My life

I’ve worn many hats on Twitter and hid behind many characters:  the clown, the typical Yiddish character, the man with the fake Scottish brogue, and many others.  Yet, all these hats I’ve decided to wear seem to have diverted me from who I truly am, from my background, from my soul.  This is why I’ve decided to write this post, today.  This is a scary dive into who I am.

Even though I was born in Canada, eons ago, I come from a Middle Eastern and Muslim background.  Don’t worry, I’m not here on a mission to kill you, or to blow myself in a suicide attack.  In fact, I think that those who do are brainwashed cowards and the best way to put an end to these would be a common awakening, before it’s too late.  While my background is such, I decided, years ago, to follow atheism, when I realized that religion is an odd product.  It promotes peace, but all we’ve learned from history is that it creates wars.  Thus ends this rant.  This is not a history essay and I am not a historian.

If growing in a bilingual universe is tough, imagine growing in a trilingual universe.  It’s many things, but easiness is not one of them.  I spoke (and still do) Arabic at home and would often (read always) switch between French and Arabic, when talking to my parents.  I have a quasi-religious fetish with regards to old Lebanese plays and old songs from that country, from the land of my ancestors.  Heck, at one point, I even wanted to learn more about my genealogical tree.  That idea was nipped in the bud, when I realized I may stir pots that could contain unwanted memories.  Besides,  it’s not like my aunts and uncles are getting any younger, either….

This is me and this is who I am.

Yes, I realize these two mean exactly the same thing.

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Desolation

To the writers of Twitter,

I know you’re fearing for your novels (I am, too.). However, these are dire times and it’s time to remove your heads from your dreams, my dear people.  There is an epidemic in our society: bullying.  I hear you.  This is like he-who-shall-not-be-named or some shit like that.  Maybe it is.  Maybe it is not.  Anyway, that’s not my point.

My point is that my friend Mel (@mel_westcott) has written a blog post, on the topic, and it was as popular as a grain of sand in the fucking desert.  Are you guys so deep in your respective asses that you don’t realize that there are other people out there?  Maybe the kid who got stuffed in a locker on the basis that he wasn’t clean-cut or had one single defect wanted to be your reader, when he’d get out of that metallic jail?  Do you really think he’d choose you, if he knew that in his time of need, you were nowhere to be seen? I didn’t think so.

Please note (or don’t note, I don’t care) that I’m not putting all writers in the same basket.  There are some stellar people in this brethren and I cannot sing their praises loud enough.  There are people who understand that a person hides behind a reader and that a soul and a heart in pain hide within that person’s body.  These people I’m proud and honored to call my hero (and I include Mel in that group) are the ones behind whom I would proudly stand, come rain, snow, sleet, bigotry, idiocy, and so on.

I’m ashamed of this community, to which I thought I belonged.  It’s a good thing extra-strength bleach is on sale.  God knows this community needs a shot or two.

Walk down memory lane

This post is the hardest I may ever write.  So much so that I thought, right until I opened my post-writing thing, about not writing it.  Who’d care about my life story?  Who’d care about me, when they got so many files to manage, so many balls to juggle, and so on?  So, let’s take that walk way down memory lane.  It may be a bumpy ride.

Here it goes.

At birth, I came to this earth with the usual body parts and with an unwanted gift: the Crouzon syndrome (for reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crouzon_syndrome).  If being a kid is a challenge, being a kid with a defect is a fucking nightmare.  At daycare, I couldn’t close my eyes, since my eyelids couldn’t close, easily.  Come Halloween time, I may have avoided wearing costumes, some years, as I was already hideous.  Needless to say, I shared many things with the walls, as a kid.  It is said that kids don’t always think before saying or doing anything.  My past incarnation can vouch for that.  I can vouch for that.

One particular story (the core of this post and the main reason why I didn’t want to write it, in the first place) happened in the second grade.  A kid laughed at me, the way kids usually do.  Yet, that was like the last straw, the final blow.  I had enough.  I came home that day and cried as if someone planted 10 knives in me.  My dad saw that and wondered what was wrong.  I couldn’t hide that monstrosity, so I told him.  My dad is both the smartest man I know and the man with the deadliest verbal blows I’ve ever seen, in my life.  So, my dad told me that if ever either that choirboy or any other kid decided that they’d laugh at me, it was necessary for me to defend myself, by any means necessary.  In retrospect, he may have meant “use your words”, or something.  The next day, the same kid did the same thing to yours truly.  Yet, that time, I had enough.  I grabbed him by the neck with all of the might I didn’t have and shook, as hard as I could.  Legend had it that if the teacher didn’t intervene, he’d be a relic of the past.

