25 January 2010

The Darkest Night

I have a knot in my throat, a knot in my stomach, and something really heavy pressing against my heart. My strength is put to the test in impossible ways. Things I cannot cope with are hurled at me with no mercy. Life can be cruel at times, and right now what I see is a long and dark night ahead of me, praying to my Goddess to light the way - in vain...

16 January 2010

Fresh resolutions & fresh perspectives lead to change

Image taken from the Kong Kong Institute of Technology website

Ok. I don't know what it is, maybe the fact that winter has been cancelled here in Haifa this year, or the fact that my house is inhabited by women only lately, or just my constant need for change. Anyway, the reason doesn't really matter. What matters is that I am making changes - again. And not just changes - but commitments and personal resolutions. Significant ones.

The first one you're already familiar with: my commitment to finish the first draft of my novel by March 8th 2011 (my 36th birthday).

The second one came while I was doing some inventory of my closet and realized that I have everything (even too much of everything). Though I don't shop much for myself, I buy 1-2 items every 2-3 months, but still, the amount of material things tend to accumulate. Thus my second resolution: limit my consummerism. By this I mean NO SHOPPING for clothes, shoes, bags, or any othr accessories until March 8th 2011. So far, I'm doing good. This of course excludes books - my very expensive love. But 90% of the books I buy are second-hand, most bought from the Better World Books, where part of my money goes to fund literacy around the world. So this is OK.

Now, to my third commitment: my best friend just quit smoking - cold turkey. I've had numerous attempts at quitting smoking, all of which failed. I think now I'm ready to stop - for good. Today (January 16th, 2010) will be my last day to smoke. I will wake up tomorrow, January 17th, 2010, to a brand new, smoke-free day. I know it will be difficult, but I am concentrating on all the good, positive things I will gain from quitting smoking. I'm going now to prepare a motivation list to reproduce and hang in different places throughout the house to remind me of all what I will be gaining. I'll of course keep you updated, and if any of you want to join me on this journey, feel free to write to me, either in a comment or to my personal email.


10 January 2010

Sitting on the Fence

so you've left - again.
the house is heavy with silence. emptiness.
I walk around - picking up the remains.
so what's left of five years?
not much.
some dictionaries (useless to me, German, Italian)
some documents (not too important, I guess, otherwise you'd have taken them with you)
and one pair of yellow shorts (can't wear them)
and that's it.
all of five years - in one box.
not too heavy, either.

In a frenzy of need, I cut my hair.
for a new beginning.
and I climbed a fence.
with a thermos of tea, a sweater and a pillow
and a ladder from a friend to help me climb (thank you Yali).

I'm new on this fence... waiting, rethinking my... [fill in the blanks].
on the other side of the fence, a completely new universe.
something I've thought of before,
but never dared.

I will need my thermos of tea, and the sweater,
and the pillow.
I have a feeling I'll be sitting here for a while.
thinking about the possibilities.

and maybe...
just maybe...

[to be continued when I figure out on which side of the fence the wind will land me]


Three kinds of thoughts enter my mind.
My mind is the water – ready to accept in all its fluidity.
Some thoughts are like salt; they enter the mind and they melt in it.
Some thoughts feel like the earth; they enter the mind, yet refuse to melt. Together with the waters of the mind, they create mud, mingling with the mind. Some are like the thirsty earth of dry summer days of khamseeny weather of Haifa, drinking in the water with insatiable thirst.

And then there are thoughts of oil. These are the strange thoughts that the mind just cannot accept, for they are made of a foreign material. Foreign to the mind. These thoughts remain separate from the mind, refusing to intermingle with anything of familiarity. Like the dark, homemade olive oil we bring from the village by the gallons every year. It tastes thick and it's the best olive oil on earth, but it feels foreign in the city; it just does not belong there. People are always amazed at its dark, rich color. And like this olive oil, the thoughts that are most foreign to the mind are the purest ones – the ones that are the most natural...

7 January 2010

dissonant writing

She said my language needs more variety. That my writing is lacking. That it's flat. It lacks volume. It needs innovative use of words.
But the words are right here, beside me… stacked all neatly. According to parts of speech: unused adjectives, effective and uncommon adverbs, difficult verbs. Others are classified according to the alphabet. All I have to do is dip into them and take my pick. Choose from among the words the most powerful and momentous, the least expected word.

But what she doesn't get is that sometimes—most times—it feels more like me just to be softly gliding along the page, listening to the whisper of the pencil as it draws the letters and adds the dots. It fills me up with energy. I no longer feel empty when I see the page being colored in black on a white landscape. It is a sketch of words. And it doesn't have to be perfect. Like when an artist makes a sketch of a face—the face has its wrinkles and creases. Life lines… and so does my writing. I want to keep my writing imperfect, maybe even un-perfect. Let it be true to me and true to itself. I don't want to be a commander of metaphors. I don't want to be in total control of my paragraphs. My sentences may be awkward, but I faithfully surrender to the offbeat, syncopated rhythm of my own words… and let them dance their own dance across the page. I let my metaphors be a bit slippery and unpolished. Let them be lacking in precision. Let them be somewhat dissonant. After all, my writing is not about accuracy. It's about fluidity, my words fall onto the page like soft drops of rain on a dry summer ground. There is no order to the rain drops… they just fall…

(c) All rights reserved to Khulud Khamis (2008)

6 January 2010

Struggling with Words

Struggling with words... I got the characters, they walk inside my mind, struggling to get out. Yearning to have their lives - histories, experiences, fears, loves, hopes, frustrations - molded into something solid. Something real.

While they struggle inside my mind, I am struggling to let them free. Struggling with the words. Failing, deleting, starting again.

Who said writing was easy? Well - it's difficult. Very!
At the same time - it gives so much pleasure. Electrifying.

I get high just from writing a good sentence.

I am no longer me. I am becoming my writing.

My life has expanded to make room for Maisoon, Ziyad, Tayseer, Nisreen, Sima, Um Muhammad, and others. They are all here with me - at my dinner table, with me drinking coffee and smoking a late-night cigarette, they even go with me to bed. We talk into the small hours of the night, sometimes we even hear the first song of the birds in the morning. We go shopping together. Maisoon likes za'atar and home-made olive oil. Ziyad likes Arabic coffee, which is always too bitter for me. Sima whispers in my ear something about a checkpoint. Um Muhammad waves from her balcony while hanging laundry.

So you see - I have to stick to it. Not for me, but for them. Because I created them, and now I owe it to them to give them a full life.

I have no idea if any of you, my blog readers, are interested in my writing hallucinations or the progress of my novel, so forgive me please. I will now go back to writing. So far, got 3,297 words neatly typed up. 6 single-spaced pages. Dozen pages scribbled at odd moments with ideas for various incidents. I think I've made good progress so far.

And I have a deadline. March 8th, 2011. My 36th birthday. My birthday present to myself. The first draft will be finished by March 8th 2011. This is my promise to myself.

Ok, I'm gone back to writing my "Life in Fragments."