Monday, December 16, 2013

Life of a Poet - KIM TALON

This week I am pleased to be featuring another fellow Canadian, Kim Talon. Like Robert Bourne, Kim hails from Ontario, a chilly region this time of year. She writes at TALON....barely scratching the surface. Kim is also a wonderful photographer. Her work can be enjoyed at her sister site,  Talon's Photography. Kim has a special talent for capturing the beauty of eastern Canada in her nature shots. You will also find some pretty spectacular photos of birds on her site. Come along, as we swoop in and ply her with questions. 






P.U.: Kim, it is always great to interview a fellow Canadian. Tell us a little about where you live and what you love about it.





Kim: I live in Southern Ontario in the Waterloo Region. It's a lovely spot…tucked between three of the Great Lakes —Erie, Ontario, and  Huron—and within an hour's drive of Toronto, (whenever we get the urge to savor the nightlife), with plenty of rivers and small lakes right in my area. Perfect for canoeing and hiking, which are two of my favorite activities. There is a very vibrant arts community here. Lots of great people to be inspired by and lots of nature for me to drink in.

P.U.: It sounds a perfect setting for a poet/photographer! Will you give us a little snapshot of This Poet’s Life? Your family, your job, anything to let us come to know the person behind the pen a little better?

Kim: I am happily (hubby said I had to add that) married, have three grown and amazing children, two cool cats, and a crazy dog. 


 Charlie is a labradoodle though my hubby says she is a whacky-doodle. She's a hoot. 
Total opposite to our German Shepherd, Riley, who passed away about six months ago. 
Charlie became extra clingy after Riley passed, but she's happy again now 
and not glued to me like an extra shadow

I'm a professional freelance editor and professional stock photographer, specializing in nature photography. I love editing…have always had a deep love for words.  Most of my work is solitary, but it suits me. Sometimes I miss gossiping around the water cooler, but making my own hours suits me and motivates me. Oh, and I don't own a cell phone. Never have. Friends are aghast, but I manage just fine without one.


Stripey napping

Stripey's sister, Missy

P.U.: Me too. I refuse to have one. I am so sorry about Riley's passing, Kim. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved dog. Your photos are so wonderful! Which came first, for you, writing or photography?

Kim: The writing came first. The photography started around age fifteen when I received a point and shoot camera for my birthday. Immediately, I was hooked. Back in the days of film you were more picky and choosy about taking an actual shot. 

P.U.: Oh, I remember! All those duplicate sunsets I have in a tub under my bed!!!!

Kim: The best thing about digital is definitely the ability to take as many shots as your SD card allows, and deleting to your heart's content. I still shoot film, but that is rare and more of a pure enjoyment. Like vinyl records, there is something about film that isn't the same as digital. It's much more blemished...more natural. 


Snowy evergreens

Photography will always be the place where I am most creatively relaxed. I love photography. When I have camera in hand, the whole world steps back and what I'm seeing through the lens becomes my temporary world. 

P.U.: Your love of the beauty of nature shines forth in your photos and poems.  Has this been life-long?  

Kim: Yes, nature never fails to amaze, inspire, and soothe me. Since I was a child, I always felt most peaceful when I was in the great outdoors. Whenever I get the chance, I'm either out in the garden (the minute the snow melts and right up until it takes over again) or out into the countryside. I'm fortunate that it is literally less than a five minute car ride and I'm in a rural wonderland. I love that I get to experience the four seasons where I live (though I confess the lines between seasons has been blurred the last decade or so) and revel in the beauty of each.  In words and images, I try my best to capture that elusive quality that is the natural magic of the world.

the Grand River

P.U.: I share your love of the natural world. Miraculously beautiful, always. When did  you begin writing poetry and what drew you to it?

Kim: I've written since I was seven. I wrote a really terrible poem  at that age, and when the words wouldn't match what I wanted to convey, it started a life-long quest to try to match feeling to words. Once in a while a phrase or a certain turn of words  will feel just right. Most times, though, it's a lot of deleting. Sometimes I write longhand. Nerve damage prevents me from doing a lot of long-hand writing, but it's still my favorite way to create. Probably because I filled notebook after notebook with my ramblings from a young age.

