Have you been writing a long time?
The year was 2003, and the US was bombing Iraq, yet again, my employer sent me to Washington DC to attend a work related conference. The irony of sending an Iraqi to the capital city of the US at that particular time escaped my boss. My state of distress was well disguised under the polished veneer of a professional. Smile. Shake hands. Exchange business cards. Give happy presentations. In the evenings I aimlessly wandered the streets like a wraith searching for physical embodiment to pour my despair into. It was a Jekyll and Hyde state. Peppy mornings followed by languid remains of a day. On one of these phantom walks, a sharp pain pierced through my left knee. This was unusual. I am an avid placer of one foot in front of the other in perpetual pursuit of motion. Ache was a new sensation for a most favored of activities. My feet screamed of treason and proceeded to disobey orders. My back side pleaded for a merciful sitting position. “You guys are not team players” I rolled my eyes exasperated by uncooperative body parts. I walked into the art gallery to my right hoping to find a chair to sit. That is the story of how my physical representation was placed in the Freer Gallery in Washington D.C. As soon as I walked in, the bodily insurrection stopped. “Hey what is going on?” I looked quizzically at my left knee. The knee shrugged its shoulders to indicate ignorance “Don’t look at me. I have no idea what is going on”. My feet stopped complaining and resumed their obeying. Inside, I saw the Peacock Room by James Whistler. A dining room where everything from the ceiling, walls, carpets and fixtures was designed by the artist. A fusion of the east and west. A melding of harmony and discord. Beautiful in an ugly way. Delightful in a – “I am going to assault you and peck your eyes out so that you will see how delightful I am” way. It is one thing to look at a painting and a different thing to be enveloped inside a work of art. Something inside my DNA changed. “If I could create something, anything, so striking I will die a happy woman” the thought popped into my mind as I walked away.
What inspired you to start a writing career?
The next morning when I woke up I heard the voice of a fictional character called Nelly whispering in my ear commanding me to write her story. That is how I wrote my first novel. I made a video about how I become I writer. You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/fTjbcbM6Y3Y
Is this book a stand-alone, or part of a series?
My book is a stand-alone story. All self contained within itself.
Why did you choose this genre?
I don’t choose what to write. It chooses me.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write with no purpose. Let your writing be the kind that serves no function. Stop trying to change anybody’s perspectives, don’t impress anybody. When the inner critic raises his harsh voice with “You are stupid, you have nothing to say, everything you write is garbage”. Tell him: “You are right! but I will write anyway for the pure joy of it”. Write because you love it. It comes from a place of delight. If others find value in it, then that is a huge blessing. If no accolades come then that is a huge blessing as well. The reward is in the doing of it. And that can’t be taken away.
About the Book
Title: Spoonful Chronicles
Author: Elen Ghulam
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Thaniya Rasid grew up in the Middle East dreaming of becoming a surgeon. Now living an ordinary life as a mother, wife and a hospital lab tech in Vancouver, Canada, she garners unexpected fame as youTube’s Queen of Hummus when her video demonstrating the recipe goes viral. How could blending chickpeas in a food processor generate so much excitement? And how could her life have ended up so far away from all her expectations?
To make sense of the unlikely events that have brought her to this place, Thaniya turns to food, curating memorable eating experiences of her life, searching for clues. Between her childhood aversion to cucumbers, her search for an authentic Iraqi kubeh in the city of Jerusalem, her 10-year tomato wars with her husband Samih, a mood altering encounter with a blood pudding in Edinburgh, and a Kafkaesque nightmare involving a cauliflower, Thaniya unravels repeated patterns occurring in her life. The secrets of love, friendship and destiny hidden in her cauldron of mishmashed cultures begin to reveal themselves.
Between lust and disgust there is a thin line. Spoonful Chronicles is the beguiling story of one woman taking hold of her fate by uncovering the clandestine geography of this divide in her heart.
My name is Elen. I am an Iraqi-Canadian. Please allow me to tell you a story of a curios event that happened to me. I was a perfectly happy computer programmer doing the nerdy stuff that computer programmers do. You know! Geeky stuff. Like the normal stuff that an Iraqi-Canadian would do if they worked as a computer programmer. When one day, out of nowhere, the inspiration to write hit me over the head. It came at me fast and furious and turned my life topsy turvy. I was always an avid reader. Ok I was a bookish geek. But the idea that I would try to write never even occurred to me, until the violent incident with the muse. Since then I have published a memoir called “Don’t Shoot! … I Have Another Story to Tell You“. Which Was followed by a novel called Graffiti Hack. That one tells the story of a hacker who installs lavish graphical designs on commercial websites. Imagine the trouble she gets in? Well I had to. I was writing the story, so I had to imagine every last bit. A third novel is on it way. I don’t know where all these ideas come from, they just pop in my head and I write them down. In addition to writing, I am a flamenco dancer, I enjoy painting and I love to cook. Somehow all these activities inspire each other.
I am a married mother of three, living in a pink house in Vancouver BC. Really I just love telling stories and I love listening to stories.
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