BOOK REVIEW by Author Mary O’Connor

“Poet by nature and street photographer by perspective, author Jennifer Payne turns to the curious thematic image of a flosser to make an arresting statement in her new book about our world and about how, in so many ways, we influence its being. The thought of marrying a cast-off dental apparatus with such discordant thoughts as the randomness of salvation, or whether spiders sing or god flosses, struck me at first as odd, incongruous at best. But after reading the opening words of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, I was caught…” – Mary O’Connor

>> CLICK HERE to read the full review.

(Photo ©Jen Payne)


EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: What We Leave Behind
Jennifer A. Payne, author/photographer
178 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Color Photos
ISBN: 978-0-9905651-1-6
$21.99 (plus tax + shipping)

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BOOK REVIEW by Poet Luanne Castle

“To help heal our planet and ourselves, we first have to look outward to go inward. Jen Payne’s new book of poetry and photographs inspires us to do just that. Using the unique and cohesive symbol of the pocket dental flosser, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind explores nature and our place within our environment…Payne’s poetry is the nuanced, living force of the collection. What drives that force is a love of nature’s beauties, a love that Payne wants readers to experience.” – Luanne Castle

>> CLICK HERE to read the full review.

(Photo ©Jen Payne)


EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: What We Leave Behind
Jennifer A. Payne, author/photographer
178 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Color Photos
ISBN: 978-0-9905651-1-6
$21.99 (plus tax + shipping)

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BOOK REVIEW by Blogger Crystal Casavant-Otto

Evidence of Flossing is a thought provoking read that left me forever changed; somehow simultaneously poignant and uplifting….This is not a book you will read and forget. In fact, it’s the type of book you will refer to friends, pick up from time to time, and think about often as life propels you forward.” – Crystal J. Casavant-Otto, WOW! Women on Writing


EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: What We Leave Behind
Jennifer A. Payne, author/photographer
178 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Color Photos
ISBN: 978-0-9905651-1-6
$21.99 (plus tax + shipping)

buynow


The Magic of Writing (Interview with Lisa Haselton)

We hope you enjoy this interview with author Jen Payne, featured on Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews, an award-winning blog for book reviews, author interviews, and anything writing-related.


What do you enjoy most about writing poems?
Many of my poems show up as whispers of ideas. Maybe one line or two that reveal themselves…suddenly, from out of nowhere. That’s the most exciting part — that magic! Then…what comes next? where will that whisper lead me? To your question, what I enjoy most is allowing the poem to show up and become what it needs to become, allowing myself to be open to the creative spirit so I can tell the story.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your poems – perhaps a couple of your favorites?
One of my favorite poems in the new book is called “Microcosm.” It’s about two separate encounters, one with a spider on my desk, and one with a fish by a pond — and me, wondering what they might be thinking about as we crossed paths. You know, in that same way you wonder about the lives of people in the lit-up rooms of houses you drive by at night?

Microcosm
The spider had a curious look —
not curious as in odd,
but curious, inquisitive, intrigued.
I saw him from the corner of my eye
watching me, then rummaging
through a pile of paper,
back again for a second look,
peering as if to say Who Are YOU?
(or WHAT I suppose)
Perhaps the same look of WHAT?
the fish had as it soared over the pond
yesterday afternoon…
Who are YOU? to the osprey,
and WHEN did I learn to fly?

Another favorite is “I Am Just the World.” It was one of those poems that just showed up, as I was saying before. I was walking on my favorite trail in the woods, and heard the something crawling. I followed the sound and found a spotted turtle making its way through the fall leaves. Spotted turtles are listed as a species of concern/endangered, so this was a very special sighting. And poignant.

I Am Just the World
Pay no attention.
I’m just here
beneath these trees,
their forgotten leaves
warm from the sun.
Never mind
my slow traverse,
I’ll step aside for you.
Make myself small
so you forget
I am light and love,
the god to which you pray,
the universe upon my back,
everything.

I think some people take offense that I anthropomorphize the creatures I meet in the woods – give them personalities and narratives. But, it’s not like I think they are skipping around in the forest singing and such. I use personification to get the reader to think outside of themselves, to consider the other creatures with whom we share this planet. We’re all connected…that is, ultimately, the theme of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, and of a lot of my other writing.

