Saturday, December 29, 2012

A force of nature

I remember one day I wanted to be a force of nature. A tad too cold to be fire, too calm to be the wind, and not encompassing enough to be air; I was water. A stream running to join the ocean, contributing to
the greater scheme of things, unable to change my course of motion. Moss grows around me. I’m afraid I'll soon dry up because my depth is getting shallower with each passing day. I’m trying to carve stone to leave a mark, but I have not the force for it and the stone in this area is especially hard. I will give up on being a stream and run away to join the underground water. Soon enough they’ll bottle me and ship me adding whatever needed so that I have value.
I will let nature take its course, I can't be among its forces. Not yet anyway.

يوميات جامعية #2

كان أمس أبرد يومٍ شهدناه هذا الشهر. لم تصل درجة الحرارة إلى 10 س و لكن كنا مستمتعين بالدراسة في البرد. و هذه هي الكذبة الأولى فلا أحد يستمتع و هو يدرس لامتحان. من الممكن أن تستمتع في مادة معينة لكن دراسة الامتحان تتركك محبطا مهدود الحيل. لذا بكل برودة اعصاب (و هي برودة تناسب ألأجواء) قررت أن أخذ قيلولة لا أحتاجها. لأن الشتاء يعني أمرين: إما أن تنام بحرية أو أن تقرأ بحرية. و بما أني لا أقرأ هذه الأيام ما يكفيني (و كم من القراءة كافي؟) فأنا أنام ملء جفني.

الحمدلله على كل حال. يبدو أننا نجد في كل ساعة من كل يوم أمراً نتذمر منه و لا نفكر في الأمور التي قد تسعدنا. أولها أننا نتهي من هذا الفصل بعد ثلاثة ايام. و أنني سأرى أبناء أختي عما قريب بإذن الله. و سأعود للبيت بعد غياب دام 5 أسابيع. و سأقرأ... و أقرأ... و أقرأ... و سأعود للكتابة.

عذرا على الانقطاع، من السهل أن نجد انفسنا ننصاع خلف الحياة دون أن نجبرها على التكيف مع ما نريده. لبداية جديدة إن شاء الله.
دمتم في رعايته.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A wish

I wish I could write something that doesn't mean anything to me now and hope it would with time.



 
 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

يوميات جامعية #01

نور، طالبة في كلية خاصة في نهاية العالم -كما تحب أن تصفها- لذا فهي ليست طالبة جامعية و لا تتمتع بمزايا طلاب الجامعة. و لكنها محاطة بطلاب طب في كل مكان. ليس في هذا الأمر شيء غريب بحد ذاته، لكن تجد نفسك متعب نفسيا عندما تكون في الباص في ليلة الجمعة و انت في طريق العودة إلى سكن الكلية تستمع إلى نقاشات عن التشريح. تغمرك رغبة في أن تدير رأسك و تقول لهم أن يأخذوا راحة من الضغط النفسي الذي يجعل ابتسامة بسيطة على وجوههم عمل شاق غير تلقائي... هذا القلق و التوتر الذي يعيشون فيه سيجعل حياتهم صعبة (لكن في الواقع الذي يزعجك في الموضوع انك بدأت تقرأ و تريد دقائق فقط لتغرق في كتابك حتى تستطيع بسهولة تجاهلهم و لو قضوا الرحلة في مناقشة عضلات و أوتار و غضاريف).

أمضي العشر دقائق بعد الساعة الأولى من المحاضرة في إمداد عقلي بالسكر. لا اعترف بإفطار صحي قبل الساعة 10. قالت لنا طالبة بأنها لا تفوت هذه الوجبة الهامة بعد أن سمعت بأن تفويتها يزيد فرص إصابتك بمرض الباركنسون. كما ترون حياتنا سلسلة و مواضيعنا شيقة. هل تريد أن تشخص بمرض (أو عدة)؟ ما عليك إلا أن تصاحب طالب طب.

لذا تحملوني (و تحملوا لغتي الركيكة). ليلة الأربعاء هذه نقضيها في السكن. لا ضير في ذلك، من الجيد أن تجد نفسك في مكان يجبرك أن تكتشف أمور عنك لم تعرفها من قبل فتيقن أن التغيير لا مفر منه. تسعد به أحيانا و يخنقك أحيانا أخرى.
تصبحون على خير.

مشروع تدويني: مذكرات جامعية

يوميات جامعية، فكرة الجميلة هالة، سأحاول بقدر استطاعتي الالتزام. سأدع كتاباتي تتحدث عن نفسها. 
المشتركون:
هالة
ذهلاء
   نور
أصيلة


 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Midnight Thoughts: Of Cheese, McEwan and other unrelated things

Let me tell you about a time during the night when there's a heaviness in your stomach, in your gut. You wonder if it's the cheese you've eaten a couple of hours before fully knowing cheese isn't a good idea at night. You should know better, in a few years you'll be a "doctor" and doctors should know better. Anyway, it was once in a while kind of thing not the end of the world, you tell yourself wanting to figure out what's weighing you down.

