Excerpt for Coming to Light - Uncovering my Inner Talents by , available in its entirety at Smashwords





Coming to



Light



Uncovering my Inner Talents




Francis Xavier Aloisio


Coming to Light

Uncovering my Inner Talents

By Francis Xavier Aloisio - Copyright © 2018.

ISBN: 9781370495498


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Published by the author under MaltaTempleJourneys (MTJs).

Formatting of eBook by Author and Smashwords.

Cover designed by author and cover photo by

Christine Aloisio (Gallarus Monastery Dingle-Ireland).

All paintings and photos are the artwork of the Author.


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Dedicated to the Muse of Inspiration and Creative Arts


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Table of Contents

Introduction

Prelude

Chapter 1 – Early Years

Chapter 2 – Painting

Chapter 3 – Malta’s Heritage

Chapter 4 - Alternative Way

Chapter 5 – Writing

Chapter 6 – Temple Tours

Epilogue

Appendix 1

Cooking

Travelling

Sport & Ball games

Affinity to my name

Appendix 2

Comments/Reviews on my Books

The Making of a Documentary

About the Author

Published books by author

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Introduction

In my first autobiography, What a Trip! I took the cathartic adventure of writing about my spiritual and sexual expression. In this ‘second’ autobiography, Coming to Light! I share with you how I uncovered my inner talents of music, painting and writing later on in my life and how I managed to bring them to light and subsequently expressed in very creative projects.

Every person is born with talents, some more obvious than others. I came from a cultural background that told me that ‘I’m not good enough,’ consequently I had doubts about my own talents and abilities, and I always had reservations about my own creativity and consequently I came to believe that I do not have the necessary talents to succeed in life. Yet, deep down, somewhere in the recesses of my sub-conscious, I always knew that I had talents; mine were dormant and suppressed for a long time. Eventually, I brought out to light!

Early years

Since I can remember, I was always doing things with my hands, inventing and creating all sorts of things. I used to spend hours playing with Meccano building structures and joining pieces together. At six years old, I moved to live with my grandfather and my aunt where I could more easily use my hands and imagination, as my grandfather had a stone garden-shed where he kept his working tools and the animal fodder. I found in this quiet shed my escape and my retreat where I could live in a world of my own fantasy, building homemade wooden boats, cars and planes.

I craved creativity as I was more technically than academically oriented.

Musical background

I come from a musical family. My father could play various musical instruments like the violin and the piano accordion, besides singing. He sang in opera, at concerts, village feasts and in Churches, solo pieces and in choir. His baritone voice was very powerful and, he was good at singing!

My mother studied piano and she was considered to be one of the best musicians on the island at that time. She used to play the organ at the local church and teach local students.

My eldest sister could play the piano and the organ besides singing; I could sing, play the piano and the guitar; my brother had a good baritone voice like my father and my younger sister managed to play the triangle - she was more of the academic than the artistic side.

Painting

I started experimenting with paint when I was in elementary school – aged ten. I had a very artistic and colourful teacher. He encouraged this ‘small bud’ talent and was full of compliments when I finished a picture. I lived on Malta; we have no mountains, lakes and many trees, yet my drawings were of mountains, lakes and trees. I dreamt of far-away places and I coloured my dreams on paper.

I have to admit it; my brother was more talented than me when it comes to drawing. So unfortunately, each time I took my school drawing home, my mother’s response would be: “Look what your brother has done,” ignoring my drawing all together. After a while having the usual response from my family, I stopped taking my drawing home and later stopped having interest in drawing. And thus, that talent was shut down in the caverns of the unconscious, until the time was right to unearth this dormant gift.

Somehow, I could accept my musical and painting talents, but I could never see myself writing and that I would eventually finish being an author! It never entered my mind. No never!

How come? you might ask.

Writing

School was never my best friend! I am the only member of the family that finished school without accomplishing any A Level grades, without going to University and without an MA or a BA Degree or even a Ph.D. I always carried a feeling of ‘inferiority’ complex because of this lack of qualification. Then I thought that my success in life depends on the results of exams and qualifications.

Writing was never my forte and grammar was my weakest point. In fact, I had partial dyslexia where my brain took longer to make the connection of words in a sentence and then matching the letters I saw on the page. I used to confuse the order of words, and so I had to be very creative in developing skills to help me figure out words and sentences. Similarly I had trouble with mathematical figures. The years spent at school were torture, and I could not wait to be out in the open, doing Physical Education or other sports activities.

The cultural baggage and past conditioning weighed heavenly on my psyche; I was overwhelmed by ‘fear of failure,’ ‘feelings of unworthiness,’ or ‘not being recognised for my worth’ and ‘I’m not good enough.’ As a result, if somebody said to me that one day I will be writing books, I would have laughed loud. It took me a long time to overcome the feeling that I was ‘inadequate for the task’ and start expressing my gifts and talents, and acknowledging my self-worth.