What form are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
I write mostly free form poetry. It’s simply how my muse speaks to me right now. However, I have been working with a group of local poets, the Guilford Poets Guild, for the past few years. Very often they write in specific forms— a sonnet, a villanelle, haiku. I’ve been thinking I’d like to challenge myself to look to form a little more in my work. That could be fun!

What type of project are you working on next?
For the near future, I’ve been thinking about publishing a short story I wrote called “Water Under the Bridge.” It’s an epistolary novella told through a series of emails. And then another book of poetry, but that won’t be for several years.

When did you first consider yourself a writer / poet?
I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember — grade school creative writing, high school newspaper, college journalism, freelance writing, zine publishing. For the past 25 years, I’ve been the wearer of all hats – editor, copy writer, marketing wordsmith – as the owner of Words by Jen, a graphic design business in Branford, Connecticut.

I maintain a regular blog, Random Acts of Writing (www.randomactsofwriting.net) on which I write essays, travelogues, book reviews, flash fiction, and poetry.

I have written poetry for much of my life, but have gravitated to that form almost exclusively for the past three or four years.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for not-yet-published poets?
Just write. That’s my advice. It’s very easy to get caught up in the “business” of writing – editing, researching, preparing, submitting (and waiting), then doing that all over again for the next poem. I call it “hoop jumping.”

Better to just make time to do the writing, perfect your craft, connect with other writers. Just write.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I do my best writing at 3:00 a.m. I love the quiet of the early hours of the morning, before anyone else is awake. There are no distractions – none of the bells and dings and buzzing of our social technologies. Just sweet dark quiet…and coffee.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Honestly? I wanted to be Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie. I loved her little bottle house! Wouldn’t that be a great place to write? Plus, she had magical powers. What could be better than that?

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes. Don’t fight with your craft. Let it be. Let it do what it wants to do. I see a lot of angst-ridden memes about writers. Quotes that talk about the suffering we must endure, the anguish of writer’s block, the agony of rejection letters. Forget all of that and Just Write. Here’s a great quote to think about from writer Alan Moore…

“To me, all creativity is magic. Ideas start out in the empty void of your head – and they end up as a material thing, like a book you can hold in your hand. That is the magical process. It’s an alchemical thing. Yes, we do get the gold out of it but that’s not the most important thing. It’s the work itself.” ― Alan Moore

(Hey! So, maybe I have magical powers after all.)

Thanks for being here today, Jen.
Thank you, Lisa, for this chance to talk with you and your readers about writing and my new book!


EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: What We Leave Behind
Jennifer A. Payne, author/photographer
178 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Color Photos
ISBN: 978-0-9905651-1-6
$21.99 (plus tax + shipping)

buynow


BOOK REVIEW by Writer David W. Berner

“The French poet and novelist, Victor Hugo, wrote, ‘The reduction of the universe to the compass of a single being, and the extension of a single being until it reaches God — that is love.’ Jennifer A. Payne expands on those words with an unflinching account of our unshakeable relationship to the modern world around us, God, nature, and ourselves.” — David W. Berner

>> Click here to read the full review.


Ordered Your Signed Copy Today!

EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND – Inspired by Thoreau, Muir, and Oliver, naturalist Jen Payne presents a curious collection of poems and photographs that explore our divine connection with nature. (180 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Color Photos, $21.99 plus tax + shipping)

$26.05


INTERVIEW: Bookworm Interviews Author Jen Payne

Anjanette Potter from Bookworm interview Jen Payne about her book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind


How long have you been writing/ what made you decide to write?

I don’t know if I had a choice, really. Writing is how I’ve always communicated with the world. My earliest memory is writing letters to my Dad when he was away on business trips when I was young.In grade school, I used to write short stories, but I also had a dozen pen pals I kept in touch with regularly. I wrote for my high school newspaper, and studied journalism at UMass. My first job was writing press releases and advertising copy, before I started my own business doing the same. I published a zine in the early 90s, and graduated to blog writing about 10 years ago.

I’ve been writing all my life!


What made you take this direction for your writing/this work?

