I always knew so well how to hate.
I hated being a child and being ignored. I hated being a teen and waiting, wondering, doubting. I hated Shah, I hated Khomeini, I hated Saddam the way their ideological differences changed all of us for the worse. The way the war locked me in my room, listening to the silence, listening to the noise, missing joy or temerity, missing the light seeping through sheer curtains. I hated missing one small volume of space in time when opening my window or listening to loud music, or painting red on my bloodless lips and nails wouldn’t have been called an act of bravery. I hated the way the women in black chador avoided any contact with me and the way I took them to be nonhumans. I hated the way I became accustomed to bombs. The way I longed to leave my home, my father and my mother, afraid of suffocating in my room, in my closet, slowly, painfully, without a fight, knowing even if I did leave, still nobody could make me whole. I hated most the way my mother waved at me at the airport, the way she didn’t dare cry, afraid to destroy my happiness, to hurt me on the day I was leaving, and the way Father wept, so I would remember him forever. I hated the way I hated myself and my destiny and the world and the way the world hated me back, like a mirror. I hated the way I loved to live and hated to live, at the same time.
Most of all I hated the guy with the beard and the gun who took me away from my father the last day I saw him alive. I hated most the sound of my father’s weeping when the guard dragged me away. I hated most the woman in black chador who pushed me, rushed me away so I didn’t have a chance to hug my father one last time. I hated most an airport, the rain, the cold. I hated most the ring of a phone. I hated most images in my mind of disease, an ambulance, the hospital’s whiteness. I hated most his bed, his needles, his pain. I hated most the indifference. I hated most the monotony of a life ending. I hated most the smell of sweat and urine, the smell of his ache, the smell of his loneliness. I hated most his waiting, his forgetfulness, his boredom. I hated most my absence, knowing that nobody held his hands. I hated most the way he refused to save himself, consumed by life. I hated most the nurse who pulled the sheet over his face, the doctor who had already given up on him. I hated most the Mullah who hurriedly read the last prayers of death for my father--in a rush to go home. I hated most the people who didn’t show up for his funeral. I hated most myself because I didn't show up either, because I came up with an excuse. I hated most my baby who became my excuse, who watched my guilt, who rinsed my sin with his tears of thirst, tears of hunger. I hated most my father who pulled the syringe from his veins, in silence, without memory, without pause. I hated most the life, the war, the death. I hated most this uncertainty, this desire, this absence.
I hated a lot, but hating was just the easy part.
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Dear Nahidby Azarin Sadegh on Fri May 02, 2008 02:26 AM PDT
Thanks again for your compliments...you made my day or night (since I have a deadline and I am working on my software code right now) It is very good to know that my work appears authentic! isn't it great? But I have to say that I was surprised by your request, considering your credentials (which is not in literature or in novel writing), even if through working with mental patients you have become so interested in literature and Art, ...Anyway, thanks for the offer, but currently I am working under the guidance of a real novelist who teaches advanced Novel writing at UCLA. BTW, your use of bold character is very interesting. As my creative Writing teacher says, the text by itself should be strong enough to point to its most important words/content. So the use of bold characters shows a lack of self confidence in your own text...as if you are not persuaded that you have successfully passed your message. But I guess my teacher's lesson should only apply to writers and poets...not to mental health specialists!
Finally, I have to say that I am an atheist and don't believe in soul :)Thanks again for your compliment, Azarin PS: Like you, I rather use my own name professionally instead of taking my husband's name...I guess I am a real feminist!
Dear Azarinby Khanom Nahid Panahi on Fri May 02, 2008 12:32 AM PDT
Thank you very much for your kind reply. I would be very interested to look at a draft of your novel if you would want me to to provide you with an opinion.
Please let me share this with you that when I was in my residency many years ago, that one of the disciplines that we honed on was therapy through Art and Writing. As you may know, many issues that can not be directly discussed in a linguistic manner, could much more easily be accessed through Art, Music, and Writing.
When we were trained, one of the aspects of the therapy was to recognize authentic writing and art, as opposed to that conjured up by the patient. By that I mean many patients attempt to fool the therapist by a bunch of conjured up Art or Writing in order to confuse the therapist. Through practice, a Professional Therapist develops the skills to recognize authentic Art and Writing, from that conjured up by the patient.
I have to say that this writing of yours is very much Authentic. Having been in this field for over 25 years, it is very easy to differentiate conjured up writing and art, from an authentic one.
As a Professional Therapsit, however, if you don't mind, I would like to recommend something to you. Over the years, I have come across a number of cases, where talented individuals, such as yourself, had latent and submerged issues which were never thoroughly dealt with. By that I mean such issues were left at the level of subconscious, and were never addressed on a conscious, therapy-oriented level. As I have said before, the writing that you have presented here, although classified as fiction, nevertheless is too authentic to be classified as conjured up. Without confusing you here, again as a Professional, I can see that the writing shares a part of you that is just not from the intellect only, but also from your Soul.
If you have True Happiness in your life, then please disregard everything that I am saying. However, if there are areas of your life that are not exactly what you want them to be, then please allow me to suggest to you to have a Trusted Professional to evaluate you. I am saying this with the greatest of regard for you both as a person, and a talented writer. Issues of Mental Health do not have the Stigmas attached to them that they did many years go. Today, with a combibation of proper therapy and medication, almost any issue can be effectively dealt with.
I hope you forgive this long-winded comment. We therapists are notorious for such responses. I wanted to share with you as much information as I could within this space.
P.S. I practice under my maiden name in South-east U.S. Panahi is my married name.
Dear khanom Nahid Panahi phd.,by Azarin Sadegh on Thu May 01, 2008 11:37 PM PDT
Thanks for reading my piece.