So you go back to the heaviness in your gut. You let one more hour pass and decide maybe the cheese is only a contributing factor. There are other things. For instance, your indecisiveness. How you don't take a stand for yourself and tell those around you "this is me and this is how I'm going to be", and believe me with enough assertiveness they'll accept it and won't think you selfish in the least bit. At least I hope so.

Another issue could be the dead bodies you're dealing with 4 days a week. Now I'm sure they're doing us a great favour yet when you're staring at the body, at whatever exposed of part of him/her. You think in terms of muscles, this person used these muscles to get on his knees to propose to his wife (the dead bodies are American hence the Americanised thought) or perhaps he buried his own son with them. That's quite a dark unusual thought, my brain could have instead imagined the simple every day acts of "eating, drinking, sleeping, walking, etc." Yet that was my train of thought, one can't help it sometimes. There's also the spy novel you're reading, wishing an atheist author would adopt you (the thought which gets you a disapproving comment from your sister which you reply to saying you'll convert him or mutter that you'll probably get kicked out in a matter of a few hours that is if you were lucky enough to get in his house in the first place). Your thoughts are of course far-fetched but a reader can dream, exactly when this spy novel has an avid reader as a leading character. Maybe you were better off living in a hostel, smiling at strangers you'll share the place with and might get to know well with time than being adopted by an author. They say writers should only be read and not dealt with because that might ruin whatever thoughts you had of them in the first place. Who would want a childish 20 year old medical student worried that she had cheese at night when she knew better?
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Oman Mobile!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Silence

You don't understand my silence. I thought with time you would. I had a firm belief you'd give my silence space to grow then shrink on its own. Yet you want to crush it into little pieces, you present your loud personality and expect me to "let it go".

I won't explain, please don't make me. If words were my friend at the moment they wouldn't leave me this silence. I am left with hurtful things to say, I will say things I regret.

If it was the other way around, I would respect your statue-like silence, your aura wouldn't leave me any other choice but to submit while I struggle to have you leave my silence in peace. You don't know that I leave myself no time to think things through which is why I have these sort of days. I pick up a book, my kindle, start a conversation or at best sit idly (the idle state includes my mind). I choose to dwell on other people, other places, other things. I leave my here and now somewhere else, on a parallel universe if that's possible.

I want peace. I really do. And my words may pass your ears by as if they were spoken in a foreign tongue. Words are deceiving anyway. But my silence... you don't have to understand it, just give it a few grains of respect.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I am



I'm often told I'm mature. I like to think I'm still a kid, and use that as an excuse. I can't get by without books. Classics are a passion for me. I can read pretty much anything as long as it's fiction. I can't stop myself from buying books. I don't re-read books. I have a guilt complex. My smile is a sort of grin and I don't think people smile as readily as they should. I don't understand sarcasm. I'm allergic to all kinds of smells (except for food, maybe). My family will always see me as the kid who needs looking after. I've been to 6 countries and I've lived abroad for most of my life. I ask the silliest questions. I own a guitar, learned for 2 months and now it's abandoned. I'm boring. I sometimes live on twitter. I think it's among humanity's finest inventions and takes the concept of wasting time to a whole new different dimension. I have a complicated relationship with facebook. I absolutely adore blogs. I hate the assumptions people make about you so freely. I don't have a favorite color, book, food, tv show, movie, place, shop. I'm a bit more self-centered than the next person. I write for my personal well-being.  I have a serious fear of being a hypocrite. I admire people's self-assuredness. I face a lot of expectations from those around me. I'm pro at making empty threats. I take what you say to heart. I'm clueless and a broken-record. I'm an annoying optimist. I want so much. I don't expect that much from myself. I live in my head and it's not so healthy. There can be so much good in people without them having the faintest idea of it. I hate those who give themselves airs for all the wrong reasons, not that it's ever ok to have airs. Friends, the TV show, makes me laugh hysterically. I can't do anything alone (I have a twin sister, it comes with the job description). I will blabber incoherently if given the chance.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Game of Life


You move me from tile to tile, my roles are changed at your will. I become your knight, your king and your queen. 
My original white is switched into black when you feel that black suits me better. 
You forget which one I am, I’m lost amid your many players. No longer your favorite piece, I accept whatever move you have me make.
The rest of us were packed suddenly, replaced with a crystal set you never play, keeping it for show.

The last thing we heard you utter was…checkmate.


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 Photo courtesy:http://weheartit.com/entry/30373244

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Here...yet again

It's been so long since I just let myself go here on my blog, this place is mine and it's a medium for my thoughts but I refuse to let my thoughts in here. I woke up at 8 am today, barely slept 5 hours straight. I think it's because of my horrible sleeping routine during college days. I shouldn't really get comfortable with my  holiday. In a week we'll be back for a summer course. I wonder why there's a summer course here. Why this torture when they're very aware of the fact that it gets to more than 50 C outside. We all suffer in different ways, that's for sure.

