[REVIEW] The Art of Living + Loving //Here at Dawn by Beau Taplin//

I awoke – a bit sleepy, a bit dreamy. Darkness still enveloped everything – inside and out. But I could hear the birds chirping excitedly. I got up from my bed, put the duvet aside, and went to open the window. Ah, the rush of air filled me just as it filled the room. I felt renewed. Sleep went away. I was filled with a certain energy. I had to get out, out of this room, out of this house. Just go outside and marvel at the soft hours before sunrise; watch the stars rushing back to their heavenly abode.

Everything felt so remarkably new, and yet nostalgic. I have been here before, I thought, picking up a twig – twisting it about my finger. 

The grass felt damp beneath my bare feet. I could feel the droplets compressing under every step I took. There was music all around. In the sky, on the earth, on every branch of every tree. There was still an hour before sunrise and I wanted to soak in every moment of this delicious dawn before light exposed the beauty and the magic disappeared. 

I have often walked alone – in the wee hours of morning – and imagined fairies whispering to each other about how the big folk don’t know how full of magic the world really is! I agree with them. I look at the delicate bud, cusp it in my hand with a gentle stroke lest it falls before ever blooming. So beautiful. The leaves dance with the gentle air, as if mocking me, making sure I know that they revel in this magic every day while I, I am just an occasional visitor. I know. *sigh* I know.

This is what Beau Taplin’s Here at Dawn is all about.

Have you ever taken a walk in the garden at 3 am in the morning? Breathing in the magic that hangs densely about you at that time of the day? If you have then you’ll know; you’ll know EXACTLY what he is talking about.

This whole vast world in which we live our tiny, tiny lives – is brimming with miracles. You just have to be able to look for them. 

Look, there it is – in the chirping of the birds.



And there – in the smile of the little girl dancing in the garden.

And wait, WHAT IS THAT? A squirrel. Look at its tiny hands. Isn’t it adorable? Such magnificent detail. Such craftsmanship.

And the couple over there? So lost in each other’s eyes they’d hardly notice if a bomb exploded by their side. Must be such a heavenly feeling – not caring about anything else in the world other than the person in front of you.

Oh my! Look! A bookshop. Let’s go together and browse for hours and hours, lose ourselves in the countless stories. And never come out. Not so soon anyway.

Surely, surely the ability to enjoy these little things – these seemingly mundane and routine things – must be magic at its supreme? 

When you walk down the road – going to the class, grocery shopping, meeting someone, taking a bite – you pass strangers, people of all backgrounds. They don’t know you. You don’t know them. And yet a single kind smile to someone struggling to shush their crying child is a like the wave of a magic wand. If you think you don’t matter to people around you, then think again. You, dear reader, are full of life, of love, or kindness – YOU MATTER. 

Listen to me, “Here at Dawn”, we don’t take people seriously. We regard them magically.

You are a miracle. A force of nature – gentle, loving, caring. You give to others JUST BY BEING, don’t you understand that? Taplin is asking you to take a look in the mirror and see – take a hard look at the person smiling back at you.

THAT person is nature.
Nature IS that person.
YOU are nature.
So mingle with it.
Take pride in it.
Lose yourself in it – in this feeling of belonging.

Taplin’s words sent a rush of creativity through me. I felt – serene – the kind of feeling that you experience watching a sunrise. Fresh. Renewed. He made me see that the world is just waiting for me to wave the magic wand of my attention. If I could just look closely, listen attentively, close my eyes and feel keenly – it’d be plain as day to me that this whole vast universe is a reflection of me, of my inner feelings.

Here at Dawn, sitting alone with my thoughts and the poet’s, I realized how true happiness arises from deep within, knowing YOU ARE ENOUGH. I read his words and they resonated with me like a chord longing to be struck. Until you realize that everything springs from your own self, you will remain unhappy, forever. And it’s this beautiful realization that made my heart swell and jump for joy.

Taplin’s poems made me feel complete again, as I am sure they will have a same effect on you – for these are little truths wrapped inside a handful of words. The medium may change but the core message? Never. 

Sitting there, with this beautiful book in my hand, I felt a surge of gratitude rise and rise and rise within my whole body and stop – suddenly – in my heart. Why did I feel that way though? It’s just the way Taplin talks about goodbyes – the beauty they contain, the lessons. And their necessity. It’s funny really, how we forget to embrace such an inevitable thing, to cherish those last few memories forever, to make the most of them. Well, no more. Because I cannot help but take his words to heart, lock them within until they make a firm impression on it. Never to forget. Never again.

I have sown flowers
deep into the earth of your memory
to remind me that,
even in the most lightless
of places, beautiful things do grow.

The way this whole book vibrates with gentle notes of hope makes for a beautiful experience. Never a page goes by that doesn’t make you feel glad that you are reading it, that fills you with gratitude that you are here – here in this gorgeous world – alive and free and much too childlike – just as you SHOULD BE. 

When the clouds of uncertainty and bad actions reflect upon your sunny dreams, Taplin, encourages you to take responsibility where it is required. You cannot run from it. You cannot hide from it. He wants you to understand that it’s YOU – you who is cause of it all and by accepting that responsibility, you create yet another miracle – of freedom. Freedom from ignorance, from failure.

Here at Dawn, you will understand the beauty of a helping hand – given or received. As Taplin says, 

We only flourish when we lean on each other.
This is how all great things
are grown.

This collection of poetry reinstated the need of companionship, of friendship – of the importance of surrounding yourself with genuine people and giving thanks to those who accept you without any judgement. I never knew it was possible to pack such – non romantic – thoughts into lovable poetry and yet, the poet has achieved this. And I am glad that he did because it is a delight to read, to own, to cherish.

Taplin’s poems are also wise with experience. They contain a knowledge that can’t be faked. They want you to understand them, understand the meaning in between – and as you’ll do so, you will find yourself liberated from every thought and feeling that has been weighing you down.

