Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company! discussion

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Weekly Poetry Stuffage > Week 113- (Feb 22nd-29th) poems--- Topic: infinitesimal DONE

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message 1: by Hanzleberry (new)

Hanzleberry (doughboyissweet) | 1065 comments What the what?????


message 2: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) | 2869 comments in·fin·i·tes·i·mal
   [in-fin-i-tes-uh-muhl]

adjective
1.
indefinitely or exceedingly small; minute: infinitesimal vessels in the circulatory system.

2.
immeasurably small; less than an assignable quantity: to an infinitesimal degree.

3.
of, pertaining to, or involving infinitesimals.

noun
4.
an infinitesimal quantity.

5.
Mathematics . a variable having zero as a limit.


message 3: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments I like the word. Now to make it into something significant.


message 4: by Guy (last edited Feb 24, 2012 06:41AM) (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments How about this?


I walked into a room.
The room had a strange familiarity
because it felt like we'd been intimate, that room and I,
but I couldn't remember ever having been there.

I shivered a little, despite being perhaps a bit too warm.
When I turned round to where I'd been,
the door wasn't there anymore.
But then I doubted my memory,
and wondered
had I even come in from that direction in the first place.

Suddenly it struck me that I was home.
And with that realization came concomitantly
the awareness that I was a stranger in this room
that had now become doorless and floorless.
I looked down beneath my feet to see nothing.
I lifted the right foot to see what was on the bottom of my shoe.
And other than the remains of one piece of long dead and de-stikied gum, nothing.

For some reason I became fixated on the shoe gum,
and with my too short fingernails began scraping it off.
It seemed to take forever as the gum came away in infinitesimal chunks
that fell past the invisible floor.
I eventually became aware that the gum bits were creating,
after their fall, an equally infinitesimal tinkle
that provoked in me the need to pee.
But when I looked for a good corner,
I see that the room had become cornerless.

I was stunned by that, and began to feel dizzy,
and put my hand out towards the table that appeared to float like me, in the air.
But when I touched it the leg beneath the top where I'd put my hand began to fall.
When I pulled my hand from the table, I found it wouldn't release
and I began to fall too as the table dragged me down.


message 5: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments No problem. I was amused when I read your short story after writing this, because I wanted this poem-like-thing to scan like it was a dream.

And relegated to the 'interesting' pile, eh! Too funny, but likely apt. Now to write a short story?!


message 6: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments I'll see what I can do. But don't expect brilliance!


message 7: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments I just read “How about this?” The idea of being in a strange room and finding oneself at home resonates with me for some reason. I pick up on the connection between “tinkle” and “pee.” I wonder if the table that drags the speaker down is sybolic for the sort of table in which one finds facts and figures.


message 8: by Edward (new)

Edward (edwardtheresejr) | 2434 comments I like infinitesimal. It's a wonderful word.

And that was an excellent poem, Guy. I don't know exactly what you're talking about, but it reminds me of several things from experience and from books. One thing is reminds me of is a chapter in G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy in which he recounts his desire to write a story of a sailor who gets lost at sea and shipwrecks upon a strange land full of people of wonderfully odd customs only to realize, with a stab of joy, that it was his own England.

... He was driving at a point with that ancedote, but I can't remember what it was. Oh, well, Orthodoxy is worth another few reads anyway.

I had an idea for a poem, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it down.


message 9: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments M I can see you have been 'contaminated' by Jung! LoL. I hadn't thought of the table in that way when I wrote it, but it does fit. And that idea aligns with the room losing its 'squareness' (the corners).

Edward, this was my effort at writing, while conscious, a dream. I like M's beginning of the dream analysis, but I would love to know what picking old gum off the bottom of the shoe means. Any ideas?


message 10: by Edward (new)

Edward (edwardtheresejr) | 2434 comments It sounds like a dream of minor annoyances and brief, silly confusions. I know I've walked into a room, paused to wonder where I am, only to realize it's exactly where I intended to go five minutes ago. I've also forgotten which way I came into a room. Most of us have gotten gum on a our shoes. Maybe your brain was sorting through the silly things to recognize and accept them when they happen again.

