Saturday, 29 May 2021

Branching out with Author C P Hoff of Alberta.

 




Due to a successful partnership with Creative Edge of Saskatchewan in 2020, the Scribbler played host to accomplished authors selected by CE. It was so much fun for all involved, we are doing it again in 2021. Watch the last Saturday of each coming month for authors under the CE banner.       


   

 This month, you will meet Canadian author C P Hoff.


While researching Ms. Hoff’s body of work, I was excited to discover her novel – West of Ireland – which I ordered recently and am looking forward to reading as soon as I can.


She has graciously agreed to a Branching Out Interview and is offering us an Excerpt from West of Ireland.


 

C.P. Hoff lives in southern Alberta with her husband, and children. She has written for the local paper, which might be impressive if she lived in New York, and if anyone read the local paper. Hoff is a founding member of WordBridge – Lethbridge Writers’ Conference.

Her first novel, A Town Called Forget, was longlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal For humour. Her second novel, West of Ireland, received a Kirkus star and was featured in Kirkus Best Indie Fiction & Literature 2020. Her third book, Canterberry Tales, also received a Kirkus star.

 

 

 

So, let’s have chat with Ms. Hoff.


 

Allan: I’ve read that you grew up as a gypsy, but you’re not a real gypsy. Care to explain?


 



Connie: Yes. We moved a lot, which made it hard to make friends. I’ve lived in all three prairie provinces, in the far north, and close to the 49th parallel—from hills and trees to the badlands. I lived in thirteen different houses before I was eighteen. On the one hand it was impossible to lay down roots, but on the other, it makes it easy to pin down the date of a memory.  I just have to envision the house I lived in at the time.

 

 

 

Allan: Before we chat about writing, can you tell us about your family and Mrs. Beasley and her dubious reputation.

 

Connie: My family is huddled down, quietly waiting out Covid. It is a different time and takes some getting used to. We are all healthy and content, which is all I can ask for. As for Mrs. Beasley, I’m sad to say she is no longer with us. She developed Cushing’s and subsequently died of cancer.

 

 

 

Allan: You write under a pseudonym. Is there a story behind this?

 

Connie: There is not much of a story there. Hoff is my maiden name.

 

 

 

Allan: I’m looking forward to reading your novel – West of Ireland. What can I expect when I get my copy?

 


Connie: Oh! You get to meet the O’Briens. They are glorious in their dysfunction. Like many families, they poke and prod each other at the most inopportune times. Unfortunately for the O’Briens though, their foibles come to life on the page. They can’t be hidden and hushed away. And you, as a reader, will get to chuckle at their absurdities and scowl at their vices—which is not always appreciated by the characters. As Mr. O’Brien quips on the back cover of the book, “A piece of literary fiction my arse!”  West of Ireland was one of Kirkus Review’ Best Books Of 2020.

 

 

 

Allan: What can you tell our readers about your Picaresque Chronicles?

 


Connie: The Picaresque Chronicles are full of offbeat characters who share the same longings and desires that make us all human. Examining their quirky lives allows me to step back and chuckle at my own peculiarities, ones I tend not to give voice to. I hope in meeting this motley crew, readers will find the same enjoyment, and that this strange bunch will give them a laugh when it is most needed.

 


 

Allan: Please share a childhood memory and/or anecdote.

 


Connie: I was a reluctant reader. The summer I was supposed to head into the sixth grade, I was told if I didn’t read twenty books I’d be held back. To encourage me, my mother read me the first half of each book, thinking that if I was well into the story my curiosity would drive me forward. That was not the case. I spent the summer making up a myriad of endings. And as a bonus, I didn’t fail, and was well on my way to becoming a storyteller.

 

 

 

 

 Allan: Do you have a process you follow from idea to finished novel? Panster or Plotter?

 

Connie: I’m on the fence on that one. Sometimes I’m a pantster through and through, and other times a slip of a plot guides my way. It really depends on how well the story is flowing, and whether or not I’m lost in the weeds. When lost, I turn to plotting. When it feels like I’m skipping through the tale on a sunny afternoon, being a pantster is the way to go.

