As many of you know, The Story of Layla is my first attempt at writing a novel. I would like to think that I can say with pride that it has managed to acquire the attention of many readers and in the process I was blessed to have fans, if I can call them that, who follow my writings. On the 5th of August, 2007, Layla was concluded and I thought the next step was to get it published. I had such high hopes that publishing it wouldn't be that difficult especially following the overwhelming response from everyone who has read it. I was wrong.
I contacted many publishing houses here in Saudi Arabia and most of them refused to even take a look at the story attributing that to the fact that I'm a first time author and most aren't interested in publishing for new writers. The remaining few didn't show interest in the story simply because it's written in English and they obviously don't think there's a market for such novels or that it is the company's policy.
When I finally managed to meet someone who's willing to take the time to read a few pages, he stated his admiration of my work but also told me that there's nothing we can do about it since the Ministry of Culture and Information will surely reject it for being too "sexual." I said that I'm willing to edit parts of the story if that's what it takes but he told me the ministry rarely accept drafts similar to this. He advised me to try to contact publishing houses from Egypt or Lebanon.
I contacted Dar Al-Saqi, the famous Lebanese publishing house, and they have responded rather enthusiastically . I sent them the original story and a couple of months later they politely apologized for not being able to publish it since "their list of to be published English titles are practically full for another year at least." I don't know if that was a real excuse or simply a way of letting me down easy but I didn't take it to heart.
I still hope that one day I get to publish Layla in addition to a book containing a collection of my poems. It's not arrogance or anything like it but I truly believe that my writings are better than countless titles, whether Arabic or English, sitting on bookshelves right this moment.
Anyhow, if you know of any publishing houses whether here in Saudi Arabia or abroad then please contact me on my email: Bassem.firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Thank you.
This is old news that I haven't posted here before: I've been included in an article for Vancouver Sun newspaper regarding using Facebook and the Internet as the new way of publishing stories and reaching readers. Read the story.
My results were posted today. Mashallah wo Alhamdellah I did extremely well. I'm proud of myself and at the same time thinking, first place wasn't that impossible. Next year, I can, I should and I will get it be'ezn Ellah. Anyhow, for now I'll make sure to relax, GET SOME SLEEP and enjoy the summer.
Summer plans? I'm going to be training at King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital in August inshallah, doing Pediatrics and Surgery, 2 weeks each. I have an appointment for an American Visa on August the 2nd. If I get it I'll be going to Washington DC. on September 1st. We'll decide what happens next once we get there.
قال الله تعالى: ( وَمَا رَمَيْت إِذْ رَمَيْت وَلَكِنَّ اللَّه رَمَى) الأنفال - آية 17
So I'm a 6th year student now, a big boy, finally! I finished my exams 2 days ago and I'm still trying to recover from what has been a long and traumatizing year to me personally on many different levels. Al7amdellah 3la kol 7al as I always like to say. If I didn't have faith and belief that God shall not let any good deed go unrewarded, I'd have lost my mind. Anyhow, I'm still awaiting my results and until I see them with my own eyes, I cannot function as normal human being. Pray for me. I need my well-earned and badly-desired B grade inshallah.
I just realized that I have lost many friends along the way.
A couple of weeks ago, I was randomly surfing Facebook when I came upon a very familiar name, a very familiar face. I saw pictures of someone I once considered to be one of my best friends. It was his graduation ceremony and I felt guilty that I did not even know he was graduating this semester. It has been a few years actually since we last talked. Sure, sometimes we meet by chance in places around Jeddah because it's a small city but all we do is exchange numbers and promise to get together later but we never do. Someone has probably decided that it is not worth the effort to make that call. That someone is most likely me.
Today I was scrolling down my contacts list in my mobile phone and I, very similarly to the first story, came upon a name that I had not called in ages. I pressed dial but no one answered. I felt a rush of guilt within me because I don't even remember the last time I talked to this person. She is a good friend who was always there for me when I needed her but this year, for some reason, I failed to call or message back way too many times.
Do you see a regular pattern here? That is what I do. Every New Year's Eve I promise myself that next year I'm going to be better. I'm going to remember to call back. I'm going to remember to say Happy Birthday when someone's birthday comes. I'm going to keep in touch and I will not allow myself to get distracted by life and college and all of my personal issues. Every year, I fail miserably.
I keep telling myself that I am busy and it's understandable but I, more than anyone else, know that it's just a stupid excuse. No one is ever really busy; it's all just a matter of different priorities. I always say that. I want to make my friends a priority higher than it is now but I don't know why it just keeps slipping back.
