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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 03:38 pm
This is the first freebie for today's fishbowl, prompted by [personal profile] pinkrangerv. It also fills "the cost of magic" square in my 9-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. It contains spoilers for Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue.

Read more... )
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 03:19 pm
Evil Time
Herman Hesse
 
Now we are silent
And sing no songs anymore,
Our pace grows heavy;
This is the night that was bound to come.
 
Give me your hand,
Perhaps we still have a long way to go.
It's snowing, it's snowing.
Winter is a hard thing in a strange country.
 
Where is the time
When a light, a hearth burned for us?
Give me your hand!
Perhaps we still have a long way to go.
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 11:54 am
Days written: 19/31
Words written: 5,818
Words of fic written: 4,446
Stories worked on: Five
Stories posted: One

lol August )
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 12:41 pm
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.
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 04:12 am
 Plague doctor costume, along with a savvy explanation of why it made some sense.
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 08:43 am

IT'S A THING. THERE IS A FISH CALLED THE SARCASTIC FRINGEHEAD.

YOU MUST WATCH VIDEO TO THE END, BECAUSE THERE IS A SARCASTIC FRINGEHEAD FIGHT.

WHEN SARCASM IS NOT ENOUGH YOU CAN INITIMIDATE YOUR ENEMY WITH YOUR GIANT MOUTH.

Monday, September 1st, 2014 09:49 pm
I've been trying to expand my musical horizons lately: break out of my rut, not be that person who only likes the stuff they liked when they were 17. I mean, I will always love me some butt rock, but why stagnate? So I've been trying different things, on the child feeding principle that you have to try things three or four times before you really know if you like them.

It turns out I enjoy opera! Quite a bit! I guess that's not so surprising considering how much I have always loved prog metal. And I have started listening to country, and discovered that there is a lot to like. One thing about country that especially speaks to me these days: there's a lot of country songs about kids and childrearing. Everything from the sentimentality of "There Goes My Life" or "He Didn't Have To Be" to the bitter humor of "One's On The Way".

And I have also been listening to hip-hop, and before anyone brings up the ~misogyny~ of hip-hop let me tell you a little story about Ray LaMontagne. Because Spotify served me up a Ray LaMontagne song on my country radio - Spotify, by the way, is fantastic if you want to listen to new music! - a quiet, beautiful song called "Like Rock and Roll & Radio" that I immediately fell wildly in love with. I must hear more of this, I thought. So I pulled up the album, started from the beginning, and on the first song the singer expresses his intent to beat his ex-girlfriend like he says her father should have. Your sensitive white people folk music, ladies and gentlemen! It turns out that I am completely used to a certain level of misogyny in my music, that I just grimly live with, and staying under that level, well, it's not hard. Plenty of rap music turns out to easily clear that bar.

But because I'm sort of off sausage fests these days anyway, I went looking for female hip hop artists, and that's what I've been listening to lately. And I've learned a couple of things.

One:
I can get into Angel Haze's flow or Rah Digga's energy as much as I like, but I can never, ever, ever sing along with any of their music. And some of that shit is catchy! This is a problem! This is worse than the time I found myself singing "Uncle Fucker" under my breath at work! And it is, to me, a KEEP OUT sign placed all over the music.

For which I do not in any way blame the artists, mind you: considering that the entire history of music in America is the history of black people coming up with musical forms and white people coming up with ways to take them over and make money off of them, if I were a talented black MC, I would spraypaint THIS IS OUR SHIT, EVERYONE ELSE KEEP OUT all over my work in any way possible.

And, again, I'm totally used to spending all my time playing in other people's sandboxes. For example. Prog metal. Completely infested by the kinds of guys who, as Neal Stephenson wrote, sincerely believe that they are way too smart to be sexist. Let's take a moment to revisit Queensryche's classic concept album Operation: Mindcrime, musically a work of genius, lyrically an unintentionally hilarious celebration of manpain which reaches its nadir when the main character finds the dead body of his beloved, his only friend, the ex-hooker nun who's been providing him social services, and tearfully, rhetorically asks who's going to fix his meals now. …Yeah. Well, that was the soundtrack of my adolescence, so I'm totally used to enjoying music that has enormous IT'S NOT FOR YOU signs plastered all over it. It's not a dealbreaker. I'm happy to live with it. But I don't stop noticing it, either.

Two:
I know hip-hop deals with as many subjects as any other musical genre, but the playlists I am checking out, they seem to be hitting the high points. And the most popular songs in the genre, by female artists, seem to overwhelmingly be about: 1) being sexy at the club; and 2) triumphing over other bitches. And that's not speaking to me. I'm lucky enough to be at a point in my life where I don't really have any bitches that I need to triumph over. Like, not personally. There are lots of people I wish would just die, but that's more for political reasons. And as far as being sexy at the club, I can't remember the last time I was at a club; and I can remember the last time I was sexy, and it was right around when I got pregnant with Rocket, and that was a pretty long time ago in terms of that sort of thing, and I'm not sure that I'll ever be sexy again. And it turns out that listening to all these songs about triumphing at sexy are making me feel worse about myself, in the way of "don't read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly."