 

 

 

 

Allan: Do you have a mentor or has anyone influenced your work?

 


Connie: As a child I was bombarded by stories. My mother read to me, and my uncle made up heroic tales in which he always saved the day. I was encouraged to revel in my imagination, and that has an impact on a child. This was coupled with the books that were lying around the house—The Spider King, The Captain from Castile, Our John Willie; and the ones I chose as an adult—Anam Cara, The Amulet of Samerkand, Furiously Happy, and the Chief Inspector Gamache books, to name a few. I can’t pin down any one influence. There has been a lifetime of amazing storytellers who have informed me. Naming just one would be a disservice to the rest.

 

 

 

 

Allan: Anything else you’d like to tell us about?

 



Connie:
I have another book coming out this May, Canterberry Tales.





The blurb reads, “Pull up your knee socks and buckle your pinchy shoes, your childhood is calling. Celia Canterberry, a precocious seven-year-old, hell bent on saving earthworms, is about to drag you down memory lane and remind you what it was like to look at a careworn world with wide-eyed bemusement. Now take a deep breath. Smell that? Nostalgia.

Celia flits through the streets of Happy Valley to her Nan’s chagrin, causing havoc wherever she goes. She’s so infamous, she’s got her own comic strip in the local paper, and Old Lady Griggs, her babysitter, is only too happy to read it with her. But what Celia secretly wants to know is where she came from. You see, Celia was abandoned at the hospital by her should-have-been parents, and her Nan won’t explain how or why…”


Kirkus reviews writes, Hoff is always ready with well-executed humor: “[Nan] never wears her teeth when she’s gardening,” Celia tells Old Lady Griggs at one point. “She thinks it’s best not to let the plants know her true intentions.” The combination of warm nostalgia and a sharp, modern sensibility is perfectly managed, and the promise of future volumes will please readers who want to spend more time in Happy Valley.

A well-crafted tale of a precocious child. ——Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

 

 

 

 


 

An Excerpt from West of Ireland.

(Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission.)





Mr. O’Brien banged his walking stick against the side of the banister and called up the stairs, “Don’t be troubling yourself, Mary-Kate O’Brien. It’s not like I don’t have all day.”

There was no response from the upstairs bedroom, and Mr. O’Brien could feel his temper rise. “Can’t a man see his own daughter’s shining face in the morning? Is that too much to ask? I feed you, I clothe you for nigh on twenty years, and my pocketbook has grown rather light because of it. To relieve me suffering, I’ve asked around and there is not a soul in the world willing to take you off me hands. Yet you don’t hear me complaining, do you?”

The sound of his daughter opening and closing her dresser drawers drifted down to him. It was as if he spoke to the wind. All Mr. O’Brien wanted was for Mary-Kate to hurry her pace, skip down the stairs and merrily link her arm in his. However, Mary-Kate never skipped, and arm-linking was something she seemed to have an aversion to. The last time he insisted she take his arm, Mary-Kate went limp at the knees, and he ended up dragging her down the street. The great oaf and his rag doll.

He closed his eyes and leaned against the banister. She was up to something; he was convinced of it. The thought of not knowing what mischief she was entertaining irritated him like nothing else. If there was mischief to be had, it should be had together. It had been that way since she was a babe, and he saw no sense in changing their ways now. It was what steadied their rudder, kept them from going adrift when storms threatened. Pulled him back when he forgot his place and lost sight of the one he chose to be tethered to.

“Are you well?”

Mr. O’Brien opened his eyes. His wife stood in front of him with a cup and saucer in hand. As fetching a woman as he could have hoped for, she even rivalled some that plied their trade on the street. Though he’d never found an opportune time for telling her so. His Mary-Kate had inherited her mother’s mass of red hair and, sadly, much of her attitude. “Why would you ask me such a thing?” he frowned, puffing out his chest. “Am I not as robust this morning as I was last evening?”

“Keep your voice down,” Mrs. O’Brien snapped, roses blooming on her cheeks. “Or you’ll not see the inside of me bedroom for a month.”

