i am sitting in this seminar with brilliant filmmakers from all over the middle east, north africa, including the Sudan and Israel.
it gives me a high to meet people my age making films and doing what we want to do. and we are getting there step by step and film project by film.
and to meet such great professors and mentors that are so brilliant…it doesn’t happen everyday or sometimes ever. and i don’t mean it lightly, truly these men and women are brilliant. Thanks to the program in israel, greenhouse, for setting this up.
we tease and joke with each other poking fun on our nationalities. it’s never mean spirited. always funny. the egyptian boys are hilarious, the three israeli girls are angels, the lebanese boys are singers and can imitate people so well it puts me in stitches. i am the politically incorrect one apparently and the comedian. and i make people laugh which i love to do. i was laughing and smiling everyday…except for the 8th hour of presentations which had gotten tiring but still there was Victor! the crazy Russian documentary filmmaker who made sure he let everyone know their project was shit and they shouldn’t continue being filmmakers: hilarious! he had me and the boy with the beautiful eyes from Israel giggling silently. we’d catch each others eyes and try not to laugh.
Victor was hilarious. He came up to me after and gave me a compliment that i didn’t really know how to take. He said, “you are a director. not a producer. and your director is an actor. you are the director.” I laughed and said, “I am not the director on this project. yes i am a director but now for this i am the producer.” he said no. “no you aren’t a producer; you are a director.” I told him i guess i could accept that as long as he knows that that isn’t my official role. after all the things he would say, i really didn’t know if this was a compliment or not but if he didn’t tell me to fuck off and go home so i should count myself one of the lucky ones. I will never forget that man. crazy but i liked him.
we partied well into the night each night. laughing and I truly enjoyed this moment because I knew it wouldn’t come around like this very often again. i soaked it in and told myself, i can sleep when i am dead, but tonight i want to live with these brilliant young people from countries i want to see, and these are the best type of people, artists who are exceptional and step out from the crowds of where they come from.
I did though once, twice, with the same boy, end up in tears. just emotions. coming out. that he allowed in his space with his calmness and openness. one such time, we walked downstairs to check out the internet connection. his facebook profile revealed a gf which led to an explanation of my ex bf and my ex hubby of sorts even if we were never married.
i remember saying something so cool and detached and cosmopolitan that had no heavy emotions on it as if i didn’t care about what i said. I said something like, i lost the man i loved and just dumped a boyfriend and i made it seem like none of it mattered in the way i spoke, like i was a happy hearted stone. He broke my “i-am-so-cool-and-so-cynical” air with a very calm and honest comment about how maybe just maybe i don’t need to be with anyone, that i should just be alone for as long as it takes and that the thing that is good for us and good for our hearts and bodies we most of time resist but we have to submit at some point and go through it.
And in his non-cynical, honest, uncool voice, no smile on his face like mine, i heard a simple truth and the large gap that stretched between his emotion and honesty and calm and serious demeanor and hopefulness in contrast to my smile to hide my brokenness.
Smile still on my face, I teared up and he asked with surprise, “Are you crying?” i giggled and said , “yes.” and i know why. it’s what i needed to hear. i made him promise me not to tell anyone i cried. i said as i went up stairs, laughing, that “it will ruin my reputation!”
happy people carry a deep sadness and when you see that need to express joy and desire to laugh its because we need to celebrate the light. we need to catch the light, make it, and keep it in us to light the dark. like food for a rainy day and medicine for life.
The second time i cried it was at a packed hip Marrakech restaurant sitting next to R. He hid my face with his body. I had been very composed when we had been talking about fantasies and how women he knew and loved had some confusing fantasies. Violent and confusing. I explained that they have nothing to do with actually wanting to experience the topic matter of the fantasies, it’s just a metaphor. We spoke about Morocco, politics, love, children, marriage, film. I laughed outloud and just plain loud. i was drunk and happy and then he asked me why i left the father of shiyara.where do you begin to speak about this and stay composed? one day, i hope to speak about it like it doesn’t matter, and not just pretend like it doesn’t matter, but that day isn’t today.
i said, i expected i would die with him…he would be the last man i slept with and it didn’t happen. i felt deceived by my hope, by my innocence. my life didn’t go the way i thought it should and maybe it wouldn’t ever in the future but…there is a part of me that accepts all that had happened, from the pain of childhood to the brokeness of my adult choices…i accept all of it as g-ds plan. there is something to learn. i am here. i am here to learn it. i said this to him as a fellow jew, with a smile on my face and in tears and i meant both. maybe my life isn’t going to end up in a white dress and with a fairytale ending…my way isn’t going to take the way of others and that brings the tears and yet i know there is a beautiful plan and i just don’t know it yet and it gives me a smile.
i got up from the table and danced. laughing. i danced and he graced me with his dancing. such a good dancer. damn.
if i can sum up that mood with him, sitting in the posh club, him hiding me with his body so i could speak to him in secret in the middle of a public spot…it would be as if i am the little kid told to keep her head up as her parents drive off and leave her at the boarding school that’s good for her and will teach her everything. you don’t like your fate. you try not to cry but this is your home and your lesson. life is out of our control. hard to accept for a little woman trying to protect her heart.
i have my choices and our choices make us who we are. choices change our life. change the direction of fate. i am not helpless but life is beyond my control. i know. love will come whether i want it or not. ready or not. and so will hurt. what will i do with it? take it or leave it? i can close my heart and close my eyes and my ears and my mouth. i can open my eyes and open my heart if i am lucky. i can open my mouth and let him kiss me. i can keep turning my head away. i keep protecting myself but i finally agreed to let my guard down with another man.
He said he locked his heart and threw away the key. i wonder this morning, have i done the same?
He tells me beautiful things. he tells the truth. shocking. he’s talented. he’s lost. he’s sweet. i thought he was “cool” and cynical and hard. but he’s not. he’s smart. he’s funny. funny looking. innocent although he makes himself look like a bad boy. he’s not bad.
i mention him because he is going to open me up. he’s going to play a very important role in my life. i feel it.
he loves children, knows life and how fragile it is. life, love, and your plans that take so long to make, can be gone, fast.
he’s got one foot here and in childhood. he touches me. he’s affectionate to my girl. he doesn’t look at her with jealousy. he sees a little person and respects her, sings for her when she woke up feeling bad. that is the sweetest thing. he slips in effortlessly, not loudly.