Here’s a fun and and funny interview I had with DelSheree the other day.
Below is the transcript:
It’s a really embarrassing thing to share, but I began writing out of childhood jealousy. There was this girl in grade 1 who was just what you would classify as the “perfect North American girl”. This was in a time in the 80’s, in small-town Canada, where there weren’t very many people like me: a dark, Middle-Eastern immigrant. So, this girl was just the best at whatever she did. She was the teacher’s pet, she had normal parents, her eyes twinkled every time the teacher would call on her or praise her (and that was often). I was the odd one, the girl who had parents who couldn’t speak proper English, who didn’t have many friends, and the friends I had were weirdos like me. So, I just felt so rejected that I plotted to write a poem for the school writing competition to spite her. The contest theme was: Mother’s Day. I basically took the template for a poem we were reading in Grade 1 that was about a cat. It went something like “Some cats are pretty, but my cat purrs the most beautifully” and it went on and on for several stanza’s purporting this and that about the writer’s cat. So, my poem went like this: “Some mothers’ are beautiful, but my mother is most beautiful…” etc. I still laugh at myself to this day, because the intention of the poem was to one-up her. Long story short, after 30 some years, me and this girl are friends of Facebook.
A few years ago, a Canadian writer visited the school I was teaching at and afterwards at lunch we were talking about books and writing. She said something that has stayed with me for quite some time now. She said, “writing is a verb, it is an action. It isn’t a noun. We can’t call ourselves writers because to write is an action word, an engagement that someone partakes in.” I really like that and have adopted it as my motto too.
It’s a double-edged sword. There are so many things that are being swept under the carpet. So many wrongs with our political systems and our treatment of people that are brushed to the wayside because of the threat (real and perceived) by COVID, that I can’t really say it is a blessing worldwide for all writers, but I can say the moments of lockdown have been a catalyst to make something beautiful out of this mess.
Probably taxidermy. I am from Canada, so you often see monuments of some man’s over-production of testosterone hanging around on the walls. In Qatar, I’ve seen people keep exotic pets (although officially against the law) in Qatar. A few years ago, a tiger escaped and was roaming the highway. It’s funny in a dark way. Such a symbol of our absolute irreverence of animals.
Q: What’s your elevator pitch?
An 18-year-old girl against a database; but will those behind the algorithms get her before it’s too late.
Humans are storytellers. The whole reason we have a frontal cortex that is so developed is probably due to story and imagining the light in times of darkness. I really believe without story, we’d be the most debased form of dust and clay that has ever been envisioned or invented.