nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘pencil drawing

a storm of birds

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We are expecting major snowfall/freezing rain in the next couple of days. I think the birds must sense this because there is a veritable storm of birds at the feeders this morning.

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We have evening grosbeaks, a downy woodpecker, chickadees, nuthatches and mourning doves. By far the largest numbers are the redpolls and goldfinches. We also have red and grey squirrels, but they didn’t show up this morning.

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The birds fly in from our surrounding trees and feed for a while, coming and going. Then a dog barks or a car goes by and the whole flock leaves at once. Only a few brave grosbeaks cling to the feeder. Eventually, all the birds return and begin to feed.

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We keep the feeders full during the cold weather and feed with nyjer (thistle) seed and black-oil sunflower seeds.

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Watching the birds is lots of fun. Each species seems to have its own feeding-personality:

  • the chickadees land, grab and leave as quickly as possible;
  • the woodpeckers cling to the feeder and only leave when they’ve had their fill;
  • the finches (redpolls and goldfinches) arrive as a flock and stay, to feed mostly on the fallen seed under the feeders;
  • the grosbeaks, much bigger than the finches, mingle with them and hang on to the feeders even after other birds have been frightened away.

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Bird watching is a great way to spend time during these days of pandemic lockdown. Still haven’t seen my first cardinal! And this year I haven’t yet seen a purple finch, so common in previous years.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

February 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Gargoyles?

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I am working on my poetry manuscript ‘a glimpse of waterfalls.’ As always, I workshop some of the poems with my writing group Wolf Tree Writers. Wolf Tree has been together over thirty years and has assisted me greatly in improving my poetry.

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This past week I read a poem to Wolf Tree called ‘from a window on the 3rd floor.’ In the third stanza, a gargoyle is mentioned. We talked about how a gargoyle is an ‘Old World’ (European) reference. It made me curious about gargoyles in Canada.

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A gargoyle is a sculptural architectural feature used like a waterspout to transport rainwater away from the building. A gargoyle often depicts a grotesque other-world figure and also serves to frighten daemons away and remind people of the perils of doing harm. Sculptural features which look like gargoyles but which do not convey water are called grotesques.

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Canada has many examples of gargoyles, occurring wherever architecture is gothic in design. There are many examples in Montreal, including on the campus of McGill University (Redpath Hall and Library), on churches (Christ Church Cathedral) and on private buildings (the Elspeth Angus and Duncan McIntyre House). The Peace Tower (Parliament Building) in Ottawa has numerous gargoyles and grotesques. For more information see https://sencanada.ca/en/sencaplus/how-why/gargoyles-and-grotesques-parliament-hills-sinister-sentinels/

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from a window on the 3rd floor

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I nudge curtain, interpret

streetscape, sirens

stream down the glass

fractal paths where drops

meet and coalesce

meet and coalesce

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the puddle on the cobbled street

a pool at the base of a waterfall

edged in rock and fern

candy wrappers, paper coffee cups

brick an escarpment, rain spills

from ledges of stone

edges of stone

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above, a gargoyle gushes

glimpse of reckless sky

heartened, I consider

merits of solitude

building facade

pavement pulses

red and blue

red and blue

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Are there any gargoyles in the architecture of your area?

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All my best!!

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 13, 2021 at 7:00 am

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Do you love picking berries, herbs, other plants from the garden? I think you’d like my book of poetry ‘within easy reach’ (Chapel street Editions, 2016). It is illustrated with my drawings and contains notes on various example of the edible ‘wild.’ Order it here.

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where we step

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my brother and I explore

the old home place, overgrown

and unused, the house fallen

into the cellar, a sock

tossed into the dresser drawer

but, barefoot not an option

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even shod, we are careful

of our feet – nails, glass, bricks

from the chimney, unease creeps

beneath the grass – we watch for

the water well, covered but

with rotted boards

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hard not to love where we step –

the mint enfolds our ankles,

rose and rosemary, our minds

chives lace our sneakers, fold

flowers from purple papers

lavender leans on the walls

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silver, graceful and wise,

the sage surveys our ruin,

thyme is bruised,

everywhere we step

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Stay safe.

All my best!

Jane

creating my niche

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create: 1: to bring into existence;

2a: to invest with a new form, office or rank;

2b: to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior;

3: cause or occasion;

4a: to produce through imaginative skill;

4b: design. 

– Webster’s Dictionary

I am very interested in creative endeavors and I like being creative.  I am happiest when I am writing, painting, drawing, sewing, weaving, knitting, and so on.

Although I best like to write, I find creative activities substitute for one another. For example, when I am not writing for an extended period of time, I am often embedded in some other activity, such as painting.

Weaving exemplifies the lure of my various creative undertakings.  The producing requires knowledge and skill, and builds confidence.  The process is enjoyable and time is made available for thought and concentration.  The threads and fabrics are luxurious to the touch and the colors are bright and joyful. When I am finished a project, I am so proud of the resulting textile, I want to show the world.

