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

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "healing & growth."  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 "The Face of a Hero" (Polychrome Heroics, 17 verses available).

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 "healing & growth." 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, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. rather than all on LiveJournal.  Comment with a link to where you posted.  "The Face of a Hero" belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics and has 17 verses available.

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 half-price sale for one week in one series.  Everyone will get to vote on which series to feature in the sale, out of those with extra poems available.

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 "healing & growth."  I'll be soliciting ideas for herbalists, healers, counselors, clients, teachers, students, farmers, fields, offices, helping people, actions leading to personal growth, stages of recovery, growth phases, hitting rock bottom, plot twists, safety equipment, self-help materials, herbs, 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 Lewis Turco's The New 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 "The Face of a Hero.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)


Anthony Barrette left a backchannel prompt which inspired the free-verse poem "The Oncology of Contemporary Culture." It speaks to the nature of cancer and the breadth of its manifestation.

49 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2014 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Linkback Is Live!

Check out "The Face of a Hero."
book_worm5 From: book_worm5 Date: September 2nd, 2014 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, there are all sorts of your worlds and characters which lend themselves to that prompt. The first to leap out at me when I saw it the other day were Damask and Danso and his family from Polychrome heroics, since healing and growth is pretty much where they are "at the moment" last I read. They could use some among themselves, and might well help provide it to someone else as well.

Healing and growth also seems to be Cat's general goal, so perhaps more of his adventures? Or maybe the little dragon from Conflagration could manage to make some friends and help one or more of the various peoples rebuild from the damage of his larger cousins. They certainly could use some healing there.

Both Monster House and Frankenstein's Family (which I've started reading most recently) could easily lend themselves to something on this line, but I don't have any particular ideas within them.

The prompt also speaks pretty directly to what "Love is for Children" is all about, but I suspect as a fanfic series that might not apply to this forum.

At any rate, those are what I've been thinking about. Hopefully one or more of them spark a little something (or a larger something as the case may be) for you!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)


Your Frankenstein prompt combined with a Dreamwidth one to inspire the free-verse poem "The Soothing Sound." Excited by the new use of his legs, Adam promptly overdoes it and winds up sore and cranky. Csilla helps unwind the tight muscles.

64 lines, Buy It Now = $32
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: September 2nd, 2014 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
How is Nahum (Path of the Paladins) doing?

Sometimes, healing encapsulates the cause of injury (e.g., a splinter left in). Sometimes, it ejects the cause of injury (that same splinter, but it got infected).

Can someone grow past an emotional injury without healing it? Conversely, is it possible to heal an emotional injury without growing?

What if there were a way to graft bark onto a tree that has been ringed? Or that as a metaphor.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2014 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)


Your Paladins prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Our Most Vulnerable and Powerful Selves." It explores Nahum's first lesson from Rohalin about healing.

108 lines, Buy It Now = $54
whuffle From: whuffle Date: September 2nd, 2014 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
It'd be interesting to see the world from the point of view of someone for whom, becoming a plant was their only way only way to be healed and in spite of having not wanted it originally, they've found the growth (spiritual, emotional, mental, etc) to be more satisfying than they'd expected.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2014 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)


This turned out kind of dark and creepy in places, and kind of sweet and fluffy in other places. It's science fiction about human women merging with alien trees, set in The Blueshift Troupers. "The Woods Women" is written in free verse.

106 lines, Buy It Now = $55
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: September 2nd, 2014 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fiorenza and her father: how is their relationship growing nowadays? Does he feel guilty about his wife's death? Could Giacinto be a source of healing with regards to that?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2014 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)


"Cultivating Family" centers around Giordano's birthday, as Fiorenza arranges a party to celebrate it. Various people contribute to the effort of integrating him back into the village. This is written in free verse.

94 lines, Buy It Now = $47
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: September 2nd, 2014 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tending a garden.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2014 01:05 am (UTC) (Link)


This inspired "For Ground of My Own," a free-verse poem about how gardening can help veterans suffering from PTSD.

55 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: September 2nd, 2014 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

A place that heals.</p>

A tough guy (or girl) gets sick and has to be cared for.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2014 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)


For a place that heals, see "For Ground of My Own."
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: September 2nd, 2014 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holy moly it's Tuesday when did that happen ack?

