A Note on Writing

First Published on The Big Olive. Was dedicated to my students in AbuDis, and is dedicated today to all my TOK students writing their essays and asking for more time…

I found me-happy liberated soulful me- in sentences and punctuation. I found fresh air in paragraphs with long descriptive adjectives, loaded with sarcasm once and emotional flourish other times.  I found happy unhindered me lost between question marks and exclamation points.  I found ME in writing.  Writing was an old hobby that was pushed away with structures, reactions and jarring scientific literature.  But thankfully, gratefully, writing found me and saved me.

I write out of this quiet space, in the wee hours of the morning, when my mind is still quiet, and the sounds of life, the noise I should say, has not awakened into chaos.  It happens just before the coffee aroma takes over the kitchen, and movement takes over my day.  It happens away from the road, Abu Dis, the twins, and far away from Ramallah.  My thoughts breathe steadily, and the rhythm of it all takes shape.  My chest tickles as the words pour uncontrollably on my screen, and my spirit battles with my very scientific mind that wants to correct every sentence and spell every word correctly on the first try.  And then it all takes a life of its own, and I no longer can control what is it I am trying to write. I often sit down inspired by many things, Qalandia, the chaos on campus, the wide eyed students coming to terms with their intellectual ability, my children’s smile.  I sit in front of my screen intending to take this inspiration for a specific ride with very defined parameters, but rarely do I ever accomplish this goal.  Writing shapes itself, thoughts come out of their hidden compartments and find refuge on paper.  Sentences huddle together to make paragraphs and paragraphs slowly gel to tell a story.  Deep in my brain, feelings dislodge themselves from their shelves and slowly undulate towards my fingers to take their rightful place on paper.  As I sit and write, I slowly sink into my inner soul, and  find an inner peace that  is not of any other place.  The silence deepens, the writing quickens, my breath steadies a cool energy like a fresh Fall breeze uncoils like a serpent  from the  bottom of my spine and rises up towards the center of my brain, and sssshhhhhh there it is…divine silence just breath. Breathe in…breathe out….

The sounds of life stirring on the street scare away my thoughts, and my meditative state slowly coils back into my tail bone. My thoughts and feelings scurry back into their compartments and shelves deep in my brain, and my soulful moment abruptly ends as life takes over again…the coffee is ready, the babies are crying, Abu Dis awaits, and the day has begun.  I take comfort in the hope that I get to feel this again soon, in the quietness of another morning  and the details of another piece.

 Writing has made me whole, writing has made me more human, more motherly.  I found happy peaceful ME in between comas and exclamation points. Writing for my soul is running for my body.  It has shed the extra weight of unwanted thoughts, negative ugly feelings, and left my soulful self to explore and become a better mother, wife, lover, daughter and most important of all, as one of my students put it, a better teacher and human being.

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