ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
My partner Doug tipped me to a story about finding a very old message in a bottle from a science experiment.  That reminded me about the rubber duckies, which you can see on maps like this, or here with some time stamps.

So much of science comes down to "Let's see what happens."
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Civilization is relatively new, and not as great a thing as most people think, only they've forgotten the other options
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the August 4, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Shirley Barrette and this photo. It also fills the "rejuvenation" square in my 8-1-15 card for the As You Like It Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles and Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

Warning: This poem references World War II and contains melancholy thoughts. Consider your taste and headspace before reading onward.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the August 4, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Anthony Barrette, based on his ancestor John Dunsworth Barrette. It also fills the "such a gentleman" square in my 6-1-15 card for the June Relationship Bingo fest.   This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.


"American Wings"


John Dunsworth Barrette moved
from Baltimore, Cork, Ireland 
to America in search of
a better life for himself
and his family to be.

He toiled for years before
he saved up enough money --
such a gentleman! -- to bring
Margaret Elizabeth Maybanks
over the sea to join him.

They exchanged rings on May 25, 1851
in New Orleans, Jefferson, Louisiana.

Together they had
four daughters and four sons,
who spread out across the nation,
nestlings taking flight as soon
as their wings were grown.

From Louisiana to Illinois to Nebraska
to lands beyond they flew, always
seeking new opportunities

in a land where dreams grew
thick and golden as corn.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
... from the Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger

As the article suggests, some of these were probably jokes, while others may have been power names from a sacred clown.  But there's another possibility not mentioned.  In a culture without jails, people need a way to discipline those who misbehave; and when their language uses descriptive names, it's an obvious way.  In many tribes, one horribly foolish, hilariously memorable moment can saddle you with a name that may take decades to get rid of.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is today's freebie, inspired by a backchannel prompt from my partner Doug about his mother's family history.  It also fills the "familiarity" square in my 8-1-15 card for the As You Like It bingo fest.


"American Roots"


Francis Bieschke came
to America with dreams of
a place to put down roots.

He settled in Detroit, and
for the next five generations,
nobody moved more than
fifty miles away.

They became a clan,
neighbors scattered
across nearby blocks.

His descendants built
a house on Mitchell Street
where they watched the city
grow and peak and collapse
all around them.

It became a family joke --
"Some people have feet,
we have roots."

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article succinctly explains why Israel is a danger to itself and others.

Based on this analysis, Avigail Abarbanel believes “Israel cannot be reasoned with”, that it “is a traumatised society and it is therefore very dangerous.” Applying family therapy models, she compares Israel to the abusive husband, the Palestinians to the abused wife and the United States to the enabling neighbor.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
See an animated map of the slave trade.  If you pause the animation, you can click on any ship for details.

Around 2 million Africans died on the slave ships alone, and more before and after that.  Never forget.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... as unearthed by Nalo Hopkinson.  She's one of those writers who likes to do serious research for her F&SF novels.

I would like to add: the perception of stupidity, laziness, and clumsiness is not an accident or a random stereotype.  It is a misinterpretation  of the tactics for survival and resistance by slaves against their owners.  If the master thinks you're rebelling, you'll be punished or killed.  But if you can make them think you're unable  to do better, they're surprisingly easy to fool and will let you alone.  So slaves quite frequently wasted resources, broke or lost tools, dragged their feet, let the livestock out, stole food, and generally did everything they could, as discreetly as possible, to make the masters' lives less pleasant.  

Those strategies linger in poor communities today.  Why bust your ass when all the benefit of your labor gets creamed off for the benefit of people who hate you?  You'll never be permitted to earn more than subsistence wages, so you might as well do that with as little effort as you can possibly get away with.  Where there is no reward for harder work, you get passive resistance.

So when you read my writing about the slave descended cultures of the Americas and Caribbean, you can see many of the same roots.  It's often there in the language, the personal and community dynamics, the food, and especially the ways people deal with problems.  Each place is unique, with its own local culture -- Jamaica is different from Cuba and from New Orleans.  They're related through the common experiences of colonialism and slavery, yet distinct in local resources and historic events.  The diversity is beautiful.  As that plays out in my storytelling, you can see how people from different cultures might handle things like superpowers (Haiti is one of the bottom-ten countries for soups) or getting kidnapped by alien slavers (in which various black folks used their family lore to devise survival strategies).
ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
This is the freebie for today's fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] rix_scaedu. It belongs to the series Lacquerware, which you can find via the Serial Poetry page.


"silkbag"


silk bag encloses
programs woven by fingers
of old blind women

onnagata is
equally male and female,
role and performer

sensitivity
enables both of these things
to become themselves

* * *

Notes:

Haiku verses have a 5-7-5 syllable pattern.  Learn how to write haiku.

An onnagata is a male actor who plays female roles in kabuki theatre, historically a kind of genderqueer although not as often so in modern times.

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 My_partner_doug. It also fills the "mutation" square in my 6-1-15 card for the June Relationship Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

Read more... )
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.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
Nicholas Winton has passed away.  He is best known for rescuing over 650 Jewish children from the Nazis.  

The real heroes rarely if ever think of themselves as heroes.  They may not even have a heroic job.  They may be facing insurmountable odds with insufficient resources.  They may be in danger if they're caught.  But they do what they can, and they focus on saving "that one."  This guy saved 650+ "that ones."

Megalodon

Jun. 22nd, 2015 10:47 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Recently I got into a discussion with some friends that led to fun places.  Once upon a time, there was a species of giant shark called Megalodon.  They were legitimately terrifying.  They're probably extinct.  But the ocean is big and deep and we've barely dabbled in it, so there might still be some out there.  You don't really need to worry about them, though.  (Do not click with your mouth full ...)  This is why

Profile

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
ysabetwordsmith

September 2015

S M T W T F S
   1 2345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags