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by kirharsa 

Posted: 09 March 2010
Word Count: 1602

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Ali stormed to his room without saying hello to his dad as usual. His dad was a retired private sector employee who watches television everyday with no specific purpose. Ali hated what his dad turned out to be. He always thought that his dad have some strength in him. He thought that his dad was always capable to steer his life among obstacles, but never he thought that his dad would surrender one day and announce his defeat. That announcement stroke Aliís heart with despair, but it made him determined not to end up likes his dad.

Ali was different, and he knew it. He was eager to explore life from all angles. He was thoughtful and energetic, but for some reason he had inherited a huge amount of negativity from his life experience. Ali always knew though that he could make it in life. He liked to question things around him, and sometimes to analyze these things philosophically. He was no nerd, however, he enjoyed being the number one student in his class, and someone who gets the highest grades. That was easy for him, but sports were not. He wanted to be special, and godís gift to him was his scholastic aptitude. Ali was also a skillful writer, by nature. He enjoyed writing symbolically since he had a vivid imagination that helped him impress his writing class teacher and students alike. The beautiful thing was that Ali did not have to pressure himself to write a beautiful piece of prose or poetry, it just flows. Ali however struggled with science. He always considered it dull and dry, especially mathematics. Ali did not like logical thinking; instead, he loved human interaction and reaction. His mind was very linguistic, but not very logical. He was doing well in science and math merely because he had to, not because he was good genuinely. But Aliís society had no place for linguists and novelists, it, the society, considered such professions asĒ non-productiveĒ, therefore, good students should avoid them and study lucrative careers as physicians or engineers; which are also more prestigious.

Ali always thought that the best way to live a good life is to fulfill his parentís dream of becoming a famous physician like his mum wished, or a renowned politician like his dad wished. He never had the strength to become what he really loved and wanted; a creative writer. But an unusual event changed Aliís direction in life. He received a scholarship to study abroad, in the United States. That was like a dream came true. He never believed he was able to live alone without the direct supervision of his parents, and the authority of his society. In fact, when the news broke out that he got a full scholarship to spend the last two years of his life in a boarding school far away from home, several if not all of his friends and relatives tried in different ways to convince him not to go. Some proclaimed that he will lose his chance to become a physician, others said he will become a drug junkie or a womanizer, while some actually said that the whole idea of this scholarship to turn him into a loyal Zionist! Everyone had his reason, but the truth is that none of these people had any idea about the school or the environment Ali was about to experience, they were merely speculations!
Ali did not care really about his friends or relatives suggestions. He was already there, in USA, with his mind and soul. He knew he wanted to explore life and get out of his small town. He always wanted to become something special but was always frustrated by the lack of vision of his teachers, colleagues, family, and the society as a whole. Ali was a typical third-world kid with big dreams; eager but alone.
In all his life, Ali wanted to prove to himself that he could do something special with his life. He really hated to be average. But that idea of not being average was translated at the beginning in being school-smart. However, Ali soon discovered that being school-smart was actually being average, since nothing was so special at being good in getting high grades. It was a matter of studying hard and paying attention during class. But it was a tedious process that did not leave a remarkable impact on anyone. Being special in Aliís mind was to be genuinely good at something. In other way, Ali wanted to become a star of something beyond books and academia, to create a new trend or way of thinking, to produce a genuine novel or become a creative journalist. He enjoyed that type of success very much, but Ö but he was not courageous enough to pursue it. Again, it was his inner fear from society that prohibited him from following his dreams.
In the United States Ali discovered so many hidden parts of his personality. He was actually cool and funny, and he loved to dance and listen to music. Ali also started to become athletic and member of sport teams, and he even participated in world affairs discussions. That was truly something for him. It was his own success, not what the society wanted and proclaimed. He became confident of himself, however, he did not do well in school simply because he became so preoccupied with discovering his soul. Ali also tasted the meaning of interacting with women, real women. He did not have any experience with women before, since back home he was considered a serious person. Ali understood that there is very important part for women in life, and that it needs great skill and lots of learning to attain womenís attention and appreciation. Ali loved his new life, it was full of action and experience, and brought him to face his inner fears and weaknesses several times a day!
Ali came back home to face reality again. There was a university full of backwardness and aimlessness. It was a big culture shock for Ali. He wanted to pursue his studies in USA, but his low grades and lower money prohibited him from pursuing his American dream. There back in the capital city of his country he met with students from the upper middle class, and from the poor class as well. He saw huge differences in attitudes and convictions, ethics and directions, but nothing was even close to the intensity and clarity of his American experience. The Arab world that Ali belongs to apparently was out-of-touch with the developed world. It was like there were two fundamentally different worlds out there, even if they looked similar from the outside. Aliís university was not what Aliís wanted, but he had to accept it for the lack of better option. The rhythm of life in that university was very tedious. Guys dress up everyday and pass by the local shop to buy their smuggled White Marlboros, ride in their fancy cars or jump in a taxi if they are less wealthy and show up in the ďSquareĒ, where the boys hunt their girls. The girls on the other hand used to wake up early to start their make-up party. They come to the university as they are going to a prom! The idea was to impress the guys, however, they would eventually hunt that rich one who fulfills their dreams of a better life. That was another disappointment for Ali. Girls in his local university were quite materialistic. He hardly found a girl who can communicate decently with him without the hidden idea of thinking how much he is worth, what car he drives, or what future awaits him. Maybe Ali was not the right type of a guy for that university. He opted for a clearer life, a life where things are easy to comprehend and where people act naturally and follow their dreams.
But it was hard. Ali started to adapt to the tedious life of no action, where he found himself trapped and unchallenged. The idea of being distinguished beyond books faded slowly from his mind. The teachers and professors were western universities graduates, however, after spending several years in the lame bureaucracy of the local university, they became depressed governmental employees with no spirit at all to teach and learn. That depressed Ali, who learnt in the States that teachers are role models. However, no one seems to care in the Arab part of the world. It is just a mechanical practice of waking up in the morning, dressing up, drinking coffee, attending lectures and write lengthy notes and go later to exams. Nothing so special. Ali knew life is better than that, in fact we all know deep down our hearts that life is better than that, donít we?
We all need food and shelter; we craze ourselves to make sure we make enough money to afford them. But we never stop there. Once full and warm, we seek a nice car, a beautiful mate, quality conversations, fame, recognition, appreciation, and the list never ends. But what makes us really happy is what we feel happy making. Pursuing our dreams. But how many of us are courageous enough to do that? Very few I would say, including Ali. In his heart he knew something was wrong, something was missing, things are not in order. He did not want to melt in the lava of his society; he wanted to be the solid rock standing out in the inferno. This is when the Ali saga began, or maybe when it actually ended!

