New Stella Diaries Update: 4

There is a new update for those of you following up on the series. below is an excerpt:

“Can’t we all just get along? “

I manage to say as they drag me away from my- would- have-been executioner who is still squealing in pain.

I hope it was a live broadcast

My captors must have used up all their profane vocabulary  and energy in beating me up by now, do not reply. They do not even tell me to shut up.

If they will just drag me to my cell without a bullet in my brains, I’ll be surprised. They still don’t give a clue. I suppose there are so many times you can curse and tell someone they’re gonna die, before it loses its impact.

http://bit.ly/stellad4

To Art Or Not To Art, To Poetry, or Not To?

Have you ever wondered if art, whether it is in the form of writing, or painting, has been taken over by narcissism?

Over lunch, yesterday, the conversation turned from why would I want to read a book on cat psychology if I don’t have a cat to the tragic life of Edgar Allan Poe, how great his poems are, and of course how amazing is “The Raven.” Then my thoughts turned darker, as the always do when discussing poetry, and I remembered all the terrible poetry books that have passed between my hands when I used to work at a major book distributor.

Having done my homework in which is the best way to publish in Lebanon, I know unlike other places in the world, self-publishing is the best way to go. Having said that, you can probably infer that without a buffer, not all self-published are going to be  great works or even OK works*. Still, on my part, I would have respect for the author of mediocre books for the mere effort he/she has put in. I know first hand writing a book is no stroll in the park.**

But then there are some self-published books that need to be stopped and their authors, the I’m-so-smug-I-don’t-realize-my-thought-diary-does-not-need-to-be-read-by-anyone-ever, be banned from ever holding a pen or typing on a keyboard.

The work of choice of the I’m-so-smug-I-don’t-realize-my-thought-diary-does-not-need-to-be-read-by-anyone-ever is usually a poetry book or a sort of thought diary, devoid of any real poetry and depth, or anything that could be mistaken for poetry and depth.

I am not talking about some saccharine poems written by a preteen. No, it’s worse, I am talking about adults mistaking narcissism for art.  One particular poetry book comes to mind by a probably otherwise the lovely lady who wrote  one-liner poems made up of 2-3 words each and self published.

No, it’s not transcendent for a poem to be made up of one line saying “my hair” or “the night.” If you expect me to read that and search for depth and meaning, then I have become the poet, not you. In fact, it’s infuriating to me because I find it condescending that you expect anyone buying this book to mistake it for poetry.

The best case scenario I am willing to entertain is the night you were prompted to write this, you were sleepy and you were holding a paper and a pen. Suddenly  the words “the night” held lots of meaning to you, and you wrote it down. I honestly respect that.

What went wrong, is that in the morning you probably told yourself while looking in the mirror, “You are brilliant Lamia (not real name), you should share your brilliance with the world; they will worship you for it.”

Let’s be honest and realistic, this is not deep, it is not poetry and it is definitely not art. You did not work on that. You have put zero effort on your part, but expect me to search for the depth you are at best implying.

Smug Thought-Diaries are similar. There is no effort to move the reader. Worst thing is, these people think they are unique, they don’t realize most people have several thoughts per day that could be worked into poetry. You are not offering anything new.

As for art in the forms of illustration, painting or drawing it is worse in the way that on the internet you get to see so much talent by struggling artists, whereas one trip to an art exhibit and you will be looking for hidden cameras and some punk to jump in and say the whole art exhibit was a joke. Because there is no way an empty canvas with two parallel black lines could cost thousands of dollars because it is art. It is not art, you insult me and the rest of the people who got into the trouble of coming to the exhibit.

Poetry, these sort of thought diaries, or art in general is supposed to move us, inspire us, break us, challenge us or at least entertain us. No matter the style of a painting, if it holds my attention for even a second, it has touched me and this is phenomenal. It is what art is made for. Even if I don’t like it, whoever made it is an artist.

When it is apparent that zero effort was put in, I can’t help, but feel offended and sad; very sad not only at the condensation, but also at wasting any resources for making any of that crap happen. Let’s be honest, as much as I love art, it is not something essential survival of humankind; there’s no need to be wasteful.

* I know the same can be said of some traditionally published works

**in Lebanon actually a stroll in the park is putting an effort, as we have very few of them and they are tiny

Stella Diaries 3: How A True Soldier Dies

Today I published the third update to my online series.

Originally i thought i d make the entries bigger, so the first three entries on stelladiaries.paparoona.com (http://bit.ly/stellad3) were actually one big entry. I changed my mind to make them a light quick read.

Let me know what you think? Should I continue like this?

The Second Installment of Stella’s Diaries is online

Yesterday in the afternoon i was finally able to upload the second Stella installment. It has been two weeks that the website crashed on a Tuesday. If next week it crashes too, i will be forced to consider this a sign that the series should be updated on another date.

***

2- Do Parents Know Best?

When my captor finishes recording his speech with the camera, they are going to kill me.

I had heard my parents talk about Global Alliance and The Force in a distrustful manner. When our  nation had joined the Global Alliance, it was one of the first in the region. Many did not like this union.

Including my parents.

Me, I was heartbroken over the murder of my favorite aunt and so I did not agree with them. The Global Alliance emerged after the international economic collapse to prevent a world war…

***

Read more here: http://bit.ly/stellad2

My new online series: The Stella Diaries (entire piece)

Stella is a fictional character whose adventures have entertained me ever since I was 12.

Back then, the morning drive to school was long, from 30 to 45 minutes and we owned one horrendous, comically awful car that would literally break down every other day.

As you can guess, I created her with the sole purpose to entertain me, because the same trees, housed and road signs, can only offer only so much entertainment value as your dad chokes down curse words and tries his luck at being a makeshift mechanic.

Stella had to be awesome; her adventures had to be awesomer, so I made her into a super spy/soldier  graduating from Rambo school, and most importantly she had one sweet ride.

I didn’t  stop with Stella’s adventures, when we moved closer to school, not even when I finished school. She is a character I was never able to leave behind with other characters and stories I made up. She took a life of her own and always had more and more adventures.

I guess in a way she was always with me, almost like she grew up with me. Sometimes she would be my fictional character in the story I was sure to write one day; and at other times, I am embarrassed to say, she’d be my slightly older, alter ego who had all the adventures I should have been having.

As I grew up and changed, she matured and changed as well.

I find interesting that when was younger it was clear to me she was on the right side of the spying game, but as I grew up and witnessed life as not being all black and white most of the time, I stopped being sure that Stella’s world was black and white either. She believes she is on the right side, the good side, but is she really? That remains to be seen.

Looking back at my younger self, I remember what it was like being 12 in a country where everything was different and new. I barely spoke the language; I couldn’t read or write it. I didn’t have friends. Reading and making up stories was an escape.

I remember exactly what that piece of junk of a car we had to settle for and can’t but wonder how dumb I must have looked looking out of the window, and probably winning the staring contact with a tree.

stelladiaries.paparoona.com

I don’t know what happened

I don’t know what happened the previous post did not get posted in its entirety and i just noticed.

Anyway, i am posting it again.

My new online series: The Stella Diaries

Stella’s adventures have entertained me ever since I was 11.

The morning ride to school was a long 30 to 45 minute in a horrendously comical