Drawings of my Secret Garden

 

Olive trees and lemon trees were painted across a rustic landscape as I made my way to the secret garden. As I drove, the summer-coloured fruits of the many thousands of fruit-bearing trees streamed past my vision, like vivid dashes of watercolour on the pages of my sketchbook.

I really miss those views. Sometimes, I think that all I have left of them are old pictures and the paintings in my crumbled notebook that I took with me so often upon visiting.

When we arrived, I sat in my usual spot: under the aged, now withering grand olive tree. He had looked over me for almost two decades growing up. I dug out my sketchbook and started, as I always did.

I can never quite forget my last glimpse at him. There was a sense of betrayal. His impenetrable resistance to my attempt of conciliating his anger pained me.

As time went by, I had produced pages filled with oblong leaves, dotted with its ovular fruits. Splashes of rich green and yellow hues, and flecks of gold coalesced to create its form.

I one day wish to return there, to my secret garden. But for now, I will relive those moments through my drawings.

_DSC3855

_DSC3854
Mediums used: watercolour, pencil

Reading Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’, I was reminded of the symbol of my childhood – my olive tree. It rests in my old countryside home in Sicily, and I wish to draw it once more.


 “Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and right doing,
there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.” -Rumi

 

Advertisements

Travel Memoirs

I found myself rummaging through one of my mom’s old boxes, when I came across some of her travel memoirs from two decades back. Packed in a grey, dull looking box, I initially put it aside. I eventually opened it, and I found photographs. They were in the form of slide pictures – the kind that are inserted into a projector, so they can be displayed for the world to see.

_DSC3415

_DSC3730They were beautiful; a hundred photographs from the unknown land of Petra, Jordan – a place I long to visit. Rustic, sandy and arid colours were exposed, with a wave of reticence. These photos were concealed away in the depths of her memories. I sat qualmishly for a moment, hesitant, wondering whether I should have seen these pictures of her travel memoirs.

That's me. I'm marvelling at one of my favourite photographs.
That’s me. I’m marvelling at one of my favourite photographs.

_DSC3627I don’t think my photographs or words will do them justice, but here are some of my favourites with a collection of my thoughts.

_DSC3690
A portrait of a boy. A nameless boy, lost in the abyss of oblivion in my mom’s memory. “I wonder where he is now; what he looks like, how he is…” she says as we stare at the small image together. I wonder the same. And that’s what I write in my journal. I wonder if this is how fictitious characters are created: from lost memories and a portrait. Bringing back to life what once was lost, perhaps. His gaze tore straight into my heart; I could feel the captured emotions running through his face, though indiscernible to me.

The boy in the photograph reminds me of a young character in ‘And the Mountains Echoed’, by Khaled Hosseini. (I’ll be writing more about that marvellous book soon!)

_DSC3696
My mom standing by the towering landscape, leading into a two thousand year old city of the past.
_DSC3692
Though slightly blurred, the deep hues of gold pigmented in the landscape caught my eye. I yearn to see them for myself.
_DSC3699
Carvings and ancient construction in rocks that once overlooked a civilisation of the past.

Photography – sometimes considered a menial and an all-too-common pastime, but there’s something about the reveries and pleasant thoughts that something so small can leave you in. I can only wish to capture photographs with so much meaning and emotion, as my mom did.

Winter

Ambivalence prevails when exposed to the thought of winter. It seems as though autumn has almost come to its end in London; fog is widespread and yesterday evening, the world was so still.

And so, to ignore that and my cold (Really winter? Couldn’t you have come up with something better this time?) I will indulge into yet another novel.

‘And the Mountains Echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini is what I’ll be reading. Having read ‘The Kite Runner’, which is a truly wonderfully written novel, I am intrigued to read his other works. I will be sure to post my thoughts once I have finished.

Autumn in Glasgow

Reading the beginning pages of Atonement by Ian McEwan on the train to Glasgow, my eyes began to pick up smallest of details. McEwan has an extrinsic gift of bringing out the beauty of the simplest of objects, emotions and people through the meticulous alignment of words.