P.U.: I wrote longhand, too, for most of my life, and I felt a stronger mind/hand connection, long-hand, that just isn't there now that I use a keyboard. However, my time is limited, speed is now what counts (cackle.) What do you love about poetry?

Kim: Poetry is intimate to me. The most intimate form of writing. It's personal. It's breaking off a piece of your heart. You only have to read the poets on Poets United to know that poets are brave. They aren't afraid to explore the emotions and experiences that most people keep under wraps, and present them to you in ways that are unique and always moving.

Blue Spruce in Snow


P.U.: I agree, kiddo. Where do you go for inspiration for your poems?

Kim: It's always funny to me how a certain line will suddenly jump into my head. It can be anywhere—in a line at the supermarket, out walking the dog, showering—and then comes the  worry that the line is lost forever if not immediately written down. I've learned that if the words are right and important, they will stick around. I've learned not to stress if I can't get to a pad or pencil right away. A lot of my poetry I sort of pre-write in my head before sleep. That's when my mind seems most receptive to playing with ideas and images.  

I'm not sure where the ideas come from…they just sort of emerge from the jumbled thoughts. I imagine it's information taken in throughout the course of a day…sifted through and condensed. There have been times when poetry has gone from me. The longest period was nearly eighteen months. I was writing a lot of short stories at that particular time, and poetry just took a back seat. And, unlike most backseat drivers, it wasn't anxious or nervous or mouthy. I was so happy when it came back, though, because poetry is essential to me for getting my emotions out.

P.U.: Is there one person you would say has been a significant influence on you, when it comes to the arts?

Kim: Two people immediately spring to mind. One I never knew personally. The other was my father. My father had a love of poetry. He read it aloud to us kids when we were growing up (I still have all his old poetry books) and he wrote some of his own…though he rarely shared it.  He was never happy with his writing. As most of us are, he was his own worst critic. 


Mom and Dad 1949

The other person who influenced me is Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series. When I first read Anne of Green Gables at nine years old, I instantly knew this was great character writing. I wouldn't have known to describe the  knowledge at that age, but I sensed it right away. Her characters came to life. To this day, I re-read the Ann series every few years. LMM's  writing definitely inspired me to pay attention to the little things people do and say. It's the little details that really have impact when you're writing a novel, short story or a poem.

P.U.: I devoured her books as a child too. What led you to the blogging world, and how has it impacted your work, Kim?

Kim: I started blogging in April of 2008. I knew no one who had a blog. I was just curious after I stumbled across a blog while doing some research. It happened to be a blog full of poetry and photos and I was immediately intrigued. A few weeks later, I created my Talon blog and I've been at it ever since. 

Other than a few breaks when I lost my mother and my brother, I've been active almost every day for years. And the people you meet. It's been incredible. It was like a whole other world where people actually liked poetry and honored it and shared it. 

Blogging , to me, is like having coffee with old friends. You pull up a chair, order your favorite brew, and settle in for some quality conversation.  I've had to learn to make blogging fit into my schedule…too tempting to stray from a work day when there is so much to look at and experience. Blogging has made me realize the importance of expressing ourselves and being truly heard.  Blogging friends are as valuable—sometimes more valuable—than people I have in my off-the-computer world. It's made me a better writer.

P.U.: You have expressed exactly what the experience has been for me. Do you have a poem you are especially happy with, that we might include here?


Brutus, a friend's horse


Kim: I never feel like my poems are completely finished. Even after a poem has been accepted for publication and is in print, I still think I could have done more with it…but one poem will always stand out to me because it is the first thing I wrote after my mother's death. It's entitled "Fire and Roses".  It came out the way it's written and it's one poem I won't change.  It was a long while before the need to write poetry came back to me.


