Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I have my books

"Now I'm going to speak of the sadness of flowers in order to feel more fully the order of what exists."  I quote this fairly often.  It finds me, this line, by Clarice Lispector.  The Stream of Life has been the book I carry with me for years and years now.  It was in my purse when I worked at the library, and when I went to grad school I carried it in my book bag.  In fact, I have two copies.  Each is underlined in different ways, dogeared on different pages.  This is strange I suppose, but it also feels normal.  Sane.  I don't carry it around physically so much any more, though it does end up in my purse from time to time.  Depends where I'm going.  It's a talisman, but it's more than that.  Every time I open it, I find something new.  Measure myself against it, my own writing against it.  Today I'm reminded that I want to feel more fully the order of what exists.  Can't remind myself of that often enough.

Well, remember the line in the Simon and Garfunkel song, I am a Rock?  "I have my books / and my poetry to protect me." There is something very powerful about carrying with you a favorite book, an actual book with signs of its travels.

We woke up early this morning so that I could begin returning to my manuscript.  To see if it would still have me.  It did. I like writing in the dark, knowing the sun will soon rise.  Writing into the illumination....In the morning I don't need the courage so much to write my book that no one will read.  (Knowing it's the book no one will read, I need less courage).  This afternoon I have plans to sit in the upstairs window and write the notes that I'll refer to in tomorrow morning's writing session.  I'll visit my stack of favorite books, listen to the spring birds sing, and dream a little.

I handed in the marks yesterday for the course I taught, so yes, I think that's done.  Then I bought myself three flowers to commemorate the day, and as a consolation for lost things. Rob and I were singing the Chet Baker song yesterday, Everything Happens to Me, because the paintings that went missing in shipping were still lost.  (If you've read my book Calm Things, you'll remember his fun with shippers when several paintings were driven through by a fork lift...).

This morning he received a call that the paintings had indeed been found.  Who knows really how or why or what, but they're safely in our living room.  We'd honestly given up on them being retrieved, at least in an undamaged state.  

And so now I'm going to return to my books, my flowers, pen and paper, my window.  Because the day goes by so swiftly and a daughter to collect from school. And there are flowers to look deeply into and toward.  Their gestures to memorize, the light they hold within them to absorb.

(from last summer, in the garden....that dream)


  1. Love that song (I Am A Rock). Your photos are sublime: so gorgeous and powerful. I like when you describe how you are in the morning getting into your writing life. It's inspiring. Bravo.

  2. Beautiful and spiritually charged site, Shawna! Thank you for doing what you're doing and sharing your Light.

    If you find the time, please email (david@mindpetals(.)com). I'd love to give you a free copy of my meditation ebook that I just published.

    I've been practicing Zen Meditation for 4 years now and I have realized my True self in ways never before imagined. I think that we have a lot to share with each other and through each of our blogs / e-courses.

    Let's chat!


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