Welcome to
Transactions with Beauty.
Thanks for being here.
I hope that this is a space that inspires you to add something beautiful to the world. I truly believe that 
you are required to make something beautiful.

– Shawna





Today’s post is brought to you by the word “is.”

To begin with, words by the beloved John O’Donohue from his book Beauty:

“Beauty makes presence shine. It brings out elegance and dignity and has a confidence, an effortlessness that is not laboured or forced. This fluency and ease of presence is ultimately rooted below the surface in surer depths. In a sense, the question of beauty is about a way of looking at things. It is everywhere, and everything has beauty; it is merely a matter of discovering it. The most profound statement that can be made about something is the statement that ‘it is.’ Beauty is. the word is is the most magical word. It is a short, inconsequential little word and does not even sound special. Yet the word is is the greatest hymn to the ‘thereness’ of things. We are so throughly entangled in the web of the world that we are blind to the unfolding world being there before us.”

peonies and books

Next, this profound poem:


by Galway Kinnell

Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what
I want. Only that. But that.

An example of a poem that uses the same word three in a row and still makes sense. Rare. From Kinnell’s Selected.

peonies shawna lemay

If you have read my Rumi and the Red Handbag, then you may have thought about the word “is.” In fact, the last word of the book, very deliberately, is the word, “is.” I had written maybe half of the first draft before I even realized that my character, Ingrid-Simone, had the initials, “I.S.” which she preferred to write, I.s.

When I did realize this, other things came into play of course.

flowers shawna lemay

As well, one of the epigraphs to RATRH is:

“I too am: is.”

– Clarice Lispector

peonies photo by shawna lemay

Lastly, I leave you with this classic which I’ve always loved: Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby:

The Romance, the Glamour!

The Romance, the Glamour!

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

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