While I was watching tangled grasses of late summer
toss straw-colored heads in a charming wind...
the season changed
I didn’t notice the fallen apples
in a jumbled pile of sweet bruised beauty
or the smoke-hint chasing the breeze
tainting the innocent blue sky with grey smudges of autumn’s breath...
I ignored the wild sumac’s scarlet leaves stained the color of persimmon lips
whispering dryly of summer’s imminent demise...
the flocks of starlings performing arabesques in a barren field were playing—
not practicing for flights soon south...
the dogwood berries were glowing blue
but I noticed only the foxglove’s second bloom
their richly speckled interiors beckoning the last bumbles who nuzzled them tenderly...
and when I peered around the evidence was clear to see
the season changed
while I was looking elsewhere
and life changed too
for you were not here
but had jumped upon a black gypsy horse
with fiery wings
galloping to a land away...away from here...
to the place where wild roses grow
their intoxicating fragrance enough
to make a man’s knees buckle
and break a woman’s heart
velvet beauty cloaking the thorns
that pierce guiltless flesh until the blood flows in crimson ribbons

The season changed
while I was looking elsewhere...
life changed too

ktn © 2011



P.U.: Oh, my goodness, Kim. How incredibly moving. Just beautiful writing! Catch-at-your-heart writing. Thank you so much for sharing this.

What other things might we find you doing, when you arent writing or taking your spectacular photos?


June's supermoon

Kim: I'm an avid gardener. I love to hike and I love canoeing. I also like kick-boxing.  

P.U.: No way! See? Every week, a surprise! It's why I love my job!

Kim:  I used to compete in Tae Kwon Do, but those days are behind me now…or so my back and knees keep telling me. I love reading, and I really enjoy sewing.  All of my curtains, pillows, etc. I make myself.  I used to sew clothing, too, but my patience is less for the finer detail stuff nowadays and time is limited. And reading…what writer isn't addicted to reading?

P.U.: Not one. Have you ever lived a great adventure?

Kim: Hmmm…a couple spring to mind. One involves  ghosts…but you'd have to believe in them to believe my tale so I'll share a different one. 

P.U.: Oh, I think we have to have the ghost story, kiddo! Tell all!

Kim: The Nonchalant Ghost

My husband and I were visiting our good friends, Jane and Lou. (I've changed their names to protect their identity). This particular event happened a couple of years ago now. After a lovely dinner, we were trying to decide what we were going to do for the remainder of the evening—a toss-up between playing cards or watching a DVD. Cards were decided upon and our hostess, Jane, couldn't find a deck of cards. Having young children, our host, Lou, said the kids must have taken them down to the family room. He went down the short flight of steps to the lower hall (the house was a side-split with three different levels), heading for the basement steps that lead to the family room. Just as he got down to the hallway, Jane (from the dining room) said she's found the deck. 

I said I'd go and tell Lou that he didn't have to bother looking. I went down the steps to the hallway, turned left and went towards the basement steps. Lou was just heading down the  family room stairs and I reached out to touch his shoulder, telling him that Jane had found the cards. Just as I was about to touch him, the bathroom door down the hallway opened and out stepped Lou. I looked at him in disbelief and looked at the man on the basement steps. The man on the basement steps suddenly vanished. Literally right before my eyes.

 Lou came down the hall. "Find the cards yet?"

 I told him Jane had found them in the buffet drawer. I was shocked I was unable to speak. I looked back down the stairs, but there was nothing there.

 "What's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost," said Lou and laughed.

 Still in shock, I followed him back upstairs. I didn't tell anyone about the ghost encounter for nearly a year because I was so shocked that I'd almost touched an apparition. And a solid one. The ghost person had been wearing a dark blue sweater the same shade and texture as Lou's and blue jeans. I would have sworn on a stack of a million bibles  that the vanishing man had been as solid as you and me.

When I finally told Jane about the encounter, while sitting in her kitchen sipping tea nearly a year later, she didn't bat an eyelash. "Oh, him," she said. "I see him all the time."

Knock me over with a feather! "What? All the time? And you've never told me you have a resident ghost?"

"No. I don't want the kids to know. Lou's never seen him. I don't want to freak them out. I see him when I'm doing laundry. He walks from the laundry room, right through the family room and disappears into the wall."

I asked how he was dressed and she describes him as wearing a dark blue sweater and a pair of jeans. Exactly the man I saw and a pure coincidence that Lou had been wearing the same type of outfit the night I'd seen the man on the stairs.

