nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘abandoned spaces’ Category

tweeting about writing

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Every day, I write. Today I worked on the story for Book Six in the Meniscus SeriesMeniscus:Encounter with the Emenpod. I also did some editing of an upcoming mystery novel I refer to as HHGG. Tomorrow I will be writing poetry for a series about abandoned communities and what happens to plants in abandoned gardens.

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Working back and forth like this between projects at various stages of completion is a great strategy for me. I never get bored, I never get writers’ block and I think shifting projects keeps my writing brain refreshed.

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Besides blogging, I participate in Twitter, sending a tweet almost every day to #amwriting … if you’d like to find out what my writing life is like, follow me at @TimsJane … I report on what I am doing and share a bit of writing wisdom. I’d love it if you would follow along!

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A little about the mystery novel since I tweet most often about it. HHGG is one I wrote in 1997. I have learned a lot since then, so editing makes me laugh. HHGG is about a woman and her two kids who seek summer solace at her old family home. She never dreams she is walking into a village rife with mysteries, some of them stretching back more than a century. I have a few human antagonists, but one who is anything but human!

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Hope you are enjoying your summer and your own writing life!

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All the best,

Jane.

abandoned buildings

with 2 comments

We are living in a time when many of our older buildings are reaching the end of their useful lives. Old churches, old covered bridges, old schools and old houses are everywhere, facing the indignity of old age. So many succumb, end up in landfills or as rotting derelicts. Yet these are buildings where history whispers. Buildings with stories to tell, our stories.

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abandoned church

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highbush cranberry

first, fruit hard and green

then, red, ready for wine

then shriveled raisins

hang on a leafless vine

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the wick of a candle stub

competes with cobwebs

for thickness, thin sunlight

oozes, amber glass, a saber

along the empty aisle

threatens motes

in stale air undisturbed

where stray wind never

finds its way

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deconsecrated and so

not desecrated when mice

squeeze under the threshold

gnaw at the pulpit, or when

vines whisper

vague obscenities

at the lintel, tap on glass

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stripped of cross and steeple

people, prayers

stained glass and benches

removed and sold at auction

mice pause at their industry

to assess ambiguous whispers

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the young girl who sat on the stair

sang a song to her mother

the warden who argued to fix

the seep in the roof

the Minister

who stuttered

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

March 5, 2018 at 7:00 am

changing communities

with 7 comments

Last week we went for a drive to the Cornhill Nursery in Kings County to buy a new cherry tree for our yard. Afterwards we took a drive to visit some of the old communities in the area. One of these communities, Whites Mountain, was a rural farming community with 17 families in 1866 (New Brunswick Provincial Archives). By 1898 the community had one post office, one church and 100 people. Today the community consists of a few farms and residences, perched on a steep hillside overlooking the hilly landscape of northern Kings County.

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On the road descending Whites Mountain, Kings County, overlooking the broad Kennebecasis Valley (September 2016)

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One of the most interesting sights on our drive may also be evidence of the farmsteads formerly in the area.  Although Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch.) is native to North America, in this area it is usually associated with human habitation. In the thick woods north of the community, we found Virginia Creeper in profusion, covering the surface of the trees.

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Although there is only forest here now, perhaps the ancestors of these vines covered barns and other buildings in the area.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

 

first and last and in between

with 12 comments

beautiful notebooks

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This past Saturday, I worked to create a manuscript of some poems I have written on the theme of discarded and abandoned elements of life and landscape.

There are 38 poems in the rough manuscript, making up about 50 pages.  The poems are a study of change.  They include poems about abandoned boats, roads, churches, toolboxes, sheds, trucks, bridges and so on.

I have published a few of these on this blog … for an example, see ‘Foggy Molly’, a poem about an abandoned boat (https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/abandoned-boat/ ).

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abandoned fishing boat

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Part of creating this manuscript is to put the poems in order.  I find it hard to decide how to arrange 38 poems so they flow, one into the other, and so they tell a story.

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1. My first step is to print a table of contents of the rough manuscript.  I read each poem through and assign a couple of key words to describe it, jotting these into the table of contents.  For my 38 poems on abandonment, I obtained 27 key words.  Many of these are shared by various poems, but a few are unique to one or two poems.  My key words are, in no particular order:

lost ways, regret, grown over, barriers, evidence, sadness, history, haunted, adaptation, voice, intention, anger, change, memory, denial, improvement, new life, lost function, buildings, items, understanding, cruel, resistance, life/death, shock, keeping past, lost/misplaced, broken

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metal bridge on the South Nation River

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2. Next, I put everything into a table, with Xs to show which key words fit each poem.  This does not take too long to do and helps me consider the meaning of each poem.  Below is just a small section of my table:

