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



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

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

I’ve been thinking about noise and silence and music lately. Something I used to say a lot was tweeted by the fabulous poet Ada Limón, here. “The amount of silence I need to write just one poem is astounding.” Which is, most likely, why I haven’t written poetry for ages. Other things, obviously, but the requirements are different, the silences are different. In fact, I even listen to a bit of ‘warm-up’ music when I start writing most mornings. (Max Richter, usually). I still love the music of silence, but I’m not courting it as assiduously as I once did. I no longer take the dog on long silent walks. I no longer sit in the chair in the corner in my study and stare endlessly into space after reading a few lines of someone else’s poetry.

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Instead of the dog walk, I’m on the treadmill now, and I’m listening to Springsteen, which is partly why I got hooked on his music. By now I’ve watched a lot of videos. I love the young Bruce, the less young Bruce, and I love his newer stuff. I love that I can watch this, and then this. And his latest. Multitudes. The more I think I know about him, and the more I read about him, the less I know. And this is what it’s like with any new subject that you fall in love with. I have very often smiled to myself when I see a bookstagrammer talking about which Jane Austen novel they should read first. I’ve read each book more times than I can count, written university papers, read countless essays and books of criticism, yes, watched every variation of the movies etc. Still, I do think it’s lovely to see someone fall into the material, fall in love with her work. So I can only hope the longtime Bruce fans will cut me similar slack.

I’ve also been reading up on Bruce, of course. When I’m in, I’m in. I will possibly have more to say about these books pictured above at a later date, but with my copy of the Brian Hiatt book, The Stories Behind the Songs, I also received a temp tattoo. Which honestly got me thinking that if I were to get a tattoo, and it were to be a line of music from Springsteen….what would it be????? I mean, I’ve had my Jane Austen tattoo picked out for a long time.

“You know how interesting the purchase of a sponge-cake is to me.”

I’m probably going to have to think more about my actual Bruce Springsteen tattoo. Which, no, I’m not ever really going to get. But I think of it as a creative exercise. What words would you most like to get tattooed indelibly on your skin?

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My Clarice Lispector tattoos:

“I write as if to save somebody’s life. Probably my own.”

“Now I’m going to speak of the sadness of flowers in order to feel more fully the order of what exists.”

My Virginia Woolf tattoos:

“I return now to my book; I return now to my attempt.”

“This core of darkness could go anywhere, for no one saw it.”

I could go on. Leonard Cohen, for example. I wouldn’t mind this:

Needless to say
I am one of the fakes

If you’ve read my Rumi and the Red Handbag, do you remember Ingrid-Simone’s tattoo?

And lastly, probably this is my most likely tattoo:

you are required to make something beautiful

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How about you? What are your indelible words?



Books in Conversation

Books in Conversation