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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 for your time and attention. Please keep an eye on this post, as I'm still writing.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "Constructs and Programmed People."  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 feature constructs and programmed people: An Army of One, Clay of Life, Diminished Expectations, Frankenstein's Family, Kung Fu Robots, P.I.E., The SteamsmithPolychrome Heroics has both robots and brainwashing.  In shared worlds, The Blueshift Troupers and Schrodinger's Heroes have plenty of variety. 

Click to read the linkback poem  "Greater Than the Sum" (13 verses, unicorn series).

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 "Constructs and Programmed People." 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.  "Greater Than the Sum" has 13 verses and belongs to the unicorn series.    

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 piece of bonus material 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 "Constructs and Programmed People." I'll be soliciting ideas for AI, robots, golems, chimerae, human servants, brainwashing victims, gizmologists, robotic engineers, programmers, AI specialists, rabbis and other wizards, genetic engineers, vampires, brainwashers, building robots, programming AI, deprogramming or reprogramming, enchanting golems, overpowering the human mind, brainwashing people, seeking a relationship, finding each other, asking questions, dealing with rogues, betraying someone, breaking or breaking free of a bond, discovering yourself, learning what you can do, laboratories, computer rooms, synagogues, interrogation chambers, dungeons, classrooms, churches, patrol cars, other places where programming or deprogramming happen, programs, the 3 Laws of Robotics, their ethical issues, vocabulary of manipulation, partnerships, other attachment bonds, trust and betrayal, mindrape, mental scars, different kinds of courtship, mental resistance or resilience, bad tape, violation, self-awareness, the nature of sapience, emotional intelligence, equality and inequality, freedom and slavery, alienation, rejection, privacy, 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 "Greater Than the Sum."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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17 comments or Leave a comment
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 6th, 2018 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)


This contributed to the free-verse poem "The Ones Between." Router and Backup reach out to the Carinan Arm through Backup's brothers. Falconwing and Bexley add some observations of their own that could help establish the Lacuna as a buffer state.

74 lines, Buy It Now = $37
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 6th, 2018 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)


Your prompt about Diminished Expectations inspired the free-verse poem "The Woman Who Built Herself a Clitoris and Rode That Bitch Like a Bicycle." A gynoid decides to address a lack in her anatomy.

61 lines, Buy It Now = $30.50
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 7th, 2018 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)


Your prompt about bad tape inspired the free-verse poem "Even If It Is in Flames." The inside of Shiv's head is a mess, even before his attempt to make breakfast ends in utter disaster.

188 lines, Buy It Now = $94
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 7th, 2018 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)


"The House Falls" is today's freebie.
zianuray From: zianuray Date: March 7th, 2018 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
A self-aware Golem and an "awake" Android play Go

Adam (Frankenstein) takes Tai Chi (or similar,appropriate for the setting) to help his coordination

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 7th, 2018 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "Cleaning Achnai's Oven." Judaism may not be perfect, but people can bring it closer.

46 lines, Buy It Now = $20
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: March 7th, 2018 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Learning to be someone else, either because who you are isn't healthy or it isn't healthy to be you.

Manufactured identity.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 7th, 2018 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)


Your prompts contributed to the free-verse poem "Debugging the Brain." It explores what can go wrong with thought processes and several ways of fixing them.

54 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 7th, 2018 08:05 am (UTC) (Link)


Your workshop prompt contributed to the free-verse poem "Where They Built the Bodies." The man who made the oids gets what he has coming to him.

49 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 7th, 2018 09:34 am (UTC) (Link)


Still have things to write, but I'm done for the night.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 7th, 2018 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)


Your "bad tape" prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Burnt and Experienced Hands." After the kitchen fire upstairs, Cook takes care of Shiv.

496 lines, Buy It Now = $248
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 8th, 2018 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)


A backchannel prompt from Shirley Barrette inspired the free-verse poem "The Condition of Alienation." It talks about schools crushing the minds of students, and why this is everyone's problem.

Hold for original prompter.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 8th, 2018 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "Seen and Respected." Menachem and Yossele help someone find their true nature and a better place.

158 lines, Buy It Now = $79
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 8th, 2018 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)


Your AI prompt inspired the free-verse poem "The Grandfather of the Computer." There's a player piano in Terramagne that can compose new music.

65 lines, Buy It Now = $33
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 10th, 2018 10:24 am (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "At the Invisible Level." Mingxia and Ansel help Turq cope with the aftermath of useful but stressful problem-solving activities.

417 lines, Buy It Now = $209
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 12th, 2018 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)


Your Gray/Shiv prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Escape from the Loneliness." Shiv flounders over the proper way to court someone in a platonic relationship, and how to deal with a head full of bad tape when actual therapy still tends to make him twitchier.

356 lines, Buy It Now = $178
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 20th, 2018 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)


Your Gray/Shiv prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Something Dark in Me." A play session goes very well -- and then very badly.

697 lines, Buy It Now = $349
17 comments or Leave a comment