- Weaving words from life’s impressions
Inspiration can sometimes be found in the most mundane of daily routines. A muse is sometimes as simple as a bit of sunshine on a rainy day, a conversation, or the lack thereof. Writers have this gift; a knack for capturing the beauty in all the “normal” moments in daily life, and weaving something truly wonderful out of these moments.
One such writer, whose childhood was a wonderland filled with poetry and literature, was Angelo Patrick. Coming from a financial background, with an accounting career that spans over 50 years both in Sri Lanka and internationally, Patrick is also an avid writer, with a thirst for reading, and that penchant to romanticise the extraordinary beauty in all things ordinary. Brunch sat down for a conversation with the author about his book, “Impressions”.
Have you always been a bookworm, and is that where your inspiration for writing comes from?
Yes, and I think the origins of this book “Impressions” also go all the way back to my tender years, when I was perhaps seven or eight years old. I have two older brothers, who, when I was studying English literature in school, made me memorise all the wonderful and inspiring words by writers and poets such as William Wordsworth, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ernest Hemmingway. I was inspired by them. Then, after my brothers left school, my literature teacher picked up from where they left off, and I was introduced to the fantastical worlds of John Keats, who is my favourite romantic poet, and Charles Dickens. I think even though I became a finance professional, as destiny would have it, I kept getting pulled back into my world of fantastic books. I kept reading the works of these amazing authors and poets over and over, until I could remember each word in their poetry or prose. I think this inspiration and solid foundation definitely helped me pen “Impressions”.
How did ‘Impressions’ happen? Was there a ‘wow’ moment?
I went on a work tour to Mysore, for a business transaction. I had met with the other business party and the discussion had not really gone according to my expectations. I returned to the hotel that I was staying at somewhat disappointed and dejected, and there was a certain sense of melancholia in me, which I cannot explain. But I remember opening the window in my room, and gazing out at nothing in particular. A few things caught my eye; birds flying, the dust settling in, a little crimson sunset ushering in the dusk. And that was when the most wonderful thing happened to me. Suddenly, all the years gone by, just caught up with me, and the writing that I had been doing over the years, just felt like they were rekindling. There was a piece of paper lying on the table, so I just wrote on it. Then I simply kept on writing for about half an hour. At the end of that half hour, all my feelings of sadness were completely replaced by those of joy. I took some photos of what I had been writing so far, and started sending them to my family and closest friends. I started getting feedback from all of them saying that it was really good, and I thought: “My goodness! I can write!” That is how “Impressions” happened.
You sound like you absolutely love writing. Have you been writing for a while?
Yes! Indeed I do. I think writing is something that has truly brought me so much joy and happiness. I have been writing for the past 15 years and I will continue to write in the future too. It brings me so much joy to be able to put these thoughts of mine on pen and paper, and to be able to express myself so freely, and with such candour. I think writing is a great sport and a fantastic art.
What is ‘Impressions’ about?
“Impressions” is all about impressions, really. It is about what I have seen and felt and experienced, and how I have seen and felt and experienced these things. They add up to all of the travels that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of in my life, both in Sri Lanka and overseas. “Impressions” is also about what I have enjoyed seeing during these travels. For example, I would be on the beach gazing at the sea, and I would see a fisherman coming home to his family after a hard day’s work. I would then imagine what it must be like for this fisherman to go home, see his family, and settle down for dinner and a peaceful night, and I would hope that his boat is full of fish. I romanticise the things I see, the lifestyles of people, the little aspects that we would otherwise call mundane. I would romanticise the wind blowing through the leaves of a tree, and hear music in it. “Impressions” is therefore a collection of all the impressions that life has made on me. Like I said before, I have been writing for the past 15 years, and I have corrected and fine-tuned my writing as I kept going, as much as I have been inspired.
What kind of strategy would you propose to writers who feel like they are going through writer’s block?
I would say, no matter what, read as much as you can, and read it to truly understand and enjoy the meaning of what has been written. Each word that you read has meaning to it, and when you learn how to tap into that meaning, you become an intelligent reader. From that point onwards, writing will become easier and the words will flow smoother, because your reading will improve your writing. Even when you feel like you have writer’s block, keep on reading, and that temporary obstacle will clear itself off.
How can readers get a copy of ‘Impressions’?
The book is available from my publisher: The Jam Fruit Tree Publications. You can contact them via social media, or reach out to Jeremy Muller to get yourself a copy.