Me Before You*Spoilers*

I just came home like 10 minutes ago. I went to watch Me Before You at the Cinema and for the entire drive back home I was feeling rather subdued. I didn’t cry when the movie ended. I did enough of that after I read the book late last year. I worried the tears will come on the drive back. Some did eventually, but I was thankfully filling up my car with petrol when that happened. I couldn’t stop thinking about Will Traynor and Lou. Would anyone in his position choose to live?

**Do stop reading now if you haven’t read the book or watched the movie. I don’t know how to write this without revealing the plot or the ending. You’ve been warned. SPOILERS AHEAD.** Continue reading →

The Flight of the Hummingbird

For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be something. When I was around 3 or 4, I remember having an oven with plastic plates, cups and food, and I would play pretend with my dad and he would pretend eat everything I made. I want to be a chef, I’ll cook for people because it makes them happy, yes, I want to be a chef, I thought. When I was 8 or 9, I remember writing a story that had come up when I was coming up with a lie to tell my parents about why I didn’t want to do something. I can’t remember the details, but I remember coming up with the story, I had the wildest imagination. I know, I can be a writer and a story teller. It’s fun, and it makes people feel something. Fast forward to a myriad of “I know what I want to be” moments throughout my adolescence and eventually throughout my adulthood.

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We know what we know

 

The words are nothing but a jumble

The heart feels solid

The soul wanders, either searching or escaping

It’s pretty hard to push forward

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Just Undiscovered – Why I quit my job in 2015

Several months ago, I was sitting in my cubicle (a big fancy cubicle on the highest floor in the building where I worked). I felt trapped. I stared at my screen for hours, my mind wandered and I thought the same thing I’d been thinking for nearly a year. What on God’s earth am I doing here!?

I didn’t know how to answer that question. I genuinely didn’t know what kept me going, other than the money of course. I kept hearing “I’m not lost, not lost, just undiscovered” over and over. It was annoying at first, but I finally realized it was from the song Undiscovered by James Morrison. And it was exactly what I felt. I didn’t feel lost, I didn’t feel sad, I just wasn’t utilized. Potential oozed out of me. I worked as a web content and project manager for 4 years, and I was ready to give more but the ridiculous work politics made it impossible. I soon realized that I wasn’t willing to fight any longer, because I wasn’t passionate about my work any more.  Continue reading →

A State of Comatose – Post Nanowrimo

Part of me knew that something like this would happen. That I would shut down after the words marathon my brain had – not willingly – participated in. I had never spent more than a few days writing in a row, let alone an entire month. It was a binge-like behavior. I was binge-writing and coming down from that high was a little depressing, I am not going to lie. It has felt like there weren’t any more words to write, as if my brain had run out of words.

I’ve mentioned this on my blog a few times before, but I’ve never actually written more than 10k words a year. This includes my diary, the myriad of blogs I’ve kept over the years, and any type of personal and recreational writing. For work, I would write nearly 40k words a year. Writing has always been a means to an end, despite the passion I have for it. Continue reading →

I win I win I win

What!??? I did?

HELLZ YEA I did. 50 thousand words. 50k.

My draft is not even done yet, I still need at least 20k words to wrap up the story, but that doesn’t matter. I made a promise to myself, and I kept it. I completed NaNoWriMo, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I am very proud of myself, and everyone who participated this year.

Yay Us. YAY US!!!!!!

Tw0-Sentence Story Challenge

C.S. Wilde – Great name btw – is hosting a challenge on her blog, and I decided to join the fun. Plus, it’s a writing challenge, so Hellz Yea!!

Here’s my two-sentence story

She knew how wrong it was to kiss the married man she loved, but she’d been waiting for this moment to happen. Tonight, of all nights, she was just a girl, getting kissed by the boy she liked.

