nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘myth and mystery’ Category

creepy camera

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Today as I was making trips to the bird feeders, I set my camera down in the entry-way. I did fumble with it a bit as I left, trying to turn it off.

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Later, as I went through my bird-feeder photos, I found this in with the rest of the files. The photo is one frame of a one minute video. Me, leaving to go outside.

Creepy camera.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

March 12, 2018 at 7:00 am

ordinary magic

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Is there magic in your life? In mine, there is magic. Not the kind of magic where the course of events is influenced by mysterious forces but rather, a quality that makes something seem removed from everyday life, in a way that gives delight.

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Although I am a biologist and understand that even the magical can usually be described in concrete terms, I prefer to not try to ‘puzzle out’ at least some of the ‘magic’ in my life. After all, what is more delightful and truly mysterious than a six-sided snowflake, the pattern of veins in a basil leaf, the smell of lavender at bedtime, the pungent, cold-busting taste of turmeric, or a line in a movie that brings tears to your eyes.

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When I wrote the poem below, I was playing Dungeons and Dragons regularly and keeping watch for the magical in life. I still have the small blue jar with the magical false bottom.

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ordinary magic

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small blue jar

emptied of face cream

has a false bottom when held to the light

a bright inverted inner shell

hovers untouchable

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the peel of an orange

spurts flammable oil

cantrips of fire

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press a shell to your ear

murmur of ocean

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

January 31, 2018 at 7:22 am

ghost stories

with 10 comments

Although I hesitate to write this post, I am trying to go through my older poems and think about them a little. The next one on the list (I am working backwards through the alphabet) is called ‘visitations’. The subject matter is a bit ghostly.

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I do not generally believe in ghosts although I do believe in phenomena if that makes sense. A phenomenon is defined as a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.

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I have experienced many phenomena in my life. Odd things that seem to have some particular significance at the time. My mother, who also had such experiences, called them “comforts from heaven.”

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Here are a couple of examples from my own life:

  • After my mom died, a little yellow bird came almost every day to peck at our windows (not a goldfinch, in spite of the drawing below). After that year, I never saw it again.
  • Once I bought a handmade quilt at an auction and laid it over our upper loft railing. One night I came out to the hall in the dark, touched the quilt and heard the following words, quite distinctly: “Henry, come in to supper!” I don’t know anyone named Henry.
  • When she was alive, my aunt and I had a contest to see who could lose the most weight. My aunt told me to pick an item from her home as the ‘prize’. I know she was disappointed when I chose a little framed picture of a waterfall she had won as a prize in Sunday School in 1937. Neither of us lost any weight so the prize was never claimed. After her death, we retrieved some boxes from her estate. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the box in the trunk of my car and the little picture of the waterfall was the top item.
  • Once when I was staying away from home, I heard the front door open and footsteps, crossing the tile floor. I expected to see someone else and instead a little girl with ringlets came into my view, reached up for the doorknob of the adjacent bedroom and went inside. There were no children in the house at the time and I was terrified.
  • My husband had his own weird experience on our local covered bridge. He was crossing the narrow bridge one day in our truck and was alarmed to see another car enter the bridge. He was certain there would be a crash but the other car, an older V-8 model, squeezed right by. My husband, knowing there was no way two vehicles could pass in the bridge, had to stop the truck at the other side of the bridge, he was shaking so hard.

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Now every one of these experiences could be explained. Probably a vivid imagination is part of that explanation. But I do believe in the phenomenon. Have you had any experiences of your own?

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visitations

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moonlight on birch

stark shadows

words precise on the page

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her tread heavy

she reaches for the door

opens, ringlets close as a spring

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lengthen, what else is possible?

hand touches a quilt, a voice asks

a practical question, distilled in velvet

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a small yellow bird

at the window

every morning for a year

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

 

 

Written by jane tims

January 26, 2018 at 7:00 am

the joy of writing

with 6 comments

I have been absent from my blog for a week. Tied up in the sheer enjoyment of writing my fantasy tale.

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dock-winder-inspects-odymn

an illustration of the interaction between the main character of my story and a Dock-winder alien

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I have discovered that there are two main parts to writing: the writing itself and the ‘administration’. The administration includes the editing, the creation of other materials associated with the writing (for me, drawings, maps and covers), the search for publication, the preparatory work toward publication, and the marketing (readings, selling books, making sure the cat doesn’t destroy your boxes of books).

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Although some of the administration is fun, it is the writing I love to do. This includes the research and the joy of creating the characters, the story, the plot, the various drafts.

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This project has been particularly involving. Perhaps it is the creation of an entirely new world. Perhaps the freedom of building characters I have not known before. Perhaps the thrill of writing in a genre I have always enjoyed reading but felt hesitant to write.

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odymn

the main character in the book – a practitioner of parkour and a woman who has hung on to hope in spite of adversity

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My story is simple. It is about a young woman who wants freedom and sets out on a search for that freedom. The plot is a little more complicated. In her search she encounters a man who seems to share her purpose. Adventures and romance ensue.

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So far I have

  • the first in what I hope will be a series of three stories
  • most of the first draft of the second story because it informs the first … in the writing of the second story I discover needed elements of the world I’ve created
  • a cover design … one of the tasks ahead is to create a painting from my design
  • a description of the planet Meniscus
  • a map of the part of Meniscus in my story
  • a glossary since some of the words in the story are unique to the created world – units of measurement, plants and animals, and so on
  • a condensed guide to the main language used on the planet  (everything in the text is translated but having a dictionary is just fun)
  • drawings to illustrate some of the action in the story

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a map to go with the story

a map to go with the story

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My plans are to pull this all together and venture into the world of self-publishing. I have a friend who has lots of experience with Amazon publishing and is willing to share his ability.