My loom is a simple floor loom, 24 inch wide.  I bought it at a country auction, about 20 years ago.  My sister and I were among the stragglers at the auction, trying to outlast a heavy rain.  In the corner we saw a bundle of varnished wood and some metal parts.  “I think that’s a loom”, whispered my savvy sister.  When the item came up for auction, there were few bidders remaining, and no one know just what ‘it’ was.  At $25, it was a huge bargain.

My loom and I have not been steady company.  It takes forever to install the warp threads, and sometimes weaving is hard on my back.  But the fabrics we make together, my loom and I, are beautiful and comfortable and good for the soul.

What creative endeavors shape your niche space?  What materials do you use and what do you love about them?

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yellow line

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the road is fabric

weave of asphalt

ditch and yellow line

warp of guard rail

fence and heddle

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trees in plantations

lines on the hayfield

shadows on road

hip and curve of the earth

weft as she turns in her sleep

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shuttle piloted

through landscape

and watershed

textile in folds

texture the yearn of the loom

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faults in the granite

potholes in pavement

rifts in the fabric

where weavers might falter

revisit work of earlier times

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learning the lesson

taught by the loom

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choose your weft wisely

balance color and texture

maintain your tension

fix mistakes as you go

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rest when your back hurts

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listen

to the whisper

of weave

of yellow line

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All my best,

staying at home, staying safe,

Jane Tims

 

the yellow line

Written by jane tims

June 29, 2020 at 7:00 am

Strawberry Kool-Aid Hair with Ribbons

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'nearn' (3)

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Strawberry Kool-Aid Hair

with Ribbons

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strawberry Kool-Aid hair

with ribbons

she pushes the button

to cross Dundonald

serious with her boyfriend

her backpack heavy

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she is like

the student on roller blades

skilled with traffic

not slowing near the top of Regent

reckless to the river

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or the man

a block from here

a man with a briefcase

leaning across the fence

making a bouquet

of pussy-willows

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All my best.

Stay safe.

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

June 19, 2020 at 7:00 am

heroine

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rose heroine

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heroine

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her hair

is a stroke of pink

on the brown audience

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more compelling

than the script

or the decorated stage

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not surprising to see

her name on the program

Rose

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in black but for the hair

even her lips

implore the audience

to pardon the difference

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she, the heroic one

not Romeo

or Juliet

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not the dead

but the left-behind

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All my best.

Staying safe,

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 12, 2020 at 7:00 am

next book in the Meniscus Series: the illustrations

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For the last two days, I have been in a drawing mood. Not many authors illustrate their books (not including those who work on graphic novels), but I love this part of the process.

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I have had lots of discussions with readers about the right and wrong of illustrating. Some think it takes away from the reader’s wonderful ability to imagine characters and scenes. Others think the illustrations take a reader deeper into the author’s intentions. As an author, I think drawings help get my ideas across. Since my books are told as narrative poetry, my words tend to be vary spare and I think of the drawings as extensions of the narrative.

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I include two types of drawings in my books: portraits of the characters and sketches of the action.

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The portraits are useful to me as a writer. They help fix the character’s face so the image does not migrate from book to book. I am really proud of the portraits and looking at them inspires my writing.

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I am also proud of some of my drawings of scenes from my books. When the drawing is close to the idea I want to portray, sometimes it suggests new details in the text. Some drawings are not so good but I rarely re-draw. Instead, I think of these as representative of the weirdness of planet Meniscus. It reminds me of a line from my favorite TV show Lost. Daniel Faraday, on his first visit to the island says,

The light… it’s strange out here, isn’t it? It’s kind of like, it doesn’t, it doesn’t scatter quite right.”

On Meniscus, the pencil doesn’t behave quite right.

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In every book, there are 23 +/- 4 drawings. Some are portraits or repeats of earlier scenes. Today, I did two drawings, both unique to Meniscus: The Knife.

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All my best,

staying home

and staying in my two-family bubble,

Jane

Written by jane tims

May 11, 2020 at 7:00 am

next book in the Meniscus Series: the Cast of Characters

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Other writers often ask me about the use of a beta reader. Of course, I value their input and listen carefully to any suggestions about the book they have just read for me. In a series like Meniscus, the suggestions of the beta reader often help me more with the next book. Sometimes the suggestion has to do with the storyline or a particular character. Sometimes it is a suggestion that becomes integral to the whole series.

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When she read Book Two of the Series, Meniscus: South from Sintha, my beta reader Carol suggested adding a short description of each character in a compendium at the end of each book. I began to do this for the next book and now every book has a Cast of Characters.

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Since some of my characters are aliens, I group the characters as Humans, Argenops (benevolent furry creatures), Dock-winders (self-serving overlords), Gel-heads (unlikeable minions), and Others (animal companions and other sentient aliens).

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In the Cast of Characters I include information on the character’s role in the story, the character’s age, where the character lived on Earth, what they were doing when the Dock-winders harvested them, what Earth year they were taken, their occupation on Earth, their occupation on Meniscus and sometimes their motivation, faults or wants.