As I said before, reading these left my heart overfilling with gratitudefor the ghosts of the past, for the candles of the present, and for the dreams of the future. It’s been such a lovely, lovely experience reading these – one that I emerged wiser from, kinder to myself and the world around.

So come, dear reader, dance with the poet in the rain. And forget all your worries. Lose yourself in the magic all around you. You are beautiful. You are your own. You are the world. 

Let him teach you the art of living and loving and living lovingly.
Rise.
Reborn.
Here – in the arms of the beautiful dawn.

[REVIEW] Love – with all it’s complexities and imperfections, beauty and transcendence //Our Naked Souls by Justin Wetch//

At first it read like broken sentences, not poetry. But as I made my way through, those little fragments started to make sense, started to rhyme in my heart – as a whole. Every single word written in this book is raw with the kind of love that comes with understanding, with maturity.

I fade away without your love
My colors dim and darken
I fall for you more every day
Without a hint of caution.

This gorgeous little book won’t make you swoon and pine over someone out of your reach; it will gladden your heart for the love that you already have, the kind of love that will stand with you, be your support THROUGH THICK AND THIN – no matter what! Reading such a mature and reasonable take on love – with all it’s flaws and complexities – was such a delightful experience.

And yet, with all the practicalities of the worldly love, you can still find – within the lines – the cosmic importance of it, the fact that such a pure emotion intertwines two souls in a bond that transcends time and all other bondage of this three dimensional world a love that makes you whole, while uplifting you, reinventing you in it’s lovely likenessa love that traps you together with a beautiful thread, while allowing you to roam freely wherever you will.

There is an uncomplicated magic to Justin’s words, as he romanticizes the mundanity of life – turned interesting in the presence of a deep love. 

I refuse to believe that something as perfect
As the meeting of our souls
Could have happened
By accident.

You won’t feel exhilarated while reading it. There won’t be any uncomfortable and fuzzy feeling in your heart. What you WILL feel however is gratitude – gratitude for the quiet and understanding love that you share with your lovergratitude for the simplicity of life. Gratitude for the fact that the REAL magic lies in the simplest but the most heartfelt of acts.

This book, as the poet says, will show you the art of transcendence through the simplest acts of love.

Promise me you’ll tell the truth
And not let me fall hard
If you’re not ready to fall with me.

I’ve been waiting for a girl like you.

Wrapped inside these words are also the seeds of such a passion, that when coupled with maturity and understanding, becomes the most beautiful feeling of them all. This passion will not destroy you, it will widen your horizons, deepen your soul!

These beautiful emotions flow so freely and deeply within the poet’s words that they pulsate with a life of their own – with deep sighs. It is so subtle, so very subtle, that it demands you whole attention or else you’ll miss it. And you’ll be sorry! 

These glorious words also vibrate with the impending fear of separation – one that, although can be delayed, cannot be prevented. You will find yourself feeling just a little bit gloomy, as the poet will paint a picture of the world without your lover. How will you cope? Can’t find the words? Let Wetch put them in your mouth, let him sting your heart with this bittersweet realization that all the time in the world, all the memories that you make, will never be enough – never be enough – for you will still feel the pain when you’ll say goodbye, old age will still arrive – taking a piece of your soul with it – wrapping it delicately, to wait until your time comes as well.

You will find yourself in a state of delightful longing – as you’ll make your way through these poems – longing for the sweet and comfortable embrace of your lover. You won’t wanna let go. And anyway, why would you even want to? 

This book is also about carefree journeys “up to the mountains”, with a desire to lose your being into one another – enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Isn’t that the most magical thing of all?

With fresh eyes I looked at living
She effortlessly changed my point of view
Dear god, let me forever keep loving
La fee qui rend tout jamais vu.

It’s about turning the most ordinary things into adventures – something that only love can achieve. Your heart will expand as you’ll read this – you’ll feel a comfortable stream of emotions flowing through it to illuminate your whole body – as naturally and effortlessly as the sun illuminates the sky. You will find yourself lost in the poet’s experiences, for the have been your experiences as well.

This is not about the outlandishness and grandeur of love – this is about a pure feeling that arises when you hold hands together, 

It’s about those beautiful moments that can only be found when you are not looking – in your every day – just lose yourself in the beauty that is life. It’ll teach you to be grateful for someone who understands you, is foolish with you, a bit childish with you. 

It’ll teach you how to look up at the sky – with wonder in your eyes and love in your heart – as you’ll sit on the terrace at night, holding each other’s hands, knowing that the love you bear in the depths of your beings is meant to be. Why else would the stars shine so brightly? Why else would the cosmos invite you to lose yourself in it – just like darkness loses itself into the night? It’s in these wondrous moments that you’ll realize, your own importance against the vastness of the universe – and you’ll know, you’ll know for sure that it’s because of the presence of love deep within your atoms that the world is suddenly such a happy, such a magical place to live in.

You should look at yourself
With the same wonder
With which you look at the stars;
You, my love, are a miracle.

It will also show you pain – the poet’s and your own – it will guide you through the unexpressed emotions welling inside you, eager to burst outand all will feel calm again.

The fear of losing someone you love so deeply is something that every one of us has experienced and it’s this fear that grips the heart of the poet – you will feel it in your bones as you’ll read through the sunny parts and arrive at the gloomy ones.

Addicted
To the idea 
Of love,
We were like seeds
Which sat in the rain
Expecting to grow
But withering away,
Forgetting the value
Of soil and rain.

The hurt that follows a heartbreak is unbearable and yet, through it emerges a renewed soul, a stronger heart and a desire to love again this time a bit more cautiously but a bit more passionately as well. You may lose the person but the memories remain – a warm reminder of the moments you shared; there is no time to lose and so you give live your all – you take a chance despite everything. That’s how you create something beautiful out of nothing, a phoenix rising out of ashes willing you to live again, to burn again – that’s the beauty of love, you are happy in it’s presence, you are wiser as it leaves – no harm done. In the end, it was all a lesson. 

