Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Adopt a Book!

Spring cleaning has yielded duplicate—but wonderful—books that need a home since I’ve ruthlessly ripped them from my shelves. 


BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, hardback Disney classic (my son loves it, can you tell?)

UNLOCKED, TEN KEY TALES - This has one of my stories included in the anthology!

*Wipes a tear* Poor homeless little dears. Do you have a cozy spot on your shelves for these little darlings? The Goddess of the Corn Book-Adoption agency is ready for your application.

To apply:

Follow this blog, leave a comment stating which book you want to adopt, and mention something about what kind of a home you’d give the book = 3 points. 

For multiple entries or to adopt more than one book, you can get extra entries for:

1. Subscribing to this blog via email (The email widget is just above my picture) = 3 points.

2. Sharing this on Facebook or Twitter = 1 point for each post. (use the Facebook link at the top of the page. The one below is giving me fits today)

3. Blog about it, or adopt out some of your own poor homeless books in your Blog and link back = 5 points.

4. Tell me what you did!

Winners will be announced on April 1st (no fooling) *wink*. Good luck everyone!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Egyptian Revolution--A View From the Inside, Part 6 (Final)

We are visiting with my friend, Ahmed Nader Al-Gretly, a writer in Cairo, Egypt. You can read part one of this interview here.

What is your goal as a writer and as a citizen of Egypt?

My goal has always been to revolutionize the arts in Egypt, because I’ve always felt like people have lost interest in art around here, I wish I can revive that. My goal is to change the way people look at Egyptian writers who write in English, it’s not like they look down on them or anything, it’s just that they do not take them or their writing seriously. And at the same time, I think that the standards of books that’d been published in the past two years have had very low standards in comparison to the international market, the reason is that the authors are poor writers and poor editors at the same time. Writing is not easy, especially if English is not your first language, but this does not refute the fact that they shouldn’t pay more attention to their craft.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Thank you for having me here, I’m really glad that people around the world paid attention to this historic event. I wish I could’ve answered your questions better, but I’m still recovering from the shock of it all.

One more thing, please do not take things for granted, never let anyone silence your thoughts, fight for your freedom and give peace a chance.

Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Ahmed. We may be half a world away, but our hearts are with you and your country. I think we all hope for a world where freedom applies to every man, woman, and child, and where religion is no longer used as an excuse for violence. I loved the pictures where Muslims and Christians stood side by side. It gives me hope.

Take care and good luck. May this new freedom you enjoy be a part of your life, always.
You can follow Ahmed @ANadarGretly on twitter. Have a question for Ahmed Nader Al-Gretly? Please comment.
Please join me in thanking him.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Egytpian Revolution--A View From the Inside, Part 5

We are visiting with my friend, Ahmed Nader Al-Gretly, a writer from Cairo, Egypt. You can read part one of this interview here.

Who is now in control of Egypt?

The Armed-Forces are in charge right now, they’ll stay in charge along with a transitional government until the presidential elections in about six months.

How do you feel about the military?

I respect and trust the military. You see, there’s this relationship between the military and the people, the military is the most respectable sector in all of Egypt, and people just love them. The Armed-Forces even sends everyone text messages every now and then. Do you get the connection between the people and the military? It’s just wonderful.

What is next for your people?

We’re in a state of recovery right now, trying to shack off the past government. I personally see a bright future for all Egyptians. People are cleaning the streets, painting pavements and other projects are being made to push this country forward, to re-build our country and make it a better place. You should see it; the youth of Egypt are cleaning their country, such a beautiful sight.

Do you think it’s fair to have free and fair elections there, or do you think there will be the same problem of ballot stuffing on Election Day like there used to be?

I think the next election will be the fairest election in the history of mankind, but that’s just me, I’m very optimistic.

Do you feel that you have greater freedom now than before?

Of course I do, freedom is in the air. No corruption, no dictatorship, it’s the New Egypt Mrs. Swore.

How do you feel these changes will affect you as a writer?

Well, I’m currently overloading on inspiration, but it’s like I still cannot fully comprehend what happened, and at the same time I feel like I cannot put my infinite thoughts into mere words. The thing is that the market will feast on this revolution, songs, movies, and books, which I’m not sure is a good thing or not. I think if I’m ever going to write a novel about this revolution, it’s going to be like 3-5 years from now. But I like the atmosphere, there’s this creative sense in the air all around Cairo which is something new over here, artists of all kinds are working really hard to create something relevant. I think this is not just a political revolution, I think it’s also an evolution of the mind.

