Last year I had the pleasure of featuring work from one of my favourite people in the whole wide world, Renuka of the popular blog Pocketful of Perspective. Recently, she published an e-book featuring a compilation of her quotes called Make Room for Good, a massive accomplishment cementing her status as a true inspiration to the people who learn and take pleasure from her words. The beauty of the book mirrors that of her blog; words deftly sewn together with the sole purpose of helping people lay the groundwork for living a good and fulfilling life. I had the opportunity to sit down with her to discuss the book, her motivations for writing it, and the things that inspire her. I hope you enjoy the interview, and purchase your own copy of Make Room for Good available at Amazon.ca for the incredibly affordable price of $2.99. It will illuminate your life!
Hi Renuka! Thank you so much for meeting with me to talk about your new book, Make Room for Good. First, I must say congratulations! The book is wonderfully filled to the brim with inspiration, as well as pure and simple goodness. After reading it for the first time, I think I had somewhere around three hundred life affirming epiphanies.
300?! That’s amazing, thank you so much Rasheeda! I always love hearing about the positive responses readers are having to the book. It means a great deal to me, it really does. And reading your blog is a part of my weekly routine, so to be featured on it is such a wonderful thing for me.
You’re welcome, and thank you so much for reading, I really appreciate it! The book is wonderful, so I’d like to begin by asking what inspired you to write it?
During the darkest days of my life, while dealing with the losses of my father and sister, I was looking for an outlet to grieve; a way to make sense of my pain. Problems to me always felt ‘resolved’ when I wrote about them. And so writing about my feelings became a cathartic process for me. It was during this time that I realized, no matter how much difficulty I was faced with, a part of me always felt hopeful about life. I felt at home in this part of me that wanted to see the good in spite of the unfortunate. So I began to write about the triumph born out of tragedy, and I left it at that. It wasn’t until I began sharing the quotes on a social networking site that I discovered people were using my words to make sense of their own pain. The fact that this was helping others the way it had helped me was all the motivation I needed to start my blog, ‘Pocketful Of Perspective’ last year. It was from here that my book came to be.
I remember growing up seeing the iconic yellow covers of National Geographic strewn throughout my house. My father collected them, and let them pile up everywhere. At first, he had to talk me into reading them, but eventually I sought them out on my own. They were second-hand and out-dated, though I never cared because they brought so much into my small world. I would flip through the ‘latest’ issue for hours, and imagine the places which existed beyond the walls of my house and my lower-middle class neighbourhood. The very first map I tacked up in my childhood bedroom came from the middle of the magazine, and hung right over my bed. It was the last thing I saw before I fell asleep, and the first thing I saw in the morning, illuminated by wisps of morning light.
In retrospect, it seemed like my father had been deliberately nurturing something inside me, a feeling he had known intimately while growing up on the seashores of Guyana. He always wanted to travel and explore the world, but simply could not afford to. All of these years later, I can see that by bringing those incredible magazines into our home, he wished so much more for me. I know that the feeling I have embedded in my heart and soul, the restless, adventurous, want-to-see-the-entire-world feeling, I can attribute to my father and those wonderful, old National Geographics.
If yellow magazines containing all of the world’s secrets are as dear a friend to you as they have been for me, I’m sure you will deeply appreciate the National Geographic Tumblr, filled with images from its archives. Set aside some time, and wander a bit. I’m sure you’ll quite enjoy your trip.
I’ve started reading The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, the masterful debut of Ayana Mathis, and I can tell you in complete honesty that I’m dumbfounded by its simple beauty. I’m barely a few pages in, but I already feel that familiar tug of connection between me and this book’s characters. I’m spellbound.
Mathis is utterly likeable as well. I’ve probably watched her Super Soul Sunday Interview with Oprah ten times, and could totally watch it again. Here’s my favourite bit, where she talks about her favourite books:
These hand-made calligraphy name-necklaces by brevity are so beautiful. I’ve wanted to wear ‘Rasheeda’ all done in fancy script around my neck every since the early days of Sex and the City, when Carrie so proudly wore her own iconic name necklace. I’m not a huge jewelry wearer, and the pieces I tend to gravitate towards are simpler, more delicate. This definitely fits the bill! I am totally buying one for myself one day, as a reward for doing something which pays me enough money to afford it.
Today’s Music Monday is in honour of one of my favourite films, Moonrise Kingdom. Full of summer-time innocence, adventure and insouciance coupled with a permanent daydream state, it transports me instantly back to my own daydream-filled childhood. Françoise Hardy’s Le temps de l’amour perfectly encapsulates the film’s mood, and provides the background to the sweetest moment in the film. Hope it inspires some wonderful daydreams this week for each of you.
“Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.”
— Albert Camus, from “Notebooks, 1951-1959”
I’m incredibly blessed to have that above path near my house. I walk it regularly, sometimes with an NPR or CBC podcast in my ears, other times with just the sound of softly whistling wind for company. This act of walking by myself clears my head, and gives my brain a reset when it’s filled with too much stuff. I enjoy these walks immensely, and wholeheartedly agree with Camus. Private moments given freely to yourself contain so much pleasure, and should become a part of your routine. Try it, even if you don’t have access to forested paths. There is beauty everywhere.