nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for April 2020

reading in isolation

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For a writer, retired from the daily commute, living in isolation from others has not been very hard. I have kept in touch with my family by phone, with my writing groups by Messenger, and with other friends through Facebook. When I am not writing, I watch TV or read aloud to my husband and we occasionally go for short drives. I’ve also taken an on-line writing course on Monday and Thursday evenings. Sometimes I sew, sometimes I blog. Rarely I take on my cleaning duties. There is always lots to do.

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Reading has been a true solace in these times of isolation. I have a Kobo for bedtime reading and a Kindle for the living room. And there is always a stack of books by the reading chair. I love British detective series like those of Ann Granger, Anne Cleeves and Elly Griffiths. I also love Science Fiction, most recently Vicki Holt’s Hunted on Predator Planet.

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What’s a comfortable chair without a book?

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So what is it about reading that is so involving? Part of this is setting, being transported to the misty sea-bound Shetland Islands, or the tentacled and mucky landscape of a distant planet. Part is about characters, getting to know people who face heart-pounding danger, or who solve mysteries by fitting clue to clue. Part is about story, a mix of circumstance and fate with twists and turns and an ending you never see coming.

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I have been known to lose myself in a good book. Once I settled in my car at a local park to read and forgot to return to work!

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Other people are reading lots too. I have seen a bit of a spike in book sales on Amazon. It is one of the pleasures of being a writer, knowing that I can bring a bit of escapism and solace to my readers.

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If you want to lose yourself in a book series, try my Meniscus Series. It’s a bit different. The stories are written in narrative poetry in a style that is compact and accessible. There are maps, a glossary and an alien dictionary in each book. All my books are illustrated.

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The Meniscus Series is about humans trying to overcome a dystopian reality on an alien planet. The story unfolds over several books and the theme is building relationships, building community.

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All my best!

Stay in your bubble! Read on!

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 29, 2020 at 7:00 am

final touches

with 8 comments

So, after a month of organizing and sorting the poems in my ‘forty-years-of-writing bone pile,’ I have three illustrated books of poetry ready for the next step:

‘niche’ – poems about the spaces occupied by plants and animals, including humans, as they search for home. A good friend of mine has written the Foreword for ‘niche’ and I am looking forward to adding his name to the cover.

niche cover pp

‘blueberries and mink: summers on my grandfather’s farm’ – poems about life on the farm and the changes over the years.

Blueberries and mink cover pp

‘ghosts are lonely here’ – poems about abandoned buildings and other elements of the countryside.

ghosts are lonely here cover pp

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Now that I have everything sorted, I know I have more collections to work on, but this is enough for now. My computer is more organized than it has been in years..

The next step in the process is to request Proofs. Once I get these proofs, I will do one more round of edits and make a few final decisions on formatting. Then I will publish them, using KDP. I have no intention of marketing these. I will get enough copies for family and friends who would like to read them.

Requesting Proofs is tricky right now. Amazon has turned its efforts to making and shipping Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). I don’t mind being patient.

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Sample drawings from the three poetry books:

drosera cropped paperback

Dandy paperback

abandoned church

 

All my best

Staying in my bubble!

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 28, 2020 at 7:00 am

illustrating poetry

with 4 comments

I am in the process of creating several books of poetry from the many poems I have written over the years. I am now working on the third book, poems about life on my grandfather’s farm. The title will be ‘blueberries and mink’ since these were the main products of the farm.

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There are about forty poems in this collection. I have decided how I will order the poems and done much of the formatting. Since I illustrate the books I write, the next task is to pair the poems with drawings I have done.

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For some poems, as I wrote, I had an image in my head that my hands could draw. A good example is the poem ‘patience.’ One of the lines describes ‘staring down a cow.’ The drawing was fun to do.

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outstaring a cow paperback

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In some cases, a drawing I did for another purpose will find a home in my ‘blueberries and mink’ manuscript. An example is the drawing of old pop bottles I did for a blog post a few years ago. These bottles look much like the ones that used to sit on a window ledge in a shed at my grandfather’s farm.

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old pop bottles cropped

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Once I have inserted the formatted drawings into the book, I have to make sure they are distributed evenly through the book. Sometimes a poem and its drawing can be relocated. Sometimes I have to do another drawing to fill a gap.

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Next, from the drawings, I have to pick one for the cover of the book. I want the covers for these books to be similar in style with the book title and author name superimposed.

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A couple of the possible covers I am working on are shown below.

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poetry books

alt cover

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all my best,

staying home,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 24, 2020 at 7:00 am

mayflowers

with 2 comments

In spring it is always fun to put all your senses together and search out the elusive mayflower, also known as trailing arbutus. Epigaea repens grows in the open woods where I live. You usually have to search for the trailing leaves and lift them to find the flowers.

