nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘stone

first draft

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This past weekend, I finished the first draft of the third novel in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series. This is my favorite part of the long process of working on a book.

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I plan my novel to an extent. From the beginning, I knew the basic story: Kaye Eliot finds a packet of old postcards and is set on a search for a valuable stone. The idea for the story was sparked way back in 1989 when I first saw an abandoned stone house during field work in Nova Scotia. I also had most of my characters to work with: Kaye and her husband and two kids. And Daniel Cutter, a stonemason, a character introduced in Book Two of the series. To read Book Two (Something the Sundial Said), click here.

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As I write, I let the characters and story take me where they want to go. Sometimes this takes me in unusual directions. Unless an idea is ridiculous, I usually run with it.

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The props I encounter in the story have their own push and pull. The stone house, the postcards, a stone chimney, a set of architectural plans. When these objects are repeated in the story, they become symbols of ideas in the book.

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stone house Upper Canada Village

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The next stage in writing is the revision. This means reading the book, cover to cover, over and over. I will fix the misspellings and grammar, I add some description. I polish the dialogue. I adjust the story points. I fix the names of villages and bridges and social groups in the story. I do some research. Revision takes the bulk of the time devoted to writing the book, probably 80%. I do at least ten revision sweeps.

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I love the first revision. Although I wrote the first draft, reading it for the first time, cover to cover, is like discovering a new book.

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stone wall

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Next post, I will talk about choosing a title for the book, not as easy as it may seem.

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All my best.

Please stay safe.

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 8, 2020 at 7:00 am

art auction !

with 6 comments

This week begins another Art Auction at Isaac’s Way Restaurant in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  For the next 4 months (late January through to late May), Isaac’s Way displays art by local artists and runs a silent auction and sale.  This 23rd auction will sponsor MUSIC lessons for Fredericton kids-in-need.

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Here is how Isaac’s Way describes the benefits of the Art Auction:
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Thank you for your interest in this community fundraiser at Isaac’s Way Restaurant! We organize three auctions per year, each raising funds for one of four artistic areas: dance, art, music, and theatre. This is a win-win-win opportunity for sure: the children gain confidence and creativity, their families feel blessed to have the help, you [the artists] get a chance to display in a public space along with free advertising, the instructors earn more income and word-of-mouth recognition, the community feels good to be helping the kids, customers get local, original art at amazing prices, our wait staff has an excellent conversation starter with visitors, and our restaurant gets a colourful face lift three times per year. Everyone wins!

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In this 23rd Art Auction, Isaac’s Way will be displaying the work of more than 50 artists.

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I have a painting in the auction, an acrylic entitled ‘blue stone’ (24″ x 20″, unframed, gallery edges).  It is a version of a watercolour done during my virtual cycling trip along the Cornwall coast.

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Here is the watercolour, ‘blue stone’ …

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October 25, 2013  'blue stone'   Jane Tims

October 25, 2013 ‘blue stone’ Jane Tims

 

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And the acrylic, now for sale or auction at Isaac’s Way …

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blue stone  (Jane Tims)

blue stone (Jane Tims)

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This will be the forth painting I have contributed to the auction:  ‘blue stone’ (acrylic), ‘iron gate in Cornwall’ (acrylic), ‘gate in Ponsanooth’ (watercolour), and ‘rainbow gate’ (watercolour).

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If you are in the Fredericton area, I hope you stop in at Isaac’s Way.  The food is delicious, the atmosphere is inspiring and you have a chance to acquire a piece of art by a local artist!  The restaurant is located in the historic York County Court House (est. 1855), so you can even dine inside the former vault!

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

January 26, 2015 at 9:27 am

crossing the brook

with 10 comments

Of all kinds of waterways, I certainly love a brook the best.

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DSCF3858

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When I was a child, I spent many summer hours playing in the brook at my mother’s ‘old home place’.  The brook was in a small wooded valley between farms.  The woods around the brook were always cool and shady, especially on a hot summer day.

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Building stone causeways in the brook was one of my favorite pastimes.  I would find flat stones and place them like stepping stones.  Then, once the stones were in place, I would plant them with mosses.

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I haven’t returned to the brook for many years, but I like to think you could still find the grey and green remnants of my causeways at intervals along the brook!