I was told that I looked like Mini Mouse 2 days ago. My friend then assured me it was meant as a compliment. I think that'll stay with me for a while. Perhaps I have a cartoonish look to go with that cartoonish personality. Perhaps I only delude myself with these ideas, but our brains like to indulge in our whims. I think the greatest compliment I've got about my looks was when I was 15 maybe. One of my mom's friends told me I had my mom's smile. Since then I've got that comment more than once and it never fails to make me happy. I don't know, but this makes me happier than when I'm told I'm pretty or whatever. I guess that does sound a bit snobbish, there's just something else about being told you have one of your mom's features.

I'm covered with two blankets because it's too cold. I could switch off the AC but I like living in extreme conditions sometimes, or making myself think so at least. I don't know a lot of things and I don't presume to guess, perhaps you're not meant to know because you wouldn't understand or perhaps understanding would hit your core and you're never the same again. Perhaps we change with every breath and remain essentially the same. Who is to be the judge of these matters?

I just wonder who knows you best, is it you or those around you? Can you listen to people spelling out your personality for you or shall you defy their ideas, after all you've been with yourself the longest. And are we to judge ourselves based on intentions or our actions or is it our words, that is if they managed to convey our inner most thoughts. I suppose I'm repeating myself more or less but I always wondered... Some have the courage to tell you you're this and that very firmly and they make you even believe it. Some say people are easy to read, but do you know something? There's always something that is lost between us. Something that I choose to hide, you choose  to ignore or just lost somewhere in the translation. So you can't seriously think that you know all that makes a person, it's more like that you know fragments and you piece them together as best as you know how. You put something of you when you try to figure someone out, and there...that's how you can't presume to know them like the back of your hand. I suppose I feel strongly about this because we really should make more of an effort to understand someone.

On a different note, I have an ambitious reading list for the Summer, let's hope I manage to read them all and then some. Currently reading The Handmaid's Tale by Margret Atwood. A promising read, and I'm excited!

So... Enjoy your summer people. Make it worthwhile :D

Language

I didn't know your language. And you didn't understand mine. So we invented our own. We kept it hidden from the world, laughed at its ease and marveled at how well we got to know one another. I thought with time you'd understand my language while you thought we should leave our own behind.

But to lose myself, to become submerged in your world was something I could not do. Had you left me to myself one day, I'd have nothing to live on. You possess that amazing skill, of building yourself again from scratch while I struggle with the little that I have.

Let our language join the extinct languages of the world. Let's become history, a memory the world forgets. Let what we once were become a lesson taught to the naïve. Let's become an example. Return to your homeland and never forget your letters. I cease to speak that forlorn language we once created and you shall cease to understand it. Because my friend, that is the way of the world.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats - Jan-Philipp Sendker


"Love has so many different faces that our imagination is not prepared to see them all."
"Why does it have to be so difficult?"
“Because we see only what we already know. We project our own capacities—for good as well as evil—onto the other person. Then we acknowledge as love primarily those things that correspond to our own image thereof. We wish to be loved as we ourselves would love. Any other way makes us uncomfortable. We respond with doubt and suspicion. We misinterpret the signs. We do not understand the language. We accuse. We assert that the other person does not love us. But perhaps he merely loves us in some idiosyncratic way that we fail to recognize."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Doors

She didn’t know how to close doors or how to open them even. All she knew how to do was sit in the middle idly, staring into the void. Usually someone took pity on her and led her the rest of the way out. But if they stop their charity, where will she end up?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Note to Self

If you took yourself seriously, everything would be different. Trust me.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Serious Question

Why do we have double-standards when it comes to viewing ourselves and viewing other people? Something someone does is acceptable but when you catch yourself in the act all hells break loose? Why do I expect from myself what I never expect from others? What if I was fair to myself for once, would it be so bad? What if I was selfish for once? What if I simply questioned things out-loud without regretting sounding ungrateful?
Will the world stop spinning?

I don't know.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Paris Wife - Paula McLain

Listen to: Make Believe - Nora Bayes 


I wish it was possible for me to meet Hemingway and his wife, and have a long talk with them. Separately and then together. I have a million question to ask, and I might even get heated up. I'd like to discuss his writing, their relationship, her hopes, his dreams and their Paris. I really liked the first half of the book but afterwards, I started getting emotionally involved. I was angry at Hemingway or Hadley, shifting between one then the other and afterwards angry at both. I don't usually have this type of anger with characters, it's usually frustrations and nothing beyond that. Yet The Paris Wife made me angry so many times, as well as a few smiles and frowns here and there. I think it's the fact that they're not fictional characters, they're real, they went through this and they endured. At least Hadley did, and Hemingway doing his best till he shot himself, always knowing this was how he would go. Imagine that you have Hemingway, his first wife and their life together. Romancing a writer, living in Paris, Hemingway's struggle and how his wife lived through it all. It's just my type of book, but it crushes so many notions you might have before hand. Don't expect a romantic story, and never expect to be told what to think. It doesn't give you Paris at its finest. It gives a sense of realistic Paris. The one where artists drank their hearts out and kept daring each other to outdo each other; writing, boxing, romancing and drinking. But what was scandalous anymore? They all lived on edge, and so there's nothing shocking about the book, at least nothing the writer feels horrified about. She's maybe staying true to her story telling but she made it feel as if you're in the early 20th century with them, as much true emotion is withheld...

