Sunday, September 30, 2007

My Grad School Journal

Half way through the creative writing program, and still it feels as joyous as a beginning. Every quarter is so special and different that it seems like a start of its own. Why did I have to work all the way up to grad school before doing things that I absolutely love?

This quarter, the three courses I am taking are all about writing. I am required to hand in a journal, fresh fictional piece, or new pages of a script every single class. Writing creative pieces in English has been something I dreaded for an entire year, and now must face. A week has passed, and I am already LOVING it!

Its about time...

My beast is heading back to the old cave. Sounds, voices, and images are once again traveling slower to my head and sinking deeper. The drip of water registeres as many expanding and endless circles of thoughts.

In celebration of this step-up I have started a School Journal , a free style blog for my ongoing school writing and sharable fiction.

Please drop by when you want to listen in on my classes, or to add thoughts and writings of your own.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Guiltless America

To me, a trip from the light to the dark takes time. I cannot open the door to a dimly lighted store without slowing down or even stopping to get a glimpse of the place I’ve just entered. In Saudi, people are usually slow, very slow, in and out, and even across.

Yet people in America seem to be overly confident about where they’re going. Seeing them run through different situations with just the same “high-speed” makes me believe that they have been there before. The situation is not new, and carries no surprises. The track is as clear and double-checked as a GPS map.

They are confident even when in their eyes there’s a flicker of doubt.

Today, an American lady pushed through the doors of Starbucks and headed straight for the barista. She didn’t notice me of course, as I was on the side daydreaming about my coffee to be.

“Tall, Sugar free, fat free, decaf late please.” She announced, with her "I am great thank you," and debit card ready.


As she exited the doors with her guiltless coffee, I felt it no longer mattered what I ordered. The cups were piled in equal sizes, the syrup bottles ready to be squeezed just the same, and the heat measurer set to reach the usual number. The barista looked increasingly bored.

“I am sorry, one of those indecisive days!” I said, heading for the doors, condemning an unnecessary apology.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Questioning the Primitive Human

On “Sopranos” today, Tony's shrink calls Christmas “Stress-mass”. Momentarily all the celebrations that I know looked up with frozen faces. It amazed me how our (no-choice) is celebrated in most of them if not all. Even our engagement and marriage dates, they do not pin point the dates on which our hearts skipped beats, but merely the time frame inwhich we announced what already happened.

Have we chosen the date on which we were born to this life, or that of a prophet or a saint? Did we choose the times this person discovered this place or that, and did we have any first hand experience of it other than the narrations of politically derived historians? Could life have been any better or worse if the past had taken other turns?

Dates, Celebrations, Big Fights, Small Fights, Causes, No-Causes, how do they relate to us? If we were born to the wilderness, pure and primitive, with no books, preachers, or schools, without these virtualized narrations, if we were there by ourselves, what would have mattered to us?

What would have made us stamp our feet, and send our voices across the face of the earth?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why Celebrate in Advance?

Why on earth have people been congratulating each other on the month of Ramadan two weeks in advance?

With every passing year, people seem to be celebrating holidays a day earlier, sending off e-cards, text messages, and group emails to wish others merry hand happy times.

Could this hurriedness to publicly congratulate be revealing a personal defense? An attempt by the individual to prove a social loyalty that he/she feels is shaky and uncertain at heart? Or have the seasons lost their automatic quality of joy, leaving people no choice but to manually pump it up, needing extra days with every passing year?

*P.S, Away from Saudi Arabia, Ramadan does not seem to be a couple of days away, but rather, a couple of continents, a distance that is measured by miles rather than days, and bridged only by physical travel.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sometimes: Life is too still.

Is life a series of still pictures; or is that the method with which our mind captures life?

When the wind is high, and the rain is falling, I feel more alive, as if the wind and rain are moving the pictures, and smudging the memories so they are not still. Even when the sun is up, life is dynamic as long as there’s something moving: people or animals! This movement of theirs becomes the wind through which particles of the past become alive.

Yet, when nothing is moving –not even me- besides the attempt of remembrance I realize with horror how still the past is. Rolling through it is almost like running a wheel with such a speed that I hope can fool me into seeing a smooth film on screen. A film that would not betray the missing pictures, or their inconsistency.

When life is still, too still, it is hard to see the memories, let alone make them.