Give Yourself The Gift Of Faith

Brenda Ueland writes:

“Everybody is talented because everybody who is human has something to express.” 

As the saying goes, everybody has a story to tell. Whether we do it on paper, on stage, on canvas, or through our voice, when given the chance we all have something to say, to express.

Creativity, nevertheless, requires faith. We have to believe, we have to have faith in none other than our self. Self-trust is one of the most important issues in writing. I say in writing because that’s what I can do (I wish I could do other things too). There are days when self-doubt kicks in, when I not only can’t write anything but I don’t even like the things I have already written. There are days when I try to talk myself out of it by saying things like, “What’s the point?” 


Each time I post an article, I get excited not only because I can’t wait to hear the comments of my fellow bloggers (for which I am so grateful) but also for the fact that I did something. I showed up at my laptop and wrote. The process gives me joy. But when the excitement passes I tell myself, “Ok you did it, then what?” 

But then again, what I remember most from my high school days is our talent shows. The excitement, the anxiety when we came together to put on a show, whether it was a drama, or a concert, or a dance. We all worked for nothing but fun, for that glorious inner excitement. It was hard work but there was no other pleasure or excitement like it and it was something never forgotten. It was the creative power working in us. 

Julia Cameron writes:

“Give yourself the gift of faith. Trust that you are on the right track. You are. You will come to experience a more comfortable faith in your creator and your creator within. You will learn that it is actually easier to write than not to write, paint than not paint. You will learn to enjoy the process of being a creative channel and to surrender to your need to control the result. You will discover the joy of practicing your creativity. The process, not the product, will become your focus.” 


Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It Will Be Good That You Have Worked

Looking at today’s date this morning I realized that the last time I posted on my blog was on September 10. Eleven days have passed since my last post, the longest for me without posting since I started my blog. 

Lately I have been facing a few challenges on the personal front. Every time something happens I move one step away from my writing until I resolve the issue or at least try to take care of it. Every time I face a block I end up having all these feelings of pain and anger and sorrow bundled up inside me wanting to get out. All I want to do then is write about my problem of course and my feelings of despair. Yet every time I try to put words on paper this little voice inside of me tells me to stop. It tells me to stop whining, that people have their own pain and sorrow to deal with in this world.

And at times like this I try as best as I can to shun away negative thoughts and feelings that I harbor and unblock my creativity by reading. I found that the book that does this best for me time and time again is Brenda Ueland’s “If You Want To write.” She writes:

“Forgive me, but perhaps you should write again. I think there is something necessary and life-giving about ‘creative work’ (forgive the term). A state of excitement. And it is like a faucet: nothing comes unless you turn it on, and the more you turn it on, the more comes.
It is our nasty twentieth century materialism that makes us fee: what is the use of writing, painting, etc., unless one has the audience or gets cash for it? Socrates and the Greeks decided that a man’s life should be devoted to ‘the tendance of the Soul’ (Soul included intelligence, imagination, spirit, understanding, personality) for the soul lived eternally, in all probability.
I think it is all right to work for money, to work to have things enjoyed by people, even very limited ones; but the mistake is to feel that the work, the effort, the search is not the important and the exciting thing.
And so now I have established reasons why you should work from now on until you die, with real love and imagination and intelligence, at your writing or whatever work it is that you care about. If you do that, out of the mountains that you write some mole hills will be published. But if nothing is ever published at all and you never make a cent, just the same it will be good that you have worked.”


Have a great week writing, painting, sculpting, or doing whatever work you care about.


Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Have To Keep The Faith!

The schools have started and summer is almost over, even though the weather is extremely hot still. It is a sunny day but there is rain in the forecast, so it could go either way.

It is a time for new beginnings, that I know. But I am skeptical. Just like the weather, with me also it could go either way. It is one of those days again. Even though I choose to sleep on the right side of the bed now, on some days I can’t help it. Try as hard as I can and want, sometimes I can’t help but feel desperate. 

I am aware that the choice is mine. I get to choose the way I live. I get to choose to accept my fate and continue and move forward and look for solutions elsewhere. Or I just choose to stay where I am and wait for answers, answers that will never come.