The writing isn't among the top of the reasons I loved this book. The writing itself wasn't bad, but it's not something you notice as you read. Perhaps I would have paid more attention to it had I not been so deeply engrossed with the details of their lives and the people they knew. They got to meet the people now considered to be icons in literature including Fitzgerald and Joyce. I loved it when the author delved into that part, how Hemingway was given advice on his writing, how Paris launched his writing career, how difficult it must have been.

I have so many thoughts about this book. Hadley is eight years older, but when she meets Hemingway her life starts. He puts his faith in her and she has to endure the moodiness of a writer, the lonely life it can be and make sure she was there for him every step of the way. Perhaps she just was the Paris Wife and nothing more, who would know for sure?

"Why is it every other person you meet says they're an artist? A real artist doesn't need to gas on about it, he doesn't have time. He does his work and sweats it out in silence, and no one can help him at all."

Hemingway was born to write, and Hadley... she looked for happiness more than anything else.

Why couldn't I be happy? And just what was happiness anyway? Could you fake it, as Nora Bayes insisted? Could you force it like a spring bulb in your kitchen, or rub up against it at a party in Chicago and catch it like a cold?


Maybe happiness was an hourglass already running out, the grains tipping, sifting past each other. Maybe it was a state of mind -as Nora Bayes insisted- a country you could sculpt out of air and then dance into.

"It's freedom you want, then?"
"Good God, yes. Don't you?"
"I don't know. I want to be happy I suppose."
"Happiness is so awfully complicated, but freedom isn't. You're either tied down or you're not."

She thought life began and ended with Hemingway. So much so that when he left for business for the first time, she had no idea what to do with herself. That kind of reliance... it speaks so much of her love for him but she knew not who she was when he was gone. She sacrificed years of her life for him, being desolate in Paris, in company not exactly hers, away from home. She had faith in his writing. She had faith she was enough for him, but who was enough for Hemingway? He was impulsive as a young man and he lived his life that way. She was always wondering if there was more to his love for her than his need for the sense of normal he felt with her.

"I hope we'll get lucky enough to grow old together. You see them on the street, those couples who've been married so long you can't tell them apart. How'd that be?"
"I'd love to look like you," I said. "I'd love to be you."
I'd never said anything truer. I would gladly have climbed out of my skin and into his that night, because I believed that was what love meant. Hadn't I just felt us collapsing into one another, until there was no difference between us?

Both of them angered me at the end. His unfaithfulness, and her acceptance.

There are some who said I should have fought harder or longer for my marriage, but in the end fighting for a love that was already gone felt like trying to live in the ruins of a lost city.

Just what is always and forever? How can we make such promises when change is out of our hands? Why stay if another was making you happy? Why can't one person be enough with all their flaws and imperfections? I don't think it's possible for me to express my feelings towards the end for I would spoil details and I've already said a lot. Can I judge their relationship? Perhaps it was something she lacked, perhaps it was him, perhaps it was both of them. In the end, like the book says:

"Maybe no one can know how it is for anyone else."

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The tree that foresake me


Plant your roots deep in my garden. Make the shadow of your branches haunt my dreams, while the rustling of your leaves becomes my companion. Stand there like a 100 year old tree. Un-phased by the forever changing world. Let me sit beside your roots and read out loud; to you and you alone. You’ll never complain, never contradict me, always understand. I’ll belong somewhere, to that spot in my garden with a lovely humming bird that nestled guarding its eggs. I leave you only to have the pleasure of always finding you awaiting.

A tree was deaf with a painted understanding smile, and I was gullible… All I had to blame was myself, for the only thing that misled me was my imagination. My sense of belonging came tumbling to the ground the day they decided you were to be chopped down mercilessly. I beheld the world’s power on you, and I grew tall then. I think the world wants me to be what you were to me, and try as I might to reject its pleadings I know not the power of my will.