Our Naked Souls is also about taking pride in what you have, what you meant to each other – never losing the sight of what’s important. Love is all about complacency and the poet is here to teach it to you in the most beautifully simple way possible.

Love is remembering what you have” and then reveling in that remembrance, 

It teaches you the art of a steadiness and passion – urging you to not burn out, but rather burn with each other, keeping yourselves aflame, with the feelings that flow in your body – so pure, so alive, so powerful.

So, dear reader, let the words flow through you and settle in your heart. 
Let the poet teach you how to turn your whole life into art.

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] Romeo and Juliet – Not REALLY in Love? //A RANT + Discussion//

It seems to me that the most common notion around Romeo and Juliet is that they were not REALLY in love; that it was just a result of their raging hormonesa pure infatuation.

I have to ask, what love is NOT based on a mutual desire to be with each other? IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE?! It seems to me that this is said purely for argument’s sake. ”They were NOT in love” makes you sound a bit cooler maybe? MORE ADULT? More in control of what you call ”foolish urges”?

Love is subjective – it can mean different things to different people. And you need to take into account the setting, the nature of the medium through which Romeo and Juliet’s love is portrayed and ,of course, their age. Don’t tell me that you never knew any couple in your teenage years whose romance – although started as soppy and rather cringey – later blossomed into a complete and mature love?

Passion is the same at any age. And if the argument is based on the fact that they seemingly fell in love at first sight, well DID YOU REALLY EXPECT SHAKESPEARE TO WASTE SCENES UPON SCENES ON COURTING? Would that have satisfied you? And more importantly, would that have made for an interesting read, do you think? A play is a play for a reason – it skips over the parts that would normally happen in a novel, for a very obvious reason – NOBODY wants to watch those normal and rather boring tidbits happening on a stage. WE JUST WANT THE GOOD PARTS. And that’s precisely why most of Shakespeare’s couples seem to fall in love so soon – sometimes within a matter of hours. THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEIR LOVE ANY LESS REAL.

Another point that ”mature” readers seem to make is that most of the decisions that Romeo and Juliet make throughout the play are childish. WELL, OF COURSE THEY ARE CHILDISH! Juliet is 13 for God’s sake. And Romeo is still just a teenager as well – DO YOU EXPECT THEM TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT EVERY SINGLE PRO AND CON OF EVERY SINGLE DECISION? I don’t.

And anyway, it’s not a childish play. It’s a play ABOUT childishness. It’s a play about a pure notion that a passionate love can surpass anything – even hatred. And it DOES. The families are left wrecked with guilt in the end. Tell me, wasn’t their hatred a bit childish as well? Didn’t they take it too far, way too far?! There was absolutely NO NEED – NO NEED whatsoever – for the family feud to continue. And yet it did. Their hate stemmed from reasons lost to time. WASN’T THAT CHILDISH AS WELL?

Romeo and Juliet’s love was pure, passionate, and naive – and it could have been SO MUCH MORE. That’s what makes their story even more tragic – two lovers with a rather happy life ahead of them doomed to die. WHY? Because their families couldn’t put aside their stupid hatred.

In the end, if anyone was REALLY childish – it was R+J’s parents because THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ADULTS! Their children’s actions are justifiable but their own? NOT A CHANCE.

For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.


ANDDD…RANT OVER!
*Phew*
I am sorry I just HAD to say it! So many adult fans out there who think they are somehow above the beautiful, if a bit naive, love story that Romeo and Juliet shared!

What about you though?
Do you think theirs wasn’t a real love?
What’s your stance?

LET’S TALKKK!!!


[A READER’S LIFE] The Crazy Book-Girl// Things I did as a kid that earned me this title//

Books and Me = inseparable.

For as long as I can remember.

I have loved them, lived in them, sometimes hated them as well BUT WE HAVE NEVER BEEN APART. Even during that phase when I used to despise the very existence of the written word – yeah that did happen to me as a teenager – I still ensured the well-being of all the pretties that adorned my shelf. 

And people noticed that. Called me obsessive.

BUT it’s not like I didn’t find leisure in other things as well! I was not the kind whose nose was stuck in a book every hour of every day. I liked being outdoorsplaying badminton/volleyball with my friends after finishing the homework, running, thinking of world-dominion. (AND WE CAME UP WITH SOME PRETTY CRAZY IDEAS! xD)

giphy
But reading was still one of my FAVORITE things to do. And as my love for it increased, so did the number of extreme and crazy things I used to and I am here to share them with you. ARE YOU READY???!! 😉

(PLEEEEAAAAAASE DONT BE TOO SHOCKED!!!)

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart Object

I BEAT UP A GUY ONCE

BECAUSE….

he took one of my books out of my bag during lunchtime when I was out with my friends. IT WAS A JOKE, he said! A JOKE? What about the fucking heart-attack I suffered from when I thought it was lost? Add to it the fact that it was the illustrated collection of fairy tales that mumma had gotten for me as a present!

giphy-1
I was fuming. THIS TIME HE WENT TOO FAR! So I punched him in the eye REAL HARD and took my book back. Sure, it got me a strict tete-a-tete with the principal, my parents were called, I was scolded A LOTBUT IT WAS ALLLLL WORTH IT!

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart Object

THE DINOSAUR BOOK

There were some books in our library that kids below a certain age weren’t allowed to read. And the ENORMOUS and ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS book about Dinosaurs and how they became extinct belonged to this category.  I saw a guy reading it in the library once and the next time it was our class’ turn, I asked our librarian for it. But upon hearing my request, she made the ugliest face imaginable and said,

giphy-2

BUT I WAS DETERMINED TO HOLD THAT BEAUTY IN MY HAND NO MATTER WHAT!

