I am a blogger and will stay a blogger


I love blogging! I haven’t been doing that much in the past few years and I have always rationalized that it is due to the lack of time or ideas to talk about. But suddenly, this week, a fresh new energy popped up, and I found myself blogging, almost every day. And today is my second blog post too!

And I just realized that it is the act of blogging itself that I really enjoy. It is the act of talking to myself, and putting my thoughts into words. Yes, I can see now that contrary to what I partially used to think:

  1. I no longer blog to change the world. I have my novels for that.
  2. I don’t blog to get good traffic and exposure. I used to care about this 13 years back when I started blogging. Not anymore.
  3. I don’t blog to start heated discussions. I used to enjoy this a lot, but not sure I do anymore.
  4. I don’t want to be a fashionista or Instagram influencer. I am a blogger and will stay a blogger (slash novelist :P).

I blog because it feels good and I enjoy it. I blog because it is a learning tool, a creative act and a creation platform. It is like meditation to me. Listening to my internal voice, my honest self, brining it up and shaping it into written words.

I simply love it!

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Don’t confuse this as a sign of aging


So.. every morning I wake up, I go to the toilet, have my breakfast, my shower, prepare my gym bag, get dressed and leave. That’s the regular schedule during week.

I close the door, get into the elevator, go 12 floors down, get into my car and drive to the office.

I suddenly stop.

I stop when I remember that I forgot one or more of the following items:

  1. My phone
  2. My wallet
  3. My gym bag
  4. My office laptop
  5. My food bag
  6. My eyeglasses (new item to worry about)

I pause for a moment to assess the situation, before I turn around, retract, and head back to the house. And that usually depends on the moment at which this sudden revelation comes to me. I mean, sometimes it happens when I am in the elevator, so it is easy, I tell myself “yalla Fadi press 12 and go up and get it”. But in other times, it happens when I reach my car and start driving and get out of the parking. I’d be lucky if it happens when I am still in business bay area close to my building, but it usually strikes me when I am in a good mood, enjoying Elissa’s voice coming out of the radio, and ready to do the final u-turn towards the office, 20 minutes away from home! And for a reason that is beyond my capacity to understand, this latter scenario in particular insist to happen when it is the office laptop that I forget. Maybe it hit me when I get close to the office and see the building? Probably! Bu thanks God that doesn’t happen often as I rare take my office laptop home. Nevertheless, these are a set of 6 different items, and they alternate in slipping off my memory when I leave home. And to be honest they are not all of same importance. I mean if it is the gym bag, and if I have been going regularly to the gym, then hurray, I’d be more than happy to skip it for the day and get back after work to nap! Same for the food bag, I’d tell myself, lets break the diet and enjoy the day, it is out of my hand anyway! The wallet? mmmm, I can live without it for the day. Eyeglasses, who needs them? But hold on, the phone? hell no. I think you all know me better. That is when the real panic strike and no matter how far I get, even if the office is on the moon, I drive back and get it.

Please don’t confuse the above as a sign of aging, or early Alzheimer. I am sure it happens to you too. Don’t say no. And to be honest, it doesn’t really happen often, just from time to time, I mean something like e v e r y d a y! No I am joking. Maybe once a month. But it is annoying when it happens.

I remember a good old friend of mine 20 years back. He figured it out back then and had a special technique where he gives numbers to all items and keep on counting before he leaves home. I used to find this funny and never got into the habit, but now I see it smart, isn’t it? Does anyone of you use the same technique? If not, give it a try and let me know how it works!

Reading The Bride of Amman while floating in Dead Sea


This is probably one of the coolest photos I have ever seen for someone reading The Bride of Amman. Thank you Ferran for tweeting this!

Crossfit impressions after one year!


A year and few months ago, after around 20 years of doing body building and normal weight lifting exercise, and hearing much about Crossfit, I decided to give it a try. Especially that a new box opened close to my house in business bay, and I wasn’t very excited about my usual training at the gym I was going to.

In my mind, I thought it will help me lose weight, although it wasn’t a key point the trainer highlighted when I first went to check the box. I think he said something about the overall fitness improvement across all metrics, which is something I understand now.