Dedicated to Nema; someone I can always count on.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where We Belong

I was dancing on the moon,
No rhythm, no gravity
You already reached the stars
Oh, how blinded you were by their light
I gave up on my moon dance
I returned to gravity
 There was a meadow; green and empty
It became my new home
So I could watch you from afar
Making sure whatever star held you captive,
Didn't burn itself out,
Didn't turn into a black-hole,
Didn't consume you completely
The moon was never my place
You mistakenly thought I belonged to a constellation
So you went out star hunting
I am only a light to guide you home
You belong to your heart
And I belong to...mine.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Life forcing itself

This is not me. I don't know who this is but it's not me. I don't know where I found all that courage from. I said what needed to be said at the right time and I put everything else aside, my pride on the line but not my dignity. I turned around, walked away from the scene and sat again with my friends. I sat staring at the table, I had no idea what was going on around me. I had to get away for a second. I went to get myself some water. I felt a knot tying in my throat, tears were so close to gushing out. This is not me. I don't cry. Now I can go on a whole day without food. I could sit without saying any word for hours on a stretch. I stared at how people got so worked up on things and envied them. I used to be like that, this is not me. I'm sure it will pass, I'll make sure it does. No one seemed to change, they all were the same and I....became an outcast in that moment. It didn't feel good. No one noticed, and I sat there in-between. Wishing they did, wishing someone forced those tears and words out of me, at the same time wishing they wouldn't because this is not me, they can't know. If you can't understand it, how will you ever be able to explain it? I needed someone at that moment, but I let no one in. I was failing everyone around me, and I didn't care. I'm telling you, this is not me. I care, I listen and I am there. But I didn't care, I was listening and I am nowhere near where I need to be. 
Tell me, who is this?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mrs. Dalloway and my illness

I'm sick. My complexion is pale. I lie on the couch of my living room. The TV is switched on, vibrant colors I never see in my daily life are on full display. I pretend to be interested in the show, because of the fake sense of normal it gives. It's ironic because there's no one around to pretend that to, just myself. It's rather sad too, isn't it? How I lie to myself so. I keep thinking of how I need to mop the floor, dust my bookshelf, take down the laundry, and countless little things. The house needs me if no one else does. I liked how depended on me. She'd call me to switch off the lights to her room, share a thought or a memory, ask me to indulge in one of her whims, watch TV with her. My mere presence was all that she needed. I was envious of that ability; to not be scared of words. I didn't utter my words when I thought them meaningless, and now as I begin to realize their weight, I shy away even more. I can never be sure of anything these days. All these uncertainties we like to entertain. Now, perhaps I don't need anybody anymore, all I need is their need for me. How untrue.


I think that in another place, time...another soul...another me... There would be a knock on the door. I take a few minutes to leave my couch, and to my suprise I find the most beautiful purple bouquet of flowers you'll ever lay eyes on. "Get well soon," the note says. I take it inside, and just sit holding them. I never wonder who they could be from but that gesture is what gets me through my illness. I take myself out of that scene with a strange smile playing on my lips. You'd think an image such as this would make me depressed. How could I not think about who is it from? There my imagination begins to fall short, the scene I pictured is flawed. I delude myself thinking I sit happily holding the flowers, they'd be so much more. So much more. I stop daydreaming and leave the couch. I pick up my copy of Mrs. Dalloway. Flowers brought her to my mind. I go with her to buy flowers for her party. I am no longer ill. I am floating free in Woolf's mind. I strangely think I've never bought myself flowers, I've never bought anyone flowers. I reluctantly close the book to think, about flowers, and nothing else.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mornings in Jenin - Susan Abulhawa

I haven't read a book that reduced me to tears in so long. Reminiscent of Kanafani's 'Return to Haifa', the novel moves you so deeply with heartbreakingly beautiful story-telling of a family forced to leave their home, village and belongings to a refugee camp in Jenin.

I started reading it on a Friday morning, I spent three hours in bed with the book. I was ready for something sad, I was ready to get depressed. I didn't know what I was in for though, the tragedies the family had to undergo were beyond anything I could imagine. The story mainly focuses on Amal; her childhood in the refugee camp of Jenin with her best friend Huda, her relationship with her parents, being orphaned, studying abroad, being reunited with her brother, starting her own family and all the losses she has to witness in her lifetime. They make her shut the world outside, even the one closest to her heart, she gets to understand why Dalia, her mother, wasn't able to shower her with love. This sort of explains it:

"Sorrow gave Dalia an iron gift. Behind that hard shelter she loved boundlessly in the distance and privacy of her solitude, safe from the tragic rains of her fate."


Love has a strong presence in the book, the love of the land, of your family, your friends, and there was the "once in a life time" love, some stories were more believably than others but you still enjoy reading it all. Love can blossom anywhere, and as Gibran says "the deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain", it seems as though those who've gone through a tragedy experience a love like no other, they understand what loss means, having no home and still one awaits her lover years even though he gave her no reassurance whatsoever, and then there's a sweet teenage love that grows as strong as ever. 

"They talked, less for meaning than to hear the other's voice."

I enjoyed the first half of the book the most, there was a lot of innocence that couldn't yet be taken away. The second half turned more political, and a bit bleak though a lot of loose ends were tied so to speak. Jenin being revisited by Amal, how her daughter makes her see things in different ways, how she opens up again. The sweet tears of being free of things you held on to, sharing them with no one else till they ate you up from the inside. Humans have an amazing god-given capacity to endure, and the books speaks of that more than anything else. I loved how literature was infused here and there, you find a Gibran quote then a part of a Darwish poem. The writing style isn't that wow, but the author has her moments, a simple phrase as "my hair had turned into winter" will make you appreciate her words.

