nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for August 2013

narrow streets and wide-open countryside 7-11

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Landaviddy Lane in Polperro (image from Street View)

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7-11 1 journal

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map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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I have never encountered such narrow streets as in Polperro.  In this charming little town, the streets bulge with sightseers.  The narrow streets can be confusing, so it’s a good thing the roads are labelled to show the ‘Way Out’ …

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July 21, 2013  'way out in Polperro'   Jane Tims

July 21, 2013 ‘way out in Polperro’ Jane Tims

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Best View:  countryside near Polperro … yellows are a little bright in the scanned version compared to the original painting …

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July 19, 2013  'countryside near Polperro'   Jane Tims

July 19, 2013 ‘countryside near Polperro’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 14, 2013 at 7:04 am

peering over hedgerows 7- 10

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Talland Bay (image from Street View)

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7-10 1 journal

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map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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I am beginning to realise, the Cornwall countryside is often not visible from the road, a result of the ubiquitous ‘hedgerow’ …

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peering over hedgerows (image from Street View)

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Fortunately, there are weird trees at intervals …

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eerie tree near Talland (image from Street View)

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and places where the trees make tunnels of the road …

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narrow road and natural archway (image from Street View)

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natural archway (image from Street View)

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Best View:  Church in Talland …  I tried using pen with the watercolour …  I love the big cloud … but the gravestones a bit thin and wavy …

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July 18, 2013 ‘church in Talland’ Jane Tims

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and the waves at Talland Bay … these waves have some frothiness compared to my painting of the beach at Millendreath (see post for August 7, 2013) …

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July 19, 2013 ‘waves at Talland Bay’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013   Jane Tims

hills and harbours 7-9

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One advantage of a virtual cycling trip – a day like today is not exhausting in spite of steep roads.  Visiting the city of Looe involves biking from the higher land around St. Martin, down into the valley where Looe is situated.  Leaving Looe means biking up a very steep hill until you reach the high land again.

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houses along West Looe Hill … a long way to the top of the hill (image from Street View)

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7-9 1 journal

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7-9 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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Looe is from a Cornish word meaning ‘deep water inlet’.  The River Looe divides the town into East and West.

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approaching Looe from the east (image from Street View)

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The town is a busy port.  Life seems to be centered around the river and the bridge crossing the river …

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bridge over Looe River (image from Street View)

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Sail boats anchor just off Quay Road …

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view along Quay Road (image from Street View)

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It can’t always be fun to live at the base of a steep hill …

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what happened to the white car? (image from Street View)

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Best View: a composite of two places on West Looe Hill … a garden of shrubs and ferns …

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and a view of a quaint stone stairway …

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I think they blended well into a single painting …

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July 15, 2013  'West Looe Hill'   Jane Tims

July 15, 2013 ‘West Looe Hill’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

on the beach at Millendreath 7-8

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church at St. Martin (image from Street View)

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7-8 1 journal

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map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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On Day 8 of my virtual bike trip along the coast of Cornwall, I did three watercolors of the countryside.  I can’t keep this up, but for now, I am enjoying learning about watercolor technique.  My plan is to practice, using the scenes of Cornwall as my inspiration, and later, do a series of watercolors ‘en plein air‘ in an area of New Brunswick I know well.

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I began my biking in Millendreath on the beach looking toward Looe Island.  I love the band of red seaweed, left by the waves at high tide.  My waves need work – I have tried leaving white space and then highlighting the areas later with Titanium White, but this does not allow for splashy detail in the waves.  I plan to try a product called ‘resist’ – it keeps small areas free of paint until it is removed.  The name Millendreath sounds like it comes straight from the Lord of the Rings  …

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July 13, 2013  'beach at Millendreath'   Jane Tims

July 13, 2013 ‘beach at Millendreath’ Jane Tims

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In St. Martin, I passed by the Parish church …

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July 13, 2013  'Parish Church, St. Martin'  Jane Tims

July 13, 2013 ‘Parish Church, St. Martin’ Jane Tims

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On the high land above Millendreath, the scenes are of distant hills and fields …

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July 13, 2013  'countryside near St. Martin'  Jane Tims

July 13, 2013 ‘countryside near St. Martin’ Jane Tims

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Copyright   2013   Jane Tims

along Looe Hill 7-7

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stairs along Looe Hill (image from Street View)

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7-7 1 journal

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map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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Looe Hill (pronounced to rhyme with ‘who’) is probably the most magical, interesting place I have discovered so far on my virtual journey.  Much of the length of the road is a narrow path between high banks.  The overhanging trees must create a microclimate where wildflowers and ferns thrive …

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ferns and flowers on the road banks of Looe Hill (image from Street View)

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More open sections of the road show the steep terrain …

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Gorse on Looe Hill (image from Street View)

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Best View:  leafy tunnel on Looe Hill …  I like this watercolor, especially the ferns, done using a dry brush to pull color from the fern shape, and the way the light varies across the painting  …

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July 10, 2013 ‘Looe Hill’ Jane Tims

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This image provided the inspiration …

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road on Looe Hill (image from Street View)

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Another magical view was of ‘caves’ created by the overhanging vines.  I made two attempts at this … the first was a disaster.  I like the second attempt (below) but it fails to capture the ‘caveness’ of the view.  I like the vines, done by dipping the head of a carved eraser in the paint !!!