It’s actually part of the novel I am writing. I tried to make it work. Hope you like it 🙂

 

I Write, Therefore I am

Looking back at the amount of journals I kept over the years – not necessarily keeping them filled and fed – and the number of blogs I started – again, not truly committing to them – and how many notes I have on my iPhone and even the old blackberry, notes about my feelings, emotions or experiences, all written down for posterity and a little bit of therapy, and finally, the folder I have on my computer that is called [My Writing], which is filled with word documents of things I wrote. I honestly don’t know how I can look at all of that, and still question my vocation as a writer, and natural attraction to write it all down – do I need someone to stamp it across my forehead in order for me to believe it? Continue reading →

An Effort in Descriptive Writing

In an effort to expand my horizons, get myself out of the house and force myself to get inspired and notice my surroundings, I took a trip to the beach.

I actively saw what I saw, I wiggled my ears so as to test it’s hearing abilities. That’s silly, don’t do it, you’ll look stupid. Or maybe do it, who cares if you look stupid. I tried to identify what I inhaled. I gripped the steering wheel tightly, focusing on the heat coming through and the smooth texture.

I thought about all the missed opportunities, all the things I saw, smelled, heard, touched and felt. Things that are now forgotten.

I arrived at my destination. I paid attention to how I parked the car. How people look when they are driving and finally spot the parking they want. I couldn’t help but imagine a jungle where the survival is for the fittest and fastest. I pushed the thought of the reckless drivers out of my mind, that’s not a pretty picture.

I took a seat at a cafe on the strip across from the beach. I wasn’t dressed for the beach and thought it best to sit back and watch.

As soon as I ordered an iced frappe, which is pretty for a very cold coffee, I noticed the man occupying the table next to mine. Alone. Why is it that men who dine alone seem more charming than a man dining with company? Does his solo status elude to his actual status? He just seemed so interesting to me. He picked up his phone and I imagined his secretary on the other end, confirming his schedule for the rest of the day. After his call, he looked into the same direction, the beach. Was he trying to notice his surroundings too? I really wanted to know what he was thinking. I couldn’t help but watch him watch people as they went about their days.

In my peripheral, I noticed the leaves fall and I celebrated internally, for noticing this happen, and for the welcome suggestion of an upcoming winter. Out here, it still felt like a cool summer. Autumn was merely a suggestion and winter was just around the corner. Winter here feels like a very cold spring; perfection.

Tall trees surrounded the cafe, I looked up to admire them. Practically yellowing where the sun light hit them, and vivid dark green were those in the protection of the shade. I need to find out what kind of trees they are. Their leaves were tiny, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before. I probably just didn’t notice.

The (big umbrellas) – I don’t know what they are called, they covered the tables that were out of the shade – hung free, hoisted to the ground by weights. It wasn’t windy but they swayed from side to side as if dancing to Adele’s song “Hello”. I mouthed the words and caught myself swaying too.

I sipped from the sweaty glass and frowned when it wasn’t cold anymore. The ice had completely melted and I was barely half way through. Serves me right for noticing my surrounding instead of the drink infront of me.

I wondered about every one that was out on the beach at 11 AM on a Tuesday. I didn’t have anywhere to be, that justifies why I am here. Could it be? all those people are jobless too? That didn’t sit well with me. Surely some of them are tourists, some set their own schedules and some work shifts. Maybe that explains it. Regardless, it felt naughty, like ditching school or calling in sick.

Finally, I noticed that descriptive writing is hard, but it’s so much fun trying to paint a picture with words like a painter or an artist, I’ve never been happier about being a writer and an artist. I feel proud and lucky that I can do what I love, spending a morning sipping a cold frappe at a cafe overlooking the beach at 11AM on a Tuesday.

Immerse yourself – It’ll keep you going

If someone asked me a year ago, Reem, can you imagine ever writing a novel? I would’ve said no. Despite of the fact that I wrote a bunch of stories from the ages 9 to 13. Short stories mostly, but stories nonetheless. Other memories I have are of me cooking plastic food for my parents in a toy oven, presenting it in plates and expecting them to pay for it. Two things I was sure of growing up, although not entirely during the lost years; 1) I love cooking and possessed the entrepreneurial bug, 2) I had a wild imagination and loved imagining stories and writing.