Of course, war was a dominating theme. I don't know what to say about the book to be honest, it's a lot of history, a story that needs to be read.  At the end, Fairouz was singing somewhere in Jenin and so I spent my last hour of the book listening to Fairouz, reading and crying at how things turned out to be in the end; the injustice... I can honestly say I'm glad I read it now, and as much as I wish to transfer my feelings into words I just can't seem to do it. So read these following quotes and get a feel of what the book's like:

"No one can own a tree," he continued. "It can belong to you, as you belong to it. We come from the land, give our love and labor to her, and she nurtures us in return. When we die, we return to the land. In a way, she owns us. Palestine owns us and we belong to her."

"I had an off desire to be a fish. I could live inside water's soothing world, where screams and gunfire were not heard and death was not smelled."

"War. The word detonates a baggage of dread, which I have lugged on my back since I was five years old. Since 1948, when war and I were formally introduced. It makes my blood run cold."

"To remain silent was to accommodate the possibility that it all was merely a nightmare."

"In that week I see how familiar words can break like glass and reassemble into goblins that waylay the mind with their claws."

"I am damaged, of no use to the people I love. I'll die if I stay here. But something in me remains afire. Something that refuses to break, insists on a fight."

"We're all born with the greatest treasures we'll ever have in life. One of those treasures is your mind, another is your heart. And the indispensable tools of those treasures are time and health. How you use the gifts of Allah to help yourself and humanity is ultimately how you honor him. I have tried to use my mind and my heard to keep our people linked to history, so we do not become amnesiac creatures living arbitrarily at the whim of justice."

"Our language was Palestine. It was a language we dismantled to construct a home."


Thank you Ammar.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Flutters of a Soul

I'd like to spend all of today in bed. I'm struggling with writing, and I used to write whatever to get the flow but now I'm getting nowhere. I can't even finish a sentence I start. It's as if words want me to take some time, but I need them to comply to my whims. I have a scene I'd like to paint with words, of someone in a bath tub, paralyzed with fear of some sort so she can't move, she simply watches the droplets leaving her body. Her body won't answer the pleas of her mind to get out of there, so she's stuck with thoughts and a terrifying desire to be alone. I'm not sure how the scene ends, but that's the thing, the end sort of takes care of itself as you write and the feeling of repeating myself made that whole idea a draft that will probably never see the (virtual) light of day.
My consumption of chocolate has reached alarming levels, but I'm not one to go into the psychology of my behavior. I let that slide and simply respond to my cravings. Perhaps that's where my problem lies, not the chocolate cravings of course, but the fact that I let things slide without seriously thinking about them. I could argue and say that thinking is all I do, well that and waiting because we're all just waiting whether we realize it or not, alone or together, for the known or the unknown. The point is, some people aren't scared of where their thought leads them, but everyday I realize that I am. It could be because I surprise myself with how far I go with a thought. My character above would welcome her thoughts at that moment, she's alone and she can afford to look heavy hearted or to grin widely as she remembered something that made her happy. Perhaps what I do will have all sorts of implications. Till then, deal with life as it comes. Not that I'm in a position to give advice, even to myself. I'll change if I feel the need to, and believe me change, when it comes, it takes you off your guard.
Today I was told I'm interested in everything, because I said a certain course (psychology 101) seemed interesting. I'm not sure how my friend meant it, but it's perfectly true. I'm not sure I can claim that a virtue in any kind of way. If my interest was limited to certain things, then perhaps I'd know more. I don't act upon my interests, and isn't that a shame?
I'm going back to living in my head, that's what keeps me relatively sane. I'm not sure why I gave it up in the first place. Let's build up scenarios that will never happen, have witty conversations with questions we can never answer and dance on the meadows of nowhere; there'd be no music... I have a 'distorted image of reality'. Yet, I'm aware of more than I give away and you end up calling me oblivious.
Here, is just another place, just another time, just another soul, just another moment passing by.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

My rating: 3/5

Ishiguro takes you to an alternative world, but the perfect phrase for his writing would be like somebody else said 'deceptive simplicity'. You think everything's so normal, till bit by bit you come across weird things like 'donations' and 'guardians' and 'carers', and it really takes you a lot to understand the whole thing. You're kept in the dark, like the main characters themselves. The writing style feels raw, he starts telling you a story then he goes back to tell you what led to it. It sort of feels like you're listening to him actually talking, that's how people usually tell stories in real life. I quite liked that about the book, though some might find it annoying.

I'd like to give it a 4 star rating, but I feel the novel was too specific. Ishiguro could have told us more about details, the little things, the years he'd simply skip and not mention at all, things we would have liked to know about the characters, he mainly said things which led to other things, things that kept the story going which is fine but then again it's just all one-sided. Another thing, the characters simply accepted whatever fate they were destined to. Their submission is depressing, and though it has a science-fiction element to it, it feels real. Perhaps because of the way the story is told. The novel does feel rushed which is a shame, but perhaps that's because the author's aiming at making us feel the impact of whatever happens, but if we got more reactions and more explanations then we'd fully comprehend the bigger picture.