More relevantly:

Scar tissue.

Cover crops.

"Volunteer" plants.

The inevitability of life. Look at an abandoned building around here, and it'll be half-covered with vines and likely have a tree growing out of the porch. My dad wrote a poem about that ~30 years ago - "Mom's gonna win." Nature keeps pushing back.
(his mother was not impressed by the way he hijacked mother's day for the message...)

Edited at 2014-09-02 08:36 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2014 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)


Cover crops and volunteers appear in "For Ground of My Own," as thumbnailed above.
From: technoshaman Date: September 2nd, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
That bully in the Schrodingerverse that waterboarded that kid. How's he doing? What about his victim?

Somebody already mentioned Danso; I'll second that emotion...

Johnny Long seems like he's got some old scars... perhaps Kelly and Dale can help? Or just generally do tikkun olam... as I recall, that community needed some...

Victor and Igor still have some growing to do. They're sort of settled but I don't recall them having a Long Conversation....

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2014 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)


From Schrodinger's Heroes, here is the free-verse poem "When I've Chosen the Dark Side." Still weighed down by regret, Eric approaches TeJay again, who is studying PTSD exercises.

60 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: September 2nd, 2014 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Seems to me, healing in Terramagne gets complicated very quickly. How does one heal a damaged soup whose powers don't include super-healing? Especially without healing the damage that catalyzed the superpowers in the first place? (But what about a soup whose powers have too much personal cost to wield at all? What is ethical for a healer confronted with such a case?)

What about supervillains? Just as in this universe, someone who's up to no good would be reluctant to check into an emergency room where they might be spotted and apprehended. (ETA: supervillain takes over a hospital; collateral damage would be too high for an action hero to intervene, so negotiation takes place? Personal growth for the villain?) What I am given to understand of the local solution is that criminals share tips on which doctors are doing things for which they would face malpractice (such as performing unnecessary or contraindicated procedures) or criminal (such as diverting or using painkillers) charges if they were known; some of those doctors are willing to provide care as a protection payment. I bet Terramagne has a racket like that -- and even more interesting risks of getting care. A responsible supervillain kingpin might even go so far as to keep a healer on staff and have an urgent-care center in their lair. That would be interesting to find...

Edited at 2014-09-02 09:57 pm (UTC)
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: September 2nd, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Linked back

my_partner_doug From: my_partner_doug Date: September 2nd, 2014 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Several thoughts

Along the Path of the Paladins, How about having Ari running into someone/something that brings into sharper awareness (for her in particular) just how much she's grown over her time with Shahana?

Growth running amok, or at least in directions with unexpected consequences: "Feed me, Seymour!"

As things grow older, the tendency in nature as we know it if for them to get larger; what would it be like if aging caused things to compress? They start out large, and grow smaller (and more dense) over time.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2014 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Several thoughts

"The Seeds You Plant" is the second freebie of the day.
From: siliconshaman Date: September 2nd, 2014 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wonder, how do you heal a 'soup' who's powers derive from their emotional wound? After all, most origin stories are pretty damn traumatic.

For that matter, I wonder how healing and personal growth works in a person [or being] who's very identity is wrapped up in being 'Evil' [all caps, heavy Gothic font etcetc].

Growing pains...emotional version.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2014 08:17 am (UTC) (Link)


For growing pains, see the thumbnail for "Cultivating Family."
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: September 2nd, 2014 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hart's Farm is a place a lot of people who need healing end up, whether they realize they need healing or not.

Young things will grow, despite obstacles placed in their way. Those obstacles can help shape the growth, but challenges that inspire one person to kindness and generosity can drive another to despair or cruelty. How does a parent or teacher balance that challenge?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2014 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)


Your obstacles prompt combined with a Dreamwidth one to inspire the poem "Hit Like a Girl." It tells the story of a little girl who loves her body, enjoys rough play, and finally finds a constructive outlet for all that energy.

140 lines, Buy It Now = $70
moriwen1 From: moriwen1 Date: September 3rd, 2014 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)
The scars that healing leaves.

Friends growing apart, friends growing back together.

Things that can heal but will never be the same.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2014 01:07 am (UTC) (Link)


Things that will never be the same appear in "For Ground of My Own," thumbnailed above.
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