Not exactly inspiring, but somehow all the more ironic for that.


message 11: by Edward (last edited Feb 25, 2012 09:36AM) (new)

Edward (edwardtheresejr) | 2434 comments Death for Us


“Infinitesimal, is the difference between us,”
Whispered the pale paragon in the boy’s ear.
“Our life is Death; in Death we find life.
We dance with Death as with a lover.”

“Insurmountable, is the great chasm between us,”
Replied the taut teen with a quavering voice.
“A foe is Death; Death I find a foe.
My dance with Death is not so welcome.”

“Infinitesimal, is the variance in our minds,”
Insisted the horror of a too-wise man.
“Death is our friend; we are friends with Death.
We embrace Death when we find cause.”

“Insurmountable, is the variance in our souls,”
Countered the boy, finding a new bravery.
“Death is a curse; I am cursed with Death.
I endure Death without Its embrace.”

“Infinitesimal, are the distinctions of our strengths,”
Snarled the slave of that first, great Enemy.
“Our trade is Death; in Death is our trade.
Perfection comes when we bestow Death.”

Insurmountable, was what the boy said to him next.
“Death is my trade, is my friend, and is my life.
I run to Death; from Death you scurry.
You give Death, which I take to myself for Life.”


message 12: by M (last edited Feb 27, 2012 12:49PM) (new)

M | 11263 comments Edward, your poem loses me at the end, but I think it’s a conversation that’s cleverly devised. I especially like the parallels, such as “Infinitesimal, is the variance in our minds” / “Insurmountable, is the variance in our souls” and “We embrace Death when we find cause” / I endure Death without Its embrace.”

Guy, I hadn’t intended to take so long to get back to your question about the gum. Gum is what you get on your shoes because thoughtless people throw it down rather than going to the trouble of throwing it away. Maybe gum on the sidewalk is the objective correlative for a certain kind of people. The innocent pedestrian steps on the gum, which is where it shouldn’t be, and now it becomes his problem. For the poem’s speaker, the gum on his shoe has dried out, lost its vitality, and comes off in chunks. Maybe that means a particular problem someone has put off on the speaker, and the gum stands for, no longer has any power over him. The too-short fingernails might signify that the speaker’s ability to rid himself of whatever the gum represents is inadequately developed or has been pared back so far as to be ineffective.


message 13: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments Thanks, Alex! On the other hand, that may not be what Guy meant at all.


message 14: by Edward (new)

Edward (edwardtheresejr) | 2434 comments I knew the end would screw with it. It needs a couple extra stanzas before the end to really establish the difference between the two (which is essentially the difference between a martyr and someone who commits suicide; one dies because he loves life and the other because he hates it - one person in this poem kills because he likes killing while the other does because he ultimately protects life).

Ah, well, I thought it was a good attempt. The whole thing was based off of parrallels between the good guy and the bad guy hence the over abundance of symmetry. Can you point out exactly what your problem with the style is, Alex?

This kind of dream interpretation is interesting. I don't know what value it has in real life (perhaps more than I can see), but I do see a lot of fun in basing fictional dream sequences off of it.


message 15: by M (last edited Feb 27, 2012 05:55PM) (new)