What's even more painful about all these losses is that most of them are unjustified! We just drift away, we grow up, we get busy with life's demands and we seek different things. We just cease being friends.
Every time I remember the names and faces of all the people that have passed by my life, I feel blessed. Each and every one of you has made my life more colorful, more joyful and most importantly, more meaningful. I hope that I have left on your life a fraction of the sweet impression you have left on mine.
Finally, I just want to apologize for not always being the friend I should and want to be. I don't want to promise that I am going to change right from this moment because I don't even know if I can keep that promise. However, I can promise you this; once a friend, always a friend and even after many years have passed, you can always call me and ask me for anything and I'll be more than happy to hear your voice and to offer all the help I can.
I love you all, and you can take that as you may. (I know it's cheesy lol)
Let's assume that I am a Cardiac Surgeon and I performed an Open-Heart Surgery on a middle aged man to replace a few of his coronary arteries that were blocked due to long standing disregard by him for his hypertension and diabetes in addition to chain-smoking and sedentary lifestyle. Did you imagine the scenario? Patient comes to me begging for his life and naturally I do what it takes and we spend time and effort, myself and all the health care providers involved, to make him better. Thousands of Riyals are spent too by the government or the man himself to ensure that he gets the best care possible. What happens next? Man goes home back to his life and I forget about him and get busy with my own life too.
Unfortunately, and this is a very repetitive scenario we see everyday, a couple of years later, same man is back to you with chest pain. What have you been doing these last years, you ask. "Eating, smoking, sitting on my big fat ass and have not changed anything you asked me to," he replies.
"You don't deserve a second chance. You can drop dead for all I care. You had your chance and you blew it. Why should I waste my time and effort again on such a lost cause? Not to mention, the bed, the manpower and money that is going to be wasted on you should go to someone else who didn't come back again with the same PREVENTABLE disease like you did." That is the EXACT thing I think of saying every time I see a similar case. Am I harsh? Am I cold? Did I choose the wrong profession? Hmm... I'm not sure.
Just one more reason I consider Pediatrics as a speciality, children don't CHOOSE to be sick as much as we adults tend to do. Yes, it's our choice in most cases.
في حبك أنا أحمق ومغفل . عقلي عضو لا وظيفة له . باستطاعته أن يرسل كل ما يريد من إشارات عصبية لكن جسدي تمرد . قلبي أعلن ثورته واستولى على الحكم وأصبح مسؤولأ عن جميع وظائفي الحيوية من تفكير وذاكرة وتنفس وحركة . ليقل العلماء ما يريدونه عن استحالة هذا الأمر . هم يتكلمون عن حقائق مادية وأنا أتكلم عن حقائق لا تقاس وتوزن وتحسب بمعايير هذه الأرض الفانية . هم وجميع أبحاثهم ودروساتهم لا يعنون لي شيئاً . ما يعرفونه يختلف عما أعرفه أنا وليس لدي أدنى اهتمام في أن أشرح لهم عاطفة على رغم بساطتها لا تستطيع عقولهم فهمها أو تقبل إمكانية وجودها . أنا أؤمن بما أقول وأعرف أنك تؤمنين به أيضا ً.
في حبك أصبح شخصاُ خارقاً للطبيعة . أنا بطل من أبطال القصص المصورة . الألم لا وجود له غير ألم بعدي عنك . حميع جروحي قد تنزف وأنا سعيد أنك معي ولا أبالي . لم أجرب مسكناً للألم أفضل منك من قبل وأجمل مافي الأمر أنك دوائي أنا ولا أحد غيري . باستطاعتهم أن يرموني في النار لكني بتفكيري فيك واثق أنها ستكون برداً وسلاماً . أكاد أسمعهم يتمتمون ما هذا الذي يقول . إنه لا يجوز فأنت لست بنبي . عجب لهم لم يروا في كلامي معضلة إلا تشبيهاً بريئاً أنا أوقن به لأني كما قلت أحمق وإن لم يكن صحيحاً فما الفرق مادمت أظنه كذلك؟ لن أرمي بنفسي في النار لكن إن حصل ذلك يوماً أعرف أني سأفكر فيك وفي ابتسامتك التي أشعلت في داخلي ناراً يوم ابتسمت لي المرة الأولى . وإن مت فلتكن آخر صورة أراها هي أنت . وليتحدث الناس طويلاً عن أحمق فقد حياته لإثبات فكرة مجنونة .