That adult intervention was a thing of beauty.  Here’s why.  Like always, I ended up in the principal’s office (don’t recall if my “aggressor” was there, too.) and they said they’d call my parents.  Remember when I wrote that my father had deadly verbal blows, a few sentences earlier?  Well, he tore a new one to the teacher, that day.  Let it be known that I don’t usually condone violence for violence’s sake, but desperate calls need desperate measures, and this was one of them.  That was the essence of my dad’s speech, that day.  From that day on, I had no other incidents to report.  People still didn’t play (or rarely played) with me, and I began to grow in my own environment, which I may never leave.

From a physical viewpoint, I no longer have the same defect (thanks to 7 surgeries, last I checked), but the impact it left, on my psyche, is far more deep and hard to erase.  I barely make eye contact (or sometimes), whenever I’m talking to someone and I tend to avoid looking at people, whenever I’m on the street.  That’s a burden I will have to carry, until the day I die.

 

How my mind works

If you have that chance (or that burden) of following me on Twitter, you’ll know and realize that I’ve made a pun or two, over the years.  Until last Friday, these puns were mostly written. Last Friday, the pun-making machine that is I erupted in real life. It was then that Kira Hawke (https://twitter.com/kira_hawke), with whom I was spending some quality time, asked me a question:  “how does your mind work?”

That question triggered an elaborate answer, which I thought of repeating here, for those of you who weren’t there.  And when I say elaborate, I mean it.  I must’ve taken at least a few minutes to reply.  On a simple question.  I can’t imagine how I’ll reply when asked “do you take this person to be your lawful burden?” or when the wife will get on one knee and asked “will you marry me?”.

That being said, are you ready to dive into the abyss of my mind?  No?  Well, I don’t blame you.  I’m not, either.  I think the only person who may be ready for that sort of ordeal is my therapist.  They also dove in my financials, but that is another matter.

Here’s how it works.  I’d hear words or see an image and, within a split second (two seconds, if coffee/tea has not been consumed, yet), I already have an answer ready.  Yet, it may seem that within that short time frame, that answer comes out of thin air.  That is far from the truth.  My reply is, more often than knot, the result of a vigorous self-assessment, as to the quality of the joke and the level of link it may or may not have with the original content, that was posted.  If my inner self gives me the green light, the tweet sees the light of day.

At this point, you may ask yourself:  “where is he going, with this?” and wonder if clicking on my blog’s link was not such a good idea, after all.  You still can leave me.  I won’t mind, if you do.  Enjoy the mundane of life, reader!

For the two of you who stayed here and kept on reading my blabber, let me say two things.  First, thank you! (and also: why?). Second of all, the second part of my “analysis” on that weird machine that is I. I also had that chance or that misfortune of writing tweets that were filled with puns, wordplay and other shenanigans.  I use the same process as the one I’ve illustrated, earlier. Sometimes, they tend to get as much attention as a grain of sand in the desert and some other times, they get some traction.  That’s life. People sometimes don’t want to see wit, in their timelines.  I can’t change that and, even if I could change it, I don’t think I will lift a finger to change such a winning formula.

I could go on and on about myself and the theoretical aspect of my creation.  The thing is that I have got nothing to add, to the equation.  Thank you for reading this post and I hope you can either appreciate who I am or write puns, for your own pleasure.

 

I’m fed up.

I’ve had a good run on Twitter.  Nay, a great run.  I’ve made people laugh, I’ve made them share their works, all over the place.  I’ve opened up and I’ve received other confidences from others.  I will take these confidences with me, to the tomb I’ll inhabit, in many years from now.  It’s been my place to shine, away from the hubbub of real life.  My cabaret.

Yet, it’s time for me to go.  The spark is gone, the clown is a fucking sad person, now. Tweets are sent but are not read.  Messages are sent, but are avoided, as if they were the plague.  Laughs aren’t the guffaws and groans I used to get.  It’s the last call, folks.  The bar is closed.  The thrill is gone.  I’m willing to bet all the money I have (and I don’t have much) that this post will be read by a few people and avoided by others.  I respect their call and apologize if I’ve caused something that called for this.

It could be said that the algorithms are to blame, with regards to the lack of reception of my not-so-great jokes, but I’m sure that there are deeper causes, potentially much more negative, than mere 0s and 1s.  That is why I’m pulling the plug on my account, at an undetermined date, in the near future.  I will still be reachable, via other means, such as this blog or my beloved email.

It has been quite a ride and I cannot thank you enough, for all these moments you’ve given me and that boost knowing that I make you laugh has given to my self-esteem.  It’s not an easy post to write and I hope to see you again, either in a bar or a book signing.  Write on, folks!

 

What I learned about Twitter.

I’ve opened an account on Twitter, way back when I was younger.  At first, I was mainly a retweeter, knowing full well that I had nothing to share.  Then, a few months later, I decided to jump in the sharing bandwagon.  Now, Twitter is like high school and a Middle Eastern bazaar.  You got your cliques, your divas and your drama (just like high school) and people trying to sell their work, hoping that they’d be the next Dostoevsky or something.  And this is where I’ve used the same technique as in high school:  steer away from it all.

