ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem is from the July 7, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] thnidu. It has been sponsored by LJ user Ng_moonmoth.


"Habitat Foreclosure"
-- a vembletroon


Nincompoops in power cannot do the math of water shortages:
It's farms and factories at fault, not homes.
Take this to the bank: habitat foreclosure is at hand, aquifers running dry, glaciers absent without leave, and doom gathering in every empty lake.
Fracked! Cracked! Thanks to this, the water that remains is no longer potable.
Idiots.


* * *

Notes:

"Habitat foreclosure" is a phrase I coined some years ago to describe situations where environmental changes make an area unsuited for human residence. This is happening in parts of China, Russia, Africa, etc. where settlements are being abandoned due to drought, dust storms, and other problems which have exceeded feasible coping strategies.

Read about the vembletroon form.

The West Coast drought is behind the water shortages, but the highest demand is not from individual use but from industrial and agricultural uses.  Therefore the problem cannot be solved by individuals or cutting municipal supplies.  

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the July 7, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from LJ user Ng_moonmoth. It also fills the "reality is illusion" square in my 6-10-15 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Ng_moonmoth.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is today's freebie. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] rix_scaedu and this picture. It also fills the "forbidden" square in my 5-18-15 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Right now there's a rash of church burnings that targets all or mostly black congregations. There are things people can do to oppose that ...

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a thoughtful article about pricing your crafts.  

I typically look at time + materials for crafts.  With services, I look at time and compare with what other people are charging. I've done simple mending at an hourly rate, because it just isn't that difficult.  Sewing from patterns I charge a bit more for, and I've done at least one pattern that I decided was too fussy to do again.  But basic skirts?  Still pretty easy.  

I pay a lot of attention to difficulty and time.  With poetry, I can afford to sell it relatively cheap because I write it fast.  I'm still making better money than I would from most magazines, because poetry in the mainstream pays shit wages.  You can get a poem from me for less than a paper book -- smaller product, but based on your prompt or maybe you just picked something you liked from a thumbnail.  Writing fiction takes longer, so I tend to charge more.  Editing is mostly charging what I can get, not what I'm worth.  The only place I make an hourly rate suited to my experience level is poetry.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem is from the June 2, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Anthony Barrette. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Ursula LeGuin encourages writers to imagine alternatives to capitalism

There are lots of other options.  Some of them are hard to get now.  Others are growing rapidly because of the failstorm that American capitalism has turned into.  The gift economy.  Favor trading.  Barter.  Sharing.  These are all things that flourish when the cash economy withers, because cash only outcompetes them when there is enough of it for everyone to use in meeting their needs.  But you always have your skills.

Crowdfunding is at heart the subversive idea that exchanges should be symbiotic instead of parasitic.  Everyone benefits.  And then we get MOAR GOODEEZ!
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
The folks who make The Big Bang Theory have demonstrated how you give back to support the source that contributes to your success.  They acknowledge that science has been a big inspiration to them and that science geeks have supported the show with enthusiasm.  So they closed the loop by sponsoring scholarships for STEM field students.

Now imagine if every successful television show or movie would give back to whatever made them successful.

See, this is why I protect wolf habitat and survival: not just because they're one of my totems, but because I write about wolves.  They inspire me, I write about them, I protect them, and there continue to be wolves for me to enjoy.  We help each other.  It is a cycle, as most successful things in nature are cycles.  I don't just pick up bits of tribal languages and walk away with them.  I link back to language nests and tribal right petitions.  I do potlucks and giveaways and know enough to do a blanket dance in rounds of 4.  Because it's not just about weaving a handful of native characters into what I write, but also about living this part of my cultural heritage, and doing things that help it survive into the future.  So too with crowdfunding: people give me ideas, I give them a free poem.  I boost signal for creative friends, and they do the same for me.  Sometimes people who feel that they're getting a lot out of the project will sponsor a piece they didn't prompt, just to make other people happy and keep it moving.  That's a basic tenet of the gift economy: the gift must move.  You maintain the cycle.