Do you read many books that are from popular writers here? Do you have a favorite genre or author?

Well, I started with horror and thrillers. Stephen King and Thomas Harris taught me a lot, ‘Silence Of The Lambs’ is one of my favorite novels of all time. In my point of view, I think Hannibal Lecter is one of the most well written characters in modern fiction.

Lately, I’ve been getting into the beat generation. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and others are just mind blowing. I’m changing my voice from horror fiction to like a narrative, dream-like voice. I took that Goodreads 50 books challenge at the beginning of the year. So far, I’ve read ‘Big Sur’ by Kerouac, and I’m currently reading ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ by Stieg Larsson, which I’m really enjoying.

A new section of Ahmed's interview will post everyday this week. Only one post left! Tomorrow's question:
What is your goal as a writer and as a citizen of Egypt?

Have a question for Ahmed Nader Al-Gretly? Please comment.
You can follow Ahmed on Twitter @ANaderGretly

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Egyptian Revolution--A View From the Inside, part 4

We are visiting with my friend, Ahmed Nadar Al-Gretly, an Egyptian writer from Cairo, Egypt. You can read part one of the interview here.

What was it like for you when the “pro-Mubarak” supporters attacked the protesters?

I was baffled actually. I couldn’t understand what was going on, I kept asking myself, were these people hired? Did someone pay them money to do this? But I knew that this was an effort made by the previous government to divide the unity that held this revolution together. They tried to create a sort of a civil war between Egyptians. It saddened me to see my people being attacked by others of the same country, the same blood.

How did you feel after Mubarak made his last speech? And after Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak had stepped down as president?

Mubarak’s last speech was highly depressing and badly written; I didn’t even hear the rest of it. We all waited for that speech and everyone expected him to step down that evening, but the speech itself was a slap in the face, it was very disrespectful to the minds and hearts of the Egyptian people. He was talking as if he didn’t care about this country, for example, he said “Your martyrs” when he was talking about the people who lost their lives in the protests, the use of the word ‘Your’ instead of ‘Our’ meant that he himself didn’t really care, it meant that he did not relate to these brave martyrs.

Now Suleiman’s (the vice president appointed on the 29th of January) speech –which lasted less than a minute, that was something else. I wasn’t home when they aired it on national television. I came down to park my car in the garage, and when I came out of the car, I heard something that sounded like a scream, but then after that, the screams turned into cheers of joy and I knew it. I rushed up stairs and heard the words that made Egypt cry tears of joy.

“President Mubarak has resigned from his role as president of Egypt…”

If you want me to sum up all these emotions in one word…I felt euphoric.

In your mind, what was the greatest factor in making this revolution a success?

It was the force; I’m not talking about Star Wars. I’m talking about faith. Faith gave people the power to go on and not back down; it was the fuel that kept their fire glowing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like “Hey, we’re gonna keep praying and eventually, God will prevail.” It’s more of “We’re gonna work, we’re gonna fight, we’re gonna do the best we can and God will protect us because we have faith that we are on the right path”

People had faith in the higher power; they knew that God was on their side, and that they were fighting for a good cause. That –in my point of view was the greatest factor in making this revolution a success. Did you see that photograph where Muslims were praying, surrounded my Christians who stood as a human shield to protect them? Did you ever see that before anywhere in the world? That’s who we are Mrs. Swore.

A new section of Ahmed's interview will post everyday this week.

Tomorrow's question: Who is now in control of Egypt? How do you feel about the military?
Have a question for Ahmed Nader Al-Gretly? Please comment.
You can follow Ahmed on Twitter @ANaderGretly

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Egyptian Revolution--A View From the Inside, Part 3

We are visiting with Ahmed Nader Al-Gretly, a writer friend from Cairo, Egypt. See part 1 of the interview here.

I understand that the police disappeared around the same day that the prisons were opened. What did people think of that?

