being a writer means that I’m either writing, thinking about writing and about my characters’s lives, constantly weaving alternative narrative lines in my head. But it also means that I live two parallel lives – the one real life, and then a second life, which is lived through words, within the folds of notebooks. There, when I try to process some personal life experiences, they take on a new dimension. Sometimes a short story emerges, or a poem. At other times, just some scattered insights. I usually write in English, seldom in Arabic. When I do write in Arabic, it is in a very unique context, and it is usually about feelings I am not able to initially express in English.
Below is one of these experiences that I wrote initially in Arabic, following something that happened to me recently. I tried to process the experience, and found that the best way for me is to write through it. Although it is highly personal, I am glad I put it in words. For those most intimate truths about ourselves are the best raw material for fiction. I might use this in some form or another sometime in some character’s life. Here’s a proximate translation, followed by the original Arabic.
monologue on the wall
Life’s experiences should have taught me not to trust people. But something deep inside me makes me believe that people’s hearts are pure and their intentions good. I don’t know why but I feel I am a magnet and always attract to myself people with complex challenges in life. I feel it is my moral obligation to try and reach a helping hand to them, as I am in a strong place in many aspects in my life, and I have the abilities to help. I open my heart and I open my home and try to be a containing and safe harbor for a stranded and lost soul. I change and adapt my schedule in order to make that person feel that there is still some good in this world and that there are supportive people who care about him/her. So far, so good. But life has also taught me how to read people, and the moment I feel I am being taken advantage of, or that my efforts are not appreciated, I cross out that person and delete him/her from my life. I put a full stop and open a new notebook.
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مونولوج على حائط:
تجارب الحياة كان من المفروض تعلّمني اني ما أثق بالناس. بس في إشي جواتي بخليني أؤمن انه الناس بأساسهم قلبهم صافي ونيتهم منيحة. بعرفش ليش بس بحس حالي مغناطيس دايما بجذب لنفسي أشخاص مع تحديات مركبة بالحياة. وبحس انه واجب أخلاقي علي احاول امد ايد مساعده بما اني اليوم بمحل قوي من كتير نواحي وعندي القدرات اساعد. بفتح قلبي وبفتح بيتي وبحاول اكوّن ميناء مُحتوي وآمن لروح ضائعه ومشتّتة. بغير كل ترتيبات حياتي وبرنامجي عشان احسس الشخص انه الدنيا بعدها بخير وفي ناس داعمه وبتهمها منه. لهون كل شي منيح. بس انا كمان تعلّمت أقرأ الناس، وباللحظة اللي بحس اني مُستَغَلّة وفش تقدير لمجهودي من الطرف الثاني، بشطِّب ع الشخص وبمحاه من حياتي. نقطة وبفتح دفتر جديد.