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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 time and attention.  Please keep an eye on this page as I am still writing.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "Cultural Differences."  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.

I'll be soliciting ideas for fish out of water, anthropologists, time travelers, families, polycules, housemates, roommates, nomads, loners, humans adopted by animals, animals that sometimes adopt humans, alien or fantasy species with exotic cultures, superheroes, supervillains, social engineers, urban planners, failure analysts, ethicists, activists, diverse teams, rebels, wild young things, other people who cross cultures, traveling, moving out, moving in, living together, picking fights, making friends, solving disputes, troubleshooting, improvising, adapting, social engineering, making changes, cooperating, bartering, speaking, listening, taking over in an emergency, discovering yourself, studying others, testing boundaries, creating connections, coming of age, learning what you can (and can't) do, sharing, fixing what's broke, upsetting the status quo, changing the world, accomplishing the impossible, recovering from setbacks, returning home, schools, Triton Teen Centers, libraries, mediation centers, foreign countries, traditional ethnic structures, alternative building styles, sharehouses, boarding houses, multigenerational homes, apartments and complexes, intentional communities, cohousing, caravans, tent cities, homeless shelters, nonhuman accommodations and adaptations, wilderness, rural areas, supervillain lairs, living ships or other residences, fantasy worlds, alien planets, fantasy or alien housing styles, other unfamiliar locations, culture gap, culture shock, kinesics and proxemics, future shock, forgeign languages, language shock, emergency language issues, house rules, negotiation, mediation, cooperation, enemies to friends, enemies to lovers, truces in improbable contexts, unexpected bonds, symbiosis, polyamory, sedoretu, innovation, problems that can't be solved by hitting, teamwork, found family, intentional neighboring, complementary strengths and weaknesses, independence, interdependence, values conflict, moral injury, personal growth, and poetic forms in particular.

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

Valentines Bingo Cards 2-1-21

Hurt/Comfort Bingo Card 6-15-20

Among my more relevant series for the main theme:

An Army of One includes mostly neurodiverse and some neurotypical characters.

Beneath the Family Tree is a community of three different hominid species.

The Blueshift Troupers is all about crossing cultures.

A Conflagration of Dragons has the Six Races plus the dragons, which means lots of awkward cultural interactions and a few strong alliances.

Feathered Nests has the alien Fifers whose polyamorous arrangements are spilling over to humans.

Fledgling Grace involves the appearance of wings that can reveal hidden aspects, causing cultural friction.

Frankenstein's Family includes humans, werewolves, vampires, a mummy, and two doctors in all sorts of arrangements.

The Godship Wanderers has a living ship with alien and human residents.

Hart's Farm is a free-love community amidst a more conservative culture.

Monster House has human inhabitants plus a bunch of different monsters.

Not Quite Kansas has humans and demons living together in unexpected ways.

The Ocracies features all different government systems.

Polychrome Heroics has ordinary humans, supernaries, blue-plate specials, superheroes, supervillains, primal and animals soups trying to live as best they can. The cross-cape cultural differences can get dramatic. Most of the named threads suit this theme.

Schrodinger's Heroes includes characters from many different backgrounds trying to work together.

Or you can ask for something new.

I have a linkback poem, "A Sense of Weather Changes" (9 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 "Cultural Differences."  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.  "A Sense of Weather Changes" has 9 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 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 "Cultural Differences." See above for details.  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 "A Sense of Weather Changes."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for future use.

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Current Mood: creative creative

16 comments or Leave a comment
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2021 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)


A backchannel prompt from Anthony Barrette inspired the free-verse poem "Conspiracy vs. Democracy." It's about the balance between individual and community.

Hold for original prompter.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2021 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)


Today's freebie is "White Chrysanthemums."
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2021 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "The Global Gourmet." It explores food customs around the world.

53 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 3rd, 2021 02:11 am (UTC) (Link)


"The Shoals of Time" is today's second freebie.
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: February 3rd, 2021 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)

"work it out from context" versus "ask and tell"

When a strange place is not as different as was expected.

Different expectations arising from a major event.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 13th, 2021 09:13 pm (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "Love Recognizes No Barriers." It introduces some of the hybrids appearing soon after the dragons wipe out major cities.

112 lines, Buy It Now = $56
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 3rd, 2021 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "A Most Peculiar Circumstance." Router does what he can to help a ship limping toward Supply Base Eden, amazed to find that it dates from the early days of the war.

225 lines, Buy It Now = $113
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 3rd, 2021 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Done for the night!

More to write, but I need sleep now.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 5th, 2021 06:04 am (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "Laundry, Liturgy, and Women's Work." After the apocalypse, a caravan of women visit a commune to deliver a baby, and they deal with a whiny manchild as best they can.

233 lines + worldbuilding surcharge, Buy It Now = $233

I got a whole setting out of this, which has a lot of potential, hence the setup surcharge. I spent at least an hour on the math alone, killing off most of the people. :D

What's left is mostly a very young population, far more female than male, and very mixed ethnically. It turns out the chemical weapon used was designed to kill soldiers or people who could become soldiers, so it targeted muscular people in their prime, with less effect on the very young or very old. And because it was designed for white people, with a very homogenous testing base, it's just a little less effective on other groups. So basically, a flip of standard postapocalyptic worldbuilding, and if you know anything about refugee populations, probably more accurate.

"It's the end of the world as we know it ... and I feel fiiiiine!"
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 5th, 2021 07:33 am (UTC) (Link)


Your Fledgling Grace prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Flocking Together." Several people of different backgrounds but the same wings decide they're better off together than apart.

45 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 5th, 2021 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "Soul Song," opening the Eloquent Souls series. What does it mean when your soulmark says something depressing? Not always what you think it does.

176 lines + worldbuilding surcharge = $176

ON HOLD for DW user Nsfwords

Edited at 2021-02-06 01:35 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 6th, 2021 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)


"The Responsibility to Care" is a free-verse poem about Molly and Dave dealing with a new paramedic intern whose wealthy background gets in the way of meshing with the team when they first meet.

221 lines, Buy It Now = $111
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 7th, 2021 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "Symptoms of Heartbreak." When Blainn comes to visit, Joshua notices a lot of clues suggesting problems and tries to offer the teen some support.

674 lines, Buy It Now = $337
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 11th, 2021 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)


"The One Thing That We All Have in Common." Shiv visits the Omaha Reservation and makes a new friend who promotes wildcrafted foods.

405 lines, Buy It Now = $203

(I should point out that there's a whole background of Shiv connecting with the Omaha, based on Boss White's alliance with them, but I've barely touched on it in actual poetry.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 12th, 2021 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free verse poem "However You Think You Should Be." Shiv and Rob Ross share a video call about painting and personal choices.

328 lines, Buy It Now = $164
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 19th, 2021 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)


I went back and wrote the piece showing how Maggot joined Clearwater caravan, "Rainshadow Road."

1288 lines, Buy It Now = $644

Edited at 2021-02-19 04:50 am (UTC)
16 comments or Leave a comment