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DSCF3866_crop

a brook in south-west New Brunswick with its own stepping stones

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construction of moss and stone

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in the valley between farms

a brook needs crossing

a freshet-proof ford

lattice-work built

of slate, grey stepping

stones, packed and decked with

moss, hydrophilic flourish

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©  Jane Tims  2014

 

Written by jane tims

October 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm

yet another Cornwall gate

with 7 comments

As you may have seen on my ‘accomplishments’ page, I have sold the painting ‘rainbow gate in Falmouth’. It was on display as part of an art auction at Isaac’s Way Restaurant in Fredericton.

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The art at auction at Isaac’s Way helps local children’s charities, in this case providing opportunities for summer theatre. Once I have sold a painting, I can replace the painting with another and now ‘gate in Ponsanooth’ is up for auction!  You can see the painting at  https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/another-cornwall-gate/ .

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I am continuing to paint in my Cornwall gates series.  This past weekend, I painted another gate from Ponsanooth entitled ‘enter’.  Gates are meaningful to me, as metaphors for change and as representative of possibility.  And the various building materials, stone, cement, wood and metal, are very enjoyable to paint …

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February 22, 2014  'enter'  Jane Tims

February 22, 2014 ‘enter’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2014   Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 26, 2014 at 7:08 am

stiles and blue stones (day 44 and day 45)

with 9 comments

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How do you get over a fence or a wall if it is too high to step over???

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You can use a stairway or a stile !!!

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day 44 and 45

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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7-44  October 30, 2013  30 minutes  3.0 km  (from Mawnan to north of Durgan)

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Near Durgan, I saw a stone stairway along the road.  As I painted, I began to believe that I saw a blue stone among the others (when I look at the photo now, I think it was a trick of the eye!).  Can you find the blue stone? (Hint: it is not one of the two blue stones in the bottom course of stones)!

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7-44 stone stair

inspiration for ‘blue stone’ (image from Street View)

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October 25, 2013  'blue stone'   Jane Tims

October 25, 2013 ‘blue stone’ Jane Tims

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7-45  November 1, 2013  30 minutes  3.0 km  (Durgan to Port Navas)

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A short way from Durgan, I also saw a stile.  I have seen several stiles along my virtual journey, but this is the first stile I have see made entirely of stone.  A stile is a structure built in a fence, wall or other barrier to allow people to pass but keep animals in.  Stiles were often required in the UK but no standard guidelines to their construction were issued, so many styles of stile are found!  Stiles can consist of a ladder, steps, or even a narrow gap in a stone wall.

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7-43 stile

stile near Mawnan (image from Street View)

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As a kid, I loved to hear about stiles.  One of the stories my Mom told me was about the Old Woman who had a Pig who wouldn’t go over the stile.  She found a Dog and said ‘Dog, Dog, bite Pig so Pig will go over the stile and I can get home to my supper tonight!’  After talking to many animals, items and people, the woman finally succeeds.  ‘The Man began to marry the Maid, the Maid began to milk the Cow, the Cat began to drink the milk, the Cat began to kill the Rat, the Rat began to gnaw the Rope, the Rope began to hang the Butcher, the Butcher began to kill the Ox, the Ox began to drink the Water, the Water began to quench the Fire, the Fire began to burn the Stick, the Stick began to beat the Dog, the Dog began to bite the Pig, the Pig jumped over the stile, and so the Old Woman got home to get her supper’.

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A rather violent tale for children as many children’s stories are.  But as a child, I loved the repetition and the idea of consequence, and the knowledge that the Old Woman got her supper.

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When we first built our house, we built a stile over the fence by the front gate and it was so much fun to step over!

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7-45 style

inspiration for ‘stile near Durgan’ (image from Street View)

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October 26, 2012   'stile near Durgan'   Jane Tims

October 26, 2012 ‘stile near Durgan’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

by the frozen lake, next year

with 12 comments

It’s mild here today and we are expecting lots of snow.  I’m working on my novel, doing edits.

I want this post to include an excerpt from my work, so I have chosen a wintry bit.

In this excerpt, the protagonist, Sadie, and her husband are near the edge of the lake, on the property they have bought.  They’re planning to bring the Landing Church to this location, to build a writer’s retreat.