“Oh, I don’t have to see the inside of yours, you could cross the hall to mine.” Mr. O’Brien stepped into his wife. He looked down at her and waited for her to lean her ample waist against him. Her breathing changed, but Mr. O’Brien wasn’t sure if she were inclined or annoyed. He gave her a seductive wink, or it would have been, had an eyelash not worked itself free and blurred his vision.

A look of disgust crossed his wife’s face. “You’re making a nuisance of yourself, Mr. O’Brien,” she said thumping him in the chest with her free hand.

Ah, now he knew. She was annoyed. The thump was too hard; there might even be a bruise. The morning was not going as he hoped. There was no tenderness in it, no cooperation. “What’d you do that for?”

Mrs. O’Brien turned her face away. But before she did, he caught a flicker of something unfamiliar in her visage, in the corner of her eye, the shape of her mouth. He wasn’t sure what it was, but there was a darkness to it. “In all our years together, you’ve not done such a thing to me,” he said rubbing his chest. “What’s got into you?”

Instead of answering his question, Mrs. O’Brien handed Mr. O’Brien her empty cup and saucer before heading up the stairs.

“What’ll I be needing these for?” he asked looking down at the cup and saucer.

“For a happy marriage.”

“A happy marriage? Never heard of such a thing.”

“I heard that Mr. O’Brien,” she said without turning around. “Don’t be acting like I’ve given you a snake. Just take them to the kitchen.”



“Don’t be acting like I’ve given you a snake,” Mr. O’Brien mimicked softly. He pulled back the leaves of a nearby fern and carefully set the dishes on top of those his wife had given him the day before. Forgetting his daughter, he picked up his bowler and stepped out the front door into the chilly April air.

 



 



Thank you, Connie, for being our featured gust this week. Wishing you continued success with your stories.

 


 


For all you fantastic visitors wishing to discover more about C P Hoff and her writing, please follow these links:

 

 https://cphoff.com

Amazon.com: C.P Hoff: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

"cp hoff" | eBook and audiobook search results | Rakuten Kobo








Saturday, 22 May 2021

Branching Out with ArtShediac.

 

 


 

There is an active artist’s scene in the seaside community. Bringing as much as possible under the same banner is ArtShediac. A not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and artists of Shediac. At present there are two busy individuals that manage the day-to-day operations of the group, Colleen Shannon and Susan Jardine. Both are artists and go-getters.


 

Susan, a friend and Colleen.


The Scribbler is beyond happy to have them visit with us today to tell us more of this vibrant and thriving community. Susan has been a guest before and you can read her interview HERE.

 

Thank you, ladies, for joining us this week. Let’s chat!

 

 

 

Allan: Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what ArtShediac is all about, please tell us a bit about yourselves.

 

 Colleen: Thinking back to when I was very young, I was the child that did not do the same play things as other children my age. I spent a lot of time alone and preferred to read, draw sew and enjoy nature. I loved the woods, fields of flowers, bubbling brooks and spending time with my grandmother who had a very strong influence in my life. As a high school student, I was an average kid who excelled in art class and in the sewing room. My first full-time job was with a daily paper as a commercial artist in the advertising department. Then of course like so many artists; future jobs, marriage and raising a family took me on other paths. In 2013 after my youngest child left for university, I took a graphic design program which has been the catalyst for my remerging artistic endeavours.

 

Colleen & Helen.

Susan: A longtime friend of mine said to me at one time that I talked about art a great deal during our 40 plus years of friendship. I suppose that was true, however, as I look back it wasn’t really until 2001 when I took a watercolour painting class in Charlottetown while on a job I had there for about a year that I began to explore making art. I did nothing further with it until 2006 after having walked the Camino Santiago in 2005. At that time, I branched out into acrylics and took several workshops in Vancouver and Victoria. In 2010 I was involved with a painting group in the small town I lived in in France. It was not until I arrived in Shediac in 2010 that I decided to actively produce and sell my art.

 

 


 

 

Allan: Please tell us about ArtShediac. How did it come into being and how old is the organization?

 


Susan: A group of us interested in community development decided to hold what we called “Conversations” where we brought people together to discuss ideas and how we could make our experience living in Shediac even better. Out of that came several projects including Cine Shediac and ArtShediac and CAPS another arts group that gets together to paint was revived.  

