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Bedoor Bluemoon

Everyday writing to expose the soul

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books

Grey and Grey

greys-anatomy      fifty-shades-of-grey

For those of you who are still faithfully watching Grey’s Anatomy and caught last night’s episode I am as shocked as you are.  How?  Why?  Who?  Seriously?!?!   11 years of great episodes, ups and downs, airplane crashes, patients, Neuro-surgeries, debates, heartaches, and losses, we are faced with this? Sigh.  The story goes as the story goes, do not question the author.

Although some things in Grey’s Anatomy are far-fetched and aren’t very realistic (such as the cloned cancer Meredith took home with her), it’s still a fairly reasonable series to follow.  It seems like it won’t last much longer but we can always watch reruns.  Come on, we had the same feeling of utter loss when Friends was over so we need to prepare ourselves.  We can always live on reruns.

Meanwhile, keep Thursday nights for your TV shows and the rest of your week for reading.  Grey’s Anatomy shook us for the past 11 years and another type of Grey shook the world: 50 Shades of Grey.

So here I am, a couple of years ago, walking naively in what I believe to be the Virgin Mega-stores in Dubai when I see piles of beautifully stacked books.  I walk up to the pile and, out of curiosity, pick it up: 50 Shades of Grey.  Hmmm… Interesting.  I think I had a mental link to Grey’s Anatomy and assumed it was good.  The way it was marketed around the bookstore was ridiculous!  They must have had at least 20 piles of 30 books each AT LEAST!  The author apparently signed a GREAT publishing deal and the marketing team did a great job to encourage people to buy it.

Mental note to self: do not judge a book by its cover or by the way it’s being displayed.

Let me be clear about something, I don’t read the back cover unless it’s REALLY necessary but since it seemed like a great book, I decided the front cover was enough regardless of the fact that it was fairly ambiguous.  The image of the tie was honestly very intriguing and it seemed like a nice little romance, it seemed to be the “it” book of the season.  Therefore, being the very fashion forward person I am, I bought it.

Fast forward: a few months after being piled up in my “to read” pile, I talk about it to one of my friends who tells me that it’s basically a dirty little book.  Everything she said was news to me.  I was like a five year old being told that Santa didn’t exist and couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  I had flashbacks to the book store and how I looked to make sure people saw me buy the fashionable book, then I had a flashback to flipping the book over and thinking I won’t read it because it would ruin everything.  Ah the many times I could have said NO.  The many times I could have saved that money.  And the way I felt about being a blind follower was just painful  Then it hit me, what if I READ it!!!   What if I started reading it and the confusion grew with every page?  That would have been something!

So what did I learn from this incident?

1- Not every Grey is good, some Grey is bad

2- If you have a bad book, you’re stuck with it forever because you don’t want to seem tasteless for giving it to someone else.  Hence, the book will stay in your shelf until one of your grandchildren finds it and will assume you had a weird life.

3- Spoilers are better than wasted time and money.  Read the back cover of the book.

4- Don’t buy a book because it’s in fashion, but a book that you will enjoy and is worth buying even if you have to spend time choosing it.

5- Listen to your friends, they usually have something important to say.

Truths Untold

eavesdropping

Childhood is filled with great memories and hopes.  The first time you slept over in your friend’s house, the first time you stayed up till midnight, the first time your teacher acknowledges your hard work and recognizes you in front of your classmates.

Hopes…dreams…aspirations.

Childhood is when everything was simple.  When you don’t watch the news because, to you, the only news you need to know is what you see in your everyday life.  When it was unforgivable if you talked back to your dad and hamburgers are not an option since your mom thinks chicken burgers are better for your health.

You hear glimpses of grim conversations about your far cousin who passed away from an overdose and you don’t dare ask because you know that you were eavesdropping.  You hear about the married teacher who has an affair with the foreign administrator and know it’s a hush hush thing so you act all cool in front of her, not really knowing what “affair” is.  You join the after school activities to fit in with your classmates and feel ecstatic when you get invited over to one of their homes.