Sadie’s husband, Tom, isn’t well.  He’s dying.  His way of coping is to be a stoic, to face his death as inevitable, and to plan his wife’s life out for her.  Usually, he talks about what she’ll be doing this time next year.  Until now, he’s refused to include himself in any talk of the future.  But, as the novel progresses, his thinking is changing.

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the frozen lake

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The lake, in the grip of November, had frozen to plates of glass, interrupted by pebbly bands where the wind mixed snow into the surface of the ice.  The distant shore presented itself in silhouette, an indigo strip between the lake and the brighter sky.  The dark images of trees were frozen into the surface of the ice.  The air was crisp, but we sat, as we did in summer, on the bench by the lake’s edge.

‘Next year,’ said Tom,  ‘we’ll clear the ice for skating.  And we’ll build a bonfire, here by the shore.  There’s certainly enough dead wood to fuel it.’

I sat still, watching the lake and thinking about Tom’s words –  ‘next year’ and ‘we’.  These words were so different from what he would have said, even three weeks ago.  Ordinarily, he’d be making plans for me alone.  Ordinarily, he’d have said ’Next year, you’ll clear the ice for skating.’

We sat in silence, as we always did, just watching the lake.  Tom probably didn’t notice how thoughtful I’d become.  I wondered how I’d missed it, this transition from ‘no future’ to ‘plans for tomorrow’.  Plans to be shared by us both.  My hands began to tremble.

To distract myself, I found a flat stone embedded in the frost at my feet.  I stood, moving a little closer to the edge of the lake.  I turned my arm and cradled the stone in my hand.  I pulled my arm back and propelled the stone toward the ice.  It hit with a clear ping and bounced across the surface, leaving a line of clear notes in its wake.  I tried another one.  It sang a semi-tone higher, and the ice vibrated between the crisp air and the ice-cold water below.   Tom bent and loosened another flat stone from the ground.  He stood beside me.  In another minute, the ice was ringing with the song of skipping stones.

We’d soon depleted the shore of every loose flat rock.  The lake was still and silent.  No note remained in its repertoire.  The ice in front of us was littered with flat grey stones. 

‘No skating this year,’ said Tom.  ‘We’ve planted enough trippers to last into next spring.’

We turned from the lake and followed the path back to the field.  As we navigated the alders and rounded a corner, we came suddenly on a sturdy bush of bright red berries.  ‘Look, Sadie.  Winterberry holly,’ said Tom. ‘It usually grows by the lake, but here it is, in our field.  Our very own burning bush.’  

The bush glowed with orange-red berries, set off by bronze-colored leaves, not yet fallen.  In the silver and grey of the thicket, it was a gift…

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bush of winterberry holly

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If you have any comments, good or bad, about this piece of writing, let me know.  Is there anything you don’t understand?  I there anything I could better explain?  Have you ever skipped stones on  the ice of a lake or pond?

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Copyright   Jane Tims   2012

Written by jane tims

December 19, 2012 at 7:46 am

eight days – hide and seek

with 4 comments

I love small sculpture.  On my eight-day trip to Ontario, one of the things I was inspired to draw was a small stone carving of a man.  He was purchased in Greece… the little carving is a modern example of a sculpture done in the Etruscan style. 

His head is down, resting on his knees, encircled by his arms.  He reminds me of the games of hide-and-seek we played as children.  For a few moments, the one who is ‘it’ covers his or her eyes and knows only the small space between knees and arms.  Then, after counting to ten, the eyes can open and perspective returns to normal.  Then it is the task of ‘it’ to hunt down companions who have hidden while he or she counted to ten.

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count to ten

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arms enfold head

wrapped in knees

zero perspective

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count to ten, unfold

expand horizon

dark to light

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seek what imps

have hidden

name them

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send them home

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© Jane Tims  2012

 

Written by jane tims

February 3, 2012 at 7:10 am

eight days – inuksuk

with 4 comments

Recently I was able to take eight days and visit some of my family in Ontario.  While I was there, I spent some time drawing and writing.  In the next few posts, I will show you some of these drawings and the poems I wrote to accompany them. 

The first concerns a small statuette of an inuksuk, carved in northern Canada by an artist who created a gentle, thoughtful tribute to this traditional form. 

