ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED for prompts, although more poem thumbnails may appear.  Thank you for your enthusiasm!  

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "mad science."  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 "Testing the Metal" (A Conflagration of Dragons, 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 "mad science."  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.  "Testing the Metal" belongs to the series A Conflagration of Dragons 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 "mad science."  I'll be soliciting ideas for scientists, lab assistants, hapless victims, minions, henchmen races, laboratories, offices, secret lairs, forming hypotheses, doing experiments, making discoveries, difficult choices, plot twists, safety equipment, doomsday machines, gizmos or super-gizmos, mysterious substances, scientific theories, types of madness, monologues, 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 first edition of Lewis Turco's The 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 "Testing the Metal.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-07 06:35 pm (UTC)
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
From: [personal profile] brushwolf
Three people who come very close to historical "mad scientists," maybe there is something to spin off of here;

  • Tesla journaled about his inspiration being this white dove who settled on his apartment lintel. Sort of his equivalent to Sophia, this higher power sort of love.

  • Richard Feynman's van (http://www.fotuva.org/online/frameload.htm?/online/van.htm) painted with Feynman diagrams - including assumptions of a particle which hadn't been proven to exist while he was alive and driving it around.

  • The first surgeon to anesthetize a patient, Hanaoka Seishu, was actually working fairly late in the Edo period, basing his research off semi-folkloric herbal documents, decades before a westerner even tried.

Re: Poem

Date: 2014-10-08 11:12 am (UTC)
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
From: [personal profile] brushwolf
I'm delighted these were usable, and will see if I can come up with the money (there's a chance I can't, in which case I'll try and make a general purpose donation at a later point).

Re: Poem

Date: 2014-10-08 11:36 pm (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
"Those who hear not the music cannot dance the dance."

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-07 06:44 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
mad science love song

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-07 06:51 pm (UTC)
corvi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] corvi
In Donald Barthelme's short story Report, an engineer recounts a long list of bizarre secret weapons that can be unleashed at an unnamed enemy:

We could, of course, release thousands upon thousands of self - powered crawling-along-the-ground lengths of titanium wire eighteen inches long with a diameter of .0005 centimeters (that is to say, invisible) which, scenting an enemy, climb up his trouser leg and wrap themselves around his neck. We have developed those. They are within our capabilities. We could, of course, release in the arena of the upper air our new improved pufferfish toxin which precipitates an identity crisis. No special technical problems there. That is almost laughably easy. We could, of course, place up to two million maggots in their rice within twenty-four hours. The maggots are ready, massed in secret staging areas in Alabama. We have hypodermic darts capable of piebalding the enemy's pigmentation. We have rots, blights, and rusts capable of attacking his alphabet. Those are dandies. We ,have a hut-shrinking chemical which penetrates the fibers of the bamboo, causing it, the hut, to strangle its occupants. This operates only after 10 P.M., when people are sleeping. Their mathematics are at the mercy of a suppurating surd we have invented. We have a family of fishes trained to attack their fishes. We have the deadly testicle-destroying telegram. The cable companies are cooperating. We have a green substance that,- well, I'd rather not talk about. We have a secret word that, if pronounced, produces multiple fractures in all living things in an area the size of four football fields.

This is just a throwaway line in the story that's actually about civilian casualties and the morality of war - it was written during height of the Vietnam War. That's always struck me as a shame, because I want to hear more about viruses that attack alphabets.

Can you please tell us about alphabet-attacking viruses? Their creation, their creator(s), their effects, how on earth you actually manage to infect an alphabet in the first place, survivors and aftermath and recovery, whether they affect different alphabets differently, anything you like? Bio-linguistic mad science seems to be right up your alley. :)

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, I've been wanting to read about the alphabet blights for years!

It doesn't seem fair to sic you with a prompt that weird without some kind of easier backup. How about Mad Science Geology or Cartography?
Edited (add backup prompt) Date: 2014-10-07 08:08 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-07 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] moriwen1
Someone taking offense at being called a mad scientist -- because they're not a scientist, they're a mathematician (or engineer, or physician, or what have you.)