Hey, speaking, of which, I have a question: how do you deal with the end of sexy? If you are a member of the sex class, that is the person in the relationship whose body's power of attraction is meant to create desire not only in your partner but also in yourself ("I have to imagine he is fucking you just so I can climax"): how do you deal with it if your looks, your power of attraction, such as it ever may have been, is gone, but you are in what is meant to be a sexual relationship and you would kind of like it to continue as such? Do me a favor and leave aside completely the question of whether this is relevant to me at this very moment. No, I'm serious. If we're lucky enough to live long, if we're lucky enough to have lovers if we want them, it will become relevant if it's not now. I'm not gonna age like Helen Mirren or whoever, I'm gonna age like an ordinary person without massive amounts of plastic surgery, and that means I'm gonna age more like those mysterious things you eventually unearth with horror in the back of the fridge. So how do you have a sexual relationship when your body contains all the sexual magic of old Gorgonzola? Do you decide that it's the other person's turn to be sexy? Can you both just decide that? Do you keep the lights off forever now? Do you try to create a sexual narrative that doesn't include sexiness? How do you do that? Help me figure it out, y'all, I found a white armpit hair in the shower this morning, I need some damn songs about that.
Tags:
Monday, September 1st, 2014 09:56 pm
 LJ user Lb_lee is hosting a call for prompts on the theme of "service and servitude."  There will be some fiction posted and you can donate to see more.
Monday, September 1st, 2014 03:17 pm
Here is my second card for Round Four of the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This bingo challenge encourages original or fanfic material across all formats and lengths. It's a terrific fest if you want general and/or gentle fiction, although people can interpret prompts any way they like. There are many categories, and you can choose to omit up to three. Read the rules first.  Browse the Round Four prompt list.  Request a Round Four card here. Prompt lists are renewed once a quarter, and you may request a new card then even without bingo on a previous card. (See all my 2014 bingo cards.)

If you'd like to sponsor a particular square, especially if you have an idea for what character, series, or situation it would fit -- talk to me and we'll work something out. This is a good opportunity for those of you with favorites that don't always mesh well with the themes of my monthly projects. I may still post some of the fills for free, because I'm using this to attract new readers; but if it brings in money, that means I can do more of it. That's part of why I'm crossing some of the bingo prompts with other projects, such as the Poetry Fishbowl.

Round Three: September 1-November 30, 2014.
Cards may be requested prior to November 30.
Any content, fiction or poetry, etc. fanfic or original.
Minimum of 100 words for fiction, poetry, or other text fills.

Underlined prompts have been filled.


GENPROMPT BINGO CARD

Regret Playing Cards Vulnerable Women Being Awesome Mobile / Carnivorous Plants
Croatia Laboratory Beautiful Afternoon Primary Colours
We're all going to die! Introspection Wild CardBeing Silly Confessions
Partnership Revelations and Concealments Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold Gardening Reality is Illusion
Injury The Cost of Magic Character transformed into an animal Ritual Marks and Body Decorations International Speak Like a Pirate Day

Monday, September 1st, 2014 01:50 pm
Here is my card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest. This bingo challenge celebrates the various shades of relationships amongst female characters. It's intended to raise the amount of female-centric literature available. All modes are welcome here: het, slash, femslash, poly and gen. All media/formats are welcome, including poetry; fanfic and original material are both acceptable. Some of the content may be NSFW. Read the FAQ and rules first. The signup post is here. Anyone tired of womenless mainstream entertainment, but not sure what to make? Get a card for inspiration.  (See all my bingo cards for 2014.)

I thought this might be an effective way to attract some new readers. It's also useful for developing some of my series with female leads or other characters as a prevailing feature. Consider The Adventures of Aldornia and Zenobia, Hart's FarmPath of the PaladinsSchrodinger's Heroes, and Walking the Beat. In other series such as An Army of OneFledgling Grace, and Monster House there's at least one F&F or F/F relationship amongst a more widely scattered cast and plot.  Polychrome Heroics is kind of a unique case because 2/6 of Damask (Mira and Maze) are female; and of course it has other kick-ass superheras.

If you'd like to sponsor a particular square, especially if you have an idea for what character, series, or situation it would fit -- talk to me and we'll work something out. This is a good opportunity for those of you with favorites that don't always mesh well with the themes of my monthly projects. I'll still post some of the fills for free, because I'm using this to attract new readers; but if it brings in money, that means I can do more of it. That's part of why I'm crossing some of the bingo prompts with other projects, such as the Poetry Fishbowl.

