nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for January 2022

A little genealogy: where my ancestors once lived …

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I am interested in the history of my family and I have decided to link that with my exercise program. I am again using my stationary bike to improve my fitness and using Street View (Google Earth) to travel virtually as I cycle. It is a great way to pass time and avoid getting bored with the cycle.

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I have chosen to ‘travel’ in Scotland since that is where one branch of my family comes from. In the mid-1800s, John Clark and Jane Cooper traveled with their children to Nova Scotia, Canada. They lived in the Insch (Aberdeenshire) area of Scotland and records say that Keig, south of Insch, is a possible birthplace of my three greats-grandfather in about 1799.

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Have a look at my wellness blog to find out more about my exploration of Keig, Scotland …

Enjoy your mini-tour of the roads where my ancestors may once have walked.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 25, 2022 at 7:00 am

working on a poetry manuscript

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This week, I am assembling a new poetry book in the ‘a glimpse of…’ series. The first two books, a glimpse of water fall and a glimpse of dragon gave readers a peek at some of the beautiful waterfalls in New Brunswick and the bits of magic in all our lives. A glimpse of sickle moon will explore the seasons in New Brunswick. The manuscript won Third Place in the 2020 New Brunswick Writers’ Federation Competition for the Alfred G. Bailey Prize.

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The poetry book presents fifteen years of seasons, each presented as four poems about spring, summer, winter and fall. The poems about spring talk about floodwaters, under-story flowers and waking from hibernation. Summer poems tell about hurricanes, picking raspberries and sheep in the morning meadows. Fall poems explore first frost, wasp nests, fading flowers and ripening blackberries. And in winter–ice caves, snow drifts, walks in the falling snow and feeding birds.

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I have struggled with how to present these poems. I thought of making each suite of four represent a year in my own life and entitling the section 1978, 1980, 1996, 2012 and so on. I thought about titling each section as a special year–‘The Year of the Path,’ ‘The Year of the Groundhog,’ and so on. I have finally settled on a title drawn from a common theme in the four poems presented–‘paths through tangled woods,’ ‘where shadows meet,’ and ‘a sliver from full.’

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For the cover, I will create a painting of the crescent moon, seen through the branches of birch trees. The image below is a facsimile.

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All my best as you work on your own project.

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 14, 2022 at 7:00 am

new mystery series

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As my forth Kaye Eliot Mystery nears publication, I have begun work on another mystery series. These Urban Mysteries will feature the cities I have known, for example, Halifax and Fredericton. Each will feature a young professional woman who is thrown into a mystery not of her own choosing.

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One of the Urban Mysteries will feature the Victoria Circle roundabout in Fredericton.

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These books will be short (novella sized, between 15,000 and 20,000 words) and illustrated. They will feature some of the folks we see every day in our cities–the police, the shop owners, the homeless, the university students. Urban climbers and lovers of parkour will also make it into some of the stories.

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These mysteries were fun to write since I have used many of my own haunts and experiences in the writing.

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Another story will be focused on the old Saint John General Hospital, now demolished.
This model of the Dome that once topped the building is from Pieces of Saint John.

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Another feature of these stories is that I consider them Meniscus Peripherals, in other words, they are written in the same universe as my Meniscus Science Fiction Series. They are not at all about outer space, but each story will include a short mention of an alien abduction and each story gives the circumstances around the abduction from Earth of one of the characters in my Meniscus books: Tagret the chemist (Book 5), Rist the Slain (Book 5), Belnar the Slain (Book 2), Blue-Eye-Brown (Book 11) and Aagle (Book 11).

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The first of the Urban Mysteries will come out in June, 2022.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 7, 2022 at 7:00 am

coat hanger

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My most recent poetry book, a glimpse of dragon, includes several poems about the mystery and magic of the night sky. One of the most interesting star groupings I have seen is Collinder 399, also known as Brocchi’s Coathanger. Its ten stars look a lot like a little upside-down coat hanger. The grouping is not a true star cluster or constellation, but is considered an asterism — just a random pattern of stars. To see the asterism, you need a dark, summer sky. Find the Summer Triangle (the triangle created by Altair, Vega and Deneb) and Collinder 399 is near the line between Vega and Altair. On my back deck, it can be found by facing south, and looking along the roof ridge of our house, so I can always find it at the right time of year. 

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(Source: Wikimedia Commons, Petr Novak)

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Here is a poem about the asterism from a glimpse of dragon:

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coat hangers

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1.

metal hangers aggravate

refuse to cooperate

they are

jangled, tangled

twisted

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2.

her closet has

grace

padded satin hangers

plumped

muffled

kind to arthritic hands

pearl buttons to keep

her dresses from slipping to the floor

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3.

Brocchis’ Coathanger Cluster

between Altair and Vega –

with binoculars

this fuzzy patch of light resolves

to ten splendid stars

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suspends the fabric of sky –

a strong little hanger

with an oversized hook

upside-down

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To get a copy of a glimpse of dragon, take a trip to Westminster Books in Fredericton, or order from Amazon https://www.amazon.ca/glimpse-dragon-Jane-Spavold-Tims/dp/B09M5KYBS3.

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Hurry up summer sky!

All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 5, 2022 at 7:00 am

stained glass

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Of all the media I have tried, working with glass has been the most satisfying, the most dangerous, the most fun, and the most dangerous. Did I say I think this medium is dangerous?

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In 1995, I took a course in making stained glass. I had visions of completing a box light for above our bar. Something with parrots fluttering among broad Monstera leaves. In those days I was in full decorating mode and the home bar was to be called ‘le parroquet.’ It had a large artificial tree, vines from the ceiling, a three-panel diorama of African plain, a life-long collection of Tarzan books, and dozens of parrot bric-a-brac: parrot-shaped mugs, stir sticks and cushions. Some of this still exists, but the only part of the bar light completed was a lone parrot, unfettered by vines and leaves.

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As I worked with the glass, I dreaded my sessions more and more. First I worried about being cut by the glass. Part of the process means scoring and breaking the glass into needed shapes. I actually never cut myself, but I worried that I would.

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For ten years of my professional career, I worked in the field of air quality, so I was sensitive to issues of inhalation of particulates and gasses. As I honed the edges of the pieces of glass, I was aware that the process sent a fine glass powder into the air. I wore a mask, but felt lingering glass particles might be a result of the process. Next, the process involved laying down of lead solder between the bits of glass: use of flux and solder added to my air quality concerns.

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In the end, I worked with stained glass less and less, and today, I have only a few pieces to represent my foray into making of stained glass. I know there are many stained glass artisans who work safely with beautiful results. But the medium was not for me.

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Nevertheless, I can continue to ‘work’ with stained glass in my writing life. The next Kaye Eliot Mystery will be titled Stained Glass and will feature a stained glass artist who uses his medium to tell the story of a mystery four decades old. Working with stained glass may be dangerous, but hanging around with this particular stained glass artist might be dangerous too!

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Stained Glass is now in the proof and beta-reading stage, so it will be published by March, 2022. For those who have enjoyed the previous Kaye Eliot Mysteries, this will be an enjoyable read. If you haven’t followed the mystery-loving family before, have a look at How Her Garden Grew here.

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All my best,

and no cut fingers!

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 3, 2022 at 7:00 am

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