 


 

Colleen: As Susan has just explained, I also attended the Conversations meetings that explored ideas to create activities to benefit our town of Shediac. When we broke down into smaller groups to brainstorm the possibilities per topic, I joined the group exploring what an art group in Shediac would look like. Three of us formed an art group which eventually brought us to where we are today seven years later.

 

 


 

 

Allan: Last summer, ArtShediac was at the Pointe-du-Chene wharf which has become a social gathering spot. Art on the Wharf was a great idea. How did it come about and what was your role in it?

 


Colleen: Actually, Susan was approached by a Wharf committee member, who also happens to be an ArtShediac member. He told her there was a vacant building for use on the newly renovated deck at the Wharf. Susan brought that information to the ArtShediac committee who quickly made arrangements to rent the vacant building as a gallery and make the gallery available for ArtShediac members to display their works for sale; creating a new source of income for them during the pandemic. The ArtShediac committee soon came up with the name ‘Art on the Wharf’ which encapsulates the type of business and its location. ArtShediac proudly boasts $4300 in sales our first year in business during a global pandemic!

 

 Susan: I remember driving home from that initial meeting being so excited about the prospect of an art gallery on the wharf that if ArtShediac decided not to seize the opportunity, I would. Didn’t know how I would do it but I was determined. As it happened others agreed with me and out of that came Art on the Wharf.

 


 

 

Allan: How has the pandemic affected you each personally and how did it affect plans for ArtShediac?

 

 Susan: I have been very busy with Probus Club of Shediac Shores as Program Chair finding guest speakers to present at our monthly meetings via Zoom. I presented a 5-session cooking class called “Simply Fabulous Food” via Zoom for Tantramar Seniors College. I am participating in a weekly current events class from TSC via Zoom. I hold biweekly art workshops for OpVets here in Shediac (the only OpVets from across Canada that has a visual arts component). I have been working on achieving a daily walking steps count of 10,000. And I am producing some art. I did quite well in December 2020 selling my art (small pieces) on Facebook. I have been working on motivating myself to produce a painting a day for posting on FB. That seems to have eluded me so far in 2021 although as I said I managed it quite well in Nov Dec of 2020. I had been showing my art at a newly opened gallery in Moncton called The Acorn Studio for the past year, however, the owner is closing and switching to a digital gallery. I much prefer the eyes and hands on gallery experience for my appreciators. Seeing art and examining the pieces in person seems to me to be a much more whole-body experience than merely viewing a photograph. The nuances of texture, colour, materials, that one can see in person is the experience I want for the appreciators of my art.

 


 

Colleen: As devastating as a global pandemic is for many, many reasons; for me on a personal level I explored new ways to achieve what I would normally be doing within my artistic life. A large part of this exploration required learning to give my classes online and to continue to connect with participants in the most personal method possible. Not being hands-on created the need for me to use more descriptive language, instruction and enhanced listening skills. I also developed a heightened awareness of the need to recognize the visual clues of struggle by an individual and how to meet their needs.

 

 




Allan: What is the criteria for being a member of ArtShediac and what is involved?

 

Colleen: Simply file out a membership form which requires a $20 annual fee. And I would like to emphasize you do not have to be an artist to join us. Anyone who appreciates art in all of its forms and would like to receive notifications of upcoming events can become a member. Patronship and donations are always appreciated.

 

 




Allan: What can we expect from ArtShediac in the near and distant future?

 

Susan: ArtShediac will soon send a callout for participants to display visual art and literature at the ‘Art on the Wharf’ gallery in Pointe-du-ChĂȘne. We plan to host a variety of events on the newly expanded deck and are looking for poets, musicians, dancers and theatre performers who would like to participate. The gallery will kick off the July1st opening with a members and friends party!

 



 

 

 


 

 

 

Thank you, Susan and Colleen, for sharing news about ArtShediac.

 


****It was great fun and exposure for my novels last year and I for one, appreciate your efforts. It’s a wonderful venue.

 

 

Website for ArtShediac is coming soon with links to the Facebook page and Instagram.