M | 11263 comments When Someone Dies for You

I’ve lied
that I’ve lived without faith.
I’ve called it by other names
or none at all,
but let’s not talk about that.
Your martini needs refilling
and so does mine.
The hors d’oeuvres?
Well, thank you!
You might say
I’ve made a life
of drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
When someone dies for you,
you can’t help but have
a strange life.
Oh, yes. I was going to tell you
all about that,
but there’s really nothing to tell
that would make sense
unless you’ve been through it,
in which case
you don’t need me to tell you.
No. Not just any olives
will do.
These are queen size
and come from Spain.
How do I afford it?
Do you suppose
I simply went out
and bought these?
My father and his pals
call this “Fat Lady Gin.”
That’s not funny?
Queen Victoria looks fat to me!
If she ever had a doubt
in her life,
no biographer has discovered it.
She’s fat
on all her certainties.
Disrespectful?
Do I look like someone
who is ungrateful to a queen
whose picture
is on a bottle of gin this good?
Where did I find those olives?
They found me.
No, I can’t explain that.
Explanations come
from a part of my mind
that doesn’t find olives.
Yes, it’s fine
if you slip into something
more comfortable.
A pair of my pajamas?
Your husband isn’t likely
to fly back from Rome tonight
to make sure
you’re at home
reading the latest thing
by Dean Koontz.
Yes, they’re designer pajamas,
but I’m not into that sort of thing.
Then why do I have them?
Search me.
Ask the voice
that tells me how to live
when all my well-shored-up ideas
have fallen like a house of cards
and what is left of me
is infinitesimal,
so small
that I can hear
a voice.


message 16: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments M, this is a fascinating interpretation! I definitely did not write it with that intention, but I can see how that does fit.

With your efforts as a prompt, I am now going to attempt to interpret my own poem/dream. Note that when I wrote this, I was not thinking of anything but making this sound and feel like a dream. So...

Familiar/unfamiliar room is a part of the psyche that is a part of us but has either been abandoned, like a childhood dream, or never been visited, like an unexplored talent or perhaps hope.

Shivering, cold; being out in the cold, alone outside of acceptable society; also fear and anticipation. To be cold and warm is to have a fever, high energy, the body fighting against being invaded by alien entities, ideas perhaps, or maybe images or hunches.

No going back to where the narrator's been and now where he (this poem feels like a male's voice to me) needs to be. The narrator realizes that he doesn't know who he is, that what he once understood (the floor) no longer supports him. But in that room understanding is not required to keep him from falling (into the unconscious).

The narrator becomes fixated on the cast off detritus (old gum — excellent interpretation, M!). It no longer belongs to his personal understanding (the shoe), and so the narrator wants to get rid of it. The short fingernails are effective, because they succeed, with effort. I see this as a working person's fingernails, and not those of the educated and 'white' collar or socialites. So removing the stuck on remnants of uncivil civilized life comes from the spirit of work, not that of thought / dreaming / leisure.

As the remnants fall away, into the unconscious, the animal instinctual self makes itself known: the narrator has to pee. The need to micturate is one of the most basic and unremitting truths of animal existence. He looks to pee in man's manmade landscape, the four-cornered world. But his new place no longer has that structure. Upon learning that the four-squared truth has been removed causes him to become dizzy and lose his balance. The narrator's instinct is to hold himself up on another manmade structure, the four legged table. (Again M, another excellent observation.) But as soon as his hand touches the table, he finds that the table no longer supports itself, no longer stands secure. It falls. His hand, what makes man man and creates his world, is stuck, however, with the familiar truths, and will not release.

The dream ends ambivalently — he begins to fall, (fail?), but into or onto what does he fall? Where does he land?


message 17: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments Guy, you have a huge advantage over me because my understanding of Jung’s psychology is fragmental at best. As I understand it, though, the quaternity isn’t the entire picture. Part of the picture is the trinity, the female side.


message 18: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments Edward, I enjoyed parts of your poem, and I liked what you were trying to do with the bifurcated look at the meaning of life/death. But the poem didn't quite satisfy me. Perhaps it struck me as a bit too straightforward despite the way you were weaving the two themes, but I'm not sure if that is the problem. I think a good effort, but not quite.


message 19: by Guy (last edited Feb 27, 2012 07:12PM) (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments M you are basically correct, but the trinity is dealt with by Jung in a complex way because it is often seen as a movement towards the four which is/becomes the one. One of the most interesting trinities/quaternaries, for example, is that of the Catholic version of Christianity: it has the father, the son and the holy ghost. This becomes interesting because of the way in which Mary gets included to complete the picture of the 3+1=4, because the feminine is needed to complete the spiritual vitality of the religion, ie becomes as one.