As I stated in my autobiography What a Trip! it took me a lifetime to comprehend the depth of Robert Kiyosaki’s statement when he said: “You don’t need a college education. You need a proper education.” Fortunately, I did get to travel. Travelling and meeting people were to be my University of Life-the best university I ever attended! My novels and my books are the result of my life experiences and the meeting of people.

Yet, here I am at the venerable pensionable age, the author of several books both in hardcopies and as eBooks that are available in bookshops on Malta and on all online bookshops, and my first novel is translated in Italian and Dutch!

So, one can ‘never say never!’ as my life is a living proof of this axiom. Somehow there will always be a way to bring out and express the talents and gifts in one’s life sooner or later.

In my case, it was a slow journey of discovery during which I had to face my past conditionings, my ingrained patterns, my denials in order to eventually rediscover my soul and my talents. Since I met my wife, Christine, I became more prolific and enterprising in my writing through her encouraging support and insightful suggestions.

This booklet is an account of my trip in rediscovering and uncovering these hidden inner talents of music, painting and writing. I am grateful to the gods to have given me these gifts. I am also indebted to myself that I listened to the Muse of Inspiration and Creative Arts when the calling came, and to have followed my natural impulses and heeded to my intuition and trusted my inner guidance. I was brave enough to dare to bring them out to the light and shared them with the world.

I survived, as a child, the onslaught of conditionings, doubts and rejections to become a creative adult. And, against all odds, I succeeded in life. For sure, it was a trip full of wondrous possibilities and incredible probabilities, filled with exciting surprises and gifted with miracles and synchronicities.

Crossing to Gozo

With my uncles and cousins before they left to America-1950


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Author’s Note:

I started this creative account of mine with the original sub-title of: Brush and Pen, brush for painting and pen for writing, as I thought at first that these were the talents I wanted to talk about. Then I realised that I left out the musical gifts of my family and my own contribution in that field. So I had to revise the sub-title of the book and changed it to ‘From Strings & Brushes to Pen.’ Later I changed it again to the present sub-title: Uncovering my Inner Talents.


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Prelude

My homeland

I am heir to deep rooted history and many cultures. The story of Malta is a unique symphony, a masterpiece painting and an fascinating book. I was born on this small interesting island.

Malta is a small island nation consisting of three main islands that together add up to only 123 square miles (316 square kilometres). It is actually the smallest of European nations. So, we live in a very restricted space. It is one of the densest populated areas in the world with a high car-to-person ratio.

It is situated midway between the Suez Canal and the Straits of Gibraltar, with Sicily and Europe to the north and Libya and Africa to the south. The links between these two lands were instrumental in forging our history and influencing our culture.

Malta’s geographical position, its natural great harbours and the islands’ ecological conditions are the basic constants that have shaped the historical tradition of my country. It has an accumulation of layers of history that together make up the nation’s collective psyche.

Malta’s Prehistory and History

Malta has a unique prehistory besides a colourful history.

Malta’s prehistory starts probably before the last Great Flood about forty thousand years ago. This period was marked by a temple civilisation and the first extra-terrestrial visitors. Together with the surface inhabitants of these islands they left us various structures and gigantic temples as their heritage. There are more than fifty-five prehistoric sites (seven of them World Heritage Sites) scattered around this tiny island, fourteen of them as major temples—the largest concentration of sacred sites to be found in a comparably small area anywhere in the world. The Temple People disappeared abruptly without a trace. The newcomers who settled on Malta around three thousand BC, used the old prehistoric temples for their own burial grounds and places of worship.

In modern history, Malta was the venue of different cultures and peoples travelling the Mediterranean. We have an array of nations that held sway over Malta, starting with the Phoenicians, followed by the Carthaginians, the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Swabians, Anjevins, Aragonese, Knights Hospitallers (later called the Knights of Malta), the French, for a short period, and finally the British.

Thus, Malta’s history was forged through its strategic and geographic position in the Mediterranean, which played an important part in the shaping of our national conscience.

Yet, in spite of all this, the Maltese have remained doggedly individual and insular through our sense of self-preservation and stubbornness.

Since antiquity, Malta was a ‘power centre’ of the Medi-terra basin. In Atlantean time, it was called ma.al.ta, meaning ‘centre abode.’ The Phoenicians called it Malet, meaning ‘shelter’ and later Melita by the Romans for its honey coloured limestone and its honey. In Egyptian writings, Malta is referred to by the name of M’lita, meaning ‘The Place of Large Stones.’

As you can imagine, we surely have a very colourful mix in our bloodline. This is the backdrop of my early existence on earth. Malta is my homeland and its vibration runs in my blood.

Malta’s historical and culture background would have an indelible influence on my painting and writing expressions.

