“Stories are our way to tell that we once were here.. we once existed…”
Two years ago, I went hiking with my friend Marwa through AlNaour mountains in Jordan… she was holding her camera and capturing the elegant nature through her lens…. she turned to me and said that she was not good at writing stories… she can perfectly capture a scene through her camera but she can not tell a story.
I smiled and told her that a story is a series of scenes… to tell a story you have to have meomry.. and memories are a series of pictures with sounds.. smells.. movements and feelings… you can not think of your father as a word… when you are saying a word you are actually visualizing life.
I started my first story telling class in Mokattam from the “visualizing life” point…. We were like 10 people.. sitting in Alwan & Awtar space for the first story telling class.
Story telling is about sharing… some people are intrinsic by nature.. they find it very hard to share a story… they are afraid to expose theirselves to others.. sometimes they are afraid of getting others bored of their story.. they miss their finest details in order to quickly finish the tale and get rid of their worries.
After we had had the orientation session the week before; Sara, Mahmoud, Seif and I discussed together what's the best entry topic that we can start the story telling class with in order to break the ice and get people inspired to talk.
I started by asking the group what makes a story a good story.. in other words.. what makes us listen to some stories and don't listen to others?
They took a moment to think… and then Mohamad said that truth is what really matters.. fake stories are unpersuasive.
I smiled at him.. Mohamad is the youngest among the group.. he is 11 and he is brilliant… the way he thinks before he talks.. his hand gestures and his words.. all give him an older appearance to his actual age and his questioning eyes.
Islam was the second to talk… Islam is 18.. a hyperactive person.. and a very talented rap songs’ writer. Islam said that every story needs a teller… and that he gets attracted to tellers with good style and spirit.
We went on identifying what makes us listen to a story… how can we tell it… and how to share memories together.
Our topic for today was friendship… our intimate memories with our friends…
They all took a moment to visualize their scenes…..
Islam talked… at the background of his words I figured a school… the play ground… interfering voices of students and the ringing bell… the typical egyptian class room.. the teacher and the smell of the new books at the beginning of the year. Zooming in into the scene you can find Islam and his friend Hassouna and the story….
After each story we had a short discussion.. about the quality of the scene and the content of the story…. Sara was trying to probe into the stories and asking reflective questions.. like “what makes Hassouna your best friend.. what do you have in common and how do you support each others”.
Shortly after,, Mohamad talked… his words drew a camp… little children from different Arabic countries… different dialects…. the breathtaking joy of knowing and learning… freedom…
Mohamad chose to tell about his lebanese room mate.. and the way they interacted together.
I asked him.. “why did you choose to tell about your friends from the camp and not those in the school or neighborhood ?”
His tone changed a little when he replied ” I don't have any friends here.. they think I'm different”.
Basma talked at last.. she told her story with her friends from Minya in upper Egypt…. the scene fades out as she talks about her childhood in that far governorate… she described her feelings.. more abstract words that can only be felt with a hazy picture as one gets to talk about his own self.
I felt I'm crowded with pictures.. and I began to think about the writing and photography classes… I think we have alot to capture here 🙂
will be back after our coming writing class.. stay tuned 🙂
you are most welcome 🙂
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Congratulations! It is really a pleasure to read your blog post and to see how the project advances.
Heinrich Böll Foundation
Thank you so much for the nice comment… I apologize for the late reply.. I was on a work trip to Syria and as you must know, Blogs are blocked in Syria and I couldn’t access mine to reply you.
You can read the 3rd tale to know the project updates.