Hi.

Welcome to
Transactions with Beauty.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and relax. 
Thanks for being here.
And remember, 
you are required to make something beautiful.

- Shawna

 

 

Books in Conversation

Books in Conversation

These are the four books I’m currently reading. They’re not the sort of books that you read and then set aside, but they’re the sort of books that you’re going to return to, and look at over and over. I’d be a faster reader if I read one at a time, I imagine. But I enjoy the slow conversation that happens when I move from one to the other.

I thought I’d share a quotation from each one, to give you the flavour, and to perhaps pique your interest.

books

“Lucrécia Neves would never be beautiful. She had however a surplus of beauty that doesn’t exist in pretty people. The hair upon which the fantastic hat rested was ample; and the many black spots spread out in the light of her skin gave her an external tone to be touched by fingers. Only her straight eyebrows ennobled her face, where something vulgar existed like a barely sensitive sign of the future of her narrow and deep soul. Her whole nature didn’t seem to reveal itself: it was a habit of hers to lean forward when talking to people, her eyes half-closed – she’d seem then, like the township itself, excited by an event that wasn’t set in motion. Her face was inexpressive unless a thought made it hesitate.”

The Besieged City by Clarice Lispector


“This book is about how to hold open that place in the sun. It is a field guide to doing nothing as an act of political resistance to the attention economy……A simple refusal motivates my argument: refusal to believe that the present time and place, and the people who are here with us, are somehow not enough. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram act like dams that capitalize on our natural interest in others and an ageless need for community, hijacking and frustrating our most innate desires, and profiting from them. Solitude, observation, and simple conviviality should be recognized not only as ends in and of themselves, but inalienable rights belonging to anyone lucky enough to be alive.”

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

books

“I wander
I carefully study the differences between dysrhythmia –
psychosis – schizophrenia – neurosis – depression – syndrome – panic
and I’m pissed
left alone in the house when everyone is asleep
I buy a magazine that costs six dollars
they steal my best friend’s purse
they grab me
I push him
I murder him
I remember the umbrella of Amsterdam
and the rain
and the angry gesture
I dedicate myself to drinking to prevent heart attacks
I chew the food fifty times
and I’m bored
and I’m bored
losing weight
gaining weight
losing weight
I give in
I don’t give in
I sit still and cry
someone takes me in his arms
and tells me “Be calm I’m still here“
I stop crying”

– excerpt from “Next Winter” by Miyó Vestrini, from Grenade in Mouth: Some Poems of Miyó Vestrini translation by Anne boyer and Cassandra Gillig


From an excerpt in Brick Magazine:

“Witness tree, graffiti tree, tattoo tree, autograph tree, trysting tree, avenue tree, arborglyph, CMT (culturally modified tree), Presidents’ Tree (for the one in Tacoma Park carved with presidents from Washington to Lincoln in 1865; blown down in 1997). They say it really doesn’t hurt the tree, all that carving. But harm and hurt are different. Beech bark is a tender thing.”

– from Casting Deep Shade by C.D. Wright

What’s interesting is reading Wright’s scarred beech tree, beside the fearless poetry of Vestrini who was known as the Sylvia Plath of Venezuela, beside the always mysterious hallelujahs of Clarice Lispector, beside Odell’s call to do nothing as an act of resistance.

Reading these four books slowly and somewhat simultaneously, seems somehow to be an act of resistance. At least, it’s time I’m not spending on Facebook.


Tattoos, the Indelible, Silence, Jane Austen, and Bruce, of Course

Tattoos, the Indelible, Silence, Jane Austen, and Bruce, of Course

Deep Practice and New Disguises

Deep Practice and New Disguises