Saturday, 15 May 2021

Branching out with New Brunswick Authors Jane Tims and Roger Moore.

 

 








It’s an exciting time for the Scribbler. Not having just one, but two accomplished authors as our guests this week. Both authors have been featured previously on the Scribbler.


If you missed the earlier interviews and bios, where Jane talks about the diversity of Writing and the diversity of Publishing Business and the diversity of Themes, please go HERE. 


 For Roger, please go HERE for a previous interview and HERE where he discusses his month-long residency at KIRA.


What sparked this week’s post was a note from Roger regarding a review he did on Jane’s novel – Niche. Poetry & Drawings. After a friendly discussion, I hoped for a joint interview and both are kind enough to agree.



***Special Note: Today, at Westminster Books in Fredericton, Jane is launching her latest Kay Eliot Mystery - Land Between the Furrows. 2-5 PM. (See Below)

 



Let’s chat with Roger and Jane.




 

Allan: The first question is for you, Roger. Tell us about your review of Jane’s book. Visitors can read the review HERE.





 

Roger: Jane and I have worked closely together for some time now ad we enjoy sharing our writing. Jane asked me if I would be willing to read her book, Niche, and to write an introduction to it. I did so, most willingly. When the book was published, Jane brought me a copy and I was honored to find my name on the front cover. I was very happy to review it, but, in all honesty, it was an easy task, because I merely copied the Introduction and used it for my review. I believe such duplicated work is what my grandfather, a hard-working man from the old school, called ‘a lazy man’s load’.

 

 

Allan: I’ve had the pleasure of reading your poetry, Jane. What was the inspiration for Niche? And please tell us about the drawings.


 

Jane: The idea of ‘niche’ came from many places. First, I am a biologist and a botanist, so many of my poems over the years have been about plants and animals and their homes. Second, in 2011, when I was searching for a theme to describe my blog (www.nichepoetryandprose.com now www.janetims.com ), I thought the idea of ‘place’ would resonate with many readers. Third, ‘place’ is a favorite concept in my writing. It is impossible to write about plants and animals without mentioning their habitats, the ‘niche’ where they fit and thrive. And I think a measure of human happiness has to do with how comfortable people feel in the ‘place’ or ‘niche’ where they live.


Photo by Jane Tims.


The drawings are an extension of my feelings about plants and animals. I love to draw, and most often it is my hand that does the drawings. I just watch. I have no real training and the eraser and Q-tip are as important to the execution of my drawings as the pencil! I once had a well-known artist say that my drawings and my poems left her with very similar feelings. I want the drawings to resonate with the poetry.

 

Drawing by Jane Tims. Copyrighted.



 

Allan: Jane, can you share a little about where you live, your family and being a botanist.

 

Jane: I am lucky to live in a rural environment with woodland all around. This week I have wakened to the song of the winter wren (I call him the ‘scribble bird’ because of his impossible-to-follow song), the eastern phoebe and the nuthatch. Our property has lots of diversity: a cedar swale, old-field, a gully, spruce forest and mixed wood where we built our house. My husband shares my love of the woods and I raised my son to appreciate nature in all its variety. I think it is interesting that if you look at a satellite photo of our neighbourhood, we do not show up at all; other properties have a house, lawn and a few trees. If you look very closely at the heavily wooded spot where we live, you can just glimpse the roof of the house.  This place, where we have lived for 41 years, is a perfect space for a botanist to live.

 

 



 

Allan: What’s in the future for Jane Tims, the author? The artist? The botanist?

 

Jane: I am retired now from my work as an environmental planner. In 2012, I started writing, words that had rattled around in my head for years. Since 2012 I have published five poetry books, including two with Chapel Street Editions in Woodstock, three volumes in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series and nine books in my science fiction series Meniscus. From now on, I will write and draw until I can’t. I am happiest when I am doing that first draft. But I also like the social life of the writer and I belong to two active writing groups (Wolf Tree Writers and Fictional Friends). My writing gives me a chance to express myself as an artist since I illustrate all my books and create the art for the covers.  Being a botanist has always suggested themes for my writing and it will continue to do this; last year, with the support of artsnb, I explored abandoned communities in New Brunswick to see what happens to the gardens that are left behind and wrote a new manuscript of poetry called ‘escapes.’