However, the four is capable of representing being 'square', ie stagnant and dead. So it seems to be the case in my dream/poem, because there the four seems to represent stasis or the old. Perhaps because the feminine has been excluded, there is no reference to it. If I were to really stretch I could suggest that the feminine is taking its presence in undermining masculine understanding, but that it is fully disembodied infers that the feminine has been excluded from this dream narrator's existence in an unhealthy way.

But, of course, when it comes to dreams, anything can be anything, and a cigar just a cigar. LoL. But it is fun to stretch the imagination, so thanks for the crack at my little thing.

Now to read your poem.


message 20: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments I asked my wife (who reads), who do you know of other than Dean Koontz (whom Alex reads) who writes novels that intelligent, educated women read? She just shook her head. It isn’t that Jane doesn’t read. It’s that she works all the time. So I haven’t had time find another author. I don’t read, so I don’t have a clue.


message 21: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments M this is one of your absolute best! I re-read this three times in basic awe. So simple but not simple at all. The hints of the complexity of the relationship and histories, the contradictions and fascinating social observations. This is brilliant. Loved it.


message 22: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments Al, yours was so small I almost didn't see it! Sorry about that.

And in being thus, it is truly an apt poem for the subject. And I enjoyed it's simple enunciation of the relativity of life's complexity. Writing small is HARD, and this is nicely done.

Also, I enjoyed your comments about how different people interpret one's writing so differently than the writer thought or intended. Jung says this about poets and their own works:
Poets are human too, and what they say about their work is often far from the best word on the subject. It seems as if we have to defend the seriousness of the visionary experience against the personal resistance of the poet himself.
Jung. The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature cw vol 13, par147.



message 23: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments I’ll tell this because Guy will appreciate it. I used to frequent Half-Price Books stores. It all paid off one morning when I walked into one and someone had just delivered a case of books. I recognized them at once and told the man receiving them that I wanted to buy them. He said, “How about $5 apiece?” I immediately agreed. They were old. They were Jung’s collected works, hardbound, with the original dust jackets.


message 24: by Guy (last edited Feb 27, 2012 08:17PM) (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments Al wrote: "How is Mary part of the Trinity? :/ She was just a HUMAN. She wasn't God. Ugh, Catholics. No offense to any Catholics, but I think some of the stuff is silly.

Anyway. I had a strange dream last ni..."


No, Mary was not part of the trinity, but was required to complete it, move it past being a trinity to a state of wholeness or being complete. To, in odd, way, ground it in the human realm. The original trinity excluded the feminine and was thus incomplete. It is interesting, from a mythological perspective, that Sophia, wisdom, was passed over for the mother of JC. It hints at the world trend of discounting the wisdom and the female as being 2nd place to men, their intellects and structures. The protestant movements in many cases further devalued the feminine as well, as the male church elders focused on the Bible's two masculine images and their primary epistlers, who were also men.

A very interesting affirmation of that came from one of my students, who described an interesting encounter she had at a high level meeting with big venture capitalists. (She invented and patented an important safety device for manholes which is she is now selling around the world.) She was asked by one of the venture capitalists what her next goal was. She described seeing the work environment becoming safer for people working in manholes, being able to help her family and her kids, affording a good school and the like. These objectives were brushed off with the comment 'Oh, that is very feminine of you.'

And what was your dream?


message 25: by Guy (last edited Feb 27, 2012 08:08PM) (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments M, did you get all of them! I'm so envious! I've been slowly amassing them over the years, picking them up here and there and leapt for joy a few months ago when I stumble into CW13 on line at Powell's books when I won a $20 gift card from them. $5/book? I spent $150.00 on Symbols of Transformation 20 years ago.


message 26: by Guy (last edited Feb 27, 2012 09:11PM) (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments M wrote: "I asked my wife (who reads), who do you know of other than Dean Koontz (whom Alex reads) who writes novels that intelligent, educated women read? She just shook her head. It isn’t that Jane doesn’t..."

