Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Earth Salvation - Story by (Mahmoud Mansi) - Reviews - Criticism

Stone and Flesh Pray to The Lord / © Mahmoud Mansi
Spain / Barcelona / Sagrada Familia Church / December 2010

Earth Salvation..

In the world of Literature, we as writers sometimes refer to the champion of the story as a “He / She” or as an “I”. This is not done randomly but each has its own reflection into the realm of the story. When we use the “He” tool, it leaves more space for us to delve into the world of descriptions. We will have much space giving details for the internal / external skeleton of the character. However, when we refer to the tool “I” we will cover other internal / external details for the wandering character along with the world around it. Personally, I believe that the story is always missing another half as long as it is based on only one of these tools. It is an exciting thought to write a story twice, using each tool of these, but will the reader urge to read both!

If you did not notice so far that I am starting this story by wielding the tool “I”. Yet, this time is an exception because this is a true story that personally happened to me; the writer. I don’t usually narrate my stories directly and announce it because the best part in reading a book is that the reader never knows what can be true and what cannot be! But as I said this simple story is an exception.

About two years ago, I was waiting for one of my friends in the “Tram” station. He was late as usual, and I was anticipating the tiny universe around me; the street, the people’s faces, the buildings, the sky… I noticed how this tiny area had much several worlds within its invisible walls. We were going to the gym, but he still didn’t show up.

Across the street and the railway, it was the other side of this tiny universe, I found an old woman; a beggar, who walked randomly, alone, not begging! She tottered while looking around, as if searching for something. She accidently found a soda can resting aside. She held it while walking, and shook it but sadly it was empty. For my surprise, she held the can and walked to the garbage, and threw it there!

At first I thought that what I saw was surely from my sheer imagination. Luckily my friend didn’t show up yet, so I drove myself toward the garbage, and looked into it, yes the can was there. This was no fiction, only the unbelievable truth.

I stood there, wondering, and analyzing. As any other writer, I was trying to understand and find a philosophical justification, or else I wouldn’t be able to do my work out well!

Is it education that affects our attitudes? I thought so. Is it our social level? I thought so too. But at that moment I’ve fell into a well of doubts and confusions. It’s when the stable ground you were always standing on, is after all only an ice edge that is about to crack at any time.

There were two ways of thinking to walk through that I’ve noticed. The first was that logic and social class had no direct effect in influencing us. But why do we learn and wear the best clothes if we carry no class in such things? Why are we so keen regarding our degrees as long as they will never change what we do? If our struggle toward knowledge and royalty was a myth, then what are we?

The other path I walked in, after I failed piercing into the first one was that this beggar considered this street as her house. Maybe she was homeless and this street was her only shelter so she longed to keep it clean. For sure this explanation soothed me more as it illuminated the first one. But still, my confusion did not flee. If this was her home, then how could we (the educated and elite), be such an intruders and pollute her home-like shelter! I still find myself guilty with each path I choose through my life. My philosophy is failing me with each thought from freeing my spirit from the cross of sin.

Thanks to God, I have been inspired to find an unexpected third path that may be a salvation for my spirit, away from the lashes of a whip or the nails of a cross. She was an old “woman”. It’s in women’s nature that they focus more on these things, they have always been the ones protecting the houses from the dust and bacteria, and now that they have got their acknowledged freedom, they are now doing this to the streets too! I liked this theory; it made my spirit float free. It made people seem innocent once again… No! Wait. It only makes the other gender free. Not mine! I am now a criminal against my gender too! In all cases and with any justification, I would have been a criminal to someone…

I heard my friend calling me. Finally he arrived. Finally he postponed my death for a few more minutes. And now, after two years, I still remember this ignored story, as simple as it is, but I failed to vanquish its secrets. Oh philosophy, you want to crucify me with all means… Accept me now. You deserve to have my death with the greatness of your secrets… Embrace me, for though I’ve always been a sinner who failed to understand, yet never abandoned the eagerness for you.

·         Published with Beyond Magazine / Cairo / June 2010.

Reviews by my Readers,

Renee Drummond: Salvation : Redemption : Deliverance from Evil!!! Nice story beautiful diversion of life’s ability to manifest guilt... I feel the spirit of this story is one of entangled enlightenment!!! I await the day of your sacred... arrival!!

Muhammad Hazem Sherif: This is a truly intriguing narration, Mahmoud. It certainly is mentally provoking to eye such a scene without a swift understanding of the underlying causation.

Extensive observation is the prerequisite qualification for any writer, and you... certainly do possess it, masha-Allah :).