Going to your friend’s house after school is a privilege.  Having lunch that isn’t like the conventional one you have at home is an experience.  And seeing their room for the first time is a discovery.  You play “hair dresser” and actually cut one of your friend’s braids.  Her mom’s not happy.

Then you hear of something grim like war and don’t realize what is really going on.  You only think of the gas masks that your parents didn’t buy and worry.  You don’t know why you are actually worrying but you do.  You think of your cousins who have gas masks.  You check on the safe room your parents designated and open the cupboards to check on the canned goods.  Yum.  It feels like a serious matter and you feel scared.  You don’t know why but you pick up on the overall fear going on.

You fear monsters in your grandmother’s house. Your eldest cousin makes up stories and they haunt you when you go to bed at eight.  You wrestle, you play, you get hurt, you buy a bike because everyone has one and you ride.  You ride around the block and have the wind blow in your hair.  You put up your hair in a high ponytail, go out to lunch with your family, and lock yourself in the bathroom when reading the I love you letter you got from the boy who sits next to you in class.  And your heart skips a beat.  Then your younger brother pukes and you go home thinking of how embarrassed you feel (totally not considering his feelings because, come on, everyone’s watching you!)

You run.  You take tips from your brother who tells you to keep your hands open and push your head back so you run faster.  So you do that without questioning his knowledge.  You compare dolls with your friends and realize you don’t have the latest, so you ask your parents who buy it for your birthday.  You cherish that doll for a year, and park it at the corner of your room with the other previously cherished dolls.

You listen to your parents shout behind closed doors and worry.  It hurts to hear them shout.  You don’t understand what’s going on but it just doesn’t feel good.  To hear your mom’s voice change from relaxed to unhappy isn’t nice.  But by morning, everything is fine.  Your parents are fine as if nothing happened and you act like you never heard a thing.

You miss you father when he’s away on business.  You enjoy vacations and going out with your siblings. You live your life without thinking of the future.  All you care about is yourself.  Your happiness, you simple requests, your toys, and whether or not you’re getting pizza today.  And it’s usually not a worry.

You hear of someone sick.  You try to find out who but no adult gives you any attention.  You don’t even ask.  You hide behind the sofa and peek at the movie Jaws and have your heart race at the music… dan dan dan dan dan dan starting out slow and becoming faster.  You can’t sleep that night, so you end up sleeping on your parent’s sofa.  And it’s the best sleep ever.

Then you grow older.

You realize that you like beef burgers, you realize that mayonnaise isn’t so bad, and you realize that overdose means drugs.  You grow older and realize that the war that was in your region wasn’t in your country, and many people died.  You grow older and realize your classmates won’t care what you do in your life, they are too preoccupied with theirs.  You grow older and realize couples have problems and it’s strength not to show kids they exist.

You grow older and realize that sick person had cancer and didn’t live.  You grow older and commend movie producers for scaring us (then end up watching some action or chick-flick instead.).

You grow older and watch the news.  Grim news all day, everyday.  You hear of car accidents, and realize that the policeman who came over in the third grade and tried to teach you that seat belts are important was trying to save lives.  You realize he probably came across some painfully realistic accidents.  You realize your married teacher was cheating and got caught, her boyfriend got deported, her husband made a scene at school, and she got fired.  And then you realize the meaning of affair.

You grow older and see things differently.  The happy place we called life is now more realistic (and not so happy).  A world where cancer kills, racism hurts, and war destroys homes.  You realize that the stories you read every night are fairy-tales and you can never be a princess.  You realize your father had to go away on business trips to afford that doll you ignored after a year.  You realize your mom was tired.

You grow older and you lose the innocence you once had with every step towards adulthood.  Your dreams, hopes, and aspirations remain your dreams, hopes, and aspirations.  You realize the world isn’t as simple as you thought it was, and the glimpses of conversations you heard were the truths untold to children.

