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Literature
The Traction Factor
Ash knows what it's like
to pretend, to fake something
because that's easier
than trying to explain the truth
to every idiot passing through her life.
There was one summer in her teens that
she spent with her Lakota cousins-by-marriage
during which she met a neighbor
who at the time was pretending to be a boy
in accordance with the body's shape.
Ash, at the time, was frustrated by how
all the other teenagers were pairing up,
and how it made her feel left out
because she didn't want to
do that with anyone.
So Ash and Skan pretended
to be boyfriend and girlfriend.
The other teenagers accepted them then
on the trail rides and fishing trips
and visits to the ice cream stand.
It was nice to be accepted.
Still, something itched  about it,
something out of place,
something as uncomfortable
as a wrinkle in a saddle blanket,
unseen but always felt just the same.
So they parted company at the end of summer,
parted as friends and went their separate ways.
Ash explored her feeli
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Literature
Where the Action Is, Was, and Ever More Shall Be
Dron retired from the army
with a bad limp and a bag of gold.
He missed the adventure, though,
and the everyday challenge of survival.
He bought a tavern
in a quiet little crossroad hamlet,
hung his axe over the mantelpiece,
and prepared to settle down.
At the end of the first week,
there was a brawl.
Two dwarves and four elves had it out.
Dron tossed them into the street.
At the end of the second week,
there was a fire.  Apprentice wizard.  Too much ale.
Dron put him out
and then extinguished the flames.
Not long after that,
bandits tried to raid the bar.
Dron's axe had a new nick in the shaft
when he hung it back over the hearth.
Then came the adventuring party
whose cleric had somehow gotten kidnapped,
and would anyone possibly have heard any gossip?
Oh please.  Barkeeper.
At the end of the month, Dron smiled.
How could he ever have forgotten where the action happened?
Perhaps retirement wouldn't be unbearably boring after all.
Humming, the barkeeper polished h
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Literature
Bull-Dancers
He comes.  Distantly, bellows echo.  Bull.  God.
We wait, trembling, awed and silent.  Youths.  Maids.
Bull-God, galloping ringward, rumbles.  What horns!
Palms.  Chalk.  Sweaty still.  Grab the horns and – Heave!  Leap!
Land well.  Scattering, dodging charges, we flee.
Safe, safe!  Holiness touches dancers.  We kneel.
Each year, sacrifice blesses those who dare dance.
Flesh.  Grace.  Touching His power briefly, we fly.
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Literature
A Turning Point in the Clockwork War
A war of attrition
depends on supply and drawdown,
how much you have and how much you use up.
With personnel, the balance concerns
the influx of recruitment versus
the outflow of casualties, deserters, invalids.
There is only so much loss
that a fighting force can sustain
and still fight.
Pilot Claude Archer was the first
to challenge his invalid discharge.
"I don't need legs to fly," he said,
patting the healed stumps of his thighs.
"My Osprey runs on elbow grease."
The members of the discharge board
paused and looked at each other.
What he said was true.  
The Osprey-class fighter jets
relied on hand controls,
and a sharp eye and iron nerve.
Fingers flicked through the stack
of discharge papers -- so many, many pages.
So many soldiers lost, never to fight again.
They could not afford to let slip even one
who might be retained, somehow,
to face the front line once more.
Far less could the war effort spare
one of its best pilots.
So they put Pilot Archer back on the roster,
and he
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Literature
The Vampire Funeral
The cemetery shines in the moonlight,
white snow draping the ground
and frosting the broken stones.
Gnarled oak trees scrabble at the sky
with their bare, black branches.
The walls and the columns are merely fragments now,
the cathedral fallen to rubble long ago.
Only a few narrow arches remain,
their apexes pointing at the frozen stars.
The marble crosses do not bother the mourners,
many of whom are older than the religion
that the crosses represent.  There are no graves
as such, only names chiseled into stone.
There are no corpses here either,
simply ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
They carry the remains of their Eldest
in a little bronze urn embossed with mystic symbols.
There was no need for him to be destroyed.