Rhoda Ismail: Very flattering especially the part where we women are neat =) Thanks.
In general, I could say that it is true that morals have nothing to do with social standards or education, what makes us middle class people hire uneducated servants to clean our houses then, aint I right?

Rowida Elbahi: Like the style... and the analytical thinking. I believe you would know why did she did that if you kept watching her, anyway, after long talks with people and long watching them I am sure of one fact...What you wear or what your class doesn’t reflect your understanding for life, it only gives you tools to do so yet many don't use them.

Alia Taher: This is marvelous, Mahmoud! I like the way you delineate the theme of relativity in your story. For, the story expounds the fact that everything in life is relative & that there is always a hidden facet in every person's character which remains concealed and sheltered inside a kernel which only the sensitive & perceptive can crack & delve into. It reveals that every human being is enigmatic to a certain extent & that we should never allow people's appearances to be the measure or scale by which we can understand & fathom who they really are. The fact that you managed to see the bright, civilized nature of the woman which was muffled by her shabby, tattered clothes is similar to that of a surgeon who uses his scalpel to treat his patients. With your perceptive & penetrating eye, you managed to peel off the hidden layers of the old woman's character until you reached the bright core of her being. I also like the metaphor of the street as her home which she is so keen on keeping clean because it was her only shelter. I wish all people would follow in this old woman's footsteps & be as eager as she was to keep the streets clean. A lovely piece of writing indeed, which both instructs & delights!! Perfecto!! Keep up the great work :)

Marlene De Fabrizio: The subconscious is the balanced warrior angel and knows what you write physiologically. The conscious has an opportunity to choose compassion in action with an open heart, humbled by nature and with no fear. What is real won't hurt us and ...what is unreal does not exist in the realm of truth. This gift is the grace of Goddess-God. It is the dream come true in a marriage made in heaven and our the purpose of human manifestation, to live in union with the other. Collective--Jungian Akashian human spirit--unconscious, and under analysis our nose is not really our nose...LOL... The answers are in the stars, and we experience what is in the stars within and in the union with each other. Through this union springs forth a karmic life, over and over again, till we are one inexplicable enlightened and eternal blissful energy. We as humans are here to love. As a woman loves, with wisdom, and a man with wisdom, man says "In you I find my spirit!" and she then dances for him, as wise women live to dance the dance of spirit.

Kerrie Guy: We are all students and teachers top each other ...
Once we accept this truth learning becomes so much clearer...
I often ask myself as I observe supposed beggars on the streets who in fact is the real beggar ...The one who begs or the one who gives to the beggar...?????

On a lighter note...
Mahmoud I knew this was a true story the second I read your friend was late!!!
Welcome to Egypt :))) LOL

Nawara Magdy Belal: I like your justification as much as I think it’s more of psychological than philosophical because it’s your unconscious that is trying to find a relief... and if I know you a little bit I would say that you are always seeking for salvation but turn into... self punishment and if that is the case then you want to curse your whole gender as if its men who are contributing to the earthly state that we are going through now which is of course somehow true... because if you don’t empower women you will always lack earthly salvation...

Zainab El-Mansi: Yes, it's not education or social class that governs our behaviour though they of course affect it. I believe that one's own beliefs coming from one's own thinking that govern her/his behaviour.

You never know how this woman used to think or was before being a homeless person! Maybe she considered others one day, and now when no one considers her, she unconsciously considered them, people can be really cruel to each other.

AGAIN stereotypes :))!!!! It is NOT in women nature that they focus on keeping the house clean!!! It's supposed to be there in every human being who is CLEAN. Society stamped women with this "job" of caring about the house, but human beings should care about the place they live in :))

Monda Salem: As I told you a couple of days ago,, we writers seek a philosophical explanation for every little thing in that world. We kind of complicate everything no matter how futile or trivial it is. We conduct experiments, we keep everything under observation then reach and draw a conclusion. We believe everything happens, happens for a reason. That makes us permanently in unceasing search for the reasons behind anything and everything which leave us restless. We don't believe that some things sometimes happen for no reason. Bottom line, we invent a reason in our minds and we don't care facing hard times in this strenuous mental trauma trying to find an explanation for anything.

As for the attitude of this woman, my family did not teach me how to respect the street. Or they taught me theoretically without following the rules themselves. However, I learnt all that by myself or you can say "acquired". So, I believe that such things are not taught or learnt. Actually it is a gift!!

Noha A.ElGedy: The thing I like the most is your view for things, your analytical analysis for the situation, and the storm of unanswered questions that blew through your soul! You just missed one and simplest answer that you might think of to be absurd; each and every living human being has some small morals left in him...

