"A lamp and a flower pot in the center. The flower can always be changing." –Virginia Woolf. From the bestselling author of Rumi and the Red Handbag comes a new collection of brief essays about the intersection of poetry, painting, photography and beauty. Inspired by the words of Virginia Woolf, Lemay welcomes you into her home, her art and her life as a poet and photographer of the every day. Lemay shares visits to the museum with her daughter, the beauty in an average workday at the library, and encourages writers and readers to make an appointment with flowers, with life.

Shortlisted for the 2019 Wilfred Eggleston Award for Nonfiction

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This is the way it is. All of these moments and gestures, sometimes getting things right and sometimes getting them wrong. All of us moving from flower to flower.”

– from The Flower Can Always Be Changing

The flower can always be changing is both a thoughtful exploration of one writer’s creative process and an invitation to us all to seek out the space of mind required to do our own best work.”

– Jody Baltessen, Prairie Fire

Review in Prairie Fire Shawna Lemay

“I’ve been wanting to write about this book, because it’s strange and beautiful, and I’ve carried it with me all these months, since the flowers started blooming. But it’s been hard to do so, because as the book is slow and thoughtful, so has been my engagement with it. Even now that I’ve finished reading it a second time, I’m not about to put it up on my shelf, to put it away yet. I’m going to keep it by my bedside instead, for dipping in and out, because every time I open it, I seem to find something perfect and new.”

– Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This

The Flower Can Always Be Changing (Palimpsest Press, 2018) is a collection of essays about writing, about the process of reading and writing, about day jobs, dreams, jealousies, satisfactions, that although it adds up to something greater than the sum of the parts manages to do so without losing that sense of part-ness. Life is a series of good intentions and daily tasks and internet rabbit holes, dog walks and fantasies of winning the lottery. Lemay embraces the flaws and disappointments while conveying a lot of confidence in her own practice, as a poet, blogger, and photographer. She goes to the art gallery and also to Costco.

It is important, I think, if you have aspirations of writing or making art or whatever to be careful the people you choose as your models for how the work gets done. I can be impressed by someone like Ottessa Moshfegh, whose profile in The New Yorker last year painted a picture (however accurate) of a steely, isolated writing machine. I like her writing and on a day when I’m feeling disenchanted with how I’ve constructed my life I might be tempted to take pointers from her. But I’m probably better served by someone who shares my love of the internet and the little interruptions and even thinks they have a place. The Lemay model, of perseverance while getting the other business of life done, is more to my taste, is what I’m saying. And actually she is one of my little interruptions. I like her photos on Instagram and she likes mine. When she posts something new on her (excellent) blog, Transactions With Beauty, I nearly always click along and read.

Kate Kennedy