Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open! Today's theme is "Alternate History." 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, historians, famous figures, obscure people who made a big difference, adventurers, diplomats, traders, inventors, families, nomads, loners, hermits, superheroes, supervillains, social engineers, alternate artists as warmongers, college selection personnel have more historic influence than anyone realizes, urban planners, failure analysts, ethicists, activists, rebels, wild young things, other people who make history, building or using a time machine, making a historic discovery, arguing over what history was really like, changing things, missing an opportunity, spotting an opportunity, picking fights, making friends, solving disputes, troubleshooting, improvising, adapting, social engineering, 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, time travel nexus points, Jerusalem, Londinium/London, Cahokia Mounds, lost cities, traditional ethnic structures, alternative building styles, multigenerational homes, apartments and complexes, intentional communities, cohousing, caravans, nonhuman accommodations and adaptations, wilderness, rural areas, supervillain lairs, other places where people live, alternate history main topics, alternate history sitemap, types of timeline, the butterfly effect, linchpins and ripple points, points of divergence list, alternate agriculture, metaphors about time, metaphors of time travel such as time is a stream, fixed points in time (which either can't be altered like a volcanic eruption or shouldn't be altered because it's too dangerous), ethics of time travel, culture gap, culture shock, forgeign languages, language shock, emergency language issues, negotiation, mediation, cooperation, enemies to friends, enemies to lovers, truces in improbable contexts, unexpected bonds, symbiosis, innovation, problems that can't be solved by hitting, teamwork, found family, complementary strengths and weaknesses, independence, interdependence, values conflict, solitude, personal growth, and poetic forms in particular.
Currently eligible bingo card(s) for donors wishing to sponsor a square:
Celtic Bingo Fest Card 3-1-21
Hurt/Comfort Bingo Card 6-15-20
Among my more relevant series for the main theme:
Alternate Artists as Warmongers is a new idea I want to explore, positing how our world's famous artists might be some other world's infamous tyrants.
Beneath the Family Tree is a community of three different hominid species in prehistoric Europe.
Clay of Life is historic Jewish fantasy.
Los Conquistados features mishaps in Spain's attempt to conquer the Americas.
Fiorenza the Wisewoman is historic Italian fantasy.
Frankenstein's Family includes humans, werewolves, vampires, a mummy, and two doctors in historic gothic fluff Romania.
Hart's Farm is a free-love community in historic fantasy Sweden.
Lacquerware is Edopunk about the development of alternate computer technology in historic Japan.
Polychrome Heroics has ordinary humans, supernaries, blue-plate specials, superheroes, supervillains, primal and animals soups trying to live as best they can. This includes many divergences from the timeline of local-Earth.
The Steamsmith is historic British steampunk. The Arc of Joan uses the same setting but an earlier time, in which Joan supports the English instead of the French.
The Time Towers posits that there is no such thing as a fixed point in time, because time works like a Jenga tower: some blocks are loose and easy to move, while others may require many moves to alter the pressure dynamics enough to move the one you really want to move.
Or you can ask for something new.
I have a linkback poem, "Of Gold and Standards" (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 "Alternate History." I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.
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. "Of Gold and Standards" has 9 verses and stands alone.
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 "Alternate History." 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 "Of Gold and Standards." The rest of the poems will go into my archive for future use.