For more information on the inuksuk, see my post for November 18, 2011, ‘monuments in stone’, under the category ‘the rock project’.

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inuksuk

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soapstone smoothed

and sculpted, carved

by a hand, skilled as ocean

salt-polish and sand

corners discovered

and shadows

edge of stone and surfaces

between solid and liquid

solid and air

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©  Jane Tims  2012

 

Written by jane tims

January 23, 2012 at 6:51 am

monuments in stone

with 6 comments

inuksuk n. (plural inuksuit) a stone landmark or cairn used by Arctic and northern peoples to mark a point of reference or a place of significance; an Inuit cultural symbol.

inunnguaq n. (plural inunnguat) a stone cairn in the shape of a human figure, meant to represent a human figure, and distinguished from an inuksuk.

Wikipedia.org

 

Our rock project is progressing slowly.  We are collecting rocks for a stone monument.  Since I want this to be a sculptural piece, I am sure the rocks we select will play a role in the final look of the monument.

One possibiity is to build an inuksuk.  These stone landmarks are a part of the culture of the north, but they have caught the general imagination and are now encountered throughout Canada.  On our trip out west, the inuksuk built along the Trans-Canada highway in Manitoba were particularly memorable.

For a few years, the inuksuk (plural inuksuit) and inunnguaq were common along the New Maryland highway in New Brunswick.  On the stretch of road between New Maryland and Fredericton, the highway is carved through rock and outcrops are part of the roadscape.  A women who walked along the road every morning for a few years was responsible for building many of the inuksuit.  The local newspaper did a story on her, explaining that she walked and built the monuments as exercise following by-pass surgery.  She wore a white jogging outfit with black splotches and was fondly referred to as the ‘Cow Lady’.  

The ‘Cow Lady’ no longer walks the road and her inuksuit and inunnguat have fallen into disrepair.  I remember her fondly and dedicate the poem below to her.

 

Inunnguaq 101

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these are the hill people

sometimes without arms and legs

sometimes with other, alien parts

but proud

honor the woman who walks here

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sometimes toppled

often reassembled

constructed one day at a time

optimism of increment

a community on the hillside

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©  Jane Tims  2004

Written by jane tims

November 18, 2011 at 5:26 am

plans for a rocky road

with 8 comments

This fall, we have begun a new landscaping project, using rocks to embellish a length of road on our property. 

On our travels this summer, we were impressed by the many ways home landscapers use stone as a signature element.  Some of these ventures were as simple as a stone wall snaking through the woods.  Some had elaborate stone benches, stone sculptures, or carefully-built piles of stones. 

We have an offshoot to our driveway, intended some day to form half of a circular road.  Over the years, we have added some stone embellishments to this road and its associated path, so it seems to me to be the perfect place to develop our own rock project.  

To date, we have the following features in place, some in an advanced state of disrepair:

  • two stone pillars, about three feet in diameter – each is a page-wire cage filled with rock
  • an ‘old-fashioned’ rock wall constructed of granite stones, each about the size of a large honeydew melon
  • a lopsided (fallen-down) sundial built of small angular rocks in the shape of a cone 
  • a chunk of black basalt, a five-sided, columnar volcanic feature, harvested from the shore where my ancestors came to Canada via shipwreck
  • a stone ‘stream’ built years ago before we purchased more property and Fern Gully Brook entered our lives – this stream is a one foot wide course of small stones screened from a pile of pit-run gravel.  It ‘runs’ from a small artificial pond and is now completely overflowing with dry leaves.
existing rock and stone features on the road and path

Over the next months, we want to add some features to the road:

  • rebuild our formerly wonderful granite fire pit in a new location along the road
  • create two new lengths of stone wall to match the existing wall
  • build a stone statue or monument 
  • lay out a circle of stones to mark the one area where we can see the Milky Way from our property (star-gazing is difficult since we have so many trees) 
  • build a stone embankment-with-moss feature to emulate a lovely roadway we saw at my brother’s wedding last year.
rock and stone features we plan to add

Over the next year, it is my intention to report back on the progress made on our Rock Project.  If you never hear another word about this project, remember – I like to plan.

 

Copyright   Jane Tims 2011

Written by jane tims

November 13, 2011 at 7:27 am

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