So, I called my grandpa and told him all about it. As a kid, he was the one I went to with all my school-related trifles and this incident was no different.

The next day during our English period, I was summoned to the principal office and there he was, my grandpa, talking to her and I KNEW THAT MY DREAM OF READING THAT BOOK WAS GOING TO BE A REALITY REAL SOON because right then and there the principal wrote a note granting me permission to read whatever I book I desired.

 FORM THAT DAY ON, SCHOOL WAS A B0OK HEAVEN FOR ME! ❤

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart Object

MY BOOKISH NEEDS ARE ABOVE YOUR CHILDREN’S

My aunt used to have this little copy of Captains Courageous that I was drawn to. It was a very beautiful – faded and soo fucking cute! The very moment I saw it in her house, I knew I had to have it. So, I, doing my best puppy-dog eyes, convinced her to give it to me. I WAS SO THRILLED BY THE FACT THAT IT BELONGED TO ME NOW!  

giphy-3

Fast forward to two years later. 

One of my cousins, my aunt’s daughters, asked for her mother’s copy of Captains Courageous. I led her into my room where it was proudly sitting on my night-stand. Upon seeing it, she asked me if she could have the book back now that I had already read it. I refused and offered to buy her a new copy but she wanted her mothers’ which was OUT OF THE QUESTION, as far as I was concerned. She cried about it but I DIDN’T BUDGE.

Listen, THAT BOOK BELONGED TO ME NOW. THOSE PAGES HELD THE MEMORIES OF ALL THE TIMES I HAD READ AND RE-READ IT AND THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS GONNA GIVE IT UP.

(YEP! Now that I think about it, the title was well-earned. 😉 )

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart ObjectTAPING THE EDGES
(I still do this.)

Bent corners add to the beauty of used books but they are a blot to the beauty of the new ones. There is nothing I hate more than seeing the perfection of a new book being compromised and my little self used to feet just as keenly about this.

And to tackle this problem of ruined edges, I started taping the edges of all of my paperbacks AS SOON AS I BOUGHT THEM! Sure, it took a bit of time but IT RENDERED THE COVER INDESTRUCTIBLE (at least from rough-handling)!!

 

LOOK AT THEM!

These editions are 10 years old, have been read MANY MANY TIMES and they are still in impressive condition, aren’t they??!!

YEAH, THAT’S THE MAGIC OF TAPING THE FUCKING EDGES! ❤ ❤

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart Object

I know. I know.

You must be judging me for some of these. xD BUT WHAT CAN I SAY!???! That’s how I used to roll! And although I don’t make little girls cry anymore, I am not completely unwilling to throw the occasional punch should any threat may befall my precious paperback companions. 😉

BUT ENOUGH ABOUT MEEE!! I WANNA KNOW ABOUT YOUR CRAZY EXPERIENCES TOOOOO!!!
So, let’s talk.

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] Ballrooms, Red Coats and £10,000 A YEAR//Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen//

”It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

And just like that, I am back home again.

Some of you already know that I started my Classics journey with Pride and Prejudice. Mumma gave me an abridged version of it – full of images of Darcy and Elizabeth dancing, Mrs. Bennet talking outlandishly, Darcy giving Lizzie the letter – and it sparked a desire in me, a desire to know more, a desire to know AS MUCH THERE WAS TO KNOW ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS, ABOUT THIS AUTHOR!

tumblr_pyp7yinlu91ypwg7xo1_500

This little version of Pride and Prejudice became my best friend. I would take it to school, show it off to my friends (who, by the way, were sick of me going on and on about it),  daydream about it!  I was in love with all of these lovely characters and their lovely stories.

Then my aunt, upon seeing how madly in love with it I was, gave me her mother’s copy of the same. It was yellowed, frayed, the pages were flying every which way and still, it was, to me, the MOST GORGEOUS THING I HAD EVER HELD! ️

It was a memory within memory and I loved that thought.

Many times I was tempted to get it bound and all fixed up but then it’d have lost all the rawness, all the beauty of it! I mean what difference would then have been between a brand new copy and this one? I wanted it to remain JUST THE SAME, no alterations needed. And I have kept it intact, every single page intact. And I am SOOO proud of it!

When I first got it, I couldn’t have been more than 11 years old and my little mind couldn’t really make much sense of the words. Although I knew the story, the complete version still felt like unknown territory. I was having real trouble getting into it. 

BUT I WAS DETERMINED!

I read it, asked mumma about the phrases I couldn’t understand but she soon started to get irritated 🤣. After that, I kept to myself but didn’t stop reading it even when I couldn’t understand what was going on. The second read was a bit easier. And by the third time, I started comprehending everything. Still, I went on to read it TWICE MORE!

SUCH WAS MY OBSESSION WITH THIS BOOK!

tumblr_nv93b32iqm1tcg5lso4_400

Even today as I recall all those memories, my mind is filled with vivid nostalgia and it is one of the warmest feelings ever.

I don’t know who I’d have been today if it wasn’t for my love for this book. It changed the course of my attention, the very nature of my thoughts and influenced my daily life in the SUBTLEST WAYS IMAGINABLE! 

Miss Austen has bewitched my mind and I LOVE HER FOR IT! And to celebrate this passion, I will be sharing all things Pride and Prejudice, apart from other things, of course.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading them! 

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] The Last Letter

Having read, re-read, re-re-read all of these lovely letters countless times, I was actually quite excited to start this series here.

AND THE RESPONSE I GOT FROM ALL OF YOU MADE IT EVEN MORE SPECIAL!!!! I got into it with a mindset that people aren’t going to like them that much so you can imagine the extent of my happiness when you shared your thoughts and reflections on EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

So, thank you soo much for increasing my excitement for these beautiful letters. I LOVE YOU ALLL!

tumblr_oxnwjnlrzk1vmtulqo1_500

And now I am sad that this is going to be the last one in this series. ALAS! I was having SOO MUCH FUN discussing them with you! 😦 Maybe I will bring them back again? *EXCITED AT THE THOUGHT*

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart Object
We started this journey – this wonderful journey – with a passionate display of John Keats’ feelings for Fanny Brawne spilled naked on the parchment. It only makes sense that that’s EXACTLY how we should end it.

I got my first copy of Complete Poems and Selected Letters of JOHN KEATS exactly 5 years ago. I was very much into metaphysics back then and Keats was one of my favorites. When my friend showed me his letter to Fanny, the very first that I shared with you, I fell even more in love with his love for her. Destined to die at a very young age, his letters were infused with the imminence of death and a longing for days he, sadly, will never be able to witness.

It was this sadness that drew me to him even more.

He once said – “Nothing ever becomes real ’til it is experienced.True. His love, his desire, the depth of his heart – I experienced it all with misty eyes. All of it. And the only question this experience left on my lips was –

WHY MUST THE GREAT DIE SO YOUNG? 

”Love is my religion.
I could die for that.
I could die for you.”

These words haunt my mind still. And I have a feeling that they forever will. 

Untitled design

To Fanny Brawne, 25 July 1819

Sunday Night.

My sweet Girl,

I hope you did not blame me much for not obeying your request of a letter on Saturday: we have had four in our small room playing cards night and morning leaving me no undisturb’d opportunity to write. Now Rice and Martin are gone, I am at liberty. Brown to my sorrow confirms the account you give of your ill health.

You cannot conceive how I ache to be with you: how I would die for one hour – for what is in the world? I say you cannot conceive; it is impossible you should look with such eyes upon me as I have upon you: it cannot be. Forgive me if I wander a little this evening, for I have been all day employ’d in a very abstract Poem and I am in deep love with you – two things which must excuse me.

I have, believe me, not been an age in letting you take possession of me; the very first week I knew you I wrote myself your vassal; but burnt the Letter as the very next time I saw you I thought you manifested some dislike to me. If you should ever feel for a Man at the first sight what I did for you, I am lost. Yet I should not quarrel with you, but hate myself if such a thing were to happen – only I should burst if the thing were not as fine as a Man as you are as a Woman. Perhaps I am too vehement, then fancy me on my knees, especially when I mention of part of your Letter which hurt me; you say speaking of Mr. Seven ‘but you must be satisfied in knowing that I admired you much more than your friend.’ My dear love, I cannot believe there ever was or ever could be any thing to admire in me especially as far as sight goes – I cannot be admired, I am not a thing to be admired. You are, I love you; all I can bring you is a swooning admiration of your Beauty.

I hold that place among Men which snub-nos’d brunettes with meeting eyebrows do among women – they are trash to me –unless I should find one among them with a fire in her heart like the one that burns in mine. You absorb me in spite of myself – you alone: for I look not forward with any pleasure to what is call’d being settled in the world; I tremble at domestic cares – yet for you I would meet them, though if it would leave you the happier I would rather die than do so.

I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your Loveliness and the hour of my death. O that I could have possession of them both in the same minute. I hate the world: it batters me too much the wings of my self-will, and would I could take a sweet poison from your lips to send me out of it. From no others would I take it. I am indeed astonish’d to find myself so careless of all charms but yours – remembering as I do the time when even a bit of ribband was a matter of interest with me.

What softer words can I find for you after this – what it is I will not read. Now will I say more here, but in a Postscript answer any thing else you may have mentioned in your Letter in so many words – for I am distracted with a thousand thoughts. I will imagine you Venus to night and pray, pray, pray to your star like a Heathen.

Your’s ever, fair Star,
John Keats.

(I have omitted the postscript.)

His love.
His Venus.
His Star.

tumblr_p22b8mv5fo1u7gnm9o1_500

Keats loved Fanny the way everyone wants to be loved. What fleeting joys all the rest of them will be if a heart hasn’t known such love, such burning passion!

”A thing of Beauty is a joy forever.”

Indeed. Indeed. For I will treasure every single word you ever wrote, will inscribe it in my heart, will take it with me whichever world I go to next.

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart Object

I really hope you enjoyed this series as much as I did! I had so much fun sharing and discussing with you these wonderful letters. ❤
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR LOVE. ❤  YOU GUYS ARE THE BESTEST!!!

[REVIEW] Portrait of a Passionate, Determined, and Unafraid Governess //Jane Eyre BY Charlotte Brontë//

Reading Jane Eyre was like an agonizing fire to my already ablaze heart.
tumblr_o4gpu8hlmy1tx6xhxo1_500

Even before I opened the book, dear reader, I already knew what these pages held. There was a promise of passion, of struggle, of bravery. And as I began with Jane her journey through her difficult childhood and her challenging life, later on, I was filled with emotions I had only ever reserved for Wuthering Heights.

There is a strange intensity in Charlotte Bronte’s words; I was both inside and outside. I was Jane and she was me. We were one. Her plight was my plight. Her wishes were my wishes. My heart was beating faster and faster as I turned the pages, mad with anticipation for I knew, I knew I was headed towards a most beautiful love. 

Brontë writes in a manner that pulls you into the story. You are there with Jane in the red room, you witness what she witnesses, you feel dread as her heart feels it, you hate who she hates.

Being at the mercy of a writer is most liberating.

You are free of any responsibility thence. You don’t have to do anything but let your gaze fall on the words and let them travel far and true into the deep recesses of your mind, awakening memories that you thought you never had, let them make their way south and tug at your heartstrings like a most insistent child, demanding attention, craving love.

Jane Eyre’s situation, as we begin this story, is most pitiful. You cannot help but feel sorry for her. The oppression she faces is unbearable. Would that I could I’d have snatched that little frightened, beaten girl from these pages and kept her close to me, shushed her and lulled her to a sweet and peaceful sleep. I wanted to do that so badly.

Charlotte Brontë succeeded in making me love her from the very first page and I think that’s a quality these sisters had in common – Emily destroyed me by rendering my heart a passion for her dark hero and his wild lover, and Charlotte gave me Janethis plain and obscure heroine, with her simple tale of woe, with her hopes and dreams and the purest heart.

”No, I was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste.”

From the very beginning, if there is one thing we are sure of Jane Eyre is that she knows her mind.

Even as a little girl, when asked whether, if given the chance, she would like to live with her own distant relatives even if they were a bit poor, she declined. Poverty was a degradation in her mind and she did not falter in admitting it.

Her fearless and free-thinking mind painted her in such a vivid image in my mind that I quickly forgot I was reading and began to feel that I was being.

She was never a mere fictional being in my mind. She was a living, breathing personacting out her life in front of my eyes, in my world…or was I in hers? I forget.

tumblr_o65pq68u2n1tqou9go1_500

Having a passionate temper was deemed her fault since childhood. Jane said what she believed to be true, she felt intensely, she was not a rebel without a cause and yet, these propensities were labeled as FAULTS against the good nature of children.

How I would like to ask every pathetic little relative and acquaintance of Mrs. reed, was it a fault?

Being keen is a virtue of the highest order because it’s the people who feel deeply that love intensely and without guile, as Jane did all her life. She was virtuous, brave, and much too modest. Such qualities don’t come often in that combination and regarding them as faults is a crime, a crime which was committed much too frequently against Jane Eyre.

The rigidity of the society Jane was brought up in crept upon her understanding soon enough and yet she never gave up her imagination and wishes of a better life.

BRAVE INDEED.

The school she had been sent to – Lowood Institution – was, to her, an absurd sort of place, although it did provide her the means to better herself, to be able to make a name in society. Still, the teachers’ violent behavior towards these little girls left me horrified and Brontë’s casual tone while describing it all renders it even more chilling, which I guess was the point. In any way, I was invested so much in Jane’s circumstances that I just couldn’t help my emotions. They were flying every which way

FLOGGED. BULLIED. DISTRESSED. Such was Jane’s state in Lowood. But she never gave up. She was the kind who starts rebellions against injustice and cruelty. Her friend Helen Burns’ influence humbled her greatly out of such thoughts to quite an extent.

Still, the fire that burnt in her heart never really died. It just waited for the right ammunition.

”By dying young, I shall escape great sufferings.”

The little girl tiptoed, past her bedtime, into the room of the ill and the dying. Finding her best friend lying therewith an air of finality about her she couldn’t conceal her tears. And neither could I. Jane’s little heart couldn’t bear the thought of Helen being taken away from her forever and I grieved for her most intensely, most painfully.

How could you, Miss Brontë? What sort of witchcraft is this? You make your readers coil and writhe with pain with an ease that would rival God himself! How could you do this to us?
tumblr_p1af009eff1vspd1lo1_500

Reading Jane Eyre was certainly not an easy task. It demanded too much from meemotionally, mentally, physicallyfor I was heavily invested in Jane’s story from the very beginning – so much so that I couldn’t bear the thought of being driven away from her without knowing her whole story.

Jane was a wild soul hidden inside a duty-bound body.

She longed to surmount the blue hills across the fields, she wanted to break free of the meager existence she had been subjected to at Lowood. She wanted to traverse the woods, to get lost in them, to seek the treasures of experience.

She wanted to love and be loved.

That was all she wanted. Such was the wish of her lovely heart. Can’t every single one of us relate to her desire? No matter where we are, what we do, the one thing that we want the one thing our heart always desiresis freedom.

And SHE DID FIND IT. Later rather than sooner but she got to taste it nonetheless. And how could she not anyway? For a person with such a tender heart and such strong mind, it’s hardly a surprise.

”It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; they will make it if they cannot find it.”

Jane had always been in a quiet revolt against her circumstances, from the very beginning of her life with Mrs. Reed until the time she went back to Mr. Rochester.

Hers was an unquiet mind and a wandering soul. She could NEVER be contained. Even when she came to work at Thornfield and her situation improved a lot from her previous life, she couldn’t help but feel deprived of all the wondrous people she hadn’t yet met, all the beautiful places she hadn’t yet seen and although hers was a bit of a negative approach, that never stopped her heart from dreaming bigger. Such a combination rendered her intelligent.

”I did not like re-entering Thornfield. To pass its threshold was to stagnation.”

Her first impression of Mr. Rochester was that of someone who had, brought excitement to her stagnant life in those wide and gloomy halls where she was the governess. She longed for activity and for her unfathomable mind, activity, it seemed, had found her at last.

But Jane’s meeting to Mr.Rochester did not strike me as peculiar. It was just the sort of scene a Brontë would want to happen – eerie, mysterious, dark, and a bit exciting. There is not a very striking contrast between the dark and foggy lands that surround Thornfield and the mystical moors where stood the dark abode of Catherine and Heathcliff. And so, the image of their toxic love was kept fresh in my mind even as I followed the events at Thornfield.

Copy of Untitled Design

”The ease of his manner freed me from painful restraint; the friendly frankness, as correct as cordial, with which he treated me, drew me to him. I felt at times, as if he were my relation, rather than my master: yet he was imperious sometimes still; but I did not mind that; I saw it was his way. So happy, so gratified did I become with this new interest added to life, that I ceased to pine after kindred: my thin crescent destiny seemed to enlarge; the blanks of existence were filled up; my bodily health improved; I gathered flesh and strength.”

IN SHORT, dear reader, JANE WAS IN LOVE.

Now, having overcome my faint scruples against the match due to something that the brooding master of Thornfield declared in a rushed conversation, something the lines of – “I am old enough to be your father.”I came to understand how well-matched Jane and Rochester were. Jane was not saint-like. She had desires, she dreamt of better circumstances and she wanted to experience all that life could offer.

