 lines, Buy It Now = $20
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: December 4th, 2012 07:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Chess boards in the park.

Storytelling games.

Games night at Monster House.

Freeze tag.

Game as metaphor.

Keeping score when it's not a game.

Disagreeing about whether it's a game.

The question game.

Edited at 2012-12-04 07:59 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)


From your prompt about chessboards, I got the poem "Squaring Off," which I'm posting as today's freebie.
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: December 4th, 2012 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Forgotten games, games that don't get passed to the next generation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_square , http://www.lyricstime.com/childrens-lyrics-doctor-knickerbocker-lyrics.html )

You've already done gendered toys, so I'll skip gendered games

Toys that stimulate free play vs. toys that can only be played with in a specific way
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)


The prompt about forgotten games inspired the free-verse poem "The Games of Purgatory." It's an unexpectedly bittersweet exploration of lost souls and lost games. This belongs to the Fledgling Grace series.

10 lines, Buy It Now = $5
my_partner_doug From: my_partner_doug Date: December 4th, 2012 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Second the motion for "Game night at Monster House"; all in favor? {grin}

Games in other serial poetry settings, such as Steamsmith (are there games which function as training exercises for those with alchemical talents, for instance, and how close do they match up with realworld games of the Victorian era) or Fiorenza's world.

The particular challenge of creating viable strategy games for telepaths: two mindreaders really wouldn't get anywhere trying to play chess, now, would they?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC) (Link)


The prompt about strategy for telepaths led to the free-verse poem "Mindsweeper." Two telepaths must visualize and maintain the playing field and all the pieces during the game, with multiple goals.

47 lines, Buy It Now = $20
From: minor_architect Date: December 4th, 2012 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
* Games used as teaching tools. (This could be an interesting prompt to use in your Monster House series - what types of games might the monsters teach the children? And what would be their lessons?)

* Old St. Nick employs a personal shopper to help him procure all the tech toys kids want these days. Or if you prefer, St. Nick's workshop goes high-tech to produce them all in-house. (So how does an elf make an iPad? ;)

* A game of hide-and-seek where one child is never found...and where that child ends up, instead.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)


From your never-found prompt came the poem "Hidden Seeker," posted as today's second freebie.
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: December 4th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)


I'll comment there when the linkback poem goes live, but I'm putting them here so I can close the tabs.



(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 01:40 am (UTC) (Link)


The prompt about adult toys led to the free-verse poem "Boxtoy." It is a whimsical debate of terminology that is sooooo Not Safe For Work.

20 lines, Buy It Now = $10
moonwolf1988 From: moonwolf1988 Date: December 4th, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Noughts and Crosses
Rocking horses
Unusual chess sets and how using them may change the game
Adventure playgrounds - fantasy or normal
Making normal items into toys
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2012 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)


From the prompt about unusual chess sets, I got the free-verse poem "Texas Foldem." Alex and Ash get bored with conventional chess and decide to make a tesseract chessboard. And then Chris leaves his deck of cards on the table ...

56 lines, Buy It Now = $20

Edited at 2012-12-05 07:41 pm (UTC)
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: December 4th, 2012 09:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Visual prompt to the left.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)


Your teddy bear prompt reminded me of another childhood guardian, Horned Toad. "Say Goodnight" is the story of how Horned Toad winkled his way into the homes of strange new visitors to Turtle Island. This poem is written in free verse.

22 lines, Buy It Now = $10
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: December 4th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
What kind of toys would a ghost have?

Do angels have toys?

In animals play in youngsters is often a sort of practice for adult life--and kids often want to play store or house or cops and robbers--sometimes scenarios they see in real life, sometimes things they've only seen in movies or other children's play. I wonder if there's any kind of play in adult life that is practice for old age, or for a stage after life, if one posits such a thing.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)


Your prompt about adult play as practice led to the free-verse poem "Gravestone Games." There are games played by elves to get ready for death and what comes after. This is eerie and beautiful. It's a little piece of life in my Whispering Sands desert that I knew nothing about until now, except that for the lullabies.

45 lines, Buy It Now = $20
rowyn From: rowyn Date: December 4th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Boys playing at stereotypically 'girl' games (eg, pretending to cook, keep house, parent a baby, play with Barbies, whatever) and have this be Perfectly Normal.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)


I liked the prompt about a boy playing 'girl' games. In Torn World, there are almost no gendered life roles. So here is a poem about Floqu's son Jimoq playing raiser as a child, with toys including a rather adorable pretend hearthfire with felt flames.

9 lines, Buy It Now = $5
From: siliconshaman Date: December 4th, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Toys games and play are how the young learn, and the young are the future...so connecting the dots there, imagine subverting the 'Old Order' of society by creating subversive games with subversive children's rhymes. You'd need a subversive poet I suppose...[gee, wonder where we'd find one of those!?!]

The Night the Toys Rebelled!

I wonder what games the gods play in the Path of the Paladins world?

Do player characters miss their players when the game is done? Would they go on a quest to find them again? And what would happen if they succeeded !!

Edited at 2012-12-04 10:04 pm (UTC)
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: December 4th, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like that last one. (Also, it reminds me of Neverending Story.)
je_reviens From: je_reviens Date: December 4th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

A story of Baby Malice

When I was in college it was a fun tradition of the new school year to go and buy a dry erase board for your door for phone messages. Every year I picked a different design. I've forgotten most of them, but my sophomore year, when I moved into Delta, I chose what I thought was a lovely feminine board. It was the interior of a toy chest, and sitting in the corner was a Victorian doll in a white dress, with a dark pageboy haircut and one hand raised.

My neighbor across the hall, Heather, christened this doll "Baby Malice" and every time I came home I found Baby Malice had drawn on her a smoking cigarette hanging out of her mouth, a pair of Ray Bans, and a smoking gun in her raised hand. Sometimes I erased these additions only to find them there again the next day.

Delta's mascot was a small stuffed llama named "Ba ba baa" (you have to hear the name to get it). Heather then put up a sign over her door proclaiming her room the world headquarters of the organization "LLAMAS FOR PEACE" and thus began a war between Baby Malice and LFP that lasted all school year.

It was awesome.

That is my prompt.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A story of Baby Malice

The Baby Malice prompt went to dark places in the free-verse poem "Baby Malice and the Drama Llama." Seduction, darkness, a two-timing guy, and there can never be too many creepy toy stories.

46 lines, Buy It Now = $20
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