ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 3, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 40

The road less travelled

By Natasha Fernandopulle, Pix. by Saman Kariyawasam

Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves." (American born English Editor, Playwright, Poet and Critic, 1888-1965)

Yes, in life there is so much we have to deal with. Rough patches are inevitable and having to come to terms with reality is probably one of the hardest aspects of life. However, as hard as it is, it is inevitable that these challenges must be faced and that we come out of them stronger and better equipped to face the next one.

Someone who has taken all those experiences, both good and bad and then turned them into something helpful to her and also a good read to anyone, is Sonali Fernando (25). And her accomplishment is publishing her second book of poetry, Road to Emmaus, which was launched on February 23, 2008, her first being, Wallflower Girl, which was published in 2003.

The first collection was about growing up and about her school days and Road to Emmaus, she said, "focuses on a journey into your happy place." Sonali went on to say, that it was about "finding and being content with who you are, making amends with the past."

What she realised was that you tend to put aside certain events that happen in your life, and deal with them later, but she feels that it's better to deal with it then and there, adding that "it's about moving on."

A summary of what was going on in her life, she said, can be understood in the poem, 25 years. One reason she wrote these poems was to go into the past and deal with her father's death, and she realised that his passing affected other areas in her life, and along with that, she realised a lot of other things, like the realisation of how one aspect in your life can affect all the other aspects of your life.

The poems in Road to Emmaus are written in free verse and asking her how she started writing poetry, she said she has not studied English and that she does not read much poetry "but I read in general and I listen to a lot of music." She went on to say that she does not see her poetry in verse but "I hear them in song," she said, adding, "I write it like a song."

Sonali Fernando

She went on to say, "I prefer music to poetry" adding, "poets have not necessarily made an impression on me," and "where as music and musicians have." The band Goo Goo Dolls have been very influential to her and she has in fact written one or two poems about them! Them aside, she also listens to bands such as Matchbox 20 and the Counting Crows. "They write about things very personal to them," she said, adding, "It's nice to see something like that."

One song she listens and re-listens to is "Hear is Gone" by the Goo Goo Dolls. The song she said, is about a divorce but how he still loves that person but realises that something good will come out of all of this later on, and that it is something you don't see, but it will happen. "It's a song I hold on to," she added.

She said everyone in her life has helped her and influenced her along the way, "particularly my best buddies," she said. "Writing is something I do, just so that I can sleep," she said.

In fact, a friend of her’s had told her that the poems she writes helped her to make sense of what she was going through and this had been wonderful for her to hear. "I'm hoping it does help somebody but at least that it will be an interesting read." She summed up by saying, "I've come out with a few scratches but I'm doing fine."

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