I think those early days of communicating real-life stories and experiences to my Dad and pen pals have kept me pretty firmly rooted in non-fiction writing. You can see that on my blog Random Acts of Writing (http://randomactsofwriting.net). Over the years, it has hosted everything from my food writing, travel journals and book reviews, to photo essays, social commentary and poetry.In the past couple of years, I’ve been writing more poetry, mainly because that is how my muse has been talking to me. But also, I was invited to join a local poetry group, the Guilford Poets Guild, and they have inspired and encouraged me a lot!

Both of my books, LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness (2014) and the new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind are direct results of my work on the blog. LOOK UP! includes essays, poetry, a collection of quotations by philosophers, naturalists, and famous writers, plus 100 of my original color photos. It’s a journal, really, that narrates my own journey from working 24/7 to reconnecting with our natural world, finding balance and mindfulness in the simple act of going outside. Evidence of Flossing is a follow-up to that concept. It features 73 of my poems and 80 original and vintage photos that continue a conversation about our divine connection to nature, and how important it is to find our way back to that.


What is it about mindfulness that interests/fascinates you?

By day, I run my own graphic design and marketing business. By night (really in the pre-dawn hours of the day), I do my creative work. My brain and I work at a very frenetic pace – as you can imagine – but somewhere in all of that, there has to be some downtime. Some quiet. Some peace.

I tried traditional methods of meditation – sitting on pillows, candles, oms, guided groups, recorded sessions. But nothing really “stuck.” I remember one group meditation…there were 10 of us in a small, candlelit room. We did some breathing exercises, and then the facilitator guided us on a meditation…down a path, into the treetops, up into the sky. I spent the whole meditation frantically running to catch up, because I couldn’t breathe right, couldn’t visualize right…couldn’t get out of my own way!

About that same time, I had started taking regular walks in the woods. There is a nature preserve near my house, and I can do a nice, easy 2-mile walk in a space that feels very far away from everything. I remember this one day very clearly. I’d been walking for about 20 minutes with lots of busy thoughts in my head. But then it was suddenly quiet. All I heard were my footsteps on the pine needle path. I wasn’t aware of my thoughts or my body, just the sound of footsteps, like a heartbeat, and breathing.

It was brief and wonderful.

I think of it now as my “ah-ha, so this is meditation” moment.problems, inspirations for my writing, connections to some mystery I wouldn’t have had time for if I wasn’t allowing myself to disconnect from busy and reconnect with nature. It’s that simple…and that complicated, I suppose. Perhaps that’s what so fascinating about it, and why I write about it. The difficult part of mindfulness is getting there—stepping away from our busy-ness, allowing ourselves that time to reconnect. But once we do, it’s really quite simple. It’s really quite amazing.


Use this space to give yourself a shameless plug?

I was at a workshop last week, and the hostess came over to me and pointed to a copy of my book on her coffee table. “I keep your book here,” she said. “In a place of honor. That way I can pick it up and read something from it whenever I want. Which is often. I just love it.”

She’s not alone. People seem to really connect with these books, with the writing and the photos. I think it’s because they talk about our collective concerns about our society in a way that is heartfelt and thoughtful. They’re smart books that you can skim for meaning, or dive into for a deeper understanding as they apply to your own philosophy and spirituality, your own experience. But they are both easy reads – you can read an essay, read one poem, open to a page and meditate on a photo or quote. They allow the reader to take that moment of mindfulness, to stop and consider…maybe…a better way to move about in this world? I hope.


Ordered Your Signed Copy Today!

EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND – Inspired by Thoreau, Muir, and Oliver, naturalist Jen Payne presents a curious collection of poems and photographs that explore our divine connection with nature. (180 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Color Photos, $21.99 plus tax + shipping)

$26.05


BOOK REVIEW: Beverley Baird Reviews Evidence of Flossing

“These are definitely poems to ponder, with words and images to reflect on. Payne gives us poetry that moves us, challenges our perceptions and inspires us to look deeper into our place in the world and what our legacy can or should be. Evidence of Flossing is well worth the read – and one you will revisit over and over again.” — Beverly Baird, Teacher


Ordered Your Signed Copy Today!

EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND – Inspired by Thoreau, Muir, and Oliver, naturalist Jen Payne presents a curious collection of poems and photographs that explore our divine connection with nature. (180 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Color Photos, $21.99 plus tax + shipping)

$26.05


Photo ©2017, Jen Payne from the book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind.