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poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

song of the Hermit thrush

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Every morning I listen at my window for the morning bird chorus. This morning, my first Hermit thrush of the year! It is my favorite of the bird songs, melodic and heavenly, phrases repeated in different keys.  A year ago, I heard the song and wrote the following poem. For the process I followed in writing this poem, see this.

Hermit thrush

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Catharus guttatus

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neither visceral nor guttural, ethereal

tip-toe in tree tops

air pulled into taffy thread

a flute in the forest

froth on a wave

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rain trembles on leaf tips

guttation drops on strawberry

a lifted curtain of mayflower

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I saw you there

hidden in the thicket 

and I followed

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climb the ladder and sing

then step to the rung below

heads up, thoughts of the new day

parting of the beak

pulse at the throat

hairs lift

at the nape

of the neck, fingers

warble the keys

between middle and ring

catharsis

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Published at http://www.janetims.com July 1, 2016

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

May 31, 2017 at 7:10 am

Fredericton’s Literary Festival — Word Feast

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This Thursday evening is the launch of Fredericton’s Word Feast, a literary festival to be held in Fredericton during the Week of September 18 – 24, 2017. Word Feast is expected to be an annual festival, featuring a lecture, workshops, seminars, readings, and other events.

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To launch this event, there will be an announcement party this Thursday June 1, 2017 at 7 PM in the Chickadee Hall of the Fredericton Public Library. Each of the main categories of literary events will be announced and there will be readings by some well-known Fredericton writers. Our readers will include Sue Sinclair, Kathy Goggin, Mark Jarman, and Paul McAllister. I will be reading from my poetry about wild edible plants. Everyone is welcome and the launch party is free!

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This will be an enjoyable evening and a chance to hear about the great line-up planned for Word Feast.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

May 28, 2017 at 7:54 pm

reflections on a book launch

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The Event: my book launch!

When? a week ago Thursday evening (May 18, 2017) at 7 PM.

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reading with a Dock-winder (one of the aliens in my book) … he doesn’t seem happy to be the bad guy in the book!

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What? 90 minutes of introductions, readings, prize give-aways and explanations. Some by Zachary Hapeman and his very funny poems about the weird and the wacky; some by me, Alexandra (a.k.a. Jane) Tims, about the planet Meniscus and the skills of my very capable female protagonist Odymn.

We gave out three prizes during the evening:

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Zach shows one of the prizes given out during the evening … a framed copy of some of his illustrations!

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Where? At Westminster Books on King Street in Fredericton, New Brunswick ( have a look at their site here, a great local bookstore).  What better place to read than surrounded by books? And helped through the evening by those who love books (Janet North and staff). The day was the hottest of the spring (33 degrees) and I was absolutely dripping by the end of the evening. Some of that is due to my age and lack of stamina. The space is quite comfortable, transformed by chairs into theatre seating for a dozen or more. We had Gel-head punch to drink with lots of ice cubes (green apple, lime juice and gingerale), and three kinds of cookies from the Goody Shop in Fredericton.

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Who? There were twenty-six there to listen, plus Zach and I. Most were friends from my work and church. There were also members of the writing groups where I am a member (‘Fictional Friends’ and ‘Wolf Tree Writers’). Also, one young lady I didn’t know and a woman who was visiting Fredericton and browsing at the bookshop. I suppose we would count my two stand-up life-sized cardboard aliens, a Dock-winder and a Gel-head. And a stand-up life sized ginger-bread man from Zach! It is always wonderful to see my friends and to meet new people. Some of my friends are having a hard time believing I have taken a side-wind into science-fiction.

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the Gel-head stand-up figure … surrounded by all these books, I hope he can read! I think he ate the gingerbread man stand-up figure

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Why? This was the launch of the first book in my Meniscus series — ‘Meniscus: Crossing The Churn’. I wanted to introduce my friends to the world I have built. And get them interested in where the story is going. I hoped to provide some entertainment and to assure them I am doing well in this retirement world. And, of course, I want to sell some books.

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The evening will stick with me for some time. There were many memorable moments. Among others:

  • Zack gave out a little squishy animal to an audience member and told how he often sends these little fellows flying into the audience when he is reading.
  • A member of one of my writing groups, asked to draw for one of the prizes, wondered what would happen if he drew his own name and won the prize … and proceeded to actually win!!!!
  • The out-of-town visitor, browsing the shelves, found my first book ‘within easy reach’ … she was surprised to find the author present and eager to sign her book … my brain had a time switching from Alexandra Tims to Jane Spavold Tims (author of ‘within easy reach’) and signing correctly.  And remembering I usually embellish ‘within easy reach’ with a line from one of the poems.
  • As we left the store at the end of the evening, a group of five young men asked to pose for a photo with the two aliens. They left with a copy of my book so they would know the names of the cardboard stand-ups!

