A Peek of Inspiration: Aug. 29-Sep. 1

Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Location: Agafay Desert, Morocco
telescopeView the Instagram post here.

     It was a night when Moroccan clouds began to curtain the infinite window of the serene sky above us. But before we were parted from the speckled glitters of the heavens, we were joined, not just by a local astronomer, but also his telescope – this, almost, contagious contraption that pulls your eye’s gaze patiently, to find the hidden heroes of this universe, united in all of its grandeur.
My little stargazer beside me: she, whose dreams as high and wide as the galaxy edge…she, who’s magic from her mind is so powerfully poured out by her passionate tongue…she peered through the piece of glass to find that in such visual joy, she was lost in the limits of language – It was in her silence that I heard the language of her soul. She spoke with infinite possibilities, merely through the awe in her breezy breath. Through the peeping hole of this magnificent magnet of wonder and delight, she was a philosopher, a spectator, a lover to these stunning creatures we so innocently call stars.
With an emerald laser pointer now handed to us by our new astronomer friend, we drew our heart and reached as far into the closing sky as much as it could, a tightrope of green connecting us and them. In one way or another, we were lead to a map of constellations; We were connecting the dots of life’s largest drawing book.
And then, with the night’s finale having concluded, we, behind the clouded curtains in silence and only the voice of our exchanged looks, we knew that we had left the desert stone beneath our feet and walked among the garden of the galaxy.
– jack o’brien

     For me, this was just one of those posts that speaks for itself. I wanted to recall this touching moment I experienced with Allison Marie whereby she was entirely lost for words at her first sight of the stars and moon through the telescope. We took this photograph as a way of us to remember the incredible way in which a local astronomer allowed us to see up close and learn about the poetic constellations in the night sky. It was a night that we will remember vividly for the rest of our lives, with our minds hearts and souls.

Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Location: Oia, Santorini, Greece
Allison Marie
View the Instagram post here.  

“Coffee Stains”
I’m in love with coffee stains. Coffee stains and dedications and smeared pen marks in the margins of all our favourite novels. I’m in love with all of the folded corners of the thin, brown paper pages that always got me in trouble in school whilst growing up. “Stop folding your corners, Allison Marie! Use a bookmark!” But I never loved bookmarks, and I guess I had a strange, curious fascination with making perfect, pristine things more personal to my own heart. I’m in love with those old, nostalgic stills stolen from frisky French films…the ones that are that little bit grainy, a little bit hazy, a little bit romantic, and a little bit off. I’m in love with the way I’ll put on my favourite dress on a Saturday morning, that one dress that could do me no wrong, and as soon as Jack’s great aunt, “Lollie,” greets us as she steps off her long haul flight from Manhattan, dressed in the most authentic, androgynous, beige-coloured adventure outfit from the 50s, I suddenly fall in love with her style and wonder what in the world I had been doing with my life not dressing as fabulous as she does at 92 years old. I love…the smell of Paris. I love those cloudy-coloured, solemn grey rooftops resembling rainy days and stupid choices. I don’t like red lipstick, but I love the way it looks on my lover’s skin when stamped in the shape of a kiss. I love art. I love talking about art. I love talking about art, politics, religion, love, you know, the things that matter. None of this silly, meaningless small talk. God, I love, love. I love it most of all. Love is like breathing, love is like air…you’re just going about your every day, doing the same stuff you always do, and before you can even stop to realize it, your lungs are filled to the very brim with it and you don’t know how you could ever live a day without it. I’m a better person because of love. I hope you are, too.
– allison marie o’brien

     Jack’s great aunt, “Lollie,” is an adventurer. She is an adventurer, an artist, a professional illustrator, a true lover of life. An extraordinarily delightful 92 year old woman who is the absolute salt of the earth. We were able to spend some time with her a few weeks ago when she flew in from the States! She is English, but has lived in Manhattan, New York City, USA for around 60 years of her glorious life. I remember the very first time I met her in Manhattan in the summer of 2014…she has this INCREDIBLE tiny NYC apartment filled to the brim with books, drawings, paintings, letters and loose pages scattered across her wooden floor. You know those little apartments in old films that you imagine would belong to thriving, insanely talented and soulful artists in New York City? That was her apartment. She lives and breathes her paintings, her stories, her memorabilia. Jack’s sweet mum has piles and piles of Lollie’s old diaries, maps, tickets, pamphlets, and photograph albums from when she used to travel the world around our age! It’s almost scary how alike Jack and I are to her younger self. She is also a professional illustrator and has many works of her published and hanging in exhibits around NYC. One thing you may not know about Jack is that he is an absolutely EXQUISITE drawer. He has hand drawn the most amazing portraits of his friends, family members, my family members, and even one of me in our early dating days. 🙂 And I always say that he gets his eye and hand at drawing from Lollie. That’s also probably where he gets his beautifully hippy, adventurous soul from as well! 🙂 So I wrote this piece of prose earlier this week after spending time with Lollie after so many years. She is a force to be reckoned with, and a book character for sure. One of the most soulful book characters there ever were. Jack and I can only hope to age as gracefully as she has. 🙂

Posted Friday, September 1, 2017
Location: Pride Rock
little lions - O'Brien and Olive View the Instagram post here.

You’re a lion,
And I’d like to be one, too…
If that’s okay with you.
Our love,
Handmade and haunting
Beneath a ceiling of sunbeams.
We can melt into puddles, we can melt into daydreams.
You’re a raging storm.
You’re a sunflower.
Pure sunshine straight from the stem.
You’re a thunder’s drum.
You’re whistling your own song,
You don’t listen to them.
Let’s be fools:
One fool,
Two fools,
Me and you.
Love lessons from Venus,
Lightning veins from Zeus.
Little lions, wide awake at midnight,
Sprinting towards the mourning moon.
Hunting for harnesses of happiness,
Tracking paw prints on the dunes.
Drunk off of yesteryear’s wine
And your periwinkle eyes,
We’re catching prism rays
From stolen fireflies.
A crackling, blazing fire,
A delirious downpour of rain.
Why should we be normal,
When we could be insane?
You’re a lion,
And I’d like to be one, too.
Little lost lions,
Roaring at the moon.
– allison marie o’brien 

     Many, many times this summer, Jack and I have run around with as little clothes on as possible. That might sound so crazily odd and inappropriate to many, but we don’t care, we love it, and we feel so free. I have always said to Jack, “If I could never, ever wear clothes, then I never, ever would!” There’s a gigantic, open field of wheat we both know of so tucked away where the sun shines so blaringly and blazingly hot, it feels like Africa. The wheat stands so tall when you’re sat on the ground that it completely towers over you, and no one can see you or find you. We love feeling as free and as pure as possible any chance we get in nature, so we always take our clothes off to feel the sunlight directly warm our skin and bones. We have made wonderful, simple, beautiful memories here this summer, surrounded by miles and miles of strands of glistening gold, munching on fruit and popcorn, listening to music, laughing, observing the tiny bugs and critters and butterflies that surround us in nature. We feel like little Simba and Nala sometimes…running around, not a care in the world…like little lost lions do.