I saw, in my dream that I was walking between foreign houses, holding many books. Each book consisted of many other books proliferating endlessly. Coming to a verse of any poem written inside the book, I fond myself looking at its poet’s name. Then, I saw his face. I put the book down beside him and carried on.
Suddenly, I found myself changed into a giant book. I became a book among books. Strangely enough, I kept my human feelings within my book-like shape. I look at the world around me and I can read the sheets of paper thrust in me. The sheets were flying away. Every sheet was taking along part of the story. I read all the stories. I found some of them acceptable and comprehensible. I found the others very humble or so they seemed to me. I decided to post these stories to some daily newspaper to be published but I remembered that publishing is not that easy. I thought to publish them in a cultural electronic website so that it may be read all over the world. I found it difficult too. So, I decided to gather those foreigners to tell them these stories. However, those people looked as if they were dead. They do not move nor do they speak or look or hear. They looked as if they were bewitched into stone beings by some evil witch who went away in search of her lover who was mortally daggered in his back.
What is the use of my stories for those people even if I succeed in penetrating their weird beings?
So, I had to get rid of all those stories in the giant book which is no-one else but me. I took off all those stories and I started to pin them to the branches of the trees. Every leaf bears a story and every story should take its place at the trunk of the tree and so it was.
The mission was accomplished.
All of a sudden, I felt that the universe was filled with light and that birds came from all over the world heading for the trees. Every tree received thirty birds and every bird has its eyes fixed straight on the story pinned to one of the branches.
The birds were reading and discussing the stories as if they were trying to find in them the Simorg image that they have, in vain, been searching for all their lives. When they have finished reading them, they seemed unsatisfied as the stories were not about birds’ world. The stories were about man’s, depicting human states of life. Again, the birds flew high in the sky and disappeared in the wide horizon. I felt as if the leaves on the trees turned into eyes looking at me and inviting me to read my stories for them. I accepted shyly. I took the first story and I started reading (…).
The trees stirred joyfully. Their branches danced merrily. They asked for more stories. A snake, which I had not noticed before, said: “Entertain us, storyteller!” I smiled at hearing his flattery although, linguistically, I do not like to be called a “storyteller”. I would prefer, instead, “short-story writer”.
I started to read the second narrative text. In length, It was as short as Zakaria Tamer’s short-short stories but, in content, it was quite different. My second text takes its story matter out of the reality that I live and the one with which you interact, you smart reader, be you male or female!
Anyway, I started to read and I felt myself shivering. It is difficult to read or write a new text when you are strongly flattered on the previous one. The fear from being unable to give valuable additions overwhelms you. Accordingly, the first text grows a real obstacle before any inclination towards change and innovation.
My reading flowed beautifully. The narrative text introduced itself through my voice like the following:”…”.
I observed how the snake’s eyes changed from laziness to brightness, from abstraction to concentration. That made me so happy and encouraged me to carry on reading my story. The branches of the trees were dancing again, discussing the ideas in this story. I was happy hearing their comments. All their comments were focused on the text. No comment made a hint on me in any aspect.
When the comments were over, the snake came out of his place and begged me to read the third story.
The third story was real indeed. I do not know when it happened but I used to feel the truth coming out of it. It is a real story, either it happened or not. I had that intuition.
I looked up at the tree to the branch of which this story was pinned. The branch was proud to be chosen as a support for the story.
I asked permission to read the story. The branch allowed me to do by a nod. I paced closer, put on my glasses and started to read loudly and deeply: (…).
My reading was well over.
On ending my story, I felt as if some genie kidnapped me and threw me in an unknown, deserted place where there were no flying birds nor walking beasts. I looked left and right. I kind of heard somebody moaning. I was afraid but I recovered my composure. I kind of saw a stone moaning. I paced closer. I found that it has the features of such a very beautiful girl. I looked at her, unbelieving. She smiled to me despite the intense pain she was suffering.
I asked her about her fate and she told me:” A monstrous genie has kidnapped me in my wedding day and wanted to rape me and when I resisted, he turned me so”…
I remembered an old poem written for children that I had read when I was a little child. It was entitled:” A Mighty Genie”. We used to learn it by heart since every child among us would hope to be that “Mighty Genie”. I smiled at the presence of this childish memory.
The stone girl believed that I was encouraging her to tell her story and she went on:” This genie told me that my deliverance would be on one of some poet’s hands. As soon as he will recite me a courtly-love poem in regular lines on the iambic pentameter, I will recover my original human shape.
I informed her that I am actually a poet although I write only prose poetry. I have three poetry-books celebrating feminine beauty. The first is entitled “Love Papers”, the second “Passion Interpreter” and the third “Love Book”. My heart cracked apart, borrowing the famous Tunisian writer Kamal Ayadi’s expression, and there was nothing to add.
The charming girl turned to weep again. Her pain deeply touched my heart and verses on my tongue started to flow down automatically.
At that moment, I felt that the stone girl was gradually recovering her natural shape. Sweat was pouring down both her face and mine. She was sweating out of transformation and me out of attraction to her beauty.
She was exceptionally pretty. When the transformation was over, she hurried away to hide in a cover. She was beautifully shy in my presence. I hurried after her, trying to get her and hug her so passionately.
Suddenly, I felt shaken by the alarm-clock ringing, reminding me that it’s time to wake up and hurry to school… Oh, the whole story was a pure dream!
I got up and went to school but I found out that my damned dream was still going on.
This is just one example of the important work produced YaLa’s citizen journalists, a program funded by the European Union’s Peacebuilding Initiative in order to enable young leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa to document and share their experiences of the region.