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I show another of the prizes given … a game of ‘Forbidden Desert’ from my son’s store Meta GameZ

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I have a couple of upcoming readings, one at the New Brunswick Writers Federation WordSpring event in a few day’s time. And two at the Alexandria and Goderich libraries in Ontario in September. Meanwhile I can turn my attention to the next book in the series ‘Meniscus: South from Sintha’.

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Copyright  2017 Jane (a.k.a. Alexandra) Tims

 

Writing a Series – continuity

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With the publication of the first in the Meniscus series — Meniscus: Crossing The Churn (CreateSpace, 2017), I am now working to publish the second – Meniscus: South from Sintha.

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A poor photo of the painting I did for the cover of Book Two – Meniscus: South from Sintha

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I have completed the text and all of the drawings. I have even finished the painting for the book cover! The book is now with my editor (Lee Thompson Editing +) who will give me advice on story arc, characters, poetic line and word choice.

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Back to those final edits!!!!

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The story for South from Sintha continues the tale begun in Book One — in this book, Odymn wants the Slain to fix some of the wrongs he has done in the past. South from Sintha is the story of a journey to return some of the Slain’s former captives to their homes. But can you really ‘go back’?

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The cover painting for Meniscus: South from Sintha is based on one of the drawings I created for the story … the drawing is called ‘release of the feather’ … after returning each captive to his or her home, the Slain and Odymn release a token to celebrate the ‘return’

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As I prepare the second in the series, I have to make a couple of continuity decisions. One had to do with maps. I have taken the advice of my nephew and altered the map to reflect the landscape changes revealed in Book Two, as well as the path followed by the major characters.

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The West Half of the map in the story South from Sintha … drawing the map in GIMP makes additions/changes so easy!

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Another continuity decision concerns the common language on the planet Meniscus: Gel-speak. As I write, new words are added to the Gel-speak vocabulary. I have included a Glossary with a Gel-speak Dictionary at the back of each book. But, do I keep the Book One words in the Book Two Dictionary, even though some words are not used in Book Two? Or do I include the vocabulary from both Book One and Book Two? Perhaps you would help me make a decision by responding to the poll.

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If you want to read Book One in the series, Meniscus: Crossing The Churn is now available at Amazon, in both Paperback and Kindle versions. Be sure to look under my first name Alexandra TimsOf course I want you to buy the book and read the story of how the Slain and Odymn meet! Meeting the furry, purry Argenop in the story is worth the read!!!!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

March 24, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Authors Coffee House – a reading by poet Shari Andrews

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Hi Everyone. Our church (Holy Trinity, Nasonworth) is holding the third in our series of Authors Coffee Houses next Thursday evening (March 23, 2017) at 7:00 PM.

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Our author this month is Shari Andrews, award-winning poet and a resident of New Maryland. Shari will be reading from her books “Crucible” and “First Thin Light”.

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“Crucible” is a tribute to St. Catherine of Siena who lived in the Middle Ages, and a dramatic imagining of the people and events in her life.

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“First Thin Light” is about the ties that bind our past to our present.

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Shari’s writing is steeped in history and many of her poems are responses to works of art. Her poems ponder women’s experience —

From her poem ‘Where She Laid Her Body Down’ (After “The Walk to Work” by Jean-François Millet, 1851) in “First Thin Light”:

“She wears the withy basket,

she will fill again and again with potatoes,

upside down

like an over-sized hat,

a roof she wants to keep over her head …”

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There will be a free-will offering to benefit the Fredericton Food Bank.

Dessert, tea and coffee and good company!

Hope to see you there if you are in the Fredericton area!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

March 17, 2017 at 9:44 am

guest post in the South Branch Scribbler

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I find writers are very supportive of one-another. In New Brunswick we have an active writing community and lots of evidence that writers want to work together to improve their craft and promote the work of others!

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Many communities have writing groups who meet regularly — I belong to two groups: “Wolf Tree Writers” who have met for over 25 years and “Fictional Friends” who have been together for almost ten years. Every month, I have a chance to hear about the writing lives of the other members, to hear them read from their work, to practice reading my own work and to obtain feedback.

