“I loved watching the waves crash against the cold, hard rocks that covered the little island. It was violent but also beautiful because it was an act of nature.” Karl shakes his head as he recalls a childhood memory.
“We went there for our holidays every year in June, it was the only place where I felt at peace, even as an 11-year old.”
“Maybe, that’s where it all started. Seeing nature doing these beautiful violent acts and seeing them as pure and natural, making me feel happy and peaceful inside.” He shrugs his shoulders.
“The first time I did it, I felt happy, you know. Really happy, where you think you’re floating on air like everything is super light inside you. You know what I mean?” he looks at me eagerly.
“Then, all the problems started with my parents, them not wanting me to go down that path. In a way I sort of understood, you know? It must have been difficult to see their son taking a wrong turn in life. They really tried to keep me from doing it. And I love them, so I wanted to be a good son. But it was stronger. It was inside me, driving me.”
“So, I left home. I remember my mum crying, begging me to stay. My dad standing on the doorstep, arms crossed over his chest, his face ghostly pale, his lips set in a straight line. It was painful, you know.” Karl rubs his face with his right hand, which is covered with stains, some as large as a front tooth, others as small as pinpricks.
“I started hanging around the dark alleys in the City and would start after the streets got quieter. Just to practise first, before I would do it in front of a crowd. Man, I was nervous. What if I was totally rubbish at it?”
“Anyway, eventually, I found a spot by the river walk, where lots of people would see me, and I just started. It was amazing! Doing it in front of all these people, right there on the pavement, and they loved it, man. They did!” He’s beaming at me now.
“Yeah, and then this guy came and said ‘Here’s my card, come to my place tomorrow. I can set you up.’ At first, I didn’t know what to think of it, but I’m glad I went to see him.”
Karl is pointing to the walls of the gallery, covered in the most beautiful paintings – all about the sea crashing violently against rocks, but all so different at the same time. And, he is right: looking at them feels immensely peaceful.
Caren is a qualified and experienced digital copy & content writer with both a corporate and small business owner background. She runs KreativeInc Agency, a web design, development and content creation agency with her autistic son Callum Gamble.
She specialises in creating Inbound Marketing content for business websites and blogs. Using her expert knowledge, skills and personal experience in business development, personal improvement and autism, she crafts content that makes people take action. Her work is found in retail publications, professional websites, on her writer’s platform StoryBlog and more.
She is also an active advocate of neurodiversity in the workplace and co-founder of the NeuroPool network, neuropool.co.uk. Here, she is organising free educational workshops for employers on how to utilise the extraordinary talent found in people with autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia within their business.
When she isn’t typing away on her keyboard or spreading her mission, you can see her having her nose buried in a book or hiking up and down the steep hills of the Yorkshire countryside with her husband, son and daughter.
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