When I think of that moment now, standing with Tommy in the little side-street about to begin our search, I feel a warmth welling up through me. Everything suddenly felt perfect: an hour set aside, stretching ahead of us, and there wasn't a better way to spend it. I had to really hold myself back from giggling stupidly, or jumping up and down on the pavement like a little kid. Not long ago, when I was caring for Tommy, and I brought up our Norfolk trip, he told me he'd felt exactly the same. That moment when we decided to go searching for my lost tape, it was like suddenly every cloud had blown away, and we had nothing but fun and laughter before us.


“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart. That's how it is with us. It's a shame, Kath, because we've loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can't stay together forever.”


“I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel, world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.” 


My first read on my Kindle, all thanks to Ammar. A book you can actually hold has a different feel to it, but I'm not complaining, I love my kindle.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami

My favorite Murakami books. I'd like to talk about it but I don't think I can, all I can say is that it got me thinking a lot.


Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene, I hardly paid it any mind. I never stopped to think of it as something that would make a lasting impression, certainly never imagined that eighteen years later I would recall it in such detail. I didn't give a damn about the scenery that day. I was thinking about myself. I was thinking about the beautiful girl walking next to me. I was thinking about the two of us together, and then about myself again. It was the age, that time of life when every sight, every feeling, every thought came back, like a boomerang, to me. And worse, I was in love. Love with complications. The scenery was the last thing on my mind.


It just happens that I'm made. I have to write things down to feel I fully comprehend them.




"I want you to always remember me. Will you remember that I existed, and that I stood next to you like this?"

 
"I can never say what I want to say. It’s been like this for a while now. I try to say something, but all I get are the wrong words-the wrong words or the exact opposite words from what I mean. I try to correct myself, and that only makes it worse. I lose track of what I was trying to say to begin with. It’s like I’m split in two and playing tag with myself. One half is chasing the other half around the big, fat post. The other me has the right words, but this me can’t catch her."


'What makes us the most normal," said Reiko, "is knowing that we're not normal.'


O.K., so I’m not so smart. I’m working class. But it’s the working class that keeps the world running, and it’s the working class that gets exploited. What the hell kind of revolution have you got just tossing out big words that working-class can’t understand? What the hell kind of social revolution is that? 

Thank you Noor, for feeding my Murakami obsession and sending me this book.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Places

I'm here.
There's a train due south somewhere, the trip takes hours and it's just about empty. The scenery is breath-taking, hills. Green hills. I'm inside with a book, but I drift on and off into the pages. Two kids pass the cabinet by, one chasing the other. My soul longs to engage in a childhood game, but there's no one to share that joy with. I smile nonetheless, innocence still stands.

I'm there.
They're here. Isn't here where you are? But the you means I, and so I should be here but I'm not. I want to be here, but I'm half-here half-there. I'm always in between. It's as if I was destined to be some sort of link to things, or people. In essence, I'm not myself linked to anything by itself, I stay because of the things I protect, the things I keep glued together. The role I play isn't entirely my own. I can't claim the play mine merely because I play a role in order for it to continue.

She's away.
Life abides outside her window, darkness pressing itself all around her. She walks barefoot to make sure she's connected to things around her. You're here, she reminds herself. Don't drift away again.

He's out there.
You can't be sure where exactly. He dwells here and there. Unlike me, he's not in between. He's on an end, the giving and receiving end. He doesn't merely exist, he's alive. You may not understand, who does anyway?

You're all around.
Someday I will cling to you, tug at your sleeve, give you a tired smile, look at you through my own eyes, forget what the world says, laugh at all your jokes, share all my secrets, cry passionately, demand and ask the impossible of you. You'll do the same, and together we'll be... honest.

They belong in your heart. They nourish there, your heart holds them most fervently. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden



"A certain thought was swelling in my head, growing until I couldn't ignore it any longer. I wanted to turn away from it; but I was powerless to stop that thought from taking over my mind as the wind is to stop itself from blowing."

"If a few minutes of suffering could make me so angry, what would years of it do? Even stone can be worn down with enough rain."



"Some people have difficulty telling the difference between something great and something they've simply heard of."


"We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find new course.
"

"This is why dreams can be such dangerous things: they smolder on like a fire does, and sometimes consume us completely."


"I stumbled out into the courtyard to try to flee my misery, but of course we can never flee the misery that is within us."


|What if I came to the end of my life and realized that I'd spent every day watching for a man who would never come to me? What an unbearable sorrow it would be, to realize I'd never really tasted the things I'd eaten, or seen the places I'd been, because I thought of nothing but the chairman even while my life was drifting away from me. And yet if I drew my thoughts back from him, what life would I have? I would be like a dancer who had practiced since childhood for a performance she would never give."