Sometimes even if I try to move ahead I still need other people’s input for my projects. I need them to just give me the go ahead to continue doing what I am in the process of doing already. A sign, some kind of an acknowledgment, a pat on the shoulder, a push in the right direction.

Chances are what I am waiting for will not happen now, maybe never. Part of me tells me to forget the whole thing and start new. But there is this tiny little voice inside of me that tells me otherwise. Which is better? To never try or try and see and hope that maybe, just maybe, something good will happen. 

Julia Cameron writes:

“We are never too old to be young at heart. Being young at heart means simply being willing to be a beginner.”

But until I get the ‘yes’ I am waiting for I have to do the next right thing. I have to show up at the page. I have to focus on the process, one word, one sentence, one page, one day at a time. Sometimes good writing and good moods do not go together. 

I have to show up at the page without any expectation. I have to just hang in there. I have to keep the faith.



Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Next Right Thing

Years ago when my late husband started his treatment for cancer I chose to quit my job and stay home with him. It was the right thing to do then and even now the only regret that I have is what could we have done differently, if there was anything we could have done to keep him alive.

At the time all my energies were focused on him. He was a very positive man, a survivor who believed that this, his illness, was a phase that he could conquer. That together we would see it through. I was too blocked creatively then, too scared to write.


Being an artist himself he somehow sensed my frustration and one day he suggested that I start writing again. “What’s the point,” I was quick to reply.

“Just do the next right thing, one step at a time,” he said. And the next right thing for me was to write. He had sensed my irritability, my restlessness. He knew me and he believed in me more than I did and still do sometimes. And when we cannot believe in ourselves we can at least believe in the belief of others. That’s how my blog got started. Dorothea Brande writes:

“Every author is a very fortunate sort of dual personality, and it is this fact that makes him such a bewildering, tantalizing, irritating figure.”

Focused on things that were out of my control I failed to create. Over the years I have wasted so many valuable writing hours thinking, contemplating, reflecting and regretting. And now when I feel irritated or restless and notice that too many people around me have started behaving badly then I know I am not working hard enough. Then I know I am not writing. And when I am on the right track, when I am writing, everyone around me seems to behave better.

“Becoming a writer is mainly a matter of cultivating a writer’s temperament.” Dorothea Brande


Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“True Originality Can Only Come From Within”

I have been rereading “Becoming A Writer” by Dorothea Brande. It is one of my all time favorites and I have had it in my library for quite some time now.
The basic problems of the writer listed in her book are no different today than they were in 1934 when the book was first published. In her book she doesn’t talk about “the techniques of writing fiction.” In fact it has nothing to do at all with “the techniques of writing fiction.” 

Dorothea writes that the root problems of the writer are personality problems. The writer cannot get started, or starts a story well then gets lost or loses heart, or writes very well some of the time, badly the rest of the time. She mentions that all creative writing courses are for most people most of the time failures. The beginning writer who is taking the creative writing course writes brilliantly while the course lasts but after it is over can no longer write. The root problems are problems of confidence, self-respect, freedom.

Now, when I first read this book I hadn’t heard of Julia Cameron. I hadn’t read any of her books nor was I familiar with the fact that she taught creative recovery for artists. Julia’s books are a source of inspiration to many beginning artists and even to those who are blocked. 

Come to think of it Julia also talks about problems, problems that have to do with our past as writers or artists. In her exercises she asks us to go back to our childhood years and remember any incident that might have caused us to be blocked creatively. Just like Dorothea Brande writes:

“The writer’s demon is imprisoned by the various ghosts in the unconscious.” 

Julia tells us to go to the page every morning right after we wake up and write three pages. “Three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing done before the day begins,” she says, calling them Morning Pages.

While Dorothea suggests we start the day by writing first thing in the morning, for that’s when the writing is the truest, most genuine.
In her book Julia has sections about confidence, self-respect and freedom. The same issues that we find in “Becoming A Writer.” 

Julia talks about how much energy the artists possess and how if they don’t put it to good use creatively they become exhausted. 

While Dorothea writes, “Becoming a writer is mainly a matter of cultivating a writer’s temperament. The moods and tempers, when they actually exist, are symptoms of the artist’s personality gone wrong- running of into waste effort and emotional exhaustion.” 

