Unpacking (getting it out of my system)

Joana Saahirah of Cairo

Moi memme and my first published baby “The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond”. The GET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM gal.

Raks My World images twoA well intended reviewer of my first published book “The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond” mentioned I´d written the book because, and I quote, “I had to get it out of my system”.

I´m not sure about this comment´s good intentions but I certainly know there´s truth to it. Maybe not in the way the reviewer intended but, allas, in my own way. As far as I see, creativity is always something we need to “get out of our systems”. It´s a water fall and the artist/creator has the urgency to let all that water loose; it´s an urgency to let those waters roam free, spreading the seeds they carry.

Books ask to be written as much as songs ask to be danced/choreographed. Some times they don´t just ask – they yell, they pull us from the hair and dump us into a crazy tunnel from where we can only escape when we do what we´re demanded to do. I´m naif that, and many other, way(s).

Aside from the urgency to get whatever your soul is carrying “out of your system”, there´s the PERSONAL touch which, then again as far as I can see, it´s essential to every creative expression, may that be a book, a painting, a dance, a song or whatever we classify as art. I rise my eyebrows to anyone who claims to create impersonally:

-Oh, no. My work isn´t personal. Personal work is for amateurs… – So they say, with a pipe hanging from their knowledgeable mouths.

? Really ?

I must conclude I´m an amateur. A proud one – to make things worse. Or better. In dance, in writing, in teaching and in anything else I may do – I´m a proud amateur who embraces her PERSONAL world and expresses it through her work. Now condemn me, if you wish.

As I dig deeper and deeper into the re-writing of my upcoming book (1st volume is nearly finished – I can hardly believe it!), I find myself inside the same box some will use as stones: the personal, getting it out of my system box.

In my opinion, the fact that my work is personal and urgent is not a flaw, as the mentioned reviewer suggested, but a quality I have no intention of losing.

1380367_677247108973508_1357941107_nThe editor I´m working with – an amazing one, I must add – once told me the whole story was inside my head and, therefore, I had to grab that draft I was so proud of and write the whole thing down, from ground zero. That meant 800 pages written and no bok! My damned blessed story was still inside in; not on the page, where it should be!

We were sitting at Starbucks, she was drining a sensible mint infusion (no sugar) and I was drinking a (very personal) caramel machiatto (with cream, caramel sauce and cinammon). Our conversation setting was cool and comforting – the conversation was not. When she told me the book was not yet written despite the 800 written pages, I felt the urge to squeeze her neck in a very, very personal way. Yes: that “get it out of your system” way. It turns out she was right and I, the good student who knows when and whom to listen, accepted the challenge to start from nothing (or almost nothing).

A great part of this process is what I call “unpacking”. Picture me with an open travelling bag, on my bed, taking out item after item. There are corners of this bag that I´d forgotten about – memory being that life saver that erases what hurts too bad. There are items I didn´t know I´d packed. I keep taking stuff from inside this bag and discover it´s endless. The more I unpack, the more there is to unpack. It´s like Pandora Box but with a good, beautiful twist. Instead of disasters, I take LIFE out of it. Personal, for sure; get  it out of your system kind of stuff.

It´s a fact: no matter how much or how greatly you may do, there will always be criticism. People who hate you just because. People who love you just because. And everyone in between.

Some of us are into great quality cuisine, the fancy, healthy, expensive one, and others are into McDonalds. Who´s right? Who´s better? Do we have to compare them?

Here´s my power and, according to some, my weakness: I can only do, say and teach what I am. What the world thinks of it is not my (main) concern. It could never be. Damn – again!  I think I´m an artist. 993738_693922697305949_602592872_n

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