في حبك أعلن استقلالي عن دولتي وبيعي لجميع أورافي الرسمية . ماذا أريد ببطاقة هوية تذكر اسمي وتاريخ ميلادي لكن لا تذكر اسمك أنت ولا حبي لك؟ أحداث حياتي تتمحور حول نقطة مركزية هي لقائي بك . ليفعلوا ما يريدون بي . ربما يتهمونني بالخيانة لكني لست خائناً إنما ولائي الأول هو لك والباقي نقاط ثانوية لن نختلف عليها . عيناك وطني وكلماتك جواز سفري الذي يأخذني إلى أماكن لم أتخيل وجودها من قبل . سأحرق جميع ما يثبت هويتي وسيبقى حبك بطاقة تعريفي لكل الناس .
أحبك ، أقولها ويالها من كلمة سخيفة . ليغضب جميع اللغويين مني لكني أكرر وأقول ، أحبك كلمة سخيفة . ليغضب جميع المحبين الذين أدمنوا هذه الكلمة . كيف بكلمة من أربعة أحرف أن تعبر عن مشاعر لا تحتملها قواميس ومعاجم؟ يقولها الناس دوماً ولا يعنيها أو بالأحرى يفهمها إلا القليلون . لكني لا أحتاج للبحث عن كلمة أخرى لأنك تقرأين قي عيني جميع ما أريد أن أقول وإن خذلتني الكلمات واللغات . أحبك كلمة هي عدد أولي من عدد لم يأت علماء الرياضيات باسم له بعد . خيب ظني جميع العلماء والأصدقاء والأهل والأحباء لأنهم لا يفهمون . أريد أن أشرح لهم . أريد أن أجعلهم يستوعبون لو قدراً ضيئلاً من هذياني هذا لكن ذلك سيتطلب مئات السنين التي لا أملكها فكل وقتي لك أنت . ليذهبوا جميعاً إلى الجحيم ولأبقى أنا هنا في نعيم حبك . أحمق أنا في حبك ومع ذلك ، تحبينني .
So it's 1 o'clock after midnight on a Sunday morning and my first final exam is on Tuesday and I have NOT studied anything yet. Something is definitely wrong with me but I don't know what it is. It's not the pressure because I function well under pressure. I actually do better under pressure! That is why I am considering becoming an emergency physician or a surgeon even though my heart's set on pediatrics. So what could be the cause of my inability to simply concentrate on the material I have to cover for this exam?
This year for the first time ever since I got into medicine, I entertained the idea of what my life would be like have I chosen another major. I did it and I still do it more often than I like because that means I have doubts and doubts can destroy anyone. I have this huge fear of not being an excellent physician. I know I will be a good one but that is simply not good enough. I need to do something that I'm great at! I believe that someone doing even a seemingly minor job in a perfect way is ten times better than someone who's doing a major one in a less than perfect way.
I am of the top 10% of my class, my grades say so. However, I even believe that I am better than my grades demonstrate. Basically, that means I should have faith in myself and my skills and God, I used to have that but lately my faith has been shaken. I define myself by what I do and this is what I do and if I cant' do this right then what the hell am I doing in my life? The number of things I have sacrificed for the sake of being good in medicine... And I'm not complaining... it was fine because I believed the result is worth the price. I'm not sure of that anymore.
I am not fine. I know that for a fact. I haven't been fine for a long time now. I have been trying to BE fine but I can't. I don't LIKE being not fine because this is not who I am. I am a focused person who knows what he wants. I set my goals and I go after them with all of my power. I achieve what I set my mind to. I'm confident to the point of being mistakenly called big headed and arrogant and all of that. People have been calling me this year out of the blue to ask How am I doing because my vibe has changed. That halo I have around me isn't the same anymore. People have been telling me that they miss me. Well you know what? I miss me too.
Maybe this is just a moment of weakness and I'll wake up tomorrow and read all of this and wonder what on earth was with me to write such random rants filled with rubbish. Everyone have their moments of weakness I guess but mine have been too frequent lately.
I think I'll go pray, hopefully God can give me some peace if only for a few minutes.
I must confess I don’t remember the last time we kissed I feel guilty but in my defense, I didn’t know it was going to be our last And I can’t help feeling that there’s something I’ve missed So do you think I could kiss you one final time or is it too much to ask?
I also find it hard to remember our last conversation I just know that we’ve talked about nothing and everything for hours We were talking randomly without much concentration You mentioned something about wanting a thousand white flowers
I think I foolishly promised you that and more Now I don’t I have the chance to keep the promise I’ve made to you You know I’ve never broken a promise before But I guess it’s not my choice this time, there’s nothing much I can do
For what it’s worth, I love you and I always will But I know that someday you’ll fade away into a beautiful past I just want to steal a moment in which time stands still Do you think I could kiss you one final time or is it too much to ask?