Upon arrival in the beautifully historic town of Glasgow, I too began to pick up the minutiae of everything around me: the silver lining of the curve of each tile on the ancient roofs, the discolouration of the decrepit brickwork, the autumnal hues of the foliage surrounding the university buildings.

The only other way to better illustrate the landscapes and architecture I saw would be through photographs. Enjoy.

PER Olsson Gisleskog +44 7949075548 Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

The golden leaves of Autumn


If you’d like to share my photography, I would love for you to share my blog along with it too as credit! Thank you so much to everyone who has taken time to read my blog.

Just a book

‘The Book Thief’, it was called. The book that changed my life.

I love loosing myself in words. Wandering into the abyss of imagination and wonder: becoming lost, and wishing it could last eternally; wading in a sea of thought that seems to extend forever.

Just like Liesel, I found myself marvelling at the power of words.

When I finally came to the last few lines of the novel, tears spewing uncontrollably from my eyes, I read slowly, with trepidation. Why? Looking back now, I think it was because I did not want it to end. This book – these words – had given me a way to escape into a fictional dream, ignited with colours and life.

Before the very end, I experienced a flash of the scenes of people and emotion that was created with words: Liesel, who read to her neighbours in a crowded basement, Max painting the tightrope towards the sun, the stars that burned his eyes, Hans’ silver eyes and his accordion, death himself…

The paradoxical themes of innocence and destruction consumed me. Like the narrator, I questioned how beauty yet so much pain could coexist. He says,

I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

This book filled the empty shell of my imagination and curiosity. So little gave me so much.

For that reason, it is not just a book, but rather a wonderful, intricate collection of words thought through with inscrutable detail, creating a fictional dream in which you can perambulate forever; a world which allows you to stride beyond human imagination – words so powerful, they make you concede the notion of what at first you thought was not imaginable. I became part of that extrinsic imagination, and I struggle to figure out whether I’d ever like to leave.

A wavering thought

The wavering thought of whether I’ve made the right decision haunts me. However, more recently, I have found faith in the idea that all things happen for a reason. Not because of some higher power that creates fate and a predestined future for each individual (or maybe?), but because whatever we do, it is neither right or wrong; the choices we make mean something – and we should have faith in ourselves.

That is what keeps me on my feet: knowing that whatever we do, we will find happiness. I’d like to think there are no such things as mistakes, and that everything we do  acts as a reminder, lesson or something to instill confidence and righteousness.

Planning a Gap Year!

For all you people who have decided to take a gap year – planning it may possibly be the hardest but most rewarding part of it. It’s ultimately going to lead you to places you’ve never been before, never experienced or explored; it’s definitely worth the effort and time.

Since I’m just beginning my gap year, I thought I’d make a post on how I’ve planned mine so far, and then I shall also make an updated blog post once I have ended my gap year, to give advise about my planning process and what went well/not so well.

My Gap Year Plan:

September – December 

A volunteering internship at WaterAid 

I have just started as an Internal Communications and Learning Volunteer, which so far, has been amazing. The people working there are so lovely, and it is so rewarding to work with those who can appreciate what I do. By that I mean current global issues, NGO work, charities, fundraising, global warming; the list just goes on. I am so excited to be working there.

December/January – May/June

Travel to Japan

This is where my adventure will really begin. I will be travelling to Japan for roughly 5 months and staying with family, working, volunteering, exploring, learning, and so much more.

June – September 

Volunteering with ICS

Although not completely confirmed yet, I will hopefully be volunteering abroad with ICS – a government-funded volunteering programme for those in the UK. I am excited as to where this adventure will take me!

September/October 

University!


I know this has made it seem simple, and for those of you perhaps comparing it to your own gap year, every gap year is wonderful in it’s own way! It’s not always going to be the same, but that is the point of a gap year – to explore the things that you’re excited and passionate about! For me, that thing is volunteering. Knowing that you’ve made a difference, even if it’s small, is the most rewarding experience for me. So that’s what I’m doing.

“Enjoy it. Because it’s happening.” – Chbosky