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I have also hired an editor to work with me on the project so my book will be the best it can be.

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book-cover

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I will be looking for some beta-readers, so if you are a regular reader, like sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and adventure, and enjoy reading accessible poetry, let me know by leaving a request in the comments, including a little about your reading life and genre preferences, and whether you have been a beta-reader before.

From this I will choose a few beta-readers and I will exchange what I hope is a great read for some feedback.

A beta-reader provides general comments on readability, identifies parts of the story not easily understood, points out any ‘bugs’, and lets me know what they enjoyed/disliked about the book.

The book will be short (9,500 words) and about 100 pages (stretched out since it is written in poetic lines and includes illustrations and a map). There is some violent content, sexual content and alien profanity, so beware.

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Back to writing. And ‘administrative’ duties!

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

November 28, 2016 at 7:46 am

two alien characters

with 7 comments

In my fantasy tale I have included several alien species. Two of these are in the category of ‘bad guys’. Neither species is sympathetic to human ideals and concerns.

  1. The Dock-winders are intelligent aliens, natives of the planet Meniscus and primarily interested in the economics of buying and selling other sentient beings. They are called Dock-winders because, when they invaded Earth, their long necks reminded people of the big tie-ups at ships’ wharves.
  2. The Gel-heads are also aliens of the planet Meniscus. No one would call them intelligent. They are mostly interested in enjoying themselves and letting others do their work for them. Through the eons they have settled into a trading relationship with the Dock-winders. They are called Gel-heads because their skin is green, transparent and gelatinous, allowing their skulls and musculature to show through.

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Drawing these aliens was fun, but I realise I am in the trap of copying humanoid characteristics such as bi-symmetry, bi-pedalism and head-near-the-top. Two eyes, a nose and a mouth. Oh well, all in fun.

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scan0033

Dock-winders try to look benign and naïve. They blink a lot.

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Gel-heads cannot hide the cavities in their teeth.

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I am glad I will never have to meet up with either species.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims  

Written by jane tims

November 18, 2016 at 7:49 am

choosing book covers and titles

with 2 comments

I was recently at a writing workshop about independent (or self) publishing. The instructor took us through an interesting exercise … creation of a book title and book cover for a story. Each of us was asked to provide the potential name of a book and a verbal description of the book’s cover. The audience tried to guess the book genre, general plot and story.

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This exercise illustrated how important it is for writers considering independent publication of their work to chose titles and book covers carefully. This would be a great exercise for anyone trying to see if their ideas get a good initial reader response.

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I provided the title for my new fantasy tale: Meniscus

and a verbal description of the following cover sketch:

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horizon

 

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Most people guessed correctly that this will be a Science-fiction/Fantasy (I think the alien sky helped). They also thought the book might be about an encounter between alien species.

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Only two people in the audience knew what ‘meniscus’ meant.

Google provides the following definition:

me·nis·cus
noun
Physics
– the curved upper surface of a liquid in a tube.
Optics
– a lens that is convex on one side and concave on the other
Anatomy
– a thin, fibrous cartilage between the surfaces of some joints
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The word is an apt description of the plot of the story since the main character is in the liminal place of passing from one style of life into another, from a life of servitude into one of freedom. A meniscus is also descriptive of water at its interface with air – my setting is a planet (named Meniscus) where water and air do not behave themselves as they do on Earth.
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Probably Meniscus is not a very good title for a book all by itself since it would only mean something to a few potential readers. So, in the tradition of fantasy novels, I think I will add a sub-title and call my book Meniscus: Crossing The Churn. If I continue to like this cover, I will do a painting for the actual cover of the book. If I publish it, I will use my first name since this is a different genre from my poetry book.
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book-cover
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So what is The Churn? …. stayed tuned!
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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

November 16, 2016 at 7:00 am

three fantasy characters

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On Friday, I introduced my current writing and drawing project – creation of a short fantasy tale. The story is about a young woman who tries to trade an old life for a new. The setting is an alien planet named Meniscus. I have three main characters:

  1. The young woman is a Human named Odymn. Odymn is in her thirties, living a life of servitude on Meniscus. Every night she escapes confinement to practice her passion of parkour.  Parkour is the discipline of moving through the landscape in the most efficient way possible, running, jumping, vaulting, climbing and rolling. The discipline involves strength, endurance and flexibility and has allowed Odymn to reclaim and have control over at least one part of her life. Odymn has bright red hair which is about to get her into a lot of trouble.
  2. The man she meets during one of her parkour adventures is a genetically enhanced human, a Eu-hominid. He is a rover, moving from place to place to earn his living. He wears a special kind of armour and weaponry which taps into the electrical forces in his body. He has strength and endurance but almost no flexibility. He does not engage in idle chatter, to say the least. So far he has no name, so I just refer to him as Eu-hom. It’s OK if you are thinking names are not my strong point!
  3. After some encounters with other hominids and creatures on the planet, Odymn and Eu-hom set off on some adventures. At one point they encounter Wen-le-gone, a sentient, passive, furry creature known as an Argenop. Wen-le-gone adopts Odymn as his friend but does not warm to the Eu-hom, not at all.

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Now that you have met my characters, I’ll show you what they look like.

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odymn

Odymn has a peculiar scar on her forehead. How she got the scar and what it means to her is part of the story.

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eu-hom

The Eu-hom is a rather serious character, not much of a conversationalist and not easy to befriend.

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wen-le-gone

The Argenop, Wen-le-gone, is the village healer and sage. Looks a little like my cat.

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Next time, I’ll show you drawings of some of the other humanoids and creatures of Planet Meniscus.

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2016

Written by jane tims

November 14, 2016 at 7:29 am

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