You give back.
ysabetwordsmith: Maryam Smith in a tophat (steamsmith)
This poem came out of the May 5, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] kelkyag and LJ user Marina_bonomi. It also fills the "socialize" square in my 5-2-15 card for the Wellness Toolbox Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to The Steamsmith series.

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... prevents people from becoming parents.  

Something else that caught my eye, however, is that almost 75% of women seeking abortion cite financial hardship as the primary reason.  Thus, if someone wished to reduce the number of abortions that happened, many avenues are open to reach that 75%.  Increase employment opportunities.  Raise wages.  Make health care more affordable, or better yet free at point of delivery; same for child care.  Provide paid leave for parents.  Those would be actions a caring society could take.  A caring individual could simply offer to pay expenses one-on-one, as some adoptive parents offer.  But these are all very rare tactics for organizations which purport to want a decrease in abortions.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article takes a tongue-in-cheek look at passing privilege and the issue of identifying who may legally be discriminated against.  How do you "tell" if someone is homosexual?  Sometimes the person advertises it, sometimes it may be inferred from clues, but most of the time it is not so obvious.  This of course raises the issue of misconceptions; many cissexual, heterosexual people have been beaten or even murdered because someone mistakenly thought they were queer.  So too, Indiana will quickly discover that legalizing discrimination against homosexuals will also hit some heterosexuals.

And then there are those of us whose warning label should say, "Activist: push to start."  (I actually have that on a red button.)  Sure, there are times when I use passing privilege of various types because it's easy and I don't have an infinite supply of spoons, or when I believe that acting up would be dangerous.  But there are other times when I'll act up even if it is dangerous, and if I judge it safe, I will make a great big hairy scene.  Never get into a blurting contest with an annoyed bard, you will lose.  Because I can handle the kind of heat that bigots give off when someone objects to them being bigots, and not everyone can, and I want them to know that civilized people won't let them act like giant assholes without at least calling them out for it.

You can readily identify a queer person who does something like, "Oh gosh, you have a sign that says you don't serve queer people in here.  I guess I'll leave this big basket of stuff on the counter and take my $96 queer dollars to a store that is not run by giant assholes."

Just because I'm currently wearing a female body and in a permanent relationship with someone in a male body does not make me any less queer.  It's just a little harder to see from this angle, until I open my mouth.  As long as someone mistaking me for a heterosexual woman doesn't cause an issue, meh, I usually don't care.  Random strangers don't need to know my weirdnesses.  But when it IS an issue?  Open mouth, fire full broadside.  

This is why I got beef with people who claim that privilege is inescapable.  It's not.  It really, really  is not.  In fact it's a lot more frangible than people realize.  You can very easily lose your privilege if someone else mistakes you for a member of a disadvantaged group or if you are forcibly attached to it for some reason.  You can also choose to drop your privilege in the crapper and flush it along with all the other shit you don't need, just by voluntarily associating with disadvantaged people or by verbally dispensing with it when people offer you privilege that you don't want to accept.  Bigots will enthusiastically diss you for any or all of that.  

It's not all or nothing, of course.  If your association is not obvious, then you may have the option of picking your battles.  That lets you stay reasonably safe while still making a difference.  You might flush one privilege today and a different one tomorrow.  You might wax and wane your advertisement of hidden traits based on how much energy you have for a given cause or whether it makes you feel bad to hide (or reveal) what you are.  It's your life, your choice.

Just understand that it is a choice, just as bigotry or tolerance are choices.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
So GamerGate just shot videogames in the crotch

The academics are being stupid.  You do not ignore a part of history because you think it's pointless and some of the people involved are assholes.  You do not ignore it because it is "too new," it is easier to preserve then and your descendants will curse you for being so fucking slow and stupid as to let it fade away.  Ephemera are valuable precisely because  they usually get lost.  You would think more people would have learned this after thousands of years of history.  Apparently not.