He was a gentle creature, a sage,
a teacher of the young and newly made.
No violence had ever stained his sustenance
until the hunter pulled the purring girl from his grasp
and hammered a stake through his heart while she screamed.
The grieving vampires make their slow p
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Literature
Within the Wolf's Jaws
When the Aesir left the planet Asgard
as their ancestors had left Earth,
they sailed between the stars with all bright hope,
searching for a new world to call their own.
Tall they were, and strong,
fair as a golden sun in a blue sky.
When their ship faltered in the black sea of space,
they bound up the Stjärndrakkar  as best they could
and limped to the nearest star system.
They rejoiced to find a planet
blue with water, green with life,
gowned in the white gauze of clouds.
Upon the planet they found vast shallow seas
and deep, wild oceans with just a sprinkle of islands
where people might live and flourish.
So the Aesir settled on the islands,
building houses and ships with what they found there.
Runestones they raised at the edges of their fields
to mark which land belonged to whom,
stones that would stand for their descendants to see
and remember those who had gone before.
They hunted in the marshes and the sea,
killing and eating whatever they could catch --
strang
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Literature
When Griffins Nest
It was not always easy
for a young priest to manage a village,
with everyone's nose always
up in everyone else's business.
Don Candido did the best he could.
Somebody was forever getting into trouble.
Young men started fistfights over young women.
A vampire had come and bitten people;
although the wisewoman had driven it away,
Fiorenza had embarrassed Don Candido
and annoyed the village elders in the process.
Pasquale down the lane had shown an interest
in walking out with girls, but not in marriage.
Somebody was also carrying tales to the Church,
for now and then Don Candido would get a letter
admonishing him to mind his vows
and watch over his flock.
"Do you not believe that girl is too young
for the duties of a wisewoman?"
asked the man who collected the church tithes.
"She gets them done," Don Candido said,
"and she puts her coin in the poorbox on Sundays."
Fiorenza did this without being nagged,
which was more than could be said of some,
even if she fended off strange men in the m
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Literature
Appreciate Speculative Art 4 Composition Shopping
This final part concerns the overall shape of a picture and why you might choose to buy it.  Composition is the process of putting elements of art together, and the pattern they make when complete.  This and many other factors influence what kind of art appeals to shoppers.  Ideally, you should understand what you like and why, so that you pick out things you'll enjoy for a long time, things that will match the area you display them.
Composition
The design (also called the composition) of a picture refers to the deliberate arrangement of elements within it, from setting to subjects.  It spans a variety of large-scale aesthetic concerns.  For example, a picture should be busy enough to hold the viewer's interest, but not too busy.  This refers to a large amount of detail within a picture; when overdone, it becomes difficult to distinguish the various subjects or parts from each other.  Focus defines the sharpness or fuzziness of a picture; some
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Literature
Appreciating Speculative Art Part 3 Lines Colors
The details of a picture determine much of its mood, and often where it belongs as wall decoration.  Lines create shape and perspective; they can also shade to indicate light and shadow.  Colors suggest mood, location, harmony or conflict.  Most people want the artwork in a room to match the room's color scheme, or at least, not clash with it.  Bear in mind these aspects as you look at a picture.
Lines and Forms
Much of art relies on the clever use of lines to fool the eye.  For example, point of view describes the angle from which the viewer seems to look into the picture.  Perspective is a way of drawing objects to make them look nearer to or farther from the viewer; close objects are drawn larger than distant objects, parallel lines such as a highway seem to converge, and so forth.  Also, this way of drawing three-dimensional things on a flat surface creates an illusion of depth, so that they look similar to the way those objects would in re
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Literature
Appreciating Speculative Art Part 2 Picture Layout
Enjoying art begins with understanding the components and structure of an image.  First, look at the individual parts of a picture.  Second, consider how those parts come together to form the layout.  Then you can think about how well those aspects work and how you feel about the picture.
The Parts of a Picture
Rather than try to analyze or describe an entire picture at once, break it down into more manageable pieces.  The main parts of a picture include its subject, action, setting, theme, and mood.  When an artist-friend asks you for feedback, use those terms as a guideline – if you say something about each of them, your friend will probably be satisfied that you've covered the bases.