 

 




 

Before we carry on the interview, can you please share an excerpt, Jane?

 







An Excerpt from Niche.

(Copyright held by the author. Used with permission)



slow walk

 

I need to see more of these woods

more than the trail winding between the trees

 

I must narrow my perspective

slow my walk

search for texture

in the trampling of the mosses

and the duff thrown by pounding feet

 

find philosophy in sunshine filters

slantwise between the trees

 

the halo of pollen and dust

in the spotlight, forgiveness

in the rain, gathers a full hour

in the high branches

before it weeps

 

find hope in the stolid

bracket fungi climbing the trees

 

life in oak galls

and witch’s brooms

lichens hanging overhead

chandeliers to light the trail

winding between the trees


 

 


 




 

Allan: Roger. On Being Welsh – an award-winning novel I have had the pleasure to read and review for The Miramichi Reader.  You continue to pile up the awards and inspire us. How does the well-deserved recognition feel? I expect it is something an author never grows tired off.

 




Roger: Now there are several loaded questions concealed in that paragraph, Allan. First, the awards: I am a dedicated writer and I try always to support the WFNB by entering their writing competitions regularly. I remain true to the words of one of my favorite authors, ‘paper your walls with rejection slips,’ and I have indeed been rejected on many, many occasions. I have also been lucky, extremely lucky, with the awards. Thank you for mentioning them. As for the recognition, more than anything else, it is a confirmation that my writing is on the right track and is improving. It is also an encouragement to keep writing and to keep submitting. As the old saying goes ‘if you want to go from Halifax to Vancouver by bus, stay on the bus. You’ll never get to Vancouver if you get off the bus in Montreal or Toronto and don’t get back on. So: stay on the bus.’

 

 

*****Yesterday, we received news that Roger’s writing has yet received another award in the 2021 Writers Federation Writing Competition. First Place for Narrative Non-Fiction with Two Dead Poets. Congratulations, Roger.

 

 

 

Allan: If it is not too personal, Roger, has being a cancer survivor changed your writing in anyway?


 


Roger: To suffer from cancer is a life-changing experience. In my case, the cancer was caught early and was cleared up. I was treated in Moncton, where I stayed for eight weeks in the summer of 2015. In Moncton, I decided to renew my contact with the French language and I spoke mainly in French throughout the stay and the treatment. To mingle with fellow sufferers, mostly Acadians, many in a worse condition than me, was a humbling experience. To share their lives, their stories, and their language was a revelation. So many doors opened before me. Each day, when I emerged from ‘the throat of the radiation machine’, I saw a renewed beauty in the world around me. It was then that my writing became a dialog with my time and my place (Bakhtin). When I left the Auberge in Moncton, I started to revise and polish my older works and to publish them on Create Space (now Kindle / KDP). Post-cancer, I realized just how precious life is and equally just how important it is to preserve our daily dialog with it. As I said on the back cover of A Cancer Chronicle: “if I can reach out to touch and comfort just one cancer sufferer, this book will not have been written in vain.” Now, I want to reach out and touch the hearts and minds of any and all who read my books.

 

 


 

Allan: Roger. Can you share a few details about your family and where you live?

 

Roger: I came to Canada 55 years ago this September. Clare followed me four months later, in December. We got married six days after her arrival and will celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary this December. I came to New Brunswick (UNB) 50 years ago this July. Clare followed me in August, so for both of us this year marks our fiftieth year in this province. We have lived in Island View, just 100 meters outside Fredericton city limits, for the last 32 years. We are surrounded by trees and receive regular visits from the local wildlife, including deer, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, a fox, a snowshoe hare, and an occasional bear. The garden is graced, all year round, by a multitude of birds. In summer we have hollyhocks and bees’ balm both of which are a delightful landing ground for bees and butterflies. Alas, we live on the other side of the hill from the river, and as I always say, there is not an island in view from our home in Island View.