M, look no further than me! I read books that are ostensibly read by well read woman who don't read just Koontz — no offense, Al. Would you like a couple of recommendations? If so, I'll see what my intuition comes up with. (Or you can flip throw my library and trust your intuition to pick something.) Note, however, that I tend to read Canadian writers, and so my library will be biased in that direction. Hmmm. Off the top of my head, Barbara Gowdy, either her We So Seldom Look on Love: Stories, a collection of short stories, the title one in which she creates a sympathetic necrophiliac — now THAT took some writing! Or Helpless: A Novel, which is a very complex story about a pedophile. Or, maybe ... well, best not to let my fingers go too far.


message 27: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments Guy, I didn’t get all of them, merely most of them. The others I later paid Princeton’s price for in paperback. But I haven’t read them, merely parts of them, following up things said in other books. The only volume I can truly say I’ve read is Psychological Types. I’ve invested hundreds or thousands of hours in that aspect of Jung’s psychology, trying to find out why I’m so screwed up.


message 28: by Guy (last edited Feb 27, 2012 09:09PM) (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments M that's interesting that it was Types that caught your eye, because I've read it front to back 3 times, and parts of it many times more than that. I consider it to be one of the top 5 most important books not read in the world. And arguable the most important. I've read a huge chunk of the rest of the CW, but not all. Still putting off Symbols of Transformation, which I'm still not ready for.

Oddly enough I began reading Jung seriously for two reasons: whenever I grabbed a book about dreams, his name was mentioned. But the final straw was when I read his interpretation of another doctor's patient's dream. Jung's interpretation? The man was suffering from a pooling of the spinal fluid in the base of his spine, which was in fact a correct diagnosis. After that, I never really stopped reading about dreams and Jung to see how it was possible to make a physical diagnosis from an obscure dream about milky fluids and pre-historic animals.

Side benefit has been the pleasure it has given me to poke into the meaning of poems. LoL. Right or wrong, that has been fun.

Al, as to Jung, I suggest you begin gently. Perhaps with M.L. von Franz's C.G. Jung: His Myth in Our Time, or by Jung himself, either Analytical Psychology, Its Theory and Practice: The Tavistock Lectures, Modern Man in Search of a Soul or Man And His Symbols preferably an early hard back colour edition — the art in it is excellent.


message 29: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments M, I forgot to ask: did Jung help you to figure why your screwed up?

I'm not sure he's helped to figure that out about me — but he sure made clear that I entered adulthood a total whack job. And I know for sure he's helped me to put really nasty elements in my life behind me and to move forward. Not sure if that has always been a good thing, and frequently I am distracted by anything that glitters, gold or not. But it has been mostly fun and super interesting. And he sure helps with the vocabulary!


message 30: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments Al, lots of interesting imagery in your dream. Were there any females in the dream? And did any of the men — the kidnappers, the two-faced nice old man — have clear and distinct faces? What was the nature of the 'edifice'? How did it feel to you? (Note, a 2ndary meaning of edifice is "a complex system of beliefs".) Have your dreams been like this for a long time, or have they changed in intensity or specifics recently?

Hiding in the tree is an interesting image: the tree is a world symbol, a type of living staff or caduceus; also, the apple came from the tree of knowledge or, given it's roots with the earth, wisdom.

You leave the tree to escape via a tunnel through the earth, via the under-ground. A hint at the path of psychological search, getting to or even beneath the roots of the problem.

You meet the 'kind' (wise?) old gentleman. You felt safe with him, but he betrayed you. (Does he have a face? What does he 'feel' like to you, other than safe?) Psychologically, the elder gentleman is ambivalent, both the source of wisdom, but also of repression. Is he an embodiment of an 'edifice' of beliefs which you felt were going to bring to you a rebirth (emergence from the earth), but which will only re-enforce his position at the expense of your (spiritual/psychological) life?

From the little I've read, and the few women who have share their dreams with me, your dream imagery is not at all unusual for females. Women often experience these kinds of kidnappings and other acts of violence - robbery, assaults, deaths by faceless, or relatively faceless men. (Always exceptions!)