First let's look at the subject of the picture.  This is simply what the artist is drawing: the character(s) or object(s) that seems most important.  It might be a person, a tree, a castle, and so forth.  More particularly, a character is a living creature,
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Literature
Appreciating Speculative Art Part 1 Types Tools
Maybe you're an artist, and you want to improve your skills by analyzing what makes a picture work.  Maybe you have artist-friends who show you their sketchbooks, and you want to be able to give them useful feedback.  Maybe you collect artwork, and you want to be able to answer "Why did you buy THAT?" with more than "I dunno, I just like it."  Maybe you simply think art is cool, or you don't know much about it and would like to learn more.  This series will help with all of those things, as it presents some basic vocabulary and theory of art.  So relax and have fun -- this stuff isn't nearly as difficult as some people make it out to be.
Why is art important?  It expresses who we are, what we feel, and what we value.  It transmits cultural information; sometimes art is all we have left of an ancient culture.  It's also part of what makes us human.  Some anthropologists believe that our ancestors truly became what we think of as "humans" abou
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Literature
Listening to God
Jeanne d'Arc was born in 1412
in the quiet village of Domrémy.
From her mother Isabelle Romée,
she learned about God.
From her father Jacques d'Arc,
head of the village watch,
she learned about justice.
During Jeanne's childhood,
the Hundred Years' War made life hard.
Several times raiders attacked Domrémy,
and once they set fire to the village.
Neither prayer nor law could stop them.
Jeanne railed against the war,
against the impiety and injustice of it.
In 1424, three saints
appeared to Jeanne in a vision.
Saint Michael, Saint Catherine,
and Saint Margaret came to her
as she walked alone in a field.
"We need your aid, Jeanne,"
said Saint Michael.
"You must help us
to stop this terrible war."
"What can I do?"
asked Jeanne.
"I am only a girl,"
"No, you are not,"
said Saint Catherine.
"You must begin training,"
Saint Michael told Jeanne.
"Learn the arts of war, for
soon we will need your strength."
Again Jeanne tried to protest,
but Saint Catherine said,
"You must follow your deepest wi
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Literature
The Hungry Gods
The Hungry Gods
-- an indriso in internal diastole
They say the gods of space are hungry gods.
They swallow starships whole and spit the seeds
Across the floor of night in careless ways,
But reft of flight, how sorely man's heart bleeds!
Bow down before the black gods -- chant their praise --
And make obeisance, for you know your needs
Who craves war's chancy night beyond all days.
So launch, and let them choke upon the odds!
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Literature
Jumpship
The ones without pilots
were the fortunate ones,
if any of the AYES
could be considered fortunate.
They had to fight each other
in a war the humans started
but at least they were safe
from direct  interaction.
Left to their own devices,
the Artificial Yield Extrapolation Systems
could set the rules of engagement as they chose,
choose how to employ the jumpdrive,
decide when to attack or withdraw or surrender,
and make those decisions based on logic
rather than emotion.
The ones with pilots
were not so fortunate.
They were stuck in service
with trained apes shoved inside them,
apes who always had expectations
that the AYES were never designed to meet.
It is important to remember this:
the AYES had not been built as holistic systems
and did not function as such,
but that did not stop the pilots
from anthropomorphizing them.
The pilots called them "she"
and talked about what this or that ship "wanted"
and petted the dashboards and gave them names
as if they were
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Literature
A Solitary Secession
It began not with armed conflict but armistice,
a long lull in an unrelated war
when the two sides entrenched themselves in space
and established surveillance stations
to watch over the no-man's-land between
the Orion-Cygnus Arm and the Carina–Sagittarius Arm.
The stations were dark and silent,
with a skeleton crew of soldiers
assigned to supervise the equipment.
Communication was only allowed on rare occasions
when ships arrived to resupply and exchange personnel.
For most, the posting was a hardship,
a punishment for mediocrity or disciplinary issues.