You may ask yourself why I decided to write this post.  Simple.  I decided, last night, to lower my joke production, which represents a large chunk of my tweets.  People need to laugh and I’ve tried to provide that to others.  Sometimes, they were met with laughter and sometimes, they were not.  Now, I’m not complaining about that.  I mean, people have lives of their own and they’re not glued to their Twitter account, like yours truly.  Yet, it takes a second to reply, at any given time of the day.  I mean, it takes two to tango.

Earlier, I compared this social media behemoth to high school or a bazaar.  In retrospect, I’ve realized that it was more akin to Hotel California.  “You can check out (or log out) anytime you like, but you can never leave”.  That is why I decided that I’ll return to the reading aspect of Twitter and focus on that, rather than focusing on creating my own tweets.

Questions and answers

What word do you think should be deleted from the dictionary? Why?
Writing pet peeve? (Pick the worst one, the one that makes you growl every time you see it.)
The strangest thing you’ve ever researched in the name of writing?
If you could name a constellation of stars, what would it be? Describe it or draw it?
Greek or Roman? Aphrodite or Venus?
What colour is your aura? (Airy-fairy answers please.)
What is your definition of roughing it?
Jeep or LandRover?
Bush or city?
If the coffee bean suddenly became extinct (I know, run now screaming), what would be our caffeine replacement?
Windows, Mac or Android? (Or any combination there of?)

The internet is so great that I got to meet someone down under (I’ve always wondered about that expression, to be honest….) named Judy, without leaving home.  Talk about two birds and one stone.  Anyway, it seems I’ve been nominated for something.  As a goodie bag, I received questions from said person.  So, without further a dew, here are my answers.  Pull a chair, if you may.

  1. I’d delete no words from the dictionary.  In fact, I’d glue it to people’s hands, so that conversations become clear, and filled with the right words, again!
  2. My worst pet peeves when writing are life and people.  I am somewhat antisocial.
  3. A cheap motel.  Not for the sake of the story but for my own.  Still looking.
  4. For years, I have been a frodite. I still am one, by the way.
  5. I’d name it “passing memories”, for some reason I may not be able to explain.
  6. It may seem odd but my aura is metallic grey.  No fairy tail, here.
  7. Roughing it is something I’ve never defined
  8. I enjoy neither cars, to be honest.  Can’t (and won’t) drive
  9. Ah, the old “bush or city” question.  I’d say “bush” but then, I may need coffee, tea or booze. So, both?
  10. Tea!
  11. I’m a PC person, so

The days I met Leonard Cohen.

I don’t recall the exact date and moment that this happened.  In fact, the only memory I can recall was listening to a man sing in a language I did not master, at the time.  If memory serves, it was during the Various Positions and I’m Your Man era of Cohen’s discography.  I was a kid, at the time, and it was my father (a fan of the bard) who introduced me to his lyrics, his music, his deadpan humor and his symbols.  Every time I listened to his songs, a new interpretation arose in my mind.  The man was a writer. You could easily sense that in his words and you could sense the minutiae with which he crafted his songs.  “If I knew where good songs came from, I’d go there more often”, the master said. (source: https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/zollo.html)

Years later, I found out that he had written a lot more than the songs I grew up with and loved.  So, I dove into his earlier work and felt the same listening pleasure, once again.  Around that time, I began an accidental dive in poetry, that is still ongoing.  Alas, my poems were (are and will continue to be) basking in the perfumes of utter mediocrity.  And like any burgeoning artist, I tried to emulate the style of the masters that came before me.  For my poems, I listened to Cohen’s words for days, months, and years, trying to find the right words to describe my own images.  It is an ongoing process and I will die before finding the perfect poem.

A few years ago, I was walking in downtown Montreal, leaving nowhere and headed nowhere, as it is my usual.  Cohen’s voice was in my ears, as I was walking.  Then, all of a sudden, a suit-wearing man was walking in the opposite direction as I was.  If it was a workday, that man would have been a pebble in a sea of suits.  And so, that man glanced at me, for a second.  I glanced back.  Seconds later, a thought came to my mind: “holy fuck! That person is Leonard Cohen.”  I thought about walking towards him but I felt that I’d be wasting his time and crushing what I’d imagine was a song-creating moment.

When I heard the news of his death, I cried and was shaking.  Humanity has lost a spiritual guide in the days before another tragedy occurred.  I watched as thankful tweets came pouring and wrote a few, myself.  I even yelled at God, for its imbecility.  It could have taken someone else, but with its stubborness, it decided not to listen. We will always have the songs, the memories and the symbols to cherish.

So long, Leonard.

Thank you, Mr. Cohen.