Of course, the only valid career choice was business related. And so, I went to business school, specializing in tourism. I went to work. I did great, for a while. And then I was miserable. I’ve just summarized nearly 10 years of my life in 3 short sentences. What I am getting at is, that I never saw myself ever pursuing writing as a career. Even now, that I am actively writing. My family doesn’t really know, because I haven’t explained it yet. My friends don’t know either. A few close people know. The world – whoever reads my blog – knows. 

When I decided to write a novel, specifically, participate in NaNoWriMo, I became very aware of my apparent shortcomings. I started wishing I studied literature, at the least, taken a creative writing class. I scoured the internet for tips and tricks, the tabs piled up on my screen as I fell down the rabbit hole and the headaches started.

What kind of music should I listen to when I am writing, I asked google. What’s the best way to say “she walked really fast because she was very angry”, and yes, that is literally a sentence captured from the novel I am currently writing. It’s a place-holder, or so I tell myself. I found a number of books that are supposedly useful for aspiring writers. Aspiring. HA! Another word I hate about describing myself. A word I used to use. I now say, writer, aspiring to be published. I also looked up movies about writers or fiction, I figured that they would somehow help me focus or spark an idea or two. I did most of this prior to NaNoWriMo, as part of the prep I suppose.

On the 31st of October, I watched Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson’s “Stranger than Fiction”. I thought it was brilliant, and it didn’t inspire me. It depressed me a little. Because it was so good and imaginative. How will I ever make something this good? I can’t. Queue depression and self loathing. Ugh, us writers can be very annoying. Jeez. Somehow I got over myself, and on day 1, I wrote.

Day 2 came around, and I wrote. it was tough, I procrastinated, and I watched “Love Actually”. Not exactly a movie about writers, although, there’s a writer in the movie. Anyway, skip this one. It did nothing for me – writing wise that is. I used to love this movie, I’d watched it a few times before. I managed to write despite of the lack of motivation and inspiration.

Day 3, 4 and 5 are a blur. I didn’t write much, because everything I wrote was garbage. I was also in the middle of reading “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes. You see, that’s another thing I’ve been doing lately to help in my writing. I’ve been reading a lot more. I would now randomly pick up a book from my (To Be Read) list and kind of force myself to read it. For research, I’d tell myself. The book was good, but long, and sad. I sobbed when it ended. Rejoiced when I found out that it was being turned into a movie, and then sobbed some more. I was mostly sobbing because I imagined watching the movie in the cinema, and I felt that I would burst into tears when that thing happened by the end of the story. But part me of was sobbing because I barely wrote anything for NaNoWriMo, no, for my novel, and my word count was suffering. The chart on the Nano homepage was mocking me. Thankfully, on day 5, I discovered word sprints and virtual write ins and writing buddies. The sobbing helped it seemed, to get the juices flowing, pun intended. Day 5 gave me my word count, and then some, making it possible for me to take day 6 off and most of day 7 off too. Most importantly, day 5 gave me actual content I was proud of.

You see, all this, simply means that I have survived week 1 of Nano. All it took was for me to completely immerse myself in writing. All my senses are attuned to my surroundings, focused to help me write this novel. Gosh, it would be a shame not to finish it. A damn shame. It’s hard to be excited about something that is this hard, time consuming and also emotionally draining.

PS: Other movies I’ve seen that helped me write and gave me motivation are: (Under the Tuscan Sun – Julie & Julia – Midnight in Paris – Eat Pray Love). There are other movies on my to-watch list as well.  I just realized that I’ve watched 7 movies in about 5 to 6 days. Read 1 book and started two others. I’d rather do this for research than the alternative. Multiple tabs on safari truly depress me.

PPS: The featured image is an alley of the streets of Stockholm, on a clear cold night, in October of 2014 (one of my many travels).

Happy Writing to all the NaNos out there or anyone crazy enough to do this thing.