PS1: Memoirs of a Geisha is a must-read.
PS2: Thanks to Maryam for lending me her copy, <3

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Of 18-01-2012

- Finished 1st semester of second year. One of the toughest ever (considering I only have two other semesters to compare it with doesn't say much but still, I'm alive!).
- Tried Sushi for the first time ever. Weird, not that bad. I can become a fan. (off things-to-do-before-i-die list, trying something new felt so good.)
- Had black nail polish on (the past tense of put which is...put... doesn't make sense to me.)
- Had sugar-free chocolate ice-cream, and the day was quite cold... (just because that was the only type of chocolate ice-cream they had).
- Read more than 50 pages of Memoirs of a Geisha, I can say I got hooked then. I started writing down quotes like a maniac. Happy times.
- Talked to friends I've lost in touch with because of exams. Voice chat with a friend we haven't seen in a year and a half. Happy times again.
- Watched Ides of March, just because of George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. Turned out a pretty good movie actually, and I got it. Huge achievement.
- Wrote emails.

Good day, no in fact, wonderful day. Let's make every day count.

An Umbrella

He spotted me drenched in the rain, offered me his umbrella. He held it, and time stopped. We were protected from the storm, together. I hardly remember anything about him now, except how he kept his gaze away from my face. Perhaps that was only my imagination running wild. We didn't talk. He didn't know I was utterly forsaken, that I was always misunderstood, that now, more than ever I need kindness. What does a stranger know about your life? What do you know about a stranger's life? Nothing. A shared moment was all it was. He looked at his watch, gave what might have been a sigh. He left the umbrella in my care, apologized and left because he was late for something. As he was taking his first steps away, I mumbled a thank you. He waved me off. I felt a depressing weight descend upon me, the one you feel when you can't change the course of events taking place in front of your eyes, when you want time to stop to carry out something of the utmost importance; showing gratitude... He was already gone.

I started walking aimlessly, thinking of absolutely nothing. I welcomed any thought, but my brain cells refused to respond. They wanted me to listen to the rain as it hit the ground fiercely. They thought I might find comfort there. It was getting dark and I had no idea where I was. Why didn't he wait till I was safe and sound in a bus that led me to a place that was nowhere near home? Why would this change everything for me? The questions that would soon haunt me every once and a while.

I'm having lunch at my favorite place. It's the summer now, and it never rained again that winter. I have the umbrella in my bag. I'm not one to hold on to material things. Memories need nothing to be triggered into play in my head. The things my friends gave me over the years aren't kept in one place. They're scattered around my room. In the closet, on the desk, on my bookshelf. Some of us rely on things to feel connected to a dear someone or a time they cherished in their lives. A word meant more than an item, yet again these items held an enchanting power over you when your wandering eyes spotted them. There's no denying that fact.
One of my friends saw the umbrella, gave me a look. She knew it was odd for me to carry an umbrella at this time of the year. I laughed it off, told her it was because of the sun. How strange is it that I look for pieces of him in every man I see now, every man that passes me by. I'm beginning to lose the details of that moment and I'm letting myself forget. I don't want to cling to it, I know a part of me, will always cling to his kindness. I am satisfied.

Friday, January 13, 2012

One of the voices in my head

I stood in front of the mirror. I swallowed, I needed water. Stand still, I told myself. Look into your eyes. But they're so hollow and sunken. I covered my face with my hands. Then let them slide slowly to surround my neck. I was surprised by the strong pulse on the left side. I let my right hand drop. You're alive, this is proof enough. If I put my hand on my heart, will it be beating? I don't feel it anymore. Of course it is, just because you don't feel it's violent beating doesn't mean it's not actually keeping you alive. The stars are there, do you see them every night? I don't even look at the sky every night, isn't that sad? You use the word 'sad' too freely, my dear. There are more aggravating matters taking place around the world, there are those who will never hear their mom's voice again, those with no roof above their heads, those who are scared to even hope, they only have a God.  
Are we done here? Can't we talk about this while I'm staring at a book or while I try to sleep. Why don't you torment me then? Everyone else is tormented while they attempt to sleep except for us. Our head goes blank. Is that a blessing? My reflection troubles me. Don't you notice how I don't look at my eyes even as I brush my teeth. Now, don't tell me to smile. Do you worry that we have a split personality sometimes? All we do is disagree and I end up shaking my head at everything you say. Is this how it goes? One being the devil while the other is the angel? Do we switch roles? Am I always the voice of reason and you're the emotional one? Pray, who is who?  
I'm tempted to state the obvious; I don't know. Yet, we have that in common. Ignorance. Oblivion. Submission. Do you know what I want? You can't even figure that out for yourself. What now? That is your question, mine will always be 'why...?' Let's see who's answered first. Your question is too intricate, fate sometimes answers mine sooner than I expect it to. Aren't you lucky?! Hah. Go back into hiding, please.