Julia writes about despair and perseverance. She talks about the need for inspiration and “enriching the soul.” She tells us to show up at the page or the easel no matter what our moods. While Dorothea writes:
“Every writer goes through this period of despair. Without doubt many promising writers, and most of those who were never meant to write, turn back at this point and find a lifework less exacting. Others are able to find the other bank of their slough of despond, sometimes by inspiration, sometimes by sheer doggedness.”

The list goes on. As I mentioned earlier Dorothea’s book was published in 1934. And for a small book of 175 pages it has priceless advice for writers (even) today. 


“True originality can come only from within.” Dorothea Brande


Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thank You Dear Friend!

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry writes:

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 

Many are the days when I long to write but I am not writing. Many are the days when I feel that I have so many things to say, things that are important to me and yet somehow I feel they may be trivial to the reader. That’s when negativity steps in. I groan and grump and whine and complain. And if I don’t put my feelings, my thoughts, my true emotions, and my negativity down on paper, the feeling stays with me throughout the entire day. The page is where I do not pretend. 

The scariest thing for me as a writer, more than facing the blank page, is keeping up the faith. The belief that what I am doing is meaningful and not just a waste of time. To think and believe in myself as a writer and keep going no matter what the odds. 

To keep the faith from time to time I long to hear readers’ opinions about my book. My readers keep me going and help build my confidence as a writer. And yesterday I received a message from an internet friend. 

“Hi Choghig. Just finished reading your book. Amazing situations that we, here, in Greece haven’t lived since world war II. Easily read it, liked it and I would say that you could write more chapters of the story. You could write a sequel about what happened to Nayla and Samer and their friends back in Beirut. Generally I loved it. Great job. Thanks again” 

He even blogged about it. (It’s in Greek but the translation will follow soon!)

Book Review: The Lost I

Thank you dear friend. 

“To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” Mahatma Gandhi



Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Were In My Dream

You were in my dream last night. In my dream I was asleep when I heard a noise like someone talking. I woke up and walked to the sitting room. I saw you standing by the window overlooking the deck, talking to someone. I didn’t see who, I just heard your voice. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was so overjoyed I started crying and rushed into your arms.

“You came back! You came back!” I shouted at the top of my voice. You smiled your beautiful smile at me and you held me in your arms and told me,
“Shh don’t cry, you’re doing fine, you really are. Shh everything will be okay, you‘ll see.”

And in my dream I could feel that something was wrong- I heard myself say this can’t be, he’s dead. He can’t come back. I woke up and dumb as I am I even walked to the living room only to find it empty and have to face the harsh reality.

My dream felt so real though. I heard your voice. I looked into your eyes and they were smiling and it felt so good. I didn’t want to wake up from it. I wanted it to last forever.
Sometimes I wonder if we were still in Dubai where we had our successful careers and jobs, we had our circle of friends and colleagues, our group of supporters, where our life simply was much more organized than here, would it have made it easy for us to continue?

What bugs me most is how quickly everything changed. My perspective of life has changed completely. And I am sad today specially, because today marks the opening of an art exhibition in Beirut, Towards New Centennial, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Musa Dagh. Yesterday I received a Facebook invitation to the event. 

I was surprised and disappointed to not find your name in the list of participants. You were among the first to capture the life of our villagers on canvas. The simple everyday life starting from the chair they weaved to the pot they used for cooking during those first years as refugees.

How can they overlook you as an artist? Is this ignorance on the part of the organizing committee or is there a certain criteria that artists have to meet and you don’t? Whichever is the case I think it is very wrong to exclude you from it.


On a lighter note, the other day when I was talking to a representative from the Canada Council for the Arts, she asked to see my blog. Moments after I emailed the link to her she called back saying, and I quote; “What a beautiful blog, very elegant, very simple and beautiful design.” 

Those were her words my darling and she kept repeating it a few times. I felt a lump in my throat and at the same time I felt so proud. See you are gone but your legacy and your work remains even though some either forget or ignore it. 

You continue to live through your kids who miss you terribly. I miss you, we all miss you more and more every day. How we wish that things had turned out differently for you and us.

May you rest in peace my darling. 


Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment