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

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "If you're going through hell, keep going."  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.

Some of my series play into this.  A Conflagration of Dragons is apocalyptic fantasy.  Diminished Expectations is dystopic science fiction.  The Moon Door is about coping with chronic pain, sometimes by choosing lycanthropy.  One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis focuses on substance abuse.  Polychrome Heroics just came through the Big OneTripping into the Future is far-future science fiction about the aftermath of a terrible war.

Beyond that, this is a good time to request sequels to any ongoing mayhem you wish to follow further.

Currently eligible bingo card(s) for donors wishing to sponsor a square:
Fall Bingo Card 9-30-18

Click to read the linkback poem "Between the Normal and the Abnormal" (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 "If you're going through hell, keep going." 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.  "Between the Normal and the Abnormal" 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 "If you're going through hell, keep going." I'll be soliciting ideas for adventurers, clergy, demons, angels, hapless victims, counselors, superheroes, supervillains, teenagers, runaways, soldiers, refugees, trauma survivors, other people going through hell, traveling, fighting, struggling to survive, counseling, studying, coming of age, troubleshooting, discovering problems, seeing horrors that you can't unsee, finding creative solutions, confronting deception, asking questions, exploring new techniques, learning what you can do, battlefields, liminal zones, the dark forest, cthonic realms, the subconscious, the glory road, ruined cities, churches or temples, counseling centers, apocalyptic civilizations, volcanoes, other hellish places, wildfires, sulfur, bad trips, personal growth, despair, determination, a mind is a terrible place to hide anything, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and mortared with just following orders, escape clauses, unforseen circumstances, when the whole world changes out from under you, rites of passage, superpower manifestation, 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 "Between the Normal and the Abnormal."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for future use.

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Current Mood: creative creative

15 comments or Leave a comment
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 2nd, 2018 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)


A backchannel prompt from Anthony & Shirley Barrette inspired the free-verse poem "Though Hell, into Heaven." It's about how hard work pays off.

Hold for original prompters.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2018 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)


Several DW prompts contributed to the free-verse poem "My Heart Is a Prison." Tala didn't come to the Women's Chronic Pain Support Group by choice, but it turned out to be helpful anyhow.

150 lines, Buy It Now = $75
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2018 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)


"A Little Heaven and Hell" is today's freebie, prompted by LJ user My_partner_doug.
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: October 3rd, 2018 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)
One God's Midlife Crisis- someone wants out of the booze's grip but cannot find the way.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I fear no evil - because I'm the worst thing I've found in here.

Grace found amidst the worst.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2018 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)


Your grace prompt contributed to the free-verse poem "On the Crust of an Unfinished Planet." Refugees and rescue workers come together in Rain City to rebuild after the earthquake.

244 lines, Buy It Now = $122
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2018 10:47 am (UTC) (Link)


Several Big One prompt contributed to the free-verse poem "On the Crust of an Unfinished Planet." Refugees and rescue workers come together in Rain City to rebuild after the earthquake.

244 lines, Buy It Now = $122
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2018 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)


A DW prompt inspired the epistolary poem "Notes from the Ciphernet." Women in the Lacuna talk about food and other challenges.

85 lines, SOLD = $43
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2018 11:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Done for the night!

I still have more to write, but need sleep now.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2018 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)


An image prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Under a Blood-Red Moon." A unicorn keeps going in the aftermath of war.

15 lines, Buy It Now = $10
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 4th, 2018 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)


A DW prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Where All the Parts Fit Together." Maryam and Ida struggle to figure out elemental glasses.

108 lines, Buy It Now = $108
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 4th, 2018 11:34 am (UTC) (Link)


A prompt about She Walks in Mist inspired the free-verse poem "The Keeper of His Identity." Joseph Elkdog learns that his sister is still alive, and hurries to visit her.

396 lines, Buy It Now = $198
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 5th, 2018 10:59 am (UTC) (Link)


In a very roundabout way, this contributed to the children's book "Hoppy the Wobbit." The tone is fluffy as can be, but it's actually a very practical guide to emotions for preschoolers. See a more detailed description.

984 words, Buy It Now = $50
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 5th, 2018 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)


Not directly related, but written in fishbowl week so I'm including it here:

"Toads and Butterflies" is a short poem about autumn.

3 lines, Buy It Now = $5
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 6th, 2018 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)


Your Calliope prompt inspired the free-verse poem "You Can Only Go Forward." The morning after the attempted bond severance, Calliope and Vagary talk about what to do next.

588 lines, Buy It Now = $294
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 13th, 2018 11:06 pm (UTC) (Link)


Your prompt about grief inspired the free-verse poem "The Hottest Blood of All." A boating collision in the Maldives leads to some major life changes for our whales. This is hardcore hurt/comfort, but it has some hopeful aspects.

1206 lines, Buy It Now = $603
15 comments or Leave a comment