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I also belong to the New Brunswick Writers’ Federation (WFNB) ( https://wfnb.ca/about-3/ ). WFNB is province-wide with over 260 members. Each year, the WFNB hosts two main workshops: WordSpring and WordsFall. The Annual Writing Competition is a great opportunity for writers in various categories to get recognition for their work. The WFNB also has a writers-in-the-schools program and produces a bimonthly newsletter NBInk, packed full of information on writers, places to publish and contests.

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book-table-wfnb-may-2016

selling my book (within easy reach, 2016) at WFNB`s WordSpring with fellow author Edith Miller (Crow Impressions, 2016)

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Individual writers are also very supportive of one-another. A few have blogs where they celebrate the writing community. One of these is the South Branch Scribbler http://allanhudson.blogspot.ca/ .  The Scribbler is hosted by Allan Hudson and features interviews and blog posts by and about various authors, many from New Brunswick. Allan is himself a writer, the author of the Drake Alexander novels: Dark Side of a Promise (2014) and Wall of War (coming soon).

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This month I am so happy that Allan has featured my writing in his blog  http://allanhudson.blogspot.ca/2017/03/guest-author-jane-tims-of-new-brunswick.html . Have a look at his other posts including articles and interviews with New Brunswick authors Beth Powning (writer of Home: Chronicle of a North Country Life, 2014, and A Measure of Light, 2015) and Chuck Bowie (writer of the Donovan: Thief for Hire books — Steal It All, 2017; AMACAT, 2014; and Three Wrongs, 2013).

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Thank you to Allan for featuring me on his blog — I took the opportunity to write a bit about managing multiple writing projects!

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a photo of me, taken inside one of New Brunswick`s covered bridges

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

a muse takes over – structuring a project

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When I wrote the first ‘book’ for my sci-fi series about enslaved humans on the planet Meniscus, I really didn’t know where the series was headed. The characters were clear to me and my focus was the building of a relationship between the main two characters, Odymn and the Slain. However, as I neared completion of the first story, I discovered: the first book needs the guidance of the second to set the stage for a book series.

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book-cover

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By the time I completed the draft of my second ‘book’, I knew where the series was headed. This is a story of how a small group of human beings overcome all odds and challenging enemies to rebuild a social structure stolen from them.

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vicki

Vicki, Odymn’s friend in Prell-nan, plays a very minor role in the first two ‘books’ and a major role as the story progresses.

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In the end, the project will be five books, telling the story in sequence. I thought I would begin this series of posts near the middle of the creative process, when I am deciding how to frame and present my five books and the one over-arching story.

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Each book in the series will tell one part of the over-arching story, in the form of a long poem. This will be accessible poetry, written in short lines and stanzas. The less-accessible part of the story will be the vocabulary and strangeness of the planet and the characters.

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Each book will have its own story arc and these stories will build on one another. Each story will feature recurring characters and a few new characters. All of the stories occur in a particular area of the planet Meniscus, known as the Prell-nan South District (Prell-nan is the main urban area in the story). This allows me to expand on the original five books, if the muse continues to inspire me, into the North District!

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a map to go with the story

a map to go with the story

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Presently, the five stories are in different stages of completion. Book 1 (Crossing The Churn) is in final draft and with my editor for comment. Book II (South from Sintha) is in final draft. The story arcs and drafting of Book III (Winter by the Water-climb) are mostly complete. Book Four (The Town at Themble Hill) is experiencing the agony of story arc resolution. Book Five ( ?????) is in early, early draft.

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At this point, I am trying to make sure the five stories are balanced in their presentation. To do this, I keep in mind the length of each story, measured in terms of the number of words,  ‘chapters’, pages and characters.

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To present this in a table:

number in series book title number of words number of pages number of chapters number of main characters
1

 

Crossing The Churn 9,821 147 33  

4

 

2

 

South to Sintha 8,648 104 31 7
3

 

Winter by the Water-climb 12,877 147 53 13
4

 

The Town at Themble Hill 11,389 108 47 16
5

 

???? 761+ 10+ 11 so far ??

 

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As you can see, these will be short ‘books’, probably readable in about 2-3 hours, allowing for the poetry and a bit of challenging alien vocabulary.

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This post’s bit of advice:

if you are writing a series, knowing the content and story arcs of the subsequent book(s) will help inform the story and content of the previous book(s).

This worked well for me in writing the “Saving the Landing Church” series (see https://janetims.com/2015/07/03/writing-a-novel-draft-by-draft/ ).

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

 

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