Friday, December 28, 2012

the great secret lies on some shelf


by Charles Simic

There’s a book called
“A Dictionary of Angels.”
No one has opened it in fifty years,
I know, because when I did,
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered

The angels were once as plentiful
As species of flies.
The sky at dusk
Used to be thick with them.
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away.

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows.
The library is a quiet place.
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books.
The great secret lies
On some shelf Miss Jones
Passes every day on her rounds.

She’s very tall, so she keeps
Her head tipped as if listening.
The books are whispering.
I hear nothing, but she does.


I do love the Simic poem - I know I've posted it before. But it seems perfect for this series of photos taken in my study.

Work again for me today so I can't linger here. But it's nearing the end of the year, and I find myself making all sorts of resolutions. And thinking that it's interesting how most of them are regarding the internet. Maybe they're less resolutions, than they are re-evaluation of all these spaces I happen to inhabit. Are they still working for me, are they still doing what I set out to do in them? How has my usage changed, and is that okay? For example, I spend less time commenting on others' photos on Flickr - but still want to post my photos there. I break the unwritten rule there very often - posting one photo a day. Today for example, I'm probably going to spam and run, as I want quite a few of these photos on my stream, but I have to walk the dog, get ready for work, etc. And then there's this blog. Too self-indulgent? Incoherent? I know I have some beautiful and dedicated readers. But even with all the sitemeter readings - it's impossible to know if anyone (besides the ones who comment from time to time) actually reads this. Sometimes I think it might be fun to take it into a larger space - a real website instead of a blog. Rename it? I don't know.  Toying. And then there's Facebook. Which has a lot of really lovely things about it, as always, but also, so many unlovely things. (Aspects which could be sociologically/psychologically interesting - the withholding, the silences, the hiding and unfriending...on and on....)  I guess anyone on Facebook has experienced its many sides, so I needn't go into it here. In general, I think it's good to take some time to evaluate one's web presence. Such as it is.  Those of us who are writers, feel a certain pressure to have a presence on the internet. But then I look at writers who are more or less invisible on the web, and I think - are they really worse off than I am? And in truth, probably they write more than I do.


  1. You are a beautiful presence in my life.
    May 2013 fill your life with blessings.

    I follow my thread with yarn on Sassy Pat.

  2. Dear Shawna, Your blog has meant more to me than I am able to express. It is joy and and prompt to remember what really matters in our day to day lives. I hope whatever direction you decide to take it , it will still be accessible to a wide audience, which means ME! I am very thankful for all you share with us.
    I am thankful for the internet precisely for this reason.
    I am quite sure that your light has shined a distance far beyond what you will ever know.
    Thanks so very much.

  3. The key to Facebooking — I think — is filtering. I have a newsfeed which is often the only one I'll look it. It's called "Faves". These are people I really want to hear from. People whose stuff I *want* to see. That keeps me calm in the face of all the glargh over there.

    I also have a Writer feed, which occasionally hits me the jackpot. Those poems I've got coming out in the Welsh anthology are a direct result of a writer friend in Liverpool who blurbed the book the poems are in. She caught wind of the call for poems, and put me and the editor of the anthology together on Facebook. I doubt I'd have seen the call otherwise, and it's very unlikely the editor would have been aware of my little, Canadian, 8-year-old book of poems.

    xo Kimmy

  4. Thanks to all three of you - my steady readers. I'm thankful for you! More than I can say.

    Kimmy - thanks for your thoughts on Facebook. It's been kind to me in many ways as well, so I can't give it up. For me, I saw the call from Palimpsest Press for non-fiction - and that's how my book Calm Things came about. I think filtering is the key, for sure, for all things internet. xo

  5. Calm Things is part of my morning writing routine. A moment to pause, to take in your photographs and your musings. I am grateful for the reminder to pay attention, and for this tangible/intangible community. Thank you, Shawna.

  6. Your photos are incredible. Love them.


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