Ahmed Elmaghraby: Well my friend, I’m not trying to find reasons for the old woman, why she had to do that, because as you mentioned it is a multi factorial issue and we will go through a dilemma until we find out why she had to do because no one can answer it but the old woman. So it was very nice how you start this about we the writers make a variation when we use the pronouns, but sometimes we shift and convey to use (you) to get the complete attention of the readers in order to make them invade the heart of the incidence :) Good job bro :)
May Rostom: Egyptians WORSHIP delegation. We have cooks to cook for us, drivers to run errands, maids to clean our houses, people to wash and iron our clothes and simply someone to pick up our rubbish! and as long as we have someone there for us to help us out, we'll NEVER do anything on our own (that applies to all human beings but Egyptians happen to take FULL advantage of this option!)

Hanan El-Dakkak: Well, the first thing I thought of when this old poor lady threw the can in the garbage can, was that she was deceived... she thought it had something to drink, but then it was actually empty. She might have done this because she thought that's where it deserves to be, or, she's avoiding the deceiving of any other desperate street wanderer. She doesn't want someone else to feel the same depression she had.

Salma Mohamed: Well Mahmoud I agree with Hanan's post. That's what popped in to my mind when I first read it. Adding to that I think that she could be minimizing her options of finding empty cans. She does not want to get back to the same street and see the empty can again. In that case she might look at the can again and feel desperate again because she remembers that the can is empty or she might forget that the can is empty and inspect it again and then feel desperate again. Anyway she is in a miserable state.

Noha Khatib: It is really so puzzling how sometimes observing starts from a point of just spending time, ends up with thinking about our role or even what we have felt during our act of observing... it is a very impressive journey that has discoveries... on both sides; outside and inside ourselves... very beautiful and deep short story, it arouses many and a lot of questions inside my mind, by the way I hate short stories :) just as I have studied most of times they end up without specific end and am so specific person and always love clear ends but really this one is fabulous in the way of starting it and in the way you narrate the whole incident, very smoothly that affects me how really I can justify the old woman attitude and really am eager to read more of your writings... with my best regards. 

 Geetanjali Dey: A very sensible yet a very simple story..... I simply went with the progress of the story... The depict was beautifully done and narrated well in the platform of expression..... I have developed a respect for you for recognizing the beauty of womanhood...... Very few people, rather being very categorical, a class of "Gentle Men" only has the courage to regard women for who and what they are..... We are so drown in the world of class, society, show off etc., that we are forgetting our own foundations..... I am glad to know you Mahmoud, who translated a story for a poor lady, barring her class, her belonging and what she is..... It's a true homage to her!!!

All that I can say lastly is "God Bless You" !!! :)

Emily Richardson: Well, this is a perfect example of "Be the change you wish to see in the world" and this woman illustrates how good character is not based on social class or education, but on something much more intrinsic. Even though she's a beggar, she has maintained her self-respect.

Jackie Shaeffer: One of the first things I thought was... it doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be a woman thing. I, for one, know plenty of women who could care less about the cleanliness of their own home, never mind the streets which they walk on.

Perhaps she is simply one of those human beings, both men and women alike, who long to see this world in its natural glory... where the sky was a clear blue and the grass was bright green.

It did remind me of the stories my mother told me about a small very old village in Guatemala she visited sometimes. She was always fascinated by how the people that lived there would sweep the front of the streets of their houses and how they all seemed to work together to keep the whole city clean. Can you imagine if all of us as humans cared that much to try to keep our cities clean? Can you imagine the amount of unity that could bring? Seeing something like that would be miraculous!

Marwa Tarek: "Way to go, dude" And considering that beggar, I guess she did that out of emptiness "faragh" -.- I mean if you took her back to the same situation again I guess 90% she wouldn’t make... that "effort" again I don’t know.

Book Reviews on Amazon.com:

Your Native Writer,
Mahmoud Mansi.
-One of the Twenty Winners for the Literary Award / A SEA OF WORDS 2010
-HR Specialist / Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport
-International Author  / “A Journey from Darkness to Light

1 comment:

  1. While the message in the writing is apparent and describes a great deal of thought and inspiration; the writing itself is somewhat sub-par in the realm of grammar and syntax. I only say this in the writers' best interest and as motivation to work on using less filler words and correct some of the general grammar used to truly bring out the shining element that we see in your work. Oftentimes, I'm finding the same words used to start a sentence in the same paragraph, many filler words like 'this' and 'that' and misused words as descriptors.

    I only want the best for your writing and find the underlying thoughts that stem from it having great potential. Keep up the great work!