7 hours ago
Monday, October 27, 2008
The painting to the right of my desk is by Natalka Husar, titled Odalisque. To the right is an oil sketch by Rob, my partner. It`s the view in a mirror ball of our last house.
The table beside the red velvet chair holds the books I`ll be reading next. The wooden mango was brought back from West Africa by a friend who lived there for several years.
The buddha head. No other knick-knacks allowed here. Clean. Tidy. A spot to rest my eyes. The weaving below the head is also from West Africa.
The windowsill holds mainly gifts. Faux fruit, a bottle of ouzo, from friends, and clay crafts made by our daughter. Also an assortment of stones. And a postcard from a friend who visited the Museum of Purses and Handbags in Amsterdam.
My bookshelves contain (besides books): Venetian masks, handbags, a photograph of the woods at St. Peter`s Abbey in Saskatchewan, bird nests, shells, some of my doodles and other odds and ends.
Shawna Lemay for DESK SPACE
DESK SPACE Who?
SHAWNA LEMAY Shawna Lemay: forges, forages.
DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?
SL My first book (All the God-Sized Fruit) came out in 1999. My next book is called Calm Things - a book of essays about living with still life. (My partner is Robert Lemay, a visual artist, still life painter). It's coming out with Palimpsest Press in October 2008. Soon! After that, I have a book of poetry, Red Velvet Forest, coming out with The Muses Company in the spring of 2009.
DS Where do write (at your desk/outside/in bed)
SL When I write in my notebook, I sit in my decrepit red velvet chair. It`s suitably uncomfortable and yet comforting. I move to my desk when I`m working on my computer. It`s good to have the window to stare out of. At the moment the neighbour`s tree is full of apples.
DS Why you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think/in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?
SL My room is my nest, my hive, meticulously arranged to induce daydreams. It is where, as Rilke said, I may be magnificently alone. Maybe too, it is because I am able to listen to those things which are insignifcant here. From Bachelard: ``No doubt, one would have to sink into profound daydreaming to be moved by the vast museum of insignificant things.` Maybe I have been influenced by my study of still life, by my everyday exposure to still life, in my arrangement of things in this room. Maybe the arrangement of things, knick-knacks, is more haphazard.
DS What are you working on now?
SL I`m writing about the possibility of a woman art forger, about the belief in this possibility. I`m interested in anonymity, hidden-ness, how we see, what remains invisible. I`m interested in suspicion, confessions, lies, obfuscation. I`m interested in belief. Not to mention fakery, forgery, mystification, shams, scams, hoaxes, greed, hunger. I`m interested in what is real and honest. I`m moving back and forth between fiction and creative non-fiction. It`s quite likely that I`ll never quite finish this piece and I`m not sure that I want to. It`s the most satisfying thing I`ve ever written, a most satisfying place to hide.
Posted by Evie Christie at 9:55 PM