All posts tagged: Hilal Chouman

Limbo, Beirut




My Japanese wife Takara told me once that she saw how I turned all things into the substance of a novel. This was fine, she said, but in my relentless pursuit of doing so, I overlooked many aspects of real life.

“The things around us are neutral,” she said. “On an equal plane. We are the ones who raise them up high or bring them down. Disgust is as we define it. Morality is as we define it too. We define right, and we define wrong. We are obsessed with defining everything external to ourselves. Yet this does not mean that we acknowledge what we have defined. Things are by their nature simple, but they coexist within a circle of complex relationships. You, when you write, complicate things and simplify the relationships among them,” she said. “Can you deny it? Even stories that are not trying to provoke social or political changes and are only meant to entertain, most of them simplify the relationships among their characters. Perhaps simplicity in relationships is what we desire in an alternate reality? Even cheap melodramas, we relate to them because they entertain hidden parts of our souls. Do you tell stories to entertain? Is life entertaining, anyway? You do not know? Maybe? No? It is not important. The point is that when you see everything as a story, you are constructing a perfect scene, so you let yourself overlook everything that has no place in your idea of it.”

Limbo, Beirut