A tenacious, wandering and clever mind as hers needed someone just as clever.

Someone who could match her temper, who could understand her silent reproaches and dreamy wonders without the need of words. And she had found such a man in Mr. Rochester. And he, in return, wanted to experience all that he could not during his youth. Hiding a most unpleasant and dark secret, he longed to be in the presence of innocence again, to know the pleasures of an unpolluted mind. And who could have been a better fit than Jane?

Her steady and quick remarks kept him on his toes and his broodiness and mystery fed her imagination in a way no-one else ever could.

It is no coincidence when a man finds himself keen on a girl so inexperienced in the ways of the world. A man loves best when he knows he has something to offer that his partner is not in possession of yet.

In Jane, he found such a partner.

He had made Jane his confidante, sharing with her the tales of his misspent youth, this girl who had no idea how such a world worked (despite being a clever person, her mind was still shielded from the vices of the grown-ups). He did this because it made him feel “needed”, “valued” and not as a master, but as a teacher, as an unwilling friend, as a well-wisher. Of such feelings he had been alienated for so long he had quite forgotten the pleasures that they brought.

Rochester and Jane’s love affair was a mere chance. But then which isn’t? It is chance that threw them in each others’ ways, that’s true enough. At this point, they were still just getting to know each other but it was a most ardent love that made it impossible to stay apart.

Untitled design

Still, this is NOT an account of Mr. Rochester and Jane’s love story, dear reader. But of how Jane dealt with the frequent and distressing blows that life was yet to deal her. Yes, she loved the man, but that’s not the be-all and end off of her story.

It did not begin with Mr. Rochester’s arrival in her life and it certainly doesn’t end with her departure from his gloomy self.

That’s what makes it all the more beautiful. Jane, whose circumstance had made her such a strong womanboth worldly and emotionallywasn’t dependent on anyone to save her from anything. Nothing frightened her as much as being captive. And so she followed her wishes, no matter what and yet had sense enough to not let her character be tarnished by such whimsical fancies as the heart sometimes indulges in.

Her story took a lot out of me. Her journey from being a pitiful (but still not weak) child at Gateshead Hall to being a scared yet determined pupil at Lowood to finding her courage and love in the gloomy and mysterious halls of Thornfield taught me to hope, to be stern where it’s needed, and compassion. 

I have a lot more to say, dear reader, about our heroine and her journey but for now, this will have to do.
laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart Object
Sooo??
What did you think? Have you read Jane Eyre?
Did my review of her character and her story match your reflections, even if just a little bit?
What did you think of her union with Mr. Rochester?

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] A Beautiful, Little Fool// Zelda’s letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald//

“His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”

The Great Gatsby is one of those stories that never leave my heart. I might not always be aware but it always stays in the background. I can hear the slow and tragic music in the depth of my being – clear and inviting.

And while reading Zelda Fitzgerald’s letters to her husband I couldn’t help but imagine her as much of a fool in love as was Gatsby.

Continue reading “[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] A Beautiful, Little Fool// Zelda’s letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald//”

[RE-READING] A Tale as Old as Time – THE BEAUTY and THE BEAST

It was a dark and stormy night.

The ground seemed to shake with an unnatural aversion towards the living. I was at my grandparents’ house for the day. Mumma wanted to go to a book fair and it was really far from where we lived so they decided to make a trip of it and left me with grandpa and grandma. I was 9. I don’t remember much of that night except two thingsthe gods seemed angry, and I wanted to go home. 

Sitting by the little window in my room, I saw as the lightning struck the heavens again and again as if desiring to break it open. I remember imagining angels flying out; I remember imagining my dragon in our backyard, protecting us from it all. 

There was a war in my head –

angels against demons,
light against dark,
thunder against peace,

BEAUTY AGAINST BEAST.

giphy-4

I was on the dragon’s back now, flying up up up, rain on my face, and my insides in a knot. My head was rested against the dragon’s nape, clutching him as tightly as I could, putting all my faith in him. I knew he won’t let me down. 

And he didn’t.

The next morning, it was sunny again. All the flowers seemed to be blooming with a renewed happiness, swaying side by side in celebration. And I knew we had won the war. 

In the drawing-room were my parents, waiting for me. The house smelled of stories and I when looked around, they were all around me. Mumma had brought me so many books from the fair. Each one was more beautiful than the other. They came with a promise of adventure and I was excited to start my next one. And my mother handed me the most beautiful book I had ever held in my hands – written on its cover in gold was,

THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

I remember being intrigued by the title. And as I let it swirl around in my mind, I was transported back to my dragon’s back. We had had so many adventures together, you see. He was my first best friend. He still is. 

I remember excusing myself and going back to my room and getting lost in this enchanting tale of love and redemptiona tale as old as time.

Untitled design

BEAUTY.

The youngest of twelve siblings.

She is the heart of this story. And I remember how much I wanted to be like her. Even today, re-reading this beautiful story, I was struck by how much I still want to be her, to have her patience, firmness of character, her strength of mind. 

”She was a perfectly beautiful young creature, her good temper rendered her adorable.”

When the father of this army of sons and daughters was reduced to poverty and the selfish vanity of the daughters came crashing on their heads, it was Beauty who made the best of circumstances.

The hand of fate is cruelest on those who take their fortunes for granted and so most of the merchant’s children were miserable, wretched that the splendor and glory which was theirs had been snatched away from them. But the youngest one, although sad herself, realized soon enough that cursing the gods for their cruel behavior was no way to go through this crisis. She made the best of the circumstances she was in. She did the work that was required of her, without a shred of complaint, no matter how she felt at heart, and soon enough she started deriving real joy from the adversity her family was thrown in.

Who but the kindest and loveliest of souls can be capable of that?

It’s no doubt then that it was Beauty who chance threw in the way of the realization of her wildest dreams. I am in awe, still, of how with the sweetest of disposition she cared for her family.  Even when her sisters were jealous of her positive outlook.