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Here is an example, a character description of Zachary, a carpenter and an important citizen of Themble Hill:

Zachary – survivor of the transport crash; 46 one-suns old; harvested by the Dock-winders in 2008 when he worked as a carpenter with his father’s company in Fargo, North Dakota; educated as an engineer; harvested as he made repairs to a roof during a wind storm; used by the Dock-winders as the laser-sawyer in a grammid mill; spent most of grad school playing Sonic the Hedgehog ™ and eating pickled eggs in the campus grad house.

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Sometimes I wish I could change the character description a bit to suit the story, but I try not to do that. I also include all of the characters mentioned in all of the books to date although they may not appear in the current book. So far, I have 41 characters, major and minor, who have appeared in the various books.

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All my best,

staying home and keeping in my two-family bubble,

Jane

Written by jane tims

May 8, 2020 at 7:00 am

next book in the Meniscus Series

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May 1 has arrived. With my new poetry books at the ‘proof’ stage, I have shifted gears to work on revisions of the next book in my science fiction series.

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Meniscus: The Knife is the eighth book in the Meniscus Series and continues with the love story of Tagret and Rist. I haven’t looked at the manuscript for two months, so I hope to see it with a new eye.

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When we left them in the last book, Meniscus: Encounter with the Emenpod, Tagret and Rist are parting company for a while. Rist, after the manner of all Slain, is going to his home to hibernate for the winter. Tagret will pass the winter months in the community of Themble Hill where she will have company and things to do.

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In Meniscus: The Knife, Tagret will go on a quest to save Rist from the dangerous Brotherhood.

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I think ‘The Knife’ is a great title for the book.

First, The Knife is the name of Rist’s home, the first step in Tagret’s quest.

Second, a knife is a metaphor for anything cut in two, a broken vow, a broken trust, a severed relationship.

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knife romance split

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Third, there are no knives on the planet Meniscus. The reason for this is the mythological interpretation of the geological fault that physically separated the gentle Argenops from the oppressive Dock-winders and their Gel-head minions. Long ago, says the mythology, the Themble area was cut from the En’ast area by a magical knife and since then, no knives have been allowed on the planet Meniscus.

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knife culture split

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I have a few steps to do before the book is done:

  • Read the manuscript and make adjustments to storylines;
  • Do line by line revisions (word choice and poetic structure);
  • Add front matter, character descriptions, glossary and gel-speak dictionary;
  • Submit the manuscript to my editor;
  • Incorporate editorial suggestions;
  • Format text;
  • Finish drawings and maps, scan, scale and insert into text.
  • Create cover painting and photograph;
  • Scale photo and create cover;
  • Submit to Kindle Direct Publishing and request Proof;
  • Review and revise Proof;
  • Resubmit and finalize;
  • Push publish!

Then I begin the formatting process for the second time, to create an e-book.

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Sounds daunting but I have done this so often, I have worked out all (well, most) of the bugs. I am helped in this by my ‘little black books’ where I write out the revision and formatting steps, font sizes, image dimensions, Word settings and KDP requirements.

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I’ll keep you up to date on my progress.

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All my best,

staying safe and in my two-household bubble,

Jane

Written by jane tims

May 4, 2020 at 7:00 am

a glimpse of sickle moon

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I am so happy to announce my poetry manuscript, ‘a glimpse of sickle moon,’ has won Third Place in the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick (WFNB) Competition for the Alfred G. Bailey Prize for a poetry manuscript.

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I’d like to extend huge congratulations to First Place winner of the Bailey Prize, Kathy Mac, and Second Place winner, Roger Moore. I cannot be jealous of these winners because they are, respectively, members of my two writing groups: Wolf Tree Writers and Fictional Friends.

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Roger Moore has also won Third Place in the WFNB Narrative Non-fiction Prize and First Place in the WFNB Competition for the David Adams Richards Prize for a fiction manuscript. I am also proud of another of my Fictional Friends, Neil Sampson, who won Third Place in the David Adams Richards Prize for a fiction manuscript.

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And to all the other winners, some of whom are good friends, congratulations!

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My manuscript, ‘a glimpse of sickle moon,’ includes 56 poems about nature, arranged according to the seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall. For every four poems, a year rolls by, so the manuscript covers 14 years of seasons!

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Here is the title poem, about the andirons in front of our fireplace.

andiron cropped

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andiron

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wrought owl with amber eyes

perches on the hearth

hears a call in the forest

three hoots and silence

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great-horned owl, light gathered

at the back of its eyes

the oscillating branch

after wings expand and beat

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iron owl longs for a glimpse

of sickle moon

shadow of a mouse

sorting through dry leaves

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in this cramped space

night woods decanted

fibre and bark, fire and sparks

luminous eyes

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The next step will be to complete some drawings for the poems and add the manuscript  to the poetry manuscripts I intend to publish.

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All my best, especially to the winners of the WFNB Competition.

I am staying at home,

and in my two family bubble.

Jane

 

 

Written by jane tims

May 1, 2020 at 7:00 am

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