At the beginning I didn’t really get it, and was worried about losing the muscle bulk I developed over the years. But I was motivated, as I wanted to “shape up” and tone. And for few months, I was wondering if I should quit or not. On one hand, the daily training sessions “WODs” (work out of the day in Crossfit terms) were pretty challenging for me and on the other hand I didn’t know how often I should train or what I should eat. I first approached it with a long time weight lifter mentality, only to realize that I don’t have the capacity of lifting heavy weights and maintain the speed and repetitions required in those exercises. I learnt my own body limitations from the lack of mobility in my shoulders and I understood that I need time to learn the skills required to compete in this sport. It needs practice. It needs patience. And it needs one to develop the capacity to tolerate painful high intensity prolonged workouts.

Few months along the line, I came to realize that my muscle bulk and heavy weight act against me as they require much blood pump that my heart needs to adjust to and match. I find myself dropping weights and do the bare minimum required for the WOD, in favor of completing it with a good shape and performance. The bodybuilding mentality of adding weights and doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions don’t work here. And I needed to learn what works.

Struggling to keep up in the box with my fellow crossfitters, naturally I looked into supplements to help me cope with these tough training. I wasn’t sure if the regular approach I used to do for bodybuilding applies here, and I don’t think it does. There is no easy increase of your protein intake to bulk up or cut on your carbs to shred. And now after more than a year, I don’t know if I have figured it out. I still feed protein shakes help, but not in the same level of what I used to feel. Sometimes I feel they are useless or irrelevant, I don’t really know. I stopped taking creatine when I started doing crossfit, but started again last week, and I think it helps. One thing that I came to realize its importance, is a supplement that helps one sleep at night. I mean with the pain and tiresome of the WOD, I find myself struggling at night moving from side to side, unable to have a good rest. Recently I have been countering this with two pills of Panadol, but I think a better approach would be supplementing with Magnesium. Maybe ZMA would be great for this, and might prove to be the best supplement to help in crossfit.

I know this post feels like bitching about this sport till now, but I have to admit that I came to enjoy it a lot. It is a great sport because you learn and improve with time. I am not big on competing or in challenging myself to perform as I am still struggling with the standard levels, but I was so happy to learn to do handstands (at the wall for now), and happier to do my first handstand pushup (which still needs improvement too). I remember the excitement of raising learning to jump higher on the box with added plates. And I am excited about the potential of doing a muscle-up! I feel that it is coming soon as my chest to bars are becoming easier, and I am raising myself higher.

Of-course, all of my improvements won’t have happened without the support of the professional trainers at the box. I just love their reactions when someone does a skill right! It makes you feel that they actually care and that your learning makes them happy. And here I would like to thank them all, especially Fill and Palo, but also Rachel, Laura and Bron. They really make all the difference. And I would like to stress how highly I recommend Goldbox Crossfit at Bay Square in Business Bay. If you happen to live in the area, then give it a try. You will thank me a year later!

PS: Photo Credit for the cover image and first image for Rami Al Nabulsi, a fellow crossfitter!

Dividing gender based on height? My next project!


I miss blogging. It has been a while since I wrote anything on my blog, and even when I did, it has been more of an announcement or photos without much of written words or ideas or opinions like I used to do back in the days.

Keeping a blogging habit has been challenging in the past few years, and I don’t think that I am ready to overcome this challenge anytime soon, but I feel the urge to write something today and happy to use this platform. And as I have been doing lately, using it as a platform to talk about my writing projects, I feel like pitching the idea of the next novel I am working on, with a working title ‘Khait Hareer’ (A silk thread).

I am not sure how well the title goes with the idea and how well it will be weaved in the storyline. I have actually finished writing 9 chapters already and working on the 10th. It is kind of exciting but challenging, more challenging than writing my previous books as I am trying to imagine a fictional world. I have done this before with ‘Heaven on Earth’, and it was challenging too, but I think it was a bit easier, because in that book I tried to imagine the future, but in the new one, I am trying to imagine a parallel society.

