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UNF Alumni reveals mysterious side of Jacksonville through new book

By Kasandra Ortiz, Contributing Reporter

Poet, professor, UNF alumni, husband, father, and author: Tim Gilmore is a jack of all trades, with a bit of a dark side.

Gilmore’s new book, This Kind of City: Ghost Stories and Psychological Landscapes, sheds light on a little known genre, psychogeography, and allows readers to discover the more mysterious side of Jacksonville.

Gilmore will take UNF students on a spine tingling journey through Jacksonville with readings from his book Nov. 1st at 6:30 pm in the Student Union Auditorium.

Psychogeography is a genre that focuses on writing about places and the reaction that people have to them. Gilmore said the book is less about the paranormal and more about the “presence of a place.”

“The book itself deals with the history of Jacksonville, but also the mysteries and secrets of the city,” Gilmore said. “I’m attracted to abandoned buildings and places of the city that have seen better days. William Faulker once said, ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even passed.’”

Gilmore is not a newcomer to psychogeography. He’s been working on this project, his book and website (www.deadpaper.org) that continues the collection of psychogeography stories, for two years now. Each story is centered on a place in Jacksonville.

Gilmore’s psychogeography project began at the Old City Cemetery, Northeast of Downtown Jacksonville, after he was introduced to the genre by a fellow professor at FSCJ.

His project has addressed such monumental places in Jacksonville as The Florida Theatre, LaVilla, the Avenues Mall, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and even the organic garden at UNF.

“I would hope students would get out of the book, the reading, and the site, a sense of exploration, which is what college is all about anyway — what the world holds for you and how you connect with it,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore’s long-time friend and fellow writer, Mark Ari, said the book presents a vision of Jacksonville that is more rich than many students may have imagined.

“I don’t think that there is a history book or report of any kind anywhere that is so revelatory of Jacksonville as this remarkable mixture of fact and fiction,” he said.

Aside from chasing stories all over Jacksonville, Gilmore teaches literature and writing at FSCJ and has other writings such as Horoscopes for Goblins: Poems, 2006-2009, Flights of Crows: Poems, 2002-2006, and the album, Waiting in the Lost Rooms.

Nothing about Gilmore or his writing is conventional, but students wouldn’t have it any other way. Gilmore teaches a ghost stories class at FSCJ every fall and spring term called Legend Scripting, which applies the same concept by having students team up to find unknown places in the city.

Gilmore said readers can use This Kind of City to do a scavenger hunt around Jacksonville to all the strange places he writes about, so they can have their own personal experience to add to the stories.

Gilmore’s write-ups on his latest excursions include an abandoned house with an observation tower on Florida-Georgia Island and the Westonian near LaVilla.

“Some people don’t think Jacksonville is the most exciting city,” he said. “It’s not Seattle or Paris. It’s just where people have lived a certain amount of time, which can reveal secrets and bring magic to the city.”

Email Kasandra Ortiz at [email protected]

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