"He's not mean or anything. Never speaks. He just walks. He doesn't frighten me." Jane was very off-the-cuff about the whole thing, but did admit she'd never tried to touch. That, she said, would definitely freak her out.

"Oh, I was freaked out," I said, still shivering at the memory of the super close encounter.

"I wonder what he was doing walking downstairs," she mused.

"Probably wanted to check out your company that night," I said.  I must confess that I always used their upstairs bathroom and never once set foot on the stairs leading to the family room ever again.

P.U.: Yoiks! Nearly having touched him is freaky indeed!


Mallard

Kim: One other adventure stands out in memory. I was ten and my youngest sister (and partner in crime) was seven at the time. When we left the house that spring morning, my mother told us NOT to go out to the baseball field at a neighborhood school because it was really mucky. So we met up with our friends, Barb and Davie (Davie was Barb's younger brother and was probably six at the time) and we headed off to the very place our mothers had told us to avoid. A huge and unblemished field of mud. How could we resist? 

Our goal was to cross the baseball field and end up on the other block. We only managed about ten steps before our feet got sucked into the muck and we were unable to move.  We struggled, fell down, but our boots would not move. Now we were covered in muck and in a real pickle. We could step out of our rubber boots and try to make a run for it…but the evidence would be there for all to see and we'd also face some serious issues for returning home boot-less. We pondered this for a while and before we could come to a group consensus, Davie started wailing and a'hollerin'. He was freaking out because we literally could not move another step. 

An older woman out walking her dog spied our predicament and, as is the way in small towns, alerted our mothers. My father and two of his friends came with planks of wood that made a temporary bridge so we could make our escape. We were afraid. Very afraid. 

Barb and Davie were whisked away by their  angry mom and my sister and I had to make our way home while my father and his friends dealt with the muck-encrusted lumber. It only took one look for my mother to know what we'd been up to. Normally she was one of those who yelled it out and that was it. This time there was no yelling. We were sent to the appropriate place - the mud room. Here we were told to take off our wet and heavy clothes, don our bathrobes and march right upstairs to the waiting bath. 

We tried to stretch out the bathing time as long as possible, but our mother knocked on the bathroom door and said we had to face the music. Our father was waiting downstairs. When we came down, red-faced and worried, we found our father sitting at the kitchen table, sipping a mug of tea. He looked at us, shook his head and said, "Sit down. You must be hungry after your adventure." What was this?  No yelling, no grounding…nothing. Just mugs of hot chocolate and some biscuits. Years later my mother said my dad was very very angry because what we'd done was dangerous and stupid. But he also knew that the agonizing time we'd spent trying to figure a way out so wouldn't be caught was a far better punishment than anything they could come up with.


Autumn in the park

P.U.: Wise and compassionate parenting! A great story which thankfully had a good ending, with everyone safe and sound. Is there anything else you’d like to tell Poets United?

Kim: I've been involved with many writing groups through the years. In-person ones and at one time I managed the most active writing site on MSN Groups, before they dissolved. Poets United fits me just right. I love the synergy between the people, the calibre of the writing, and the genuine respect for the written word. What more could a poet ask for? And I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a beautiful holiday season and thank you, Sherry, for inviting me to share.

P.U.: Thank you, Kim, or allowing us this lovely visit. I hope you and your family have the most wonderful holiday season. I am sure you will be enjoying a White Christmas, given your location!

Well, kids? Isn't it fun visiting our wonderful poet friends in their homes? Do come back to see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


51 comments:

  1. Sherry, thank you for another interesting interview ~ I have been exchanging comments with Talon for some time now but have not really known her story ~

    Kim, lovely to get to know more of you. You live east from where I am. Your nature pictures are amazing and I enjoyed the two stories you shared ~ Take care and have a good holiday ~

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    1. Grace, thank you. It's been lovely getting to know you. And we don't live too far apart. :) Hope your holiday season is beautiful! Looks like we'll have a white Christmas for sure this year.

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  2. Kim is an amazingly talented writer and artistic photographer. I am a huge fan! It was wonderful to get the opportunity to get to know her better through your interview, Sherry. Many thanks to both for a great read, and may your blogging go from strength to strength, Kim.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kerry. I have loved your writing so much. I thank Poets United for "introducing" us. Such talented people here. It's an honor to be included among them.

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  3. What a wonderful interview! Thank you Sherry...and Kim... Kim, I have really enjoyed your writing of late & thank you so much for your regular contributions to Poetry Pantry, which I ALWAYS look forward to. (And also thank you for your responsiveness to others, I might add!) I found your poem after your mother's death very, very moving: These lines stood out for me:

    "...while I was looking elsewhere
    and life changed too
    for you were not here
    but had jumped upon a black gypsy horse
    with fiery wings
    galloping to a land away...away from here..."

    Yes, that is how it is indeed. Your lines truly resonate.

    And that ghost story, my goodness! Truly a fascinating, almost unbelievable tale!

    I agree with you, Kim, that blogging is sort of like having coffee with old friends. I feel the same way. So nice to meet people from all over, who share a common interest, in the blogosphere. How cool that you once managed a very active site on MSN Groups...and so glad now to see you here (and elsewhere in the blogosphere) sharing your words and wonderful photography with us!

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    1. Mary, thank you so much. The gypsy horse was a tribute to my horse, Gypsy, who passed away many many years ago...and the fiery wings were in respect of my mother's wish for cremation. When I read that poem now, it still makes me weep. Thank you, always, for your wonderful support and your amazing creative spirit.

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  4. Kim and Sherry,

    Another fantastic interview with a most wonderful writer, Talon, or as I now know, Kim!!!
    I like Kim's style of writing as it has a fresh and observant style and love your photography as well, which always adds an extra touch.
    Nice to get to know more about you Kim, via Sherry's amazing journeys through the Blogosphere:)
    Eileen

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    1. Eileen, thank you! I know that blogging has provided some headaches for you of late, but I'm so glad you have stayed so we can all continue to enjoy your beautiful writing. I wish you a joyous and beautiful holiday season.

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  5. I love these posts they are such a good way to get to know the poets who contribute here....

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    1. I agree, Robert. Sherry does a magnificent job of asking questions that really make you stop and think and reflect.

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  6. smiles...kim is good people, whom i have followed for a very long time....i like your versatility as a writer...and i def appreciate your short story work...i like your thoughts as well on where you find inspiration as well....

    thanks you two, another great interview....

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    1. Thanks, Brian. Isn't it crazy? We've known each other for years now. And you know how I feel about your writing. :)

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  7. I love your work, Kim ... both your poetry and photography. Just gorgeous. I enjoy our comment exchanges. So glad I found you through Poetry Pantry. Thank you both for a wonderful interview! :)

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    1. Loredana, thank you! It's been such a joy getting to know you through your beautiful writing and amazing photography. The best part of Poetry Pantry is meeting such gifted people and making new friends.

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  8. So happy you enjoyed this visit, gang. I enjoyed it too, very much. Charlie's smile just cracks me up. Kim, thanks so much for being up for an interview during what I know is a busy time for many people. It was truly a pleasure.

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    1. Sherry, it was a pure pleasure. Thank you! You've got a gift for asking questions that aren't run of the mill. Was so fun! Look forward to more amazing interviews and the opportunity to get to know the poets here more personally. Charlie is my smile girl. She never fails to make me laugh every single day.

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  9. Thanks Sherry and Kim for this wonderful conversation.....so touched by the heartfelt words of Fire and Roses Kim and June's supermoon is another exquisitely beautiful poem with lens.....

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    1. You're welcome, Sumana. It's been such a delight to read your writing. I thank Poets United for having such gifted writers and for introducing us. Yes, that was probably the most heartfelt poem I ever wrote...the sort that comes from the deep well of emotions when you're in the depths of fresh grief.

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  10. So interesting to hear about people enjoying their creative lives. Great to hear of someone else who has met a ghost. My family think me mad.

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    1. Thank you so much, Pealogic. You are definitely NOT mad...and that ghost story is only one of many. They seem not to be shy around me. :)

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  11. Sherry, Kim---Sherry, Kim---Wow! I have clearly not visited Talon consistently enough, as I found myself wanting to have coffee with your blogs after visiting them today and reading this interview. Your stories and descriptions are detailed and honest. The poem above brought tears.

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    1. Thank you so much, Susan. To move someone...it's all we poets ask for. That is so very kind.

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  12. Thanks, Sherry! Kim, I love your writing, as you know. It was wonderful to learn more about you. You are wonderful.

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    1. McGuffy Ann, you know how I feel about you and your blog. Anyone who hasn't been to McGuffy's Reader needs to visit ASAP. And if you love animals and care about their well-being, you'll love McGuffy Ann even more.

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  13. Kick boxing! I'll be more polite in my comments in future! Thank you for sharing a wonderful story and adding even more breadth and depth and colour to the Talon we know and love.

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    1. I'm laughing over here, J Cosmo. Thank you so much. Was a pleasure to share a little bit of what makes me tick with friends. :)

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  14. I love this profile of my amazing friend. Thank you.

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  15. Gracias Sherry for a wonderful interview. Kim, love your writing. Echo what Eileen said about your writing...fresh and observant, and also what Brian said...versatility, short story telling and where you get your inspiration....

    Gracias to the two of you for sharing this

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    1. Gracias, Marcoantonio. What lovely compliments. It's been a pleasure to share with you. And,yes, Sherry is a fabulous interviewer.

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  16. And now we know "the rest of the story" and as amazing as we imagined.

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    1. Annie, I love those "rest of the story" stories...one of our radio stations carries them and no matter what I'm doing, I stop and listen. :)

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  17. it was great to be able to read this interview with Stripey's human!

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  18. Talon, nice to know a bit more about you.
    and the poem about your mother was extremely moving, and lovely.

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    1. dsnake1, thank you so much. It was fun sharing. And thank you about the poem for my mother. I miss her so....

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  19. A wonderful interview! Tonight, though, I will be sleeping with the light on to avoid any run ins with a ghost!!

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    1. Thank you, Robyn. Hope you had sweet, ghost-free dreams. :)

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  20. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview Sherry. I'm a big fan of Kim's work. Thanks to you both--and Merry Christmas too!

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    1. Thank you and Merry Christmas, Poet Laundry! Hope your holiday is magical.

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  21. Awesome interview, Sherry (as always). Lovely to know more about you, Kim, fellow Canadian. I love your photos and I love your words, whatever shape they take. The "Fire and Roses" poem I found especially moving here, especially in light of my own mom's relatively recent passing - there is a subtle, yet definite shift in the way light continues to shine...

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    1. Ruth, thank you. You know how I feel about your writing - it's amazing. I'm so so sorry for your loss. So true about the light...

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  22. Kim has always been and always will be one of my very first and very best blogging friends.

    Her artistic talent is AMAZING, as we are all lucky enough to know. And I'm so glad to know Charlie is recovering after his best friend's passing. Dogs and cats are such beautiful people too.

    And I LOVE seeing the photo of Kim, never actually saw all her face before, I have spoken with her on the phone several times. And her parents' photo of course, what a joy!

    love you, Kim!

    And thanks so much for revealing more of her awesomeness here at Poets United.

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  23. Thank you for introducing me to another fascinating person I'd managed to miss so far. :)

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    1. Nice to meet you, Rosemary. :) Thank you!

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  24. Wow, as always, I am late to the party. How lovely to come in and see so many wonderful comments for our talented Talon. Cool! I so love my job!

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  25. Thank you so much, Sherry. Was a pure delight working with you. You know I wish you joy and peace this holiday season.

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  26. Excellent interview! Talon has more talent than it's fair for one person to have!

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    1. You're too kind, Mama Zen. Thank you. Huge compliment coming from such a talented writer as you.

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  27. Wonderful interview! I love your photography and poems-you have many gifts! I also love these hobbies as well as gardening~ The ghostly encounter must of been insane! I am a new fan-so nice to meet you! Talon, so nice to learn how nature inspires you on so many levels~

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  28. Ella, lovely to meet you! And thank you so much. I swear gardening keeps me sane. Time stands still in the garden and irritants slip away. Any chance I get, I'm getting outside. Charlie, our Labradoodle, inspires me to try to enjoy the snow. :)

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