Fadwa Al Qasem
I Am what i art
Confessions. Art Journaling. Art. Writing. Poetry. Play. And everything life in between.
How many jars does she have in that house of hers? My father once asked out loud. I had no idea what he was talking about, of course, until I actually entered that house, and I stood dwarfed before their imposing presence. They stood on the shelves covering the walls, touching shoulders, looking down at me. Somewhere lost in their midst stood an old clock. Silenced. Uncomfortable. Awkward. All the jars contained what looked like scrolls of paper. White. Yellow, legal pad paper or yellowed by age. All except one, which had teeth. Hers? Behind me her bracelets clanged. I felt embarrassed to be caught so mesmerized. Her smile, although she tried hard to hide it, made me feel better and worse at the same time. I think it was because her lips smiled, a little, but in her eyes I swore (many times to my dad) that I saw tiny grains of salt shimmering under the moon that night.
Excerpt from a novel in progress.
I bought it at a sale. I fell in love with its daintiness, the fine china, the delicate handle. I would only drink my tea from this mug. Usually Twinings Earl Grey tea. And never any sugar - a habit I picked-up from my dad since I was a little girl.
How beautiful it seemed to me, this mug. Deep blue around the rim, a delicate gold line curving from one side of the handle to the other. And flowers, rather blossoms, like the ones you always see in Japanese paintings - some big, some small, all pink, surrounded by lots of golden leaves tinged with pink, too.
I can still smell the tea, feel the heat of the mug in my hand, the liquid moving inside, steam curling my bangs.
How many times have you made me a mug of tea? I tried multiplying the numbers in my head; forty years, three cups a day and 365 days a year. My mind goes numb. Hundreds upon hundreds of lazy mornings, evenings filled with slow melodies, Arabic, French and Italian, dancing on tip-toe, leaves and hands trembling.
I see you carrying my mug and coming toward me. Your hand always, always touching mine when you gave me my mug. You always thought, perhaps, that I was lazy, not wanting to move from my couch to make my own tea. But it was your touch that I craved. Especially later on when it became the only touch I received from you. I knew then that I could put up with anything, as long as you took the time to make me tea and touch me even accidentally.
Then one morning I woke up and you were gone. I woke up to an eerily silent house - the word house came to mind, not home. Radio off. Television off. No smoke snaking its way around to me bedroom, my pillows, my hair. I knew this day would come. We inhaled and exhaled our goodbyes so many times, so long ago, I had almost forgotten.
I got out of bed and walked around the house barefoot. You always hated that. You always loved that when we first met. I was thinking I'd have one last look at this space when the air was light and I could see rainbows between our toes. Then I found you. On the floor, in the living room. My mug still on the table, the once bright, white china so full of tea stains.
So many stains, so many shapes.
Children, kittens, puppies ..
You didn't leave me after all.
A swing, a tree..
Better you had left. Or I had.
Petunias and daisies..
Or the mug had broke.
Or the tea hadn't stained my mug.
Or the stains hadn't looked so much like our photo albums.
Side view of my art journal
Love the colorful messy look. The colored edges. The bursting at the seams chunkiness. The music the pages make when i flip through the notebook. The crinkles. I love it all.
My new goal is to fill one journal a month with spreads, art, writing, lists, ideas.. experimentis. Trying things out. Keeping the juices flowing. First drafts and preliminary sketches.
By working towards this goal, I feel very free to play. I'm learning not to cross anything out. Leaving the first raw thoughts and sketches as they arrive to my fingers and my page.
This is the place to play without judgement. This is where the seeds get planted. It's my green house. My garden. Something will always blossom or become the compost to nourish something new.
Try it and let me know.
#iamwhatiart #ART #ArtJournal #author #Play #Words #Women #life #love #Fun #fadwaalqasem
I'm too afraid to talk about my kids too much. Mostly because it's just so unbearable to have so much of your emotions, your thoughts, your soul roaming around the earth so far away from you. It's like having your heart wrenched out, like being that huffing, puffing oxygen challenged smoker every morning and every night. Especially every night. It's like a huge chuck of your life got amputated when your kids moved out.
The echo in the house is so much louder now. The fridge is always full. In the heavy silence I still hear their footsteps and their endless questions.
The sane and logical mum in me wants her children to be strong, independent, happy, able to cope with whatever life throws at them. The little, emotional mummy in me want to kiss and heal, hug away sorrows, tell ridiculous stories made up on the spur of the moment about how I knew Genghis Khan and tried to dissuade him from pillaging as we rode on big horses with long flowing manes. To be able to make my babies laugh and feel good about themselves and their lives. Faults and all.
The emotional mummy finds it so hard to let go. And so you will find her at night, late at night, crying at some stupid advert because it reminded her of one of her children. Or crying because one of them is feeling bad or is sick and she can do nothing at all to make it all go away.
I thought that being a working woman would save me some pain. I thought my hobbies would keep me distracted. Help me focus on the bigger picture. In the end, as it turns out, these things help only temporarily.
Despite the books, the exhibitions, the career, the truth is that I am a fully fledged, soft-hearted, air-headed mummy. My boys are what matter most to me. What I am denying is that being a mummy is sometimes so overwhelmingly painful.
Because writing is like dancing and I really love dancing. And because pages from my art journal sing when I fill them with words, marks and color.
I tried to keep things separate.
The contradiction that is life.
I am happy, so happy on a personal, very micro-level. I am so sad and angry on the macro-level. Walking this precarious tightrope between suicidal anger and euphorical, delerious happiness.
This is the world I live in. Fully aware how lucky I am that the latter always wins.
لماذا أكتب؟ لأن الكتابة كالرقص وأنا أعشق الرقص. ولأن الورق يغني حين يعج بالحروف والألوان..أمشي السراط غير المستقيم الذي يربط فيما بين السعادة التي هي حياتي الشخصية والتعاسة والبؤوس التي هي هذه الحياة.. وأعرف جيداً كم أنا محظوظة أن السعادة، في نهاية كل مطاف، هي التي تستقبلني
Dear Juicy Creative Spirits,
If you'd love to receive inspirations and know what's new for you here
to keep your mouth watering and heart singing,
then please send me your email. I promise not to give out your emails, spam you, or hard sell you anything. xxx
Fadwa Al Qasem
Email me if you are interested in purchasing my art.
(c) Copyright Fadwa Al Qasem 2015