ابتسمي لأعيش

 

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كوني، يا سيدتي، سواد عينيّ

وكوني، يا سيدتي، نبضات قلبي

فلا عين لي ولا قلب دونكِ

ابتسمي

فأنا أرى الدنيا في وجنتيكِ

ابتسمي

وخذيني بيدي إلى قصركِ العالي

لنجلس تحت آمال النجوم

خذيني لنعيش حياتنا معاً

دون ازعاج الدنيا

دون ازعاج الناس

لنكون أنا وأنتِ لوحدنا

نرقص، ونغني، ونعيش

ابتسمي لأرى مستقبلي واضحاً

ابتسمي لأرى ضياع عمري معكِ

فلا حياة معكِ

ولا حياة دونكِ

Conventional or E-books

kindle-with-books

Technology changed so many things around us and changed the way we do things.  Friends used to tell us that they like what we are wearing and now they double click on our image.  Mothers used to take forever to cook a meal and now a quick whiz in the microwave does wonders (I am against microwave cooking).  Writing was done using a pen and paper and now kids get too bored when they write because they are just not used to it.  Televisions, mobile phones, and of course, books have changed.

I recall having my mother drop me off to the Family Bookstore biweekly just to choose a book to read but nowadays, with the internet, I can browse through pages and pages of Amazon books without leaving the comfort of my home.  I have realized that this is an addiction when I started classifying my wish lists into “wish list- to buy,” “wish list: work,” “wish list: children”, and finally “wish list- maybe”.   For those who think they can cure me, I choose not to be cured and I am happy with the fact that I love to collect books.

Hello, my name is Bedoor and I’m a book hoarder.

Am I against change?  Maybe.

Resistance to change is an issue many people undergo.  Most people are more comfortable with their routine and rely on the way things were always done.  So you see people who grew up with physical books are more inclined to prefer them over the electronic readers, whereas kids this age are more comfortable reading in their electronic devices.

I prefer my books. I prefer to engage all my senses in reading.  I prefer to revel in touching the cover and feel the crisp pages between my fingers.  I revel in the scent of the bookstore, the sound of nothingness, and the stacks and stacks of books.  Book utopia.

E-readers are the new libraries without the space, shelves, and magic.

I am not saying E-readers are bad, reading is such a personal and dear matter to me I have my customs. Many tried to convince me that E-readers are better since they would “save space when traveling.” Now would they, REALLY, save space?  Think of the maximum number of days you would be away on vacation. Two to three weeks?  Now think of the number of books you will read.  Pack them up, how heavy are they?  Do you need a charger with them?

Our eyes are already staring at screens all day we need to give them a break.  We need to enjoy the classic process of holding a book in our hand at the end of each day.  Reading in bed with the lights within hand’s reach is such a beautiful experience the reader tends to go to sleep while still between worlds.  I would rather turn the book over and contemplate the events between chapters than turn the e-reader off. Fumbling to find the bookmark between the sheets just to wake up the next morning to see that you’ve dropped the book on the floor (and the bookmark is across the room).

My books are a part of me.  They are a part of my past and each book holds a special place in my heart.  I recall most of the times I purchased the books and the feelings I had reading the back cover.  I can spend hours just looking at the covers and reading the titles, remembering some interesting detail that I just never forgot.  With E-readers, how can I do that?  Will I remember how I felt buying the book on the E-store using my credit card?  It’s not personal enough.

I tried both methods and I choose the contemporary book any day.  I can’t deal with more electronics, they are too impersonal and aren’t reliable all the time.  I would rather give my son a physical book to flip through, to use his fingers and touch the parts that are made out of cloth or fur just to have a feel of what the item is.  He will eventually have the choice when he grows older but I believe the way we grew up wasn’t so bad.

What do you prefer?

Best Friends Forever

two-little-girls-hugging

She started questioning everything and everyone.  Things she once thought were given truths are now unknown.  Her life was hazy, she didn’t have anyone to turn to and it was one of the most difficult phases in her life.  

She sighed.
She recalled her childhood: things at school were as dramatic as they would be for all students throughout the generations.  Issues and fights over toys and clothes and best friends and so forth.  Best friends.  She went through all grades in her mind and one face kept popping up.  A familiar face from her childhood.  A face she once knew so well they pinkie swore they would never lose touch.

But they did.  A really long time ago.