Underlined prompts have been filled.


Flirting Physical imperfections Tragedy Love without Hope Dystopias
Character Death Mutation / Transformation Fate Small Vices Smell
Summertime (and the Livin' is Easy) A New Start Wild CardThe Shopping Mall Ritual Marks and Body Decorations
Spring Feudal Ties / Master and Servant Funerals and Wakes Internet / Social Media It all depends on this one choice
Five Things Women Being Awesome The Tower Amnesia Opposite Sides of the Track

Monday, September 1st, 2014 01:47 pm
 [personal profile] purplecat has announced that new rounds are open for [community profile] ladiesbingo and [community profile] genprompt_bingo.  I have found both of these fests to work great for inspiring crowdfunded material -- I like to combine a bingo prompt with a fan prompt.  [community profile] ladiesbingo is all about relationships between women, which may be sexual/romantic, familial, professional, or whatever.  [community profile] genprompt_bingo focuses on topics outside the sex/romance range, for folks who want to write about something else, although it is acceptable to write sex/romance for that fest if you wish. 
Monday, September 1st, 2014 10:51 am
Benjamin January # 3! This one was way less grim than Fever Season. I realize that's easy to say, so I will give it an independent grimness rating.

Grimness of content: Medium. Racism and other isms, slavery, murder; child abuse is discussed but not shown.

Grimness of tone: Low. The subtitle is "a novel of suspense" and that accurately describes the tone. It's a very atmospheric mystery with some excellent action and really great characters. I loved everyone in this book, except for the villains and racists, obviously. Also, it contains a number of fun tropes, including hurt-comfort, creepy pottery, courtroom drama, spirit possession, and dodging alligators in the bayou. Plus Marie Laveau. The plot is very well-constructed and entertaining. And there's some very funny banter, plus a number of dramatic, alarming, and/or hilarious courtroom scenes.

Benjamin January is a devout Catholic and regularly prays for the soul of his sister Olympe, a voodoo practitioner. When Olympe is railroaded into jail for poisoning a man, mostly due to prejudice against voodoo, Ben gets on the case.

I really enjoyed the portrayal of voodoo. Hambly has an afterword discussing her research (she's a historian) and interviews with current practitioners where she gives a sense of how varied the practice and history is-- as is the case in any religion. From Ben's outsider/insider perspective, it's simultaneously alien and disturbing, familiar and enticing. It was a great way to convey how any religion is sustaining and ordinary for its followers, and exotic and weird to outsiders who don't understand it. Marie Laveau is one of my favorite characters in the series, and she naturally has a big part in this.

For the first time, supernatural forces appear as a (possibly) real force. The vivid scenes of spirit possession can be interpreted as simply the power of belief, but they make more sense if the Loa are objectively real. I liked the delicate balance of deniability at play through the whole book.

Since my favorite thing about this series is the characters, I'll do a check-in. Augustus Mayerling, the sword master who was one of my favorites from the first book, re-appears. Poor Hannibal is so sick with consumption that it was a relief to know while reading that he's still alive ten books later-- he spends most of the book either in bed or helping Ben with various tasks while trying not to pass out. (Someone said he's based on George Alec Effinger? Can you enlarge on that?) Rose makes some satisfying appearances, though I wish she was in the story more. Ben's awful mother Livia is still hilariously, deliciously catty. Olympe and her family have nice big roles-- I really like her, her husband, and her son Gabriel. And Ben has a really satisfying character arc.

Graveyard Dust
Monday, September 1st, 2014 10:22 am
I'm taking a week of vacation. Technically, four days (I get labor day off with pay)... but that makes 9 end to end. I'm planning mostly rest because I need to learn if that helps with the fatigue.

Well, I'm a contractor - if we got paid vacation, you know how they'd run it. They'd give me two weeks of paid vacation and cut my hourly rate to 50/52 of the rate for someone without paid vacation. I swear - if I was a contracting firm. I'd split the difference but insist on no more than one week in "vacation pay" (i.e., you get paid but don't take time off). But maybe that's just because I know how much overwork hurts *me*.

Anyway. I can handle this. Easily. I've got 7 weeks of pay in my savings account, which isn't *enough* but it's more than enough given my medical status. But I want 8-10 weeks saved up.

So I was worrying. Just a bit, but I was worrying.

I just got a refund for my escrow account. About four days of pay. I won't have to dip into my savings at all. Sometimes, life works out well.
Monday, September 1st, 2014 12:38 pm
Beyond the World
Musō Soseki

This place of wild land
has no boundaries
north south east or west
It is hard to see
even the tree
in the middle of it
Turning your head
you can look beyond
each direction
For the first time
you know that your eyes
have been deceiving you