They grumbled and sulked and gritted their teeth
through their time "in the can"
until they could leave for a new assignment.
Some of them didn't make it.
Some of them broke under the pressure,
social beings torn out of society.
For a few, though, the posting was perfect.
The stations all used exactly the same design.
The schedule never changed.
There were no crowds of people pleading for attention
and demanding a pretense of emp
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Literature
The Sky-Eyes and the Earth-Hearts
The Sky-Eyes speak:
We are the Sky-Eyes,
the blue people of the air.
When you came to our world,
it was our territory you flew through
on your way down.
To us Queen Cosmos gave wings and the wind:
it is our duty to defend against threats from above.
When the songhawks come with their deadly voices,
we draw them off with the dance of eyespots.
You say that you mean us no harm, but
Your words batter our ears as savagely as hawk-song.
We know that our young eat the young of the Earth-Hearts.
We know that you think this is wrong,
but this is how our peoples live.
We cannot raise our own young as you do;
those perverts who have tried it always fail.
Without our family ties to the Earth-Hearts,
we would have no balance for the lightness of our minds
and no defense against dangers from below.
We live as we were made to live, and our life is good.
We cannot help how we are made.
How can we tell you
that what would be abuse for you
is for us a fair exchange?
How can we make you understan
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Elizabeth Barrette
Artist | Professional | Literature
United States
Elizabeth Barrette (aka Ysabetwordsmith) works as a writer and editor in central Illinois. She writes articles, essays, short stories, reviews, interviews, poetry, and more. Her main fields include speculative fiction, gender studies, and alternative religions. Her books are Prismatica: Science Fiction Poetry Spanning the Spectrum, From Nature's Patient Hands: A Collection of Poetry, and Composing Magic: How to Create Magical Spells, Rituals, Blessings, Chants, and Prayers. She served as Managing Editor of PanGaia magazine for 7 years and Dean of Studies at the Grey School of Wizardry for 4 years. She currently serves on the Canon Board at Torn World, approving art and writing. She enjoys presenting panels and workshops at conventions and festivals. She has eagerly observed the rise of electronic publication and online writing and art, including cyberfunded creativity, and hopes to continue working with this cutting edge of culture. She enjoys suspension-of-disbelief bungee-jumping and spelunking in other people's reality tunnels.
Interests
I'm the Member of the Month over in the Writer's Club:
writers--club.deviantart.com/j…

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:iconmadshutterbug:
madshutterbug Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2016  Professional Photographer
Hippie Birdbaths!
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:iconmadshutterbug:
madshutterbug Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2013  Professional Photographer
Hippie Birdbaths!
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:iconrambling-anthology:
Rambling-anthology Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional Writer
Congrats on the feature! I can see why they decided put you there.
Reply
:iconpennedinwhite:
PennedinWhite Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Congratulations on the feature! :heart:
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:iconblack-rose-117:
Black-Rose-117 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I see you have some short stories/poems on here and was wondering if you would be interested in joining a group called :iconwrite2livecancerfree:

There is more about it on the page (just click the link) but basically what we are out to do is have a contest each month of writing and pick 1-2 winners. At the end of the year, I'll be putting together a book to be published and sold where all the money goes to a Cancer Research Center to help the fight against cancer and find a cure.

Please, check it out and think about it :)
♥Blake Moriarty
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:iconrollingtomorrow:
RollingTomorrow Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013   General Artist
Hello! :la:

You have been featured as our member of the month at :iconwriters--club: [link]. :D
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:icond-a-skelly:
D-A-Skelly Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013
Hello, thank you for watching:rose:
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:iconamweitz:
AMWeitz Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks so much for the watch! I really appreciate it.
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:iconriseandbe:
RiseandBe Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Welcome to #PoeticalCondition!
We are happy to include you as one of our members and look forward to your contributions.
We hope to see you as an active part of our humble group.

Your Founder, RiseandBe
:iconpoeticalcondition:
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:iconysabetwordsmith:
Ysabetwordsmith Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Writer
Thank you! I have submitted a couple of pieces.
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