It's a year ago this week since I started the series 'Pressing My Books Into Service'. It was in response to the world-wide pandemic lockdowns. With people all over the globe stuck in their own homes, folks everywhere began offering their own versions of pleasant and useful distractions: sublime photos, poses of their pets, comforting home life scenes, hints to stay sane, hobbies, encouragement, poetry readings, music lessons, concerts, entertaining videos, you name it. I 'met' so many creative and lovely people over these past months—it was social media at its best.
At the time, I looked around my own life and wondered what I could possibly offer by way of helping to create community in isolation. My books sat there in silent reproach: You have us, we can help, press us into service. As you know, I did just that, browsing my shelves with you in mind, picking out a few favourites, and then sharing excerpts from each. You can find the 2020 series HERE.
The weeks passed and I found it hard to keep a daily post going; the series lapsed. During my recent hiatus away from It's A Beautiful Life, I thought about my blog a lot and came to see that the book series could be the makings for a permanent category. After all, most of us love to share what we read and enjoy.
While spring cleaning my book shelves, I was surprised that I'd missed including one of my favourite books last year. Tucked between all those larger books, no wonder the slender spine all but vanished from view. It was like meeting a dear friend. So, today on this anniversary week, I'm putting that to rights. I am delighted to give The flower can always be changing by local author Shawna Lemay its day in the sunshine.
by Shawna Lemay
I went to the bookstore one summer day a few years ago hungry for something seasonal to delve into. Then I spotted the tiny book, not much larger than a birthday card, tucked in alongside all the other volumes of inspiration and poetry. The gorgeous cover of pink poppies and coneflowers promised something wonderful on the inside. I was immediately drawn into a book of delightful essays by a new to me local author.
To this day I still find new lines and phrases that need starring and remembering. The book itself is a flower in bloom—tightly furled thoughts blossoming out with something fresh to see with each encounter. Through her essays, Ms Lemay encourages her readers to ‘align with the poetry of the everyday’.
The following excerpts from Shawna's book resonate in my own writer's heart. I hope they give you a glimpse of the loveliness found in this thoughtful book.
" As a poet I've believed part of my task is to be an instrument of peace. "
" I think of myself as an artist of the everyday, someone who looks for what is bright in our tired and at times shabby days. I want others to realize that this type of seeking is available to them as well, no matter where they are and what situation they happen to be in.What I want in my quiet life is to be a persistent witness to splendor. "〰
" Having a summer reading list means I will also have to make a winter reading list and so I begin by worrying about which books will keep me warm and which ones will cool me off. ... some of the books will be bad and I'll have to abandon them half way through. Some of them will be less bad than boring ... Other books will be immediately fantastic and captivating and I'll want to tell my friends about them even before I finish the first chapter. Some of the books will be astonishingly good and might change my life and some might inspire me to write. The worst books are the ones so exquisite they will make me feel like I should quit writing my own books. These are also the best books. I dream of the season where I read nothing but this last sort of book. ... "
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Wishing you beauty and heart's ease.
Top photo credit: Image by Henryk Niestroj by Pixabay