”Every intelligent person, who saw her in her true light, was eager to give her preference over her sisters.”

Is it really a matter of doubt that people regarded Beauty’s firmness of mind and her strength of character as her greatest virtue? Could her sisters truly not see that anyone, who understood the importance of such virtues, could not help by fall in love with this sweet soul?

Real world is harsh, as we are reminded of at the beginning of this story when the merchant loses his place in society and all the suitors who were apparently in love with his herd of daughters soon dissociated themselves from them and scattered away like peas, in hidden places.

And when you are dealt with a firm blow at the hands of fate, it’s not money and beauty that matters. What’s more important is with what disposition you deal with those circumstances? How far are you willing to go without falling? With a smile on your face, just one more day. Your strength is tested in such times as these when you are left alone and nobody, not even the friends who claimed to love you, come to your aid. How you emerge from it is the true test which everyone is subjected to at one point or another in their lifetime. So was Beauty. And she showed real firmness of character by putting on her bravest smile for the sake of her family, the people she loved. 

Beauty is as beauty does.

She was called by this name due to more reasons than just her physical appearance. Although her charms were many, the greatest virtues that rendered her form so lovely and her face so kind was the lack of vanity and jealousy. Pride, is a different issue altogether. Every man has some, as they should. But vanity is a fault and must never be indulged in. A habit of reveling at the nature of circumstances others in is a crime against the pure nature of the heart and it’s this unsaid crime her sisters were accused of. It’s no wonder then that however pretty they were, it was only Beauty who caught the hearts of people.

Her beauty did not diminish with her father’s wealth. If anything, it increased tenfold!

A steadiness of heart and control over mindless excitement – both happy and sad – is a virtue only the most intelligent possess. They don’t become overcome with grief due to loss or overjoyed due to happy circumstances owing to the knowledge of the fact that life is a tide; the highs and the lows are to be expected. They understand that just like the sea is never constant, neither is life. However, bad things may seem to be, they can always turn lovely, and the other way around as well. So, isn’t it just good sense to never indulge in the extremities of our fickle heart?

The Beauty and the Beast reminds us that things can always get better or worse. And we should live our day to day life accordingly, without losing sight of this simple yet powerful truth.

My younger self didn’t draw all of these lessons from the story though. I had finished reading it by the time we set out for home. It was a peculiar feeling really. I had read many many stories before but this one stirred my heart like none of the others did.

tumblr_oy9dybhvpr1qkprgpo1_1280

Beauty and Beast’s love was all I could think about.

I remember sitting in the backseat of our car, listening to my parents talk but my mind was elsewhere. All I wanted was to go back to my dragon. He was flying beside our car, making sure we were safe.

I looked at his majestic form and fell in love with him, convinced that I was the beauty and he was the beast.

(That’s all I cared about at that time anyway!)

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart Object

So, have you read The Beauty and the Beast in its complete form?
How has your perception of the story changed over the years?
What are your favorite fairy tales? And favorite re-tellings?
What was the first book you ever read?

I WANNA KNOWWW!!

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] PASSION + JEALOUSY// Love Letters//

He is angry.
He is irritated.
Many days have passed and yet there is no news of his beloved. She doesn’t write.

WHY DOESN’T SHE WRITE TO HIM?

tumblr_o65pq68u2n1tqou9go1_500

Maybe she is ill. Maybe something bad happened to her. Oh, god, what if she is hurt somehow because I wasn’t there to protect her, to care for her? What if she someone else has caught her eye – someone who gives her attention when I couldn’t, who loves her more than me? But surely that’s not possible. Is it?

Love is toxic in the most delightful yet painful way.

You find yourself obsessing over the littlest changes. A single missed text, an unanswered call, and your thoughts go spiraling down, imagining the worst things possible. Isn’t that the truth? 

As all the dark thoughts gather in his mind, turning his every waking moment into a torment, Bonaparte pens down his anxieties and fears hoping that his jealous yet passionate urgings will convince his wife to write more often before loses his mind.

Add subheading
//MY AESTHETIC// It took me SOOOOOO loooong to make this onee!!! SO YOU BETTER LIKE IT!!!

Napolean Bonaparte to Josephine Bonaparte
Verona, 3 Frimaire, year V [1797]

To Josephine, in Milan

I love you no longer; on the contrary, I detest you. You are a wretch, truly perverse, truly stupid, a real Cinderella. You never write to me at all, you do not love your husband; you know the pleasure that your letters give him yet you cannot even manage to write him half a dozen lines, thrown off in a moment!

What then do you do all day, Madame? What business is so vital that it robs you of the time to write to your faithful lover? What attachment can be stifling and pushing aside the love, the tender and constant love which you promised him? 

Who can this wonderful new lover be who takes up every moment, rules your days and prevents you from devoting your attention to your husband? Beware, Josephine; one fine night the doors will be broken down and there I shall be.

In truth, I am worried, my love, to have no news from you; write me a four-page letter at once made up from those delightful words which fill my heart with emotion and joy.

I hope you hold you in my arms before long, when I shall lavish upon you a million kisses, burning as the equatorial sun.

Bonaparte

One look at his words, even a fleeting one, and your mind is filled with his troubled thoughts, his worry, his MAD ANTICIPATION.

I don’t blame Bonaparte for the hint of anger in his letter. And although everyone may not agree but to me, such a letter – with gentle reprimands and jealousy –  is one of the best ways to convey how much a person means to them.

He wants every bit of his wife reserved for himself. No exceptions are allowed. Even when he is gone, he wants her to devote as much thought to him as he does to her.

Granted, it’s always just a phase in the long-run of relationships but ISN’T IT THE BEST??
laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart Object

SO? What did you think of Napolean Bonaparte’s letter to his wife?

How you imagine his wife would have felt at the receipt of this letter? 

Which lines were your favorite?