A doomsday machine that invokes a specific doomsday, whether that's the Norse Ragnarok or the Evangelical Christian Rapture.

A kid with an interest in the sciences watching Star Trek and wishing to be Spock so they could be a brilliant scientist and erase the emotions that go along with their mental illness (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder...)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-07 09:56 pm (UTC)
chordatesrock: The Punishment of Loki by Louis Huard (detail) (Default)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
Mad science in the Lacuna.

Extraordinary problems take extraordinary (or just extraordinarily odd) solutions; mad science to solve daunting problems.

Scientists who are mentally ill but not what you'd call "mad scientists".

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-07 10:00 pm (UTC)
perfectworry: she was still young not yet highly strung which you need to be when you get older (she grows wild in my heart)
From: [personal profile] perfectworry
• Frankenstein's Family - science! lessons
Edited ((Signal boost: https://twitter.com/transpacifique/status/519608445293436928)) Date: 2014-10-07 10:02 pm (UTC)


Date: 2014-10-08 01:14 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'd love to read more about Victor's Science! and his family is adorable.


(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-07 10:25 pm (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
The children of Hart's Farm try an experiment.

An Army of One: Someone has a special technique which works to produce something useful, but is difficult to reproduce.

Kung Fu Robots: The robots themselves seem to be the results of extreme high technology in a world which barely has any. Is this so? Is something else going on? Are they computer-driven, or golems with minds of spirit bound into metal forms?

Queen Choufa learns of science, and/or establishes a science corps.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-08 12:52 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a bright blue sky and fluffy clouds (Wisconsin summer: boundless friendly sky)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I'm the second to prompt about this person, but... Professor Tesla in Terramagne. I'm going to bet he's a soup - lightning powers+gizmology at least, maybe super intuition or intellect? How does he influence that world, and how does it influence him?

Second prompt possibility: Alberto Santos-Dumont in Terramagne. I'm plain old sparkly-eyed over the idea of a shy (possibly acefolk?) Brazilian air elemental circa 1900, doing incredible things in that world.

Here's another: Rosalind Franklin. "Some call me mad. They're wrong; I'm bloody furious, and I've my wits about me yet, thank you."

And one last one: Lise Meitner and the science of resistance. Or Resistance. Take your pick.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-08 11:41 pm (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
I'd argue that Tesla mostly only showed off the lightning because it was flashy and impressive, but his research focused more on different ways to transfer energy, not just electricity. Turbines, resonance of various kinds, cloud busters, death rays (essentially microwave guns) and wireless energy transmission, attempts to move objects without physical contact, and so on.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-09 12:09 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a blue-shaded dyed egg (not enough blue in the world)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
True. Got me there. Your point is proven by me immediately thinking of him paired with lightning. :)

I can see him as, if not a lightning elemental, then definitely a gizmologist or supergizmologist in Terramagne. It wouldn't surprise me if he had another tangentially-related ability in that world, though. Some sort of energy manipulation power, more generally? Hmmmmmm.


Date: 2014-10-08 01:16 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Scientific /error/ (ie, phlogiston, aether, other wrong science) which are discovered by a "mad scientist" -- preferred world is the Steamsmith, so a perfectly valid science here and now could be utterly wrong there.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-08 01:31 am (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: little girls are made of everything kick_ss (sweetness and angles)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
A mad scientist upset about all the mad engineers clogging up the press.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-08 01:40 am (UTC)
aldersprig: an egyptian sandcat looking out of a terra-cotta pipe (Default)
From: [personal profile] aldersprig
What about mad magic, in a world where magic has replaced much of what science does IRL?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-08 01:59 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
The Mad Scientific Method.

The Structure of Mad Scientific Revolutions.

Mad computer science seems like a natural. Turing in Terramagne? Or Grace Hopper!
Edited (added comp sci) Date: 2014-10-08 02:06 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-08 02:21 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Surely the Lacuna, as .... interesting... as they are, have a mad scientist.

Schrodinger's Heroes' Halloween party gets a little out of hand.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-08 03:13 am (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
The old chestnut: garbage in, garbage out. Bad method makes bad results, no matter how good the idea is.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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