When you’re writing a novel, a lot of the research, a lot of the thinking around it, never makes it into the work overtly. We went to Rome for most of the month of November in 2018 and 2019. We would have returned in 2020 but we all know what happened then. Even though my novel about angels, Everything Affects Everyone, is mainly set in my hometown of Edmonton in Canada, I was drawn to the angels of Rome.
I photographed hundreds of angel sculptures – are there more people or angels in Rome? I looked intently at the wings of angels in Baroque and Renaissance paintings. I walked up and down the Ponte Sant’Angelo and looked at the angels lining the bridge. I, along with my partner Rob, climbed to the top of the Castel Sant’Angelo to the view the angel there. Both places took the name Sant’Angelo according to a 6th century legend because an angel appeared on the castle roof to announce the end of the plague.
I’ve been looking at the photographs I made in Rome ever since, mining them more deeply each time I review them. Maybe I haven’t posted this one anywhere? Or that one? At first, I was drawn back to all the art and angel images. But increasingly, and maybe this is because of our isolation from other people, but these days, I just want to look at the ones with people in them. I find myself wondering how they are, if they’re making it through, are they okay?
It’s the everyday gestures I love and miss. The rushing, the relaxing, the quiet, contemplative pose, the contemporary gesture of checking one’s phone.
I love the way a gesture will mimic a pose in art, as in the image above where the man’s relaxed position echoes that of the sculpture behind him.
In Everything Affects Everyone, there are a number of what-if questions the text tries to make space for. What if you woke up to find out you had transformed into an angel? What if you started to see angels everywhere? What if once you are attuned to the presence of angels, angels become attuned to you? What if contemplating the nature of angels is similar to contemplating the beingness of humans?
We are so thankful for Shawna Lemay joining us today. We are giving away her latest book, Everything Affects Everyone. To enter, make sure you follow us on IG and simply comment here on the blog. We will be drawing one lucky person Sunday, January 16th at 9AM PST.
For more from Shawna, you can follow her blog here and her IG here.
I love Shawna Lemay’s visual and written reflections on the world. Thank you for sharing her here. I am excited to learn there are 15 more of you keeping a world grown so small a bit larger!
Hello! You are our winner of the book giveaway! Please keep your eye out for an email from Staci. She will be mailing the book out to you!
I always love seeing Shawna’s Edmonton photos on Twitter. It’s a treat to see a different venue and read her observations.
Thank you for sharing words and images with us, Shawna. It’s always a pleasure and often an inspiration to see where you are training your focus.
Thank you so much for sharing your magical vision with us Shawna. x
Comments are closed.