Horror. Sheer and utter horror filled all our hearts. Who did this? Why? How? The constant questioning and fear that echoed through the streets of Cairo on those days was just unspeakable. That’s when people formed “The Civilian Resistance”. On Saturday, the 29th of January at around five or six in the evening, the sound of an Imam’s* voice echoed through the streets of Sheraton Heliopolis (My neighborhood). The Imam called for all the men to go down into the streets and protect their homes. That’s when we found out about the prisons and the police stations, about the escaped convicts (Which were about 2,000 convict) and thugs that roamed the streets of Cairo, armed with guns and machine guns stolen from burnt police stations.

The Civilian Resistance is what you might call Neighborhood watch, we created road blocks, formed teams to guard and protect our families and homes. That day, something clicked in me, it wasn’t the thought of being killed, it was the fear of the unknown. We did not know what to be afraid of, we were sitting ducks armed with swords, knifes and Molotov cocktails waiting for gangs of thugs to drive by in stolen cars and kill us all. The howls of the men, the screams of the women in the balconies…I was scared, in fact, I’ve never been that terrified in my life. Even in the middle of all that horror, we still made jokes, we still laughed the sorrow away with the sounds of gunshots being fired echoing through the night.

I remember standing, engulfed by fear and desperate for sleep, holding my sword sometime in the early morning. As I scanned the parameter, I saw strangers that had become friends, I saw the man who talked a lot, I saw the kid sleeping on his father’s lap with a tiny stick in his hand, and I saw the old man who kept walking around with his head up high and a faint smile on his face. All of them gathered around several bonfires, offering each other tea and cake on that cold dark night. I couldn’t help but smile. The murmurs, the cries of fear and the speeches of hope are still echoing in my mind, because that’s who we are.

[*An Imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the Imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services.]

How did the events in the square affect everyday business in the rest of the city?
When the government ordered the curfew on the 28th, the whole country went off. The majority of the people on the streets were ether going to the Square or shopping for food. All the stores were closed after curfew hours, but there weren’t any food shortages, however, panic made things a bit harder. The hospital a few blocks away from home was working fine, day and night.

A new section of Ahmed's interview will post everyday this week. Tomorrow's question: What was it like for you when the “pro-Mubarak” supporters attacked the protesters?
Have a question for Ahmed Nader Al-Gretly? Please comment.
You can follow Ahmed on Twitter @ANaderGretly

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Egyptian Revolution--A View From the Inside, Part 2

We are visiting with my friend, Ahmed Nader Al-Gretly, a writer from Cairo, Egypt. Be sure to check out part 1 of this interview.

There have been uprisings before, but people always backed down when the water cannons and tear gas came out. Why didn’t they back down this time?

There have been uprisings before, but none of them erupted with the magnitude and intensity of this one you’ve witnessed. We have our flaws, but Egyptians are loving tender people. They’re good people who never cease to make jokes when things get rough, we stand by each other. Take a walk in the streets of Cairo and look at their faces, look at the smiles, look at how complete strangers help each other; this is my Egypt, our Egypt. When Egyptians speak, they never say ‘I’, they always say ‘We’ because that’s who we are, we love this country, and on the 25th, we were determent to get it back, to free it from the hands of a greedy government. So to answer your question, fear made them want to escape and hide, but determination made them stand their ground and fight for their country.

Did you have friends that were in Freedom square that we saw on TV? Where any hurt in the clashes?

Yes, I did actually; several of my friends were in the protests on the 28th of January (A.K.A “The Friday of Wrath”) none of them got hurt in the clashes –thank God, but other people did. Tear gas bombs, rubber bullets and even live bullets were fired on the protesters by the riot squads; load and loads of innocent, unarmed civilians were killed on that day, and the days that followed. The hired thugs, the “Camels Incident” left thousands injured and hundreds dead or missing. But you have to understand something; this revolution is a gold mine for conspiracy theorists, who hired those thugs? Who burnt the police stations? All these questions have a cloud of suspicion surrounding it. I don’t blame the riot squads themselves; I blame the man who ordered them to do what they did.

Some members of the squads threw their weapons and joined the protests, some wept while they were beating up civilians, but everything that happened in that period was unacceptable. The government killed its people; they murdered them in cold blood, what kind of human being gave these orders? I’m known to my small group of fans as a gut wrenching horror writer, but this was something else. The brutality of it all, my God! Egypt wept for its children…

A new section of Ahmed's interview will post everyday this week. Tomorrow's question:  The police disappeared around the same day that the prisons were opened. What did people think of that?  
You can follow Ahmed on Twitter @ANaderGretly