Today I bought a story for 2000 Lebanese…

Today I bought a story for 2000 Lebanese Liras (1.3 US$) on Hamra Street. I had just said Bye to my good friend Wajdi when a young boy approached me.
“May God bless your lover’s eyes”, he said.
I looked and saw a short boy, not older than ten years old, below my right elbow.
“Give me 1000 Liras”, he pleaded.
“Where is my lover?” I smiled.
His small eyes went towards Wajdi, and I laughed.
My storytelling engines turned on and I asked the kid, who I noticed was intent on staying with me till he got his 1000 LL.”Do you know what I do?”
He shaked his head.
“I write films,” I replied. “If you tell me a story, I’ll give you a 1000 Liras.”
The boy looked worried. But he struggled to come up with something.
By the time he brainstormed for ideas I asked about his name and his age and where he lives.
Zein (10) is from Tripoli. He lives with his grandmother in a very poor suburb in Beirut and he goes to school.
He finally told me an anecdote. Unfortunately I knew it. But I had to keep my promise. So I took out a 1000 Liras and handed it to him. I hadn’t failed to notice that another young beggar was watching all this. So I handed her also another 1000 and moved on.
I had bought a story I knew for 2000 Liras. Zein, however, remains a story waiting to be told.

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Just walked back home on the streets of…

Just walked back home on the streets of Beirut with my good friend Lara. We saw a play/lecture by a very good Lebanese playwright and theater director “Rabih Mroueh”.
I had worked with Rabih once during the LAU theater festival some in 2001. I was the technical head at Irwin theater then and I operated the lights for many consecutive plays. It was a good year.
The first thing I noticed was the Rabih has aged. So I must have aged too.
The second thing is that someone else thinks about weird stuff like I do. War, Missing People, Shit, and more shit.
The third thing I noticed, and this was the most important, Beirut is beautiful at night. So alive and so pretty 🙂

Tomorrow Feb 23 I’m supposed to be teaching…

Tomorrow (Feb. 23) I’m supposed to be teaching again. The first Scriptwriting class I gave two days earlier was fun. For me, at least! My passion for this profession is indescribable. I love my love for it. I am ready to do anything to help my students with their screenwriting skills and careers. I’m happy passing on my knowledge, and ready to learn more from them. Alhamdulillah 🙂

I love hearing my Mom and/or Dad putting…

I love hearing my Mom and/or Dad putting my brother to bed. Though he’s now 12 years old, they still read to him all the sentences of the sleeping prayers, and let him complete only the last two words like they initially did when they first started reciting them for him to memorize.
It is a lovely evening ritual I am blessed to hear.
Good Night, warm Beirut!

Finally, Mubarak is DOWN and spirits are UP!…

Finally, Mubarak is DOWN and spirits are UP! No more long nights on twitter and facebook waiting for speeches full of bs. Funny is whenever I follow politics I assure myself more and more it is a totally unhealthy thing for me to do. But Egypt was an exception for many reasons that some may know and some may not.
Now we’re back in our good old Lebanon. It is old really. Not as good as it is old though.
I am still living in the body of an expat in this city, so I can love it.
My new mission is to make beautiful memories in it and erase all the memories of the 80’s.
Onward and Upward!

I’ll apologize to my Egyptian friends t…

I’ll apologize to my Egyptian friends tonight for I am celebrating alone!

I am high on filmmaking tonight.
I am listening to music by my favorite musician Omer Faruk Tekbilek entitled, Your Love is My Cure. What better title to listen to?
I cried tonight. Of happiness.
I know people are dying in Egypt.
I know they’re dying elsewhere.
From death and sadness I learned that we all have the right to laugh at heart and rejoice and love and be loved.
I learned that my smiles and laughs don’t cause a human being to die somewhere else, nor can my sadness stop them from being miserable.

The music is deafening. Beauty always deafens me.
This is why I am celebrating tonight:
A one day shoot after four whole months away from a production sent the adrenalin rushing to my head.

I take it most of the people who read this blog have seen The Hurt Locker.
Right now I feel like a soldier returning to the battlefield without which he can’t live his life to the fullest.
A battlefield that is definitely going to destroy him. But he returns nevertheless.
He sustains an injury. He gets treated, goes through rehab, then comes again.
Feverish for more action.
This was me today.

Today was the first “official” long day of filming on the set of my dear friend Wajdi to whom I send a big salute and a bigger thank you!