So here is the pitch in simple terms. I am trying to imagine a society where gender is divided based on height, not sex. I know, it might be a tough sell, as not so many people understand the concept of gender and how much it is related to sex. For me, I understand that gender is a social construct, it is a sectioning system that divides people into two categories based on their perceived sexual organs. On top of the sexual division, comes a huge burden of dividing every single human attribute in an attempt to exaggerate the sexual organs distinction and make clear divisions between two types of humans – in our world today we call them men and women.

In a nutshell, we build on a single human characteristic our main human classification. And we divide all of the other thousands of human attributes, that are irrelevant to our sexual organs between the two types of humans we created. It is the most dangerous classification of humans in our history, one that most believe is natural and has always been their in every single human society. A division that clearly over simplifies the sexual organs shape and size spectrum and ignores the power of nature in brining in a wide range of manifestation to every single human attribute.

Sex is not different than height. The sexual organs come in all shapes and sizes. And if we can hold a knife and cut human populations into two sexes based of the state of development of male/female sexual organs, hiding a big portion of human beings that fall under what we call ‘intersex’, then we can use the same knife into cutting human populations into two heights (tall and short people) and hide those of middle height.

And yes, like what we do top our sexual organs distinction or dividing other attributes between two sexes, we can do the same, and divide human attributes based on the height of a person. In my story for instance, tall people will have to be thin and weak, while short ones will be thick, stocky and strong. It is not physical attributes that I divide, but also psychic ones, same like we do men and women. I even outline a dress code, a behavior code and strict gender roles that these tall and short human beings have to adhere too.

It is a very exciting practice trying to imagine how such humans would behave under these constraints. How they build their life and how they define things! There is a lot to explore and I might fell short in bringing up all of the angles such a drastic change might mean to us. It is a challenge that I decided to take, one that I am pleased with its outcome so far.

The most challenging aspect of imagining such society, is the language to use in describing it. I am writing the story in Arabic, and for those familiar with the language, it is pretty much gendered. For Arab speakers, everything has a gender, even unanimated objects. It is either a thing is feminine when it has the ta’ at the end of the word, or is masculine when the ta’ is not there. Yes, we have queer objects, but thats not the rule of the language.

In their world, their language is gendered too, and it is gendered based on height. But inventing such a language is beyond my capacity. I can outline it, and maybe try writing few phrases, but even then, no one would understand it. So I had to come up with a twist for the book, one that I hope will give you an “aha” moment and a smile once you get to it.

Not sure if I succeeded in pitching the idea, but if you got what I was trying to say, please let me know what you think. Try to imagine that society and let me know what comes to your mind. That would help me adding to the story.

WOMEN CROSSING BORDERS: SHEREEN ABOUELNAGA, HUZAMA HABAYEB & FADI ZAGHMOUT


Saturday 2 March, 6pm-7pm

Al Ras 1, InterContinental, DFC

Authors: Fadi ZaghmoutHuzama HabayebShereen Abouelnaga

Don’t miss this session at Emirates Literature Festival. I look forward to seeing you all there and look forward to a wonderful discussion with these amazing and inspiring ladies.

What is the nature of boundaries that women in novels have to contend with? How do these boundaries reflect the real world? Who sets boundaries? And is there a big difference between boundaries facing men and women? What is the difference between boundaries imposed on men and those imposed on women in the contemporary narrative experiment?

Dr Shereen Abouelnaga is an Egyptian author, literary critic and professor at Cairo University – Egypt.

Huzama Habayeb is a Palestinian novelist and winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature 2017 for her novel “Velvet”. 

Fadi Zaghmout is a Jordanian author who started writing in 2006, motivated by desire to achieve social justice and challenge narrow gender roles.

Language: Arabic with English translation

Book your ticket now!

في الممنوع – حلقة الروائي الأردني فادي زغموت


“ليلى والحمل” هو عنوان الرواية الممنوعة للروائي الأردني فادي زغموت وهي الثالثة بعد “عروس عمان” و”جنة على الأرض”. تناول زغموت أسباب منع كتابه بموجب قرار شفوي بسبب اغتبار الكتاب خادشاً للحياء، وتوسع في شرح مفهومه للهوية الجندرية، كما تطرق في الجزء الثاني إلى جرائم الشرف وتراجعها بعد إلغاء المادة 308