But hey, this is what sexism gets: academic careers blocked, research and preservation not done, games therefore probably lost when they degrade because nobody knew how to save them.  Thanks, assholes, you just turned over the thirteenth card and blew up the universe, now everyone loses.

***FUME***

I am sulking at having to share a planet with these two groups of idiots.  The stupid, it burns like hydrogen.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Because they were never going to pay you for it anyway.  If they were, and this is a category the author left out, they pay you anyway.  Subcategories include people who use free copies to decide if they want to buy a product, people who are reading the freebie while waiting for a paper copy to come out, and crowdfunding where folks read free stuff but have the option to sponsor more/faster/whatever if they wish.

The author is absolutely right that many people will pay for convenience over free stuff, if they have more money than time/energy or if the EROEI is better when paying.  This is why my year-end collections are now spiralbound at Staples instead of hand-punched at home.  Save us a day's backbreaking work?  TAKE MAH MONEY!

Conversely some people will tolerate extra effort for free stuff because they have more time/energy than money.  That's okay too.

The general rule is, make it easy to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing.  Reward good behavior, ignore or discourage bad behavior.

In crowdfunding, I have noticed that giving away things is an excellent way to get more money.  It's a little counterintuitive ... in a cash  economy.  But it is the fundamental premise of a gift  economy.  We say, "The gift must move."  You don't just accept the goodies and pocket them.  You give something to someone else, which can be a share of the first or the same kind of thing or something totally different.  The idea is to keep the energy moving.  A lot of folks in crowdfunding route part of their incoming funds back to other projects crowdfunded by someone else.  I can only afford this sporadically but I still do it.

Another consideration is relationship.  When people like a creative person, they will throw money  without even being asked.  But if they feel their money is going to a big corporation instead of the author, they're less enthusiastic about that.  They get downright huffy if they feel like they're getting screwed, not getting their money's worth -- maybe the prices are jacked up or the product isn't very good.  So that's a big reason why some people pirate.  It's not just an economic issue that people can't afford a product or feel it's overpriced.  It's a relationship breakdown between provider and customer.  Consider how very badly the music, movie, publishing, etc. industries have treated their customers.  Well, now the bottlenecks are coming loose and people have other alternatives.  Newsflash: if people hate you and get a chance to leave or hit back, they will TAKE IT.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 My partner Doug tipped me to a link about the backlash to the anti-gay backlash to marriage equality.  I am pleased to see some resistance kicking up before we wind up with a resegregated and completely dysfunctional economy.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article uses statistics to show that women perform far better in self-publishing where there is no arbitrary glass ceiling, which means that the discrimination against women in traditional publishing is still very high.  Well, duh.  I've been saying a lot of this for years.  I've done the traditional route and I've done crowdfunding.  Traditional is like a sewing machine: great if you can get it to work, but it's finicky and a pain in the ass.  Crowdfunding is like hand-sewing, my actual output is much faster, the quality is better, and people stand around going, "Holy cow, how did you make all this stuff?!"
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from Shirley Barrette and LJ user My_partner_doug. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Shirley Barrette. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.


"The Erasure of Unemployment"


The loss of a job is
also the loss of self --
tossed away, discarded,
abandoned on a shelf.

Nothing is left secure,
and nothing still feels safe --
not home or friends or food --
those losses have to chafe.

It is no small thing when
jobs define who we are --
losing one's the worst thing
that can happen, by far.

* * *

Notes:

Unemployment shuts people out of society and ravages their sense of self-worth.  There are tips for maintaining self-esteem during unemployment.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was pleased to see some articles about diversity today.  This one discusses skin-toned fashions such as hosiery and shoes being expanded to cover more shades of nude.  This one presents a department store that's planning to offer gender-neutral clothing and organization, instead of men's/women's; alas, a temporary showing, but it's a step in the right direction.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Broadband internet access has been declared a utility.  I am pleased, and a little surprised that they actually got something right.

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