Stand Up Writing

How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live – Henry David Thoreau


December 2015

Railroad sleepers – Henry David Thoreau

[…] We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us. Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad? Each one is a man, an Irishman, or a Yankee man. The rails are laid on them, and they are covered with sand, and the cars run smoothly over them. They are sound sleepers, I assure you. And every few years a new lot is laid down and run over, so that, if some have the pleasure of riding on a rail, others have the misfortune to be ridden upon. And when they run over a man that is walking in his sleep, a supernumerary sleeper in the wrong position, and wake him up, they suddenly stop the cars, and make a hue and cry about it, as if this were an exception. I am glad to know that it takes a gang of men for every five miles to keep the sleepers down and level in their beds as it is, for this is a sign that they may sometime get up again.

Henry David Thoreau

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Envoie-nous des fous – Louis-Joseph Lebret

Envoie-nous des fous

Seigneur, envoie-nous des fous
Qui s’engagent à fond,
Qui oublient, qui aiment autrement qu’en paroles,
Qui se donnent pour de vrai et jusqu’au bout.

Il nous faut des fous, des déraisonnables, des passionnés,
Capables de sauter dans l’insécurité:
L’inconnu toujours plus béant de la pauvreté.
Il nous faut des fous du présent,
Épris de vie simple, amants de paix,
Purs de compromission, décidés à ne jamais trahir,
Méprisant leur propre vie,
Capables d’accepter n’importe quelle tâche,
De partir n’importe où :
À la fois libres et obéissants,
Spontanés et tenaces doux et forts.

O Dieu envoie-nous des fous

Louis-Joseph Lebret



أرسل إلينا مجانين
يلتزمون عميق الالتزام
يحبون بالفعل لا بالكلام
يبذلون ذواتهم حقا وحتى النهاية

نحن بحاجة إلى مجانين
أناس غير منطقيين
قادرين على القفز في عدم الاستقرار
في مجهول أوسع دوما من الفقر والعوز
نحن بحاجة إلى مجانين شغفوا بالحاضر
مغرمين بالحياة البسيطة
يحبون السلام
طاهري الذيل لا يساومون
عقدوا النية على أن لا يخونوا
يهزأون بحياتهم
قادرين على أن يقبلوا أي مهمة
ويذهبوا إلى أي مكان
أحرارا وفي الوقت عينه طائعين
عفويين وفي الوقت نفسه عنيدين
ودعاء أقوياء
اللهم أرسل إلينا مجانين



قاسي يا هالعيد – جورج مفوّض

نقطة ضعفي من إزازي
شوف قلوب عم بتنكسر
ودمعة تشتي عشباكي
فيها وجع مجبول قهر
يمكن ذنبو إنو تعذب
مهدد من سلاحو تشرد
من ثقة وثقافة تغرب
من دوا وجرح مجلد
حرامو انحرم إنو يغطي
إعصار ومين قال في نهار
بتشرق شمسو عالصبي
حتى مش هم اﻷسرار
الكبار فوق راسن خيمة
خطط وتنظيم المسار
شي يمين، وشي عشمال
وتقصيم الرزقة حلال
بس يا خوفي من الخيال
ما ياخد حقو رسمال
بكرا جايي العيد بينطر
قاعد عحفاف الخريف
ناطر فرج عصوت المطر
وابن عمو الفرح السخيف
اللي ألوانن بلون الكذبة
مخابية بطرف اﻷحقاد
وباﻵخر في آخر خبرية
ممكن تحمل باﻷعياد
بسمة أو حتى كلمة
أو حتى لمسة محبة
خبزة ولقمة كرامة
ورشة من صلاة الرحمة
تيزهر ربيع الجايي
زهرة وطن بميلاد اﻵية.

جورج مفوض


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The Rain Dancer

As she wanders with her feet
She wonders with her brain
They see her on the street
And they call her insane

And even though it’s discreet
It still causes her pain
But she does not admit defeat
And keeps dancing in the rain
And keeps dancing in the rain!

Eddy Abi Younes

Beauty will save the world – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“One day Dostoevsky threw out the enigmatic remark: “Beauty will save the world”. What sort of a statement is that? For a long time I considered it mere words. How could that be possible? When in bloodthirsty history did beauty ever save anyone from anything? Ennobled, uplifted, yes – but whom has it saved?

There is, however, a certain peculiarity in the essence of beauty, a peculiarity in the status of art: namely, the convincingness of a true work of art is completely irrefutable and it forces even an opposing heart to surrender. It is possible to compose an outwardly smooth and elegant political speech, a headstrong article, a social program, or a philosophical system on the basis of both a mistake and a lie. What is hidden, what distorted, will not immediately become obvious.

Then a contradictory speech, article, program, a differently constructed philosophy rallies in opposition – and all just as elegant and smooth, and once again it works. Which is why such things are both trusted and mistrusted.

In vain to reiterate what does not reach the heart.

But a work of art bears within itself its own verification: conceptions which are devised or stretched do not stand being portrayed in images, they all come crashing down, appear sickly and pale, convince no one. But those works of art which have scooped up the truth and presented it to us as a living force – they take hold of us, compel us, and nobody ever, not even in ages to come, will appear to refute them.

So perhaps that ancient trinity of Truth, Goodness and Beauty is not simply an empty, faded formula as we thought in the days of our self-confident, materialistic youth? If the tops of these three trees converge, as the scholars maintained, but the too blatant, too direct stems of Truth and Goodness are crushed, cut down, not allowed through – then perhaps the fantastic, unpredictable, unexpected stems of Beauty will push through and soar to that very same place, and in so doing will fulfil the work of all three?

In that case Dostoevsky’s remark, “Beauty will save the world”, was not a careless phrase but a prophecy? After all he was granted to see much, a man of fantastic illumination.

And in that case art, literature might really be able to help the world today?”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Lecture

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Two things about myself

Here are two things I like about myself. The first thing is that I am broken. That I am not a perfect being, that I am not whole. I love how being broken builds bridges between people, how it is the root of all connection. Because being broken means having space and leaving room for something else or someone else and that’s where connection comes in. It’s not there to fill you up, to satisfy you because we are not loved into satisfaction, we are loved out of it. Love is there to leave us wanting more, to make you want to live. To keep you wanting more out of yourself, others and life because the more you love, the more you connect the more you realize how disconnected you are. But it’s not about greed, because connecting is not consuming, and because the more you seek it the less you find it. That’s where the second thing I like about myself reveals itself: being lost. And the best thing about being lost is that it’s the best time to be found as well as to find. But when you have found and you are satisfied then you are truly lost. When you are seeking something, you’re not actually looking for it but rather for your conception of it. And there’s no way you’re connecting to anything that way and that’s how you truly perish. Because living is wandering, and wandering is discovering and discovering is being astonished.

Eddy Abi Younes

So you want to be a writer – Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.
-Charles bukowski 

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Hope – Emily Dickinson

-“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.”

-Emily Dickinson

Oh Me! Oh Life! – Whitman

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse
– Walt Whitman
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