One of the curious things that discredited Jung's psychology, especially in North America where so-called liberal values were being haled as the epitome of enlightenment, was his argument that while men and women share a common humanity, some of the specifics of their psychology are distinct to their sex. His argument was not unsubstantially based on his experiences with their dreams, but landed him in a lot of trouble with the para-military feminists who discounted him without reading much of him.


message 31: by M (last edited Feb 28, 2012 11:06AM) (new)

M | 11263 comments Alex, in the dream, did you have any sense of why you were being kidnapped?

Guy, it took a clinical psychologist to figure out what was going on with me. I’ve got ADHD and some sort of protective, psychological repression mechanism operating that for years made it impossible for me to concentrate well enough to read at length.

I first started trying to figure myself out using Transactional Analysis. The priest at our church did a lot of counseling, and I approached him one day and asked him if there were a psychology that was kind of like an owner’s manual for the mind. I told him I felt there must be a way, if I just knew what it was, to get in there and mess with one or two of the adjustment screws. He said there was a mechanical approach, but that merely learning it wouldn’t give me the power to use it on myself.

I explored Jung’s theory of psychological types after I had gotten licensed to use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It was from there that I got interested in Analytical Psychology.


message 32: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments It seems to me that if you know why you were kidnapped, it might be an important clue to figuring out the dream. It doesn’t make sense that they would have kidnapped you to subject you to something they could just as easily have done to you in your own home.

Transactional Analysis is a group therapy technique that, strangely enough, is based on Freudian psychology. It assumes that each person’s psyche is made up three ego states. One of the ego states is comprised of parental recordings received in childhood. Another functions as a sort of computer and is devoid of emotion. Another is childlike, capable of creativity. When people interact with each other, these ego states are involved. The transactions follow certain rules and predictable patterns and can be charted to figure out what’s going on in the people’s psyches, what kind of psychological games people are playing. That’s a grievous oversimplification. TA was devised and developed by Eric Berne, a psychiatrist who practiced in California. It was popular from the late 1960’s through the 1970’s.


message 33: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments M that you were able to study Types with ADHD is a true testament to the power of Jung to hold one's attention. That is quite amazing.

I glanced at TA when I was very young, and it didn't appeal to me at all. I'm not sure if it was because I was too young or it just wasn't a good fit with me. Don't remember much of it now. Did the TA help at all?

For I while I found NLP to be intriguing, and there are elements of that that have some linkages — not too strongly! — to Jung. Perhaps the most constructive course of psychological help/self help I've come across is Constructive Living, who's primary North American practitioner and advocate is David K. Reynolds.

Al, I've been thinking about your dream, and some thoughts came to mind. If you are curious about what my pea brain burbled up, let me know and I'll e.mail them to you. If you'd rather not read my thoughts, that's fine too.

It's time to get back to writing my story. I hope I'm not too late!


message 34: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments I'll mail it off tonight when I'm done with work. It's been written, but is sitting on my Mac @ home.

And I actually posted a story! Okay, not a real story but a story-like thing, lacking plot, with a confused voice, and rather anemic humour. But twas fun to write.


message 35: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments Don’t save any of that chocolate bar for Hanzle Woozle!


message 36: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments Here are the links to the polls:

Story Poll.

Poetry Poll.


message 37: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments Here are the next competitions:

Story 114.

Suffrage 114.


message 38: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments I had a feeling there was something I forgot. Thanks, Guy!


message 39: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments You're welcome M.
And thanks Al, but we seem to be both muggles doing it, because I haven't received my e.mail notification of either the polls or the new competitions? Is that something I can do or is that restricted to a moderator?


message 40: by M (new)

M | 11263 comments Alex, after I saved the poll, I invited all pages of the group members, as per the instructions.

My wife got an e-mail notification for both polls. She didn’t get a notification in her Goodreads mail, however, and neither did I. I’m not sure what I did wrong.


message 41: by Guy (last edited Mar 04, 2012 08:44PM) (new)

Guy (egajd) | 11107 comments I tried. I'm not sure if I did it correctly or not, but when I clicked on invite, I could only invite friends. And the low turn out in the polls infers that others haven't been invited either.


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