As you can see this piece is classified as Fiction. Currently I am working on a long story and this scene is from the beginning of the story. In this scene my protagonist is expressing her anger and pain and at the same time her background story (I tried to use this method instead of using a flashback) to show her state of mind.
I have already finished my first draft and I am working on the re-write of the second draft.
I am happy that a professional therapist like you, found it realistic enough to ask me this question that made us laugh a lot! I guess I should consider it like a big compliment :)
Thanks again. I really appreciate your attention to my work,
PS: I wonder where do you practice, since I know a few cyber-friend who might be interested in contacting you. I did a google search and I couldn't find any doctor or therapist with your name on internet.
Dear Azarinby Khanom Nahid Panahi on Thu May 01, 2008 07:55 PM PDT
I am new at this site, and I was looking for interesting things to read.
I came across this article, and it caught my eyes because I am in the field of Mental Health. I read it, and it evoked within me a sense of despair that I wanted to explore with you.
My background is in therapy, and I have a Ph.D. in Psychoanalysis. A form of therapy that we have, without going into much detail, involves the patients expressing themselves through Art Work or Creative Writing. In many of my patients that I have treated, when Creative Writing is used, their work product is not too dissimilar to what I see here by you.
If you don't mind, what I would like to ask is whether you deliberately set out to write this piece in order to give one the impression of a person under darkness and in despair, or this is the natural expression of your own feelings.
I know that this question may be somewhat of a personal nature, but I couldn't resist asking it. The feelings evoked are very much in accord to that of a person with serious Psychological Problems who is off his/her medication.
Again, I hope you don't mind my exploring this with you. I look forward to your response. I want to thank you ahead of time.
Thanks Kamran!by Azarin Sadegh on Thu May 01, 2008 02:08 PM PDT
"Thanks" was the word I forgot to add in my previous comment!
PS: JJ, if you like, please delete this comment..I know Kamran wouldn't mind :-)
Dear Kamranby Azarin Sadegh on Thu May 01, 2008 02:03 PM PDT
Wow! Knowing you personally, I am very touched by your lovely comment. (Oh my, ...as i know you are not very easy to be impressed :-)
See you soon, Azarin
Beautiful...by Kamran Doroudi (not verified) on Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:43 PM PDT
This was phenomenal, magnificent, fantastic... Thanks for sharing it with us.
To everybody else:
What amazes me, like anybody else who knows Azarin personally, is to see a person so full of life, joy, compassion and love write so beautifully about hatred.
Bonjour Le Misanthrope,by Azarin Sadegh on Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:35 AM PDT
I'm sorry that your comments got deleted, but it wasn't me.
I think it was one of the JJ's moderators. But, I had read your first comment and I thought it was fun (with all the other responses to it) and like you, I was very much surprised when they disappeared. But I remember that you hated me and hated JJ and so many others, but Ali. P. (now I envy Ali P...it should be the result of his picture :-) what if one of those other people you hated deleted the comment?
About the content of the comments, believe me I would love to receive any feedbacks about my writing style, so I could get improved. Plus, I have no influence over other people’s comments.
About the label Fiction: I think JJ classified it as fiction, since he is well aware of my ongoing work that is Fiction, and this piece (with just a few little changes) is going to be part of that longer story. Actually, JJ and a few of Iranian.com commentators have already helped me a lot with some of my researches for my work and I am very grateful to all of them. (Thanks guys!)
Le Misanthrope, you have been deletedby Le Misanthrope (not verified) on Wed Apr 16, 2008 07:46 AM PDT
Le Misnathrope : This site is not a playground for ignorant bullies. Your posts were deleted because you indulged in personal attacks. Grow up and come back with something intelligent to contribute.
I'm so sorry for your painby Azarin Sadegh on Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:39 PM PDT
Now you look even mazloomer to me :( ...I hope you would find a way to reach the numbness that Nilofar is talking about. Good luck, Azarin
fantasticby Mazloom on Tue Apr 15, 2008 09:17 PM PDT
This was fantastic to read. It's exactly how I feel about my kidney stones.
yes, indeed my dear,by bijanam (not verified) on Tue Apr 15, 2008 05:45 PM PDT
tell it by love, empathy, and caring for every emotion that the human kind has ever strived to experience.
Hateby batool on Tue Apr 15, 2008 01:22 PM PDT
This essay is a staggering howl of inutterable pain. Most of us lack the guts or talent to articulate emotions so visceral. You have mastered the art of expression of the inutterable. Brava.
Thank you!by Azarin Sadegh on Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:33 AM PDT
I am very much overwhelmed by all your positive feedbacks, full of encouragement and hope.
Thanks to all of you!
And so, I am going to remember that even if my generation has been hurt so much by this hatred, but still my protagonist's story should be told by love and empathy.
Azarin,by bijanam (not verified) on Tue Apr 15, 2008 04:44 AM PDT
Such a poetic expression of so many emotions. Call it a reader’s reflection, but this is what I see when I read your piece:
I see a soul just freed from a dungeon without a ray of light into a bright sunny day.
I see the joy of freedom mixed with the pain of adapting to the new light.
I see the anger towards those who denied her freedom, mixed with the guilt that she has been the reason for her own bondage.
I see the racing of her thoughts through her mind bringing out memories of those she loves
What a nice piece.
Enjoy the freedom Azarin…
Bravo, Marhaba va sad afarin….
"Who do you hate the most?"by Defensor pacis (not verified) on Mon Apr 14, 2008 05:14 PM PDT
"Who do you hate the most?"
Even if it means taking this title out of context, or not considering this a rhetorical question...
My answer is: I hate no one.
uh mazing?by ARYA ZARRINