Friday, April 11, 2014

the reason I drink

Short Talk on Van Gogh

by Anne Carson

The reason I drink is to understand the
yellow sky the great yellow sky, said
Van Gogh. When he looked at the
world he saw the nails that attach
colours to things and he saw that the
nails were in pain.

I'm a little bit obsessed with yellow right now. And thinking about Van Gogh. Monet. Sunflowers.

The above photo taken at The Met last week. Not possible to get a photograph of just the painting - always people swarming around it. The guard constantly telling people not to get so close.

Here is Rob with Monet's sunflowers:

A terrible photo of me - but in front of Joan Mitchell's sunflower!

"Sunflowers are something I feel very intensively. They look so wonderful when young and they are so moving when dying. I don’t like fields of sunflowers. I like them alone or, of course, painted by Van Gogh."

- Joan Mitchell

Coincidentally, (?) Rob began painting a sunflower before we left, and is nearing the end. A couple more days work left on it, he tells me. But here is one he painted a while ago.

In other news, a recent piece I wrote titled "The Flower Can Always Be Changing," was published yesterday on the wonderful website, Numero Cinq. Take a look here.

And lastly, more author copies arrived yesterday. I was a nervous wreck, in all honesty, opening the box. You'd think I'd be all calm and cool about it - but I think I was more nervous with this one, than any of my previous books. (Maybe because I know too much, lol, I know what potentially lies ahead....). 

I'm thrilled with the book, the cover, the way it feels in my hand. And looking forward to launching it in Edmonton next week at Audreys Books next Thursday evening, the 17th at 7pm. More info here. 

If you've ordered the book, you should be getting it soon! Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it. 


  1. Dear Shawna,

    Please forgive me if I'm taking up a little too much space here these days, I do have a tendency to talk to much sometimes... However, I feel I must tell you two things:

    1. I share your passion for sunflowers and for yellow, your photos today are truly breathtaking.
    2. I just came home with a copy of Calm Things that finally came in at my bookstore around the corner. I am so excited that Asking will be on its way soon. I can't wait to dive in. It is such a lovely, thoughtful book in appearance and I look forward to getting better acquainted with it. The anxiety you describe sounds an awful lot about how I came to feel about giving birth, the first two were greatly anticipated, while my last two were dreaded beyond words... but I would do it again, nevertheless. I'm sure your book is going to be just wonderful! With no regrets.

    Take care, Shawna. Have a lovely weekend. And just ignore me if I get too noisy :)

    1. Talking is excellent! I love your comments.

      I like what you say about no regrets......I'm going to hold that thought. :) xo

  2. As it happened, two nights ago I dreamt of sunflowers. Two in the distance, massive and massively yellow. And so difficult to get to. And me carrying a child. Wading through a hip-high tangled grain crop, faltering, but moving on with great difficulty, needing, somehow to get to the sunflowers...there's more, but I'm astounded when things like this happen. Perhaps the colour yellow moves like a spirit.

    Thank you for the pictures, the paintings and congratulations again, on "Asking."

    1. I think the colour yellow does move like a spirit.....what a dream. Thanks for sharing, Stephen.

    2. Hey Stephen,

      I just 'found' this blog for the first time and was smitten. And now I find you here too.... how's that for finding acquaintances in the most int'resting of places. We chatted via the InScribe blog in the past.

      What a vivid dream.

  3. I've also been inspired by 'yellow' lately,,, it has such friendly energy.
    I can't help but think that Vincent would admire Rob's sunflowers! Those two could talk.... art forever. Your post was so rich - every generous texture applied,,, beauty, yellow, flowers, art, poetry, your book! I'm going to return to The Flower Can Always be Changing, so that I can read it slowly & thoughtfully. Congratulations!

    1. I know I'd like to listen in on that conversation :) Thanks for all the lovely words, Sandra!

  4. Loved your posting about sunflowers and yellow...

    I found your link on A Blog of One's Own (my first time there...and here)! And in my browsing I realize we live in the same province. I'm a little east of you. How's that for meeting a local author and artisan the round about way via blog land?

    I'm so glad I 'bumped' into your blog.

    Here's wishing you much success with your newest book (I'm going to be looking for it and your Calm book of essays, that's what first grabbed my attention).


    1. Brenda - glad you found CT :) You've given me some links to check out! Thx!

  5. Brenda... I highly and energetically recommend the book "Calm Things." I was captivated, and so wrote something of a review. If you're interested...

  6. Stunning photos. The yellow and grey are just too gorgeous. Congrats on the new book, Shawna. Great to see you in photos for a change! I really enjoyed the article, too. Well done.


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