They never had a falling out, just a drifting apart.  Things like this happen.  Junior high is over and all of a sudden you’re not even talking to your best friend.  You start hanging out in different circles and even though you live a block away, you just never meet up, never bump into each other, and never speak.  As if the sleep-overs never were and the secret signals weren’t a part of your childhood.

She smiled.

I’m sure she remembers our code names.

It took her a few months to gather the courage to contact her childhood friend.  She thought it would have been awkward to just give her a call.  Plus, she doesn’t have her number.  She remembered the kind of friendship they had and the great times they shared.  It’s a good thing they’re friends on Facebook.

She sent a message, “Shortskin, this is Waldo, are you there?”

Time stopped and she was transferred back to the 80’s.

A few minutes passed.  She panicked, I’m sure she’s busy with her life.  What am I doing?  What am I expecting from her?  Beep.

“Shortskin here, what’s up Waldo?”

“Papa’s dead.”

“…I’m coming over”

Comfort Foods and Comfort Books

romance-novel

Every once in a while, I get the urge to have a nice bowl of chicken and mushroom pasta. Nothing beats that. It’s not an everyday tendency and I usually watch my carb intake, it’s just something needed to help ‘soothe my soul;’ a warm, steamy, delicious, homemade chicken mushroom pasta.

Some might prefer ice cream, others might prefer cake, it all comes down to the process, the EVENT of having comfort food.  The ritual.

A friend of mine usually calls me up once in a while and says, “I need to go to Maya’s chocolate” and I understand what she means.  She doesn’t just want to go to pick up her fondue, she wants to leave her kids with her mom, throw all care out the window, and sit down with her bowl of chocolate fondue.  And me.  I’m usually no fun in this ritual since chocolate isn’t my drug but I still enjoy her company and I’m very grateful that I’m a part of it.  It’s just don’t expect me to ask for a spoon to scoop out every last drop of warm chocolate; nah, I’d rather sip my tea.

Readers usually stick to one genre of books: romance, non-fiction, horror, comic, business, self help, poetry, you name it.  But some readers, like me, like to try out different books.  I’d read an Arabic romance then go to a Chicken Soup for the Soul, then try out a classical tragedy, and maybe a philosophical book, then back to a classic, and off to a business book, etc etc. This is what I usually do.  I don’t necessarily like them all and I sometimes can’t get past the first few chapters, it’s just that I have realized that being open to different things may bring about an interesting revelation about myself.  Who knew I enjoyed epic fantasy with Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series?  And who knew I would have read The Hunger Games before Jennifer Lawrence came on screen with her dress of flames (which was TOTALLY not how I imagined it to be).

You wouldn’t know if you dislike something before trying it out.

Just like food.

And just like food, I have my comfort books.  My safe books: books that will always make me feel good and books that I can read and reread.  Books that take me to a different place and time and give me comfort and hope.  Fictional romances: my warm, steamy, delicious, taste of insomnia.

Historical protagonists come alive in my imagination and characters talk to one another in voices I can almost hear.  The scents, the sights, the beauty of it all surrounds me and I am immediately transferred to another place.  A place of comfort, where I know the ending will be good and there are no surprises.

My taste of insomnia.

Gentlemen Required

darcy_1600x1200-mr-darcy-3580123-1600-1200

We all fell in love with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice because he was, in one word, a gentleman.  He was a chivalrous, courteous, and honorable man. (Oxford Dictionary).  Being wealthy isn’t such a bad addition to the mix.

As a teenager, I, like all other teenage girls, would be attracted to the Bad-Boy.  Interestingly, teenagers of this generation are attracted to vampires but we’re not getting to that today.  The guy on a motorbike, the guy who doesn’t care about rules, and the guy who would eventually break your heart.

Wake up girls, when you want to get into a serious relationship and start a family, find a Mr. Darcy.  Find a gentleman who would respect you and your ideas but will be happy to open the door for you.  Find someone who would help you with your chores, who would fill your car with gas and check the tires because it’s just thoughtful.  Someone who would be there for you and who would be more than happy to spoil you.

I’m not saying women should stay at home and have someone do everything for them, all I’m saying is that these days women are too self-dependent.  We depend on ourselves without thinking of the consequences it has on our stress levels  We need help.  It’s OK, we can ask for help.