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Chapter 1 - Early years

I was born into a deeply Catholic family just after the end of the Second World War. The history of the Catholic faith in Malta started with St. Paul’s shipwreck on these shores in the year 60 A.D. while he was on his way to Rome.

My whole life as a child was surrounded by religious symbols, images and practices coded under strict dogma and moral doctrine I breathed and lived religion every minute of my life with daily Mass, prayers, rosaries, benedictions, confessions, novenas, fasting, penance, processions, saints and catechisms. Besides, I had members of the extended family as priests and nuns. All these were part of my daily life in childhood.

My childhood

As I said, I was born just after the end of the Second World War, so I can say that I am a ‘victory’ child. Although I was born on the eve of the feast of St. Joseph, the patron saint of our local parish, I was given the name of Francis Xavier after my grandfathers of both my parents.

The Malta of my childhood was still a country under British rule. I can remember vividly the aftermath of the war, with buildings in ruins everywhere and queues of people holding their ration coupons, when shopping to buy groceries or collecting free food aid from the Americans. In those days, we still had the local shepherd passing daily with his sheep and goats and we would order a pint of fresh goat’s milk. During the day various vendors would come shouting to sell their wares, all horse or mule drawn: the grocer, the paraffin-man, the ice-man, the bread-man, and the capers-woman.

My parents went daily to an early Mass, after which my father would then leave for work and mum would do the daily shopping from the local markets for the day’s meals.

After a quick wash with cold water and ready dressed for school, we would walk to church for Mass. After breakfast, we would be given a spoonful of ‘cod-liver-oil’ and then we were all set for school. In my early years, we went to school by private bus. I used to enjoy the long ride along the coast before we entered into the ‘data-compressor’ system surrounded by nuns.

Musical trio: with my sister Monica and brother Joseph.


My mother at her piano (1936) & my father singing at Mellieha


Musical background

As I mentioned, both my parents were very musical. My father played various musical instruments and he was also a good baritone. His ambition and his dream as a child were to be a lawyer and a professional singer. Destiny decided otherwise.

His father died when he was still at school, and after the advice of an uncle, his mother decided to take him out of school and register him as an apprentice in the dockyard so he can ‘provide’ for the family. She sought security for her son and for her family. Little did she know how she shattered her son’s dream! He spent his life working in the dockyard, away from his aspirations and his wishes.

Later, singing became his hobby, his enjoyment and a way to earn some extra cash. He used to sing in opera, in concerts and in Churches all over the island and he was good at it and his baritone voice was very unique and powerful.


Many times he used to take me with him to these concerts or village feasts. Standing beside him on the band-stand, I felt proud of my father when he acknowledged the applause of the audience. Those were very special occasions spent with my father. Today I sometimes visit a church and the places where we used to go together and in the silence I can still hear my father’s voice echoing around the empty church.

My favourite adventure with my father was crossing the Grand Harbour to sing at one of the Three Cities. We used to start the journey from Sliema for a ten-minute ferry crossing to Marsamxett. Then we would walk up to Upper Barrakka, take the lift down to the Grand Harbour and then catch the harbour ferry that took us towards Senglea and Birgu. I also enjoyed the bus journey when he used to sing at Gharghur, Mellieha or Gudja villages. For me they were far away villages somewhere in rural Malta. Going to Gozo was another big adventure when dad was invited to sing at some village feast, at concerts or for the first Holy Mass of a newly ordained priest.

At home, during Sunday lunch, we used to listen to classical music while savouring mum’s cooking. I used to join my father when he was listening to an opera on the radio while he would explain to me what the story was about and what the singers are saying. I used to be mesmerised by just looking at the radio dial; it had the names of all the cities of Europe and North Africa. Turning the nob took me to these mysterious, exotic and distant places. On the New Year we always listened live to the New Year’s Concert from Vienna before we went for our New Year’s lunch. When we had our first TV, we admired the graceful dancing to the melodious sound of the Blue Danube Waltz.

My mother studied piano as a young woman. Her family even had a piano at home which was a luxurious commodity before the war. Her teachers considered her to be one of the best musicians on the island at that time. She also used to play the organ at the local parish church. Then the war came, a bomb destroyed her family home, and the piano was buried in the rubble. She got married after the war. She gave up her artistic expression in exchange for the conventional everyday culture of the time.

Moreover, my grandmother’s second cousin from my mother’s side was Robert Samut who composed the music for the Maltese National Anthem.

As you can see, both my parents imprinted on me the beauty, creativity, appreciation and expression of music.

Other members of the family had that same impression on me regarding music. I will always remember when my godfather, on my father’s suggestion, took me to see the opera Madame Butterfly at the cinema as a present for my Confirmation. Another uncle, who knew my love of music, gave me a transistor radio for my tenth birthday. It was the most treasured gift because it opened for me the world of music: classical, opera and pop.

Guitar playing


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