Welcome back for another post from the Monday Inspirations series. Today’s post is by Elissaveta Marinova. You can check out previous posts here.
There are many things a book can do for us. It can help us forget. Or take us to faraway lands we may never visit. It can teach us how to become vegan or how to write compelling characters. It can touch us, inspire us, comfort us, amuse us and even – for those brave souls who don’t like their sleep – frighten us.
If I had a scale and placed ‘fiction’ on the left and ‘non-fiction’ on the right, it would probably tip over to the left. Yes, I like to escape into the imaginary world, although many of the books I own are based on true events. Reality can be a very inspiring place.
A few months ago, I walked past a bookstore in Central London. Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t resist the temptation and soon enough, I was browsing the travel section, hoping to find a Swiss guide for our upcoming hiking trip in the Alps. After finding a hardback that would later prove fairly useless, I decided to have a wander in the non-fiction section.
It wasn’t long until I found myself standing in front of the self-help shelf while my partner snorted in the background. He is not a firm believer of the cheesy “you can do it” books, you see. And neither am I.
But there it was, a humble paperback with a dark grey background and a roughly drawn, bright yellow circle standing out in the centre of the front cover. Above the circle, the title THE YELLOW WORLD was printed in yellow, while inside, it said “Trust Your Dreams and They’ll Come True”. I snorted in turn. A little too motivational to my taste but I flipped over to the back cover anyway.
Inside another yellow circle, I read the following: “What is the yellow world? It is a way of seeing life differently. It is a world the colour of the sun: a world that makes you happy. It has no rules. It is in the pages of this book…”
It is only when I opened the book and I stumbled upon the following line that I knew this wasn’t an ordinary book: “I have always wanted to talk about the yellow world . . . but publishers only suggested things like How to Beat Cancer or How to Survive Cancer. Books I wasn’t interested in writing.”
Let me go back to the opening line of this post. There are many things a book can do for us. While memorable fiction books can help us evade the routine, memorable non-fiction books can help us change it. And that is exactly what Albert Espinosa’s The Yellow World did for me.
Espinosa uses the term “yellow” to refer to a person – a yellow. “I didn’t understand how a stranger who had played no part in your life until two minutes ago could suddenly become a part of you, understand you more than anyone else on this earth and help you to feel completely identified with and understood.”
A month or two after I read the book, I was offered a job as an architectural guide tour in London. It was something I had never done before and the group would consist of 26 established French architects. Who was I to teach them about London’s architecture? A 24-year old with only a Bachelors and barely any relevant experience?
Of course, it was an opportunity not to be missed. And so I took on the challenge. I drew itineraries, visited places, took a notebook’s worth of notes and became a specialist at remembering completion dates, budgets and London fun facts.
What I didn’t know was that despite all the stress and insecurity I was about to endure, I was about to meet one of my yellows – a yellow that I might not have recognised as such had I not read the book.
But what really is a yellow? Rightfully so, Espinosa takes his time to reveal his full definition so I shall not spoil his efforts. Perhaps you have met one of your yellows, perhaps you have met 10. But here’s one thing I know for sure: if you don’t look up from your phone on the bus, or get out the house to meet friends, or take on something that sounds crazy, challenging or frightening (like writing a novel or guiding a group of knowledgeable architects)… you may not find them all.
Elissaveta grew up in Morocco. She is currently working on her first novel, drawing inspiration from her childhood spent in Casablanca. She is also a freelance architect in London where she has been living for the past 6 years.
You can follow her journey on her blog, find her on Twitter AND Facebook. Architecture lovers can check out her website at www.elissavetamarinova.com