Poem Title lost ways regret grown over barriers evidence sadness history haunted adaptation
Recovery X X X X
Reason for Leaving X X X X X
South Nation Bridge X X X
Outfield X X
Diverted road X X
Invitation to tea X X X X X
Lane X X
Abandoned church X X

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3.  Once I have the table created, I tally the Xs in the columns and decide which key words are most common.  Key words occurring in more than 10 poems are shown in bold:

lost ways, regret, Grown over, barriers, evidence, sadness, history, haunted, adaptation, decay, intention, anger, change, memory, denial, improvement, new life, lost function, buildings, items, understanding, cruel, resistance, life/death, shock, keeping past, lost/misplaced, broken

The words that apply to almost every poem usually speak to the theme of the poetry collection:  in this case, the words ‘change’, ‘memory’ and ‘lost function’ were very common, no surprise in a collection about things abandoned.  Other key words, common to a few poems, suggest possible themes for the sub-sections.

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1941 International

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4. My next step is to look at the key words and see what themes ‘speak’ to me.  I also want to have a progression of ideas through the manuscript.  In this case, some of the poems are sad and rather hopeless, while some show how abandonment leads to understanding, and, in some cases, to new purpose and new life.  From the key words, I selected six sub-sections: ‘lost ways’, ‘decay’, ‘haunted’, ‘broken’, ‘understanding’ and ‘new life’.

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5. Now comes the long work of re-ordering the manuscript.  I create a new document and, one at a time, transfer the poems into their new sections.

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6. I like to name each section, taking the name from a line in one of the poems in the section.  These may change later, but for now, they give me a reference within each group of poems:

lost ways – ‘overgrown …’

decay – ‘left to rust …’

haunted – ‘ghosts are lonely here …’

broken – ‘dry putty, broken glass …’

understanding – ‘the rock to stand on …’

new life – ‘a turn towards horizon …’

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February 11. 2014 'old shed near Charlo'   Jane Tims

February 11. 2014 ‘old shed near Charlo’ Jane Tims

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Today, I will begin a read of the manuscript to see how the poems flow within their sections.  Many revisions are ahead, but this is my favorite part of the work!

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Have you ever gathered poems into a manuscript and did you use any particular method to decide the order of the poems?

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

January 19, 2015 at 7:38 am

abandoned meeting house

with 10 comments

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the meeting house

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crooked clapboards

doors nailed shut

remember

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they argued

into the supper hour

words threaded, knotted

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violent voices

eyes wool, ears cotton, lips

flax flayed to linen

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over wages paid

to the man who splits

the wood, stokes the fire

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at home, needles

slid, silent, through layers

of quilting

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women forgot their thimbles

pricked thumbs

left blood on fabric

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 5, 2014 at 7:37 am

star gazing comfort

with 8 comments

Usually in mid-August, we go out for an evening or two to get a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower.  This annual meteor shower is the result of the Earth’s passage through the Perseid cloud, debris of the comet Swift-Tuttle.  This year I sat at the end of our driveway on the evening predicted to be the peak of the shower and saw one bright and very sparkly meteor streaking from overhead toward the south-east.

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I have waited a while to do this post because I wanted to take a particular photo.  Last week, I finally saw the item I wanted, an old couch put out on the lawn.  I wrote the poem below in mid-August several years ago, after I saw a group of students sitting on just such a couch, presumably waiting to see the meteor shower.

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abandoned sofa on a lawn

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sofa on the lawn

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seemed a fine idea

comfy spot to watch

the Perseids do

their August light show

but

clouded over

we ran indoors

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the sofa became

a sponge to sop the rain

a field mouse free-for-all

dog-eared page

from a promising read

worse smell than fleece soaked

in skunky ale

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epic fail

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'a comet'

May 4, 2012 ‘a comet’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

September 19, 2014 at 4:11 pm

abandoned railroad siding

with 4 comments

Viceroy on rail

Viceroy on rail

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abandoned railroad siding

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a  viceroy butterfly, orange

leaded glass

and rows of wary eyes

naturally suspicious

settles on the slate-grey rail

flexes its wings, nonchalant

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as the black bear who

ambled the track

left a dump

of blackberry seed

undigested pulp

or the enthusiastic jumble of clovers

blooming between the ties

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rails are held between the trill

of insect and the quaver

of goldenrod, caught in the crossfire of sun

light focused through

signal lenses

and glass insulators

on unstrung

telephone poles

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turn toward horizon

rails merge and vanish

altered stride of railroad

walking made confident

by the absence of train

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railway crossing

railway crossing

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railway near Rooth, New Brunswick

railway near Rooth, New Brunswick

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

July 4, 2014 at 7:42 am

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