a wallflower girl
"There was no glory when the
battle was over, for in vain did men die of a patriotic
fever…" this extract from Sonali Fernando's
The Wallflower Girl seems to ring quite true in today's
context of our country. This 24-year-old budding poet
writes of love, life, God and heart-wrenching emotions…
emotions we are sure to have experienced or at least
crossed our minds, once in our lives!
|Pix by Gemunu Wellage
"Growing up, I've always felt
like I could blend quite easily into the background
and that I never really stood out as such, so my poems
which were largely written during that time, speak a
lot about how I felt then," she said wistfully.
"Now, many of my friends have objected to the title,
saying that I was far from being a Wallflower Girl she
said adding, that she didn't want to bother contradicting
them. "After all, people most often see only what
you want them to see about you, so it's quite obvious
why they disagreed with my title," she said.
Having always been a habitual reader
and music enthusiast, she was first inspired to write
poetry as a result of a character called 'Annemarie'
(incidentally her own middle name as well) in Enid Blyton's
book Sixth Grade at St. Clair's, who always wrote poetry,
After reading it, she wanted to try
it out herself and see how it turned out. Having churned
out a few good poems, she kept at it. "I never
wrote with the intention of publishing my work, I wrote
more for my personal satisfaction and relief,"
she adds. But then one of her friends suggested that
she put some of her poems together and send them to
a publisher to see if they were good enough for publishing.
The publishers having liked what they
saw agreed to publish her poems, about three years ago,
Sonali's poetry is inspired by anything
and everything from dreams to music, movies, perspectives
on religion and a lot to do with feelings, more than
incidents and people, she said. "For instance,
a favourite poem of mine The Intended Spirit was written
when I was going through a very difficult time in my
life and it somehow gave me a lot of hope and belief
of better days to come," she said reminiscing.
write anywhere and everywhere, in the bus, in church
(as a lot of her poetry is about God), whilst out with
her friends in the night – basically whenever
and wherever I get an urge to write," she said.
Who knows she might even publish another
book soon, she added. Heavily influenced by music, Sonali
said that she'd even love to write some lyrics for a
musician to perform as "I would much rather write
for someone else than perform it myself," she said
"Poetry to me, is very therapeutic,
I can get it all out of my system and not bottle it
up inside. It helps me realise that I'm capable of withstanding
much more than I thought I could," she explained.
As sometimes talking about her problems
with friends isn't a solution, especially if they're
recurring issues and she doesn't much like burdening
her friends with her problems, so she prefers putting
it down on paper.
Likewise, she said that a lot of people
could seek comfort from the lines "Jesus wiped
my tears away and brought me back when I went astray.
Welcomed back and forgiven for wrong, as angels danced
to a new love song," from another one of her poems.
This basically says that it's alright
to stumble or make a mistake; it doesn't make you a
bad person, as long as you realise your mistake and
rectify your wrong and do the right thing eventually,
she added. Many of her friends who read her poems were
able to identify with some of the things she had spoken
about, she said.
It makes people feel less alone, when
they discover that there are others going through the
same thing it also helps them understand their situation
better, she added.
This whole venture not only gave her
a lot of satisfaction but also helped heal the disappointment
of not being able to study English for her A/Levels.
"This completely devastated me,
so much so, that I didn't write for almost a year after
that," she added. However, it worked out quite
well for her as she decided to follow Divinity instead,
and soon grew to love the subject, she added. It was
even the source of much inspiration for her poetry,
She also realised that just because
she couldn't study English for her A/L's didn't mean
that she couldn't continue writing, so, she went back
to it, which turned out to be quite a good thing too,
as she would never have been able to publish this book
otherwise, she said.
The Wallflower Girl is distributed
by Lake House (the publishers) and certain Vijitha Yapa