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mayflower 4

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touch: the leaves are furry on the underside and smooth above; the petals of the flower are waxy.

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smell: the flowers are fragrant with a sweet, almost heady perfume.

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sight: the flowers are white to faintly pink; leaves are green with coppery brown surfaces and edges.

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mayflowers crop

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Trailing Arbutus

(Epigaea repens L.)

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on the slope, new leaves

Trientalis, Gaultheria

Star-flower, Wintergreen,

vines of Partridge-berry creep

Maianthemum unfurls

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beneath the din, a melody

weeps Epigaea, evergreen

pressed to the hillside

leather armour, thickened leaves

weather-beaten, worn

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waxy bloom resists

subtle shadow

predator

unrelenting rain

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Mayflowers cropped

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all my best,

staying at home,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 22, 2020 at 7:00 am

Stay Home

with one comment

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Don’t know how many times

I can say it.

Stay home!”

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“Stay home?

What are you talking about?

I am rooted to the ground.

All I can do is

Stay Home.”

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“You can’t fool me.

I know you’ve been sneaking around.

Letting your roots grow

into all kinds of places.

Communicating with other trees.”

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“What are you talking about?

My tap root grows deep.

All I can do is

Stay Home.”

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“You can’t fool me.

I know you’ve been sneaking around.

Letting your leaves drop,

blow all over the woods.

Mixing with those of other trees.”

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“What are you talking about?

Can’t help it if my leaves are dry.

All I can do is

Stay Home.”

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“You can’t fool me.

I know you’ve been

conspiring with squirrels.

Spreading your acorns

all over the woods.

Mingling with other trees.”

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“What are you talking about?

I can’t be responsible

for what my children do.

All I can do is

Stay Home.”

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“All I can do

is repeat myself.

Stay Home.”

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All my best,

Jane

Staying Home!

Written by jane tims

April 13, 2020 at 7:00 am

raddit

with 5 comments

Rabbits have always been a part of my life. When I was young, in Alberta, rabbits (the white-tailed jackrabbit) overran the prairie and almost every evening, you could look out on the lawn and see them grazing. In New Brunswick, we often see rabbits (the snowshoe hare) along the roadside.

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When I was in Grade One, I was asked to submit my scribbler for a contest. The teacher, Mrs. MacDonald, said two things about my scribbler. First, I should look at my spelling of ‘rabbit.’ It occurred many times in the scribbler and everywhere I had spelled it ‘raddit.’ Second, she said to use an eraser to make the corrections. “Do not wet your finger and try to take out the two ds. It will leave a hole in your paper.”

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I had no eraser. And I wanted to win the scribbler contest. The teacher had mentioned the use of a wet finger as an eraser. Perhaps it would work. So I wet my finger and rubbed at the ds. You guessed it, I ended up with a hole in the scribbler page. I did not win the contest.

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snowshe hare paperback

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twitch

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grass, bent after rain

underside in dark, topside

rinsed in moonlight where

eight brown rabbits lope

from perimeter of prairie

eager for a nibble of green,

nip of delirium, dancing

in moonlight, whiskers

liberated to brush

cheeks in mobile

shadow, to make

transparent, long

ears, vein-lined

twitch, stand

erect, ear

hairs scan

for two-

or four-

legged

danger

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All my best,

staying home,

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

April 10, 2020 at 7:00 pm

ice

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As I go over the many poems I have written over the years, I find a lot of poems about ice. Ice is very poem-worthy. It glitters and drips. It is cold and changes form. Icicles make great popsicles (if they are dripping from a clean surface). Ice can be a metaphor for emotion, life experience, change, danger, and so on.

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Today we had a high of 7 degrees C and all the snow and ice are melting. Not really sad to see them go this year.

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river ice

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builds in shallows

at the rim of river, incremental

embellishment to transparent sheets

of glass, ice envelopes winter

remnants, reeds and willows

thickness increased as frost

penetrates, sharp edges

cauterized by cold

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branches and icicles paperback

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freezing rain

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trees, bare branches, wait

wood snaps in the stove

budgies peck at cuttle bone

pellets of rain, tossed

at the skylight

a second transparency

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bare twigs turn in wind

distribute their coating

in these last moments

before temperature turns

the snowpack on the picnic table

shrinks at the edges

shoves over, makes room

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branches gloss so gradually

candles dipped in a vat of wax

over and over, acquiring thickness

the sky, through the skylight

dimpled tile, rumpled mosaic

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rain stipples bark as narrative

appends to memory, pane here,

light there, layers of glass

cedar twigs turn downward

as fingers, ice builds

layers of skin

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All my best

(staying home!)

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 8, 2020 at 7:00 am

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