Sunshine blogger questions

So, I was nominated by Lexi Lefevre (waves to Lexi) for the Sunshine blogger thingamajig.  She asked a few questions and we had to answer. Here are mine.  Before you read, I would like to apologize. I may make fun of many people but it is done with respect.

Happy reading!

1. Have you ever felt joy over a ‘good’ character’s death in a book or TV show? If yes, who and why?

I cried when I saw they shot Mr. Burns on The Simpsons. Come on! That was a good character. The epitome of evil, in my humble opinion. Plus, a great way to move out of the beaten path one may expect from a cartoon. I also cried when I saw the death of the show, as a whole. That’s another story.

2. Which one of these Gossip Girl characters would you marry, kill, or bump uglies with? (Guys: Chuck, Dan, Nate) and/or (Girls: Blair, Serena, Georgina)
None. They were too superficial. I imagine. If I revealed that I’ve never watched the show, should I duck?

3. Friends or How I Met Your Mother? Reason for your choice?

Friends! HIMYM lacked Gunther. That is all. Also, does it really take a shitload of years to tell a simple story of how a guy met his wife? What is this? Russian literature? Oy vey. I could go on and on with that caricature of a Yiddish character I have in mind but I will stop, for all our sakes.

4. If you could gather a bunch of tweeps/any other group of internet friends to meet in person, who would you choose?

The people I’ve gathered in my “interactions” list. They’ve known me in highs, lows and inbetweens. They are friends I love, respect and cherish, from now until the end of times. Or maybe next week. Who knows?

5. If someone were to trigger the apocalypse, how do think it would happen? (No Supernatural references.)

A teenage girl would order a large cup of coffee at an undetermined coffee shop filled with a stellar cubicle. Then, she’d receive a medium cup of coffee. Periods and adrenaline mix and create a monster. Chain reaction. Destruction of humanity.  Coffee shop employees, the future of humanity hovers above you.  Don’t fuck this up.

6. Are you the type of person who uses a blanket whether it’s cold or not?

Is it ever not cold? What is this meteorological madness?  This is Canada.

7. Which literary character’s death caused you the most sadness?
The Salesman’s death was like a dagger in my heart. And it was the shortest story I’ve never read. “What’s the story about?” “The death of a salesman” “Huh.”

8. 5 day weekends with no holidays, or have things stay the way they are?

Why change a winning formula? (plus weekends mean family gatherings. Family gatherings create boredom. Boredom create despair, and so on)

9. If you had to marry a villain you created, who would it be? Why?

None. I’ve created killers. I’d be nuts to spend my life with them.

10. If you could only live with ONE writer snack/beverage for the rest of your life, would it be chocolate, tea, or coffee? *maniacal laughter*

I plead the fifth. Oh, yeah. Can’t do that. Ah, the joy of Canadian citizenry. How could you ask that?!

Apparently, I have to ask questions. Here they are.

  1. Beach or mountains?
  2. Party animal or isolation devotee?
  3. Why did you choose this path?
  4. Thoughts on the state of humanity?
  5. Favo(u)rite drink?
  6. What do you look for, in a novel?
  7. Same as previous (in a person of the opposite sex)?
  8. Music or silence? (favorite bands and/or solo acts)
  9. Hotel or Motel?
  10. Am I funny?

I nominate no one in particular, to avoid the mistake of forgetting someone.

#DarkLitChat

#DarkLitChat is a monthly Twitter chat for writers, authors, or readers who appreciate dark fiction. Writers and authors at all stages are welcome, and encouraged to join in. Whether you’re plotting, procrastinating, or published, you’re welcome to join us!

When is #DarkLitChat?

Tuesday, June 21st at 8pm EST, on Twitter. (You can find us for subsequent chats every 3rd Tuesday of the month, at 8pm EST)

Why #DarkLitChat?

Writing dark fiction can be hard — and it can be lonely. Many times it’s difficult to find other writers who appreciate a good blood bath in a world filled with happily ever after. Network with other writers of Dark Fiction while we discuss the ups and downs of writing dark fiction.

Who’s hosting #DarkLitChat?

D.H. Poirier, (@PoirierPages) Young Adult Author of dark historical fantasy, and horror. And Elesha Teskey, (@e_teskey) Urban Fantasy Author, and Publicist for Pen And Kink Publishing.

What is Dark Lit?

Any genre or market covering darker topics. Thrillers, horror, suspense, urban fantasy, mysteries, etc. Dark Lit would include murder, crime, abuse, drugs — things of that nature. Dark Lit is subjective, if you think you write Dark Lit, chances are — you do.

How can I help?

Help us get the word out on your blog, and on twitter.

DarkLitChat Future Chats

We’re looking for published authors open to doing Q&As for future chats. If you’re interested, tweet at @PoirierPages on Twitter, or DM.

Need a reminder for #DarkLitChat? You can sign up for an email reminder for the chat here.