Having spent a life time as a reader and later made an effort to become a writer, I feel that I am particularly equipped to reflect on popular quotes about writing.
A book is a dream you hold in your hands.Neil Gaiman
In 2003, while the US was bombing Iraq, yet again, my
employer sent me to Washington DC to attend a work related conference. The irony of sending an Iraqi to the capital city of the US at that particular time escaped my boss. My state of distress was well disguised under the polished veneer of a professional. Smile. Shake hands. Exchange business cards. Give polished presentations. In the evenings I aimlessly wandered the streets like a wraith searching for physical embodiment to pour my despair into. It was a Jekyll and Hyde state. Peppy mornings followed by languid remains of a day. On one of these phantom walks, a sharp pain pierced through my left knee. This was unusual. I am an avid placer of one foot in front of the other in perpetual pursuit of motion. Ache was a new sensation for a most favored of activities. My feet screamed of treason and proceeded to disobey orders. My back side pleaded for a merciful sitting position. “You guys are not team players” I rolled my eyes exasperated by uncooperative body parts. I walked into the art gallery to my right hoping to find a chair to sit. That is the story of how my physical representation was placed in the Freer Gallery in Washington D.C. As soon as I walked in, the bodily insurrection stopped. “Hey what is going on?” I looked quizzically at my left knee. The knee shrugged its shoulders to indicate ignorance “Don’t look at me. I have no idea what is going on”. My feet stopped complaining and resumed their obeying.
Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.William Faulkner
Inside, I saw the Peacock Room by James Whistler. A dining room where everything from the ceiling, walls, carpets and fixtures was designed by the artist. A fusion of the east and west. A melding of harmony and discord. Beautiful in an ugly way. Delightful in a – “I am going to assault you and peck your eyes out so that you will see how delightful I am” way. It is one thing to look at a painting and a different thing to be enveloped inside a work of art. Something inside my DNA changed. “If I could create something, anything, so striking I will die a happy woman” the thought popped into my mind as I walked away. I cried myself to sleep later that night and when I woke up I heard the voice of a fictional character called Nelly whispering in my ear commanding me to write her story.
Tears are words that need to be written.Paulo Coelho
For my fictional character, I created a fictional country of
origin. Do you know how immigrants and children of immigrants say that they take the best out of each culture? Well ha! I decided to take the worse traits out of the three cultures that have influenced me the most (Arab, European, North American) and mash them all together into a single unique country like no other in the world. I threw in a few charming characteristics, just to keep it real. I made Nelly the true embodiment of this strange country and placed her fierce self, smack in the middle of modern day Washington D.C.
A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.Dylan Thomas
I proceeded to place everything parallel to its extreme
opposite. High-brow side by side low-brow. Shakespeare next to folkloric stories. Fine art mingling with kitsch. Doom and gloom in reaction to optimism. High hysteria followed by eerie silence. The idea of graffiti applied to hacking. Innocuous vandalism. Brilliant stupidity. Jarring. The predictable things happen when you place two extremes so closely together: insanity, explosion and destruction. But also something else. Something unexpected. Something I would have never guessed.
When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time.Lady Gaga
I wrote Graffiti Hack with the stupid, unreasonable and
crazy belief that a combination of strung words on a page can somehow make the world a better place. It’s totally obscene. But, there you have it. Beats doing nothing I suppose.
Fiction is the lie that tells the truth.Neil Gaiman
When it came time for Nelly to “accidentally” wander into the
Freer Gallery mid-way through the novel, my left knee began to hurt again. I was sitting on a chair in my living room, yelling at my left knee: “I get it, I get it! Nelly is supposed to go to the Peacock Room”. My left knee only hurt worse. “Ok! Ok! look, I am writing it” I yelled into the air. The pain got
worse. “I am giving Nelly left knee pain as well. Are you happy now?” It got sharper. “Stop hurting, I get the message. This is scripted”. And I never wrote faster in my life.
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.Virginia Woolf
This is my second foray into combining dance with storytelling. The last video focused on hand movements. This one is all about the feet. It was fun thinking up fun locations to film the walking sequences in. Which include:
- Mosaic Creek Park in East Vancouver
- Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver
- Pacific Spirit Park in Vancouver
I have vague ideas to make a video focused on dancing with a fan and another one focused on castanets. Fan and castanets being my two favorite flamenco dance props. But I don’t know how to bring it into reality. I need to squeeze my brain to get those ideas flowing.
After I finished uploading the video to youTube, I was seized by a horrible demon of indecision. Which image to use as a thumbnail for the video. I had two candidates. The colorful mosaic flooring you see below and the dreamy shot of floating skirt. Every once in a while I become obsessed with something. I can’t let it go. And I can’t decide. Two hours into this turmoil, I finally decided to just let internet decide for me. This is the type of moment when you realize how fantastic the internet is. I posted both images in facebook and twitter and let others decide for me. Funnily enough. Not one person voted for the colorful mosaic. The dreamy floating skirt won by a landslide. So thank you to everybody who rescued me from my indecision crisis yesterday.
Thank you: Bethany Murphy, Mary Knapp Parlange, Robin Yvonne, Stephen Aberle, Farnaz Ohadi,Marie-Line Bilodeau, Cyrena Huang, Mimi ALazzawi, Margo Lamont, Asila Salem Jafari and Matteo Saletti
Do you have a favorite quote or quotes about writing? If yes please share it with me in the comment section.