 

 





Allan: Roger. You have a large body of work and I know this question to be difficult, but I’m interested in which is your favorite? Which was the most difficult to write?

 

Roger: Given that all my writing is my dialog with my time and my place, I am very happy with all my books as each one marks a stage in my development as a writer and a person. That said, I think that the Oaxaca sequence was a breakthrough as I came face to face, in Oaxaca, with some very different ways of seeing our world. Mexico, and especially pre-Columbian Mexico, was a revelation to me and changed me and my writing considerably. Post-Oaxaca, I was able to write with far greater freedom about a world I now contemplated with a different vision. That new vision also appears in Though Lovers Be Lost, which remains one of my favorite pieces of writing with its memories of Canada and Wales.






 Monkey Temple stands out too because it shows a different world view that combines humor with the satirical spirit of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. I am so happy to have written something that runs parallel to all those little animals and Monkey Temple is the closest I can get. My Moncton experience, 2015, opened up visions of the inner lives of myself and others and, post-Moncton, I was indeed able to come face to face with the darker side of life, to confront it, and overcome it. My latest book, On Being Welsh, is representative of that stage in my development. Then, of course, a pantheistic strain runs through my writing and presents the natural world through the eyes of the Spanish mystics and their deep love of nature. Triage and All About Angels fit in here, as does The Empress of Ireland.  However, the most important work in this category is One Small Corner, a book of poems embracing the seashore and the natural world of St. Andrews, written during my residency at KIRA in June 2017. I should mention too the experimental work, completed with the help of Geoff Slater, in which word and image mirror each other, his drawings and my words. Scarecrow and Twelve Days of Cat fit this category. As for ‘difficult to write’, the earlier books were the most difficult as I was struggling with the eternal questions, who am I and why am I writing? When I found the answer to those questions, writing became much easier.

 

 

Allan. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

 

Roger: First and foremost, the pleasure and pride I take in being a writer and of sharing in a series of writing communities here in New Brunswick, Canada. Second, the deep friendship and sense of community I share with many friends, too many to mention, but you, Allan, and Jane, are foremost among them. Finally, I would like to congratulate you on the work you do for writing in general and us local writers in particular. Thank you for being here for us and allowing us to share your platform.

 

 

 

***Thank you for the kind words, Roger. I’m honoured to have you and Jane as my guests.

 

 

 


 

An Excerpt from On Being Welsh.

(Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)

 

 

When am I? I am now, here in your hands, or there before your eyes. Each letter I sketch with my heart blood as it drips off the pen nib or flows through my fingertips and into the keys is a link forged through time and space and makes our meeting like this contemporaneous. I may have been dead for a hundred years when you read these words, yet here we are talking through your eyes as if I were present and in the room with you. When am I? I am now, I am here, and my when is your now, and each word you read is the now of my reaching out to you and entering your presence. And yes, this when of which I write now shines in your mind, a beacon to guide you and a light to bring you your own joy.
          For my when is a sunbeam radiating through a raindrop to arc rainbows in your mind. It is a thin coating of January ice on a berry-laden tree with sunbeams flowing through it. It is a brief breeze tinkling ice-coated branches. It the Big Ben chime of our grandfather clock, more than two hundred years old, a clock that stands in the hall, and speaks to me in the same voice that my father and grandfather heard.
          Listen: all through this hour, it chimes, be by my side, / and with thy power, / my footsteps guide. And this is my when, all my when’s, every single one of them. Omnia vulnerant, ultima necat / all hours wound, the last one kills. Every tick of the tick-tock clock, every quarter chime, each hour striking ... these are the milestones of our lives. When am I? I am now (tick) and now (tock) and you will never again hear those Big Ben chimes without thinking that this is the now and the when in which we meet across time and space and join together in a perpetual union of minds across a time and space whose distances do not matter.










 

Thank you, Jane and Roger, for taking the time to be our featured guests this week. Wishing you both tremendous and continuous success with your writing.

 







For all you clever visitors wanting more info on Jane and Roger, please follow these links:

Jane.

www.janetims.com

www.offplanet.blog

 

Roger.

www.rogermoorepoet.com

moore.lib.unb.ca