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This is the inspiration for the painting …

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vine ‘caves’ on Looe Hill (image from Street View)

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Copyright  2013   Jane Tims

writing a novel – objects and symbols

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Title: unknown

Working Title: Saving the Landing Church

Setting: a writers’ retreat, including an abandoned church

Characters: main character Sadie, a writer; her husband Tom; people from the community

Plot: the story of how Sadie tries to win over a community in order to preserve an abandoned church

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If you are new to following my Blog, you may not know I have been writing a novel since last November.  If you have followed my Blog for some time, you may be wondering if I have abandoned my novel for the world of watercolor painting – not so.

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abandoned church near Knowlesville, New Brunswick

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I am on Draft Six.  I have taken the comments of my readers and members of my writing groups to heart, considered them carefully and made many revisions in the Fifth and Sixth Drafts.  I have also paid careful attention to three workshops I attended on writing fiction.

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One of these workshops was exceptionally thought provoking, teaching me to look at elements of my book in a new way.

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Our instructor at this course suggested we pay particular attention to the objects mentioned in our writing.  Mentioned once, an object, such as a table, is just a table.  Mentioned twice, it becomes a symbol, and the reader remembers the first mention of the object and draws understanding from the symbolism.    So a table may be remembered for the people siting at it and the subject of their conversation.  Perhaps it becomes a symbol for family, for example.  If, in the second mention, someone breaks the table by putting too much weight on it, this may make a comment on the idea of family in the story.  By breaking the table, the family may be damaged or broken.  The use of symbols deepens meanings and helps the plot reverberate throughout the writing.

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The instructor also said that symbols operate like mini sub-plots throughout the story.  These mini-plots echo the main plot, and the objects change in a way that illuminates the main plot.  The mini-plots also tend to occur in three ‘beats’, providing a beginning, middle and end.  For example, the table is bought at an auction, broken and finally mended.

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In this round of edits, I have tried to examine the use of symbols in my novel.  To do this, I built a list of the objects I have used as symbols.  Then I looked for their occurrence in the novel to see if I could identify three ‘beats’ and a mini sub-plot.  In some cases, I identified gaps – fixing these has helped me to solidify my overall plot and improve the understanding of my readers.

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lych gate and rock wall, Hampton

a lych gate is one of the objects I use as a symbol in my novel

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This is a short version of my list of some of the objects/symbols in my book.  When I assembled the list, the items in red were missing and I had to fill out the story accordingly.  Perhaps you can use this method to help strengthen the narrative in your own fiction.

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Object Symbolism Occurrence   (Chapter Numbers) Mini-plot
long bench togetherness 11 21 23 bench moves from private to communal space; people start working together
stained glass relationship between sacred and   secular 1 9 23 stained glass window breaks and is repurposed; the sacred becomes the secular
lych gate death 1 9 20 lych gate falls into decay; fear of death is no longer the driving factor in a family
red shoes respect 1 9 21 community’s view of main character is altered
minister’s collar mentorship 1 15 21 although he leaves the church, a minister grows as mentor to a family and the community
blue plastic truck secular within the sacred 3 11 21 a plastic toy becomes an object worthy of protection; the secular becomes the sacred
Jasper the dog companionship 8 16 19 a new dog helps build a family
air fern in a swan vase ability to change (a sea-creature   poses as a fern) 3 8 23 something unwanted becomes valuable

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Jasper the dog was a late addition to my novel, but he opened up so many story possibilities, I’m glad he came to be one of the characters

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Each time I add something new to the narrative, I have to make other edits in consequence.  However, I find these changes are worth the effort since they contribute to building the story.

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Have you considered the use of objects as symbols in your writing?

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 3, 2013 at 7:13 am

Downderry by the sea 7-6

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my first view of Downderry (image from Street View)

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7-6 1 map

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map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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Downderry is a charming town, tucked beside the sea …

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houses in Downderry (image from Street View)

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My virtual memories of Downderry will be of stone walls …

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gardens along Downderry street (image from Street View)

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hillside gardens …

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hillside gardens (image from Street View)

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and a charming red brick church …

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Downderry church (image from Street View)

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Best View:  a lilac in front of a white house …

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July 4, 2013 ‘Lilacs, Downderry’ Jane Tims

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and a Horse Chestnut tree beside Downderry Church …

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July 5, 2013 ‘Downderry Church’ Jane Tims

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Then, onward to Seaton and a backward view at Seaton Beach from Looe Hill …

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July 6, 2013 ‘Seaton Beach’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 2, 2013 at 7:07 am

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