Asking won’t kill us.

Most Victorian-era and honestly any-era romances shine light on the wooing part of the relationship Where the lady acts all coy and the gentleman tries his best to get her approval.  This is very similar in the real world. When dating, guys would usually do everything they can to never forget your birthday and to act like gentlemen.

Now how can you distinguish between a fake and a genuine Mr. Darcy?  I’m not sure.  It’s just having one around would help balance the scales in your life so you can live happily.

We need more Mr. Darcys in our lives.  Chivalrous, courteous, and honorable men.

For those who are interested, this article is called How to find a modern day Mr. Darcy http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Modern-Day-Mr.-Darcy 

April’s fool

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“Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile.”

The traditional April fool’s prank in the United kingdom specifically in Scotland and Ireland was to send a person with a closed letter to someone asking for help.  The person receiving the letter would read the above and send the gawk, a cuckoo or a fool, to another person who would allegedly be able to help.  This would take a few trips to different people until the fool finally realizes he is being pranked, and I doubt he would be feeling too pleased with himself.

So the question is why specify one day to play pranks or hoaxes on people? Why is there immense happiness when a person plans, lies, and laughs at an innocent? Is it a day when honesty can be put on hold? Would that mean people would not be hurt or embarrassed?

In addition to April’s fool day, can we have May’s truth day per se? Can we have an honest day where people tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ALL DAY? Seems like a stretch for a good idea to pick up, maybe I should have brought it up in a previous life when I was an English noblewoman.  In court, where the duke would think it’s a hilarious idea and impose it.  Then the trend catches on and, voila! “May’s Truth Day”. It would make sense to have it in March at the beginning of spring when flowers bloom and truths unfold. Not a bad idea.

Back to reality.

People are attracted to the forbidden; the hype of being a trickster, the ability to outsmart a person and the satisfaction of it being a success year after year just trumps all truths out there.

It is not the courageous who lie, it is the courageous who tell the truth.

Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Say the truth right to my eye.

I dare you…

Vanity Fair

vanity_fair-004

We are living in Vanity Fair.  We are currently lusting over material goods and craving everything our hearts desire.  It would be a great misconception to think that people learn from other people’s mistakes.  It would be a greater misconception to think that all people learn from books.

Thackeray’s Vanity Fair represents the stop in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress where everything to a human’s tastes, delights, and lusts are sold daily.  (Wikipedia).

Think of it.  Vanity is within us.

Women are too preoccupied in taming their tresses they forget that their heads actually contain brains. Men are too preoccupied in ensuring their status is conserved they forget their responsibilities.

Everyone has at least one thing they are vain about.  Don’t you?

And why not?

It is how society is.  How celebrities are portrayed and how marriages are made.  Comparing themselves to others, people have more than enough to occupy their minds they lose focus of what really matters. What does society prioritize?

Vanity.

Vanity Fair.  An everlasting fair where everything to a human’s tastes, delights, and lusts are sold daily.  Vanity Fair: where hair dressers are packed and libraries are empty.  Vanity Fair: where showing off your Dior shoes matters more than discussing your values.  Vanity Fair: where the price tag on your car is the price tag you carry.

People slumber in their non-existence.  Sum their net worth and divide their earnings over lunches at expensive restaurants (to post on Instagram and SnapChat) and first-class tickets to Neverland: a place where the lost kids don’t grow old and plastic surgeries are done.

Others who try to take an opposing role are shunned.  It is not about beauty, it is about being “polished.” About taking an active part in the materialistic world.  About singing with the choir.

Vanity Fair, when will we learn?

On a lighter note, Vanity Fair (the movie) with Reese Witherspoon displays a VERY interesting belly dancing scene in which, apparently, a well known 21st century Egyptian singer travels back in time to sing the song.  During the supposed erotic dance, the not-so-sweet voice of Hakeem utters what can only be believed to be peace be upon you (Is Is , Is’salam alaikom).  You don’t believe me?  Try Youtube.

Satirical? So was Thackeray.

stepford1

Cheers.

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