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Comments by other Members

NMott at 13:04 on 11 March 2010  Report this post
I think you've got the basis for a good story here. The thing to do, to make it more imediate for the reader, is to work up some scenes where you can show some of your character's experiences of the life you're writing about. Having scenes that add dialogue and the characters thoughts and feelings about what is going on, will help to flesh out this person for the reader.

All the best with the writing.

- NaomiM

kirharsa at 14:29 on 11 March 2010  Report this post
Tks NaomiM, I'll try to do that, and will keep u posted. Take care


Joella at 21:07 on 13 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Kirharsa, I tend to agree with Naomi. You have a very good idea for a story. There is so much scope in what you write, but it could do with being broken into scenes. Dialogue would enable you to express opinions and emotions of the characterise a way that could move the story along. Comparing Arab and British / European cultures, dealing with contrasting aspirations and conflicts, could make for a very powerful and compelling story.
I wish you every success.
Kind regards, Joella.

jim60 at 06:50 on 14 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Kirhasa, There is quite a lot here that you could do a fair amount with. This seems very synopsis like, so perhaps, if you were to take pieces of the story and then work on each and it could quite likely build from there. There is a lot of scope here and I think Ali needs to be that much more vocal, by that I mean dialogue, and what you've written does show that to an extent, but I'd like to be able to hear his voice.
I agree with Naomi and Joella, but I also accept that this is your own take on things, the way that you see through Ali, what he's experienced and so on.
I enjoyed it, and well done on you first upload.
good luck with it,

Carlton Relf at 13:22 on 14 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Kirharsa,

My view is similar to that of the other comments. You have the basis for a good story which could be developed in a number of ways - depending on where you see it going. The story is told rather than shown - dialogue will certainly give you the chance to give a deeper insight into the emotions and feelings of your character ..bring him alive more.

I really enjoyed this and with a bit of tinkering I think you will have a compelling story. I look forward to seeing how it develops!

Hope you are enjoying write words...I'm fairly new to this site and find it very useful.

All the best

Albatross at 11:17 on 22 March 2010  Report this post
Hi Kirharsa,

welcome to the group and thanks for posting your story which I enjoyed reading. Sorry to be so slow with my comments. I would echo the comments that have already been made. I think some dialogue would really bring it alive!

I look forward to reading more of your work. Good luck


kirharsa at 21:25 on 23 March 2010  Report this post

Hi guys (Joella,Kim60,Carlton,and Albatross),

Thank you so much for your great feedback, and sorry for not replying earlier as I was busy with my day job. I agree with you that dialogue and scenes will give life to the story, and I will try to re-write the story in that direction. To be honest with u guys, I have no formal training in creative writing (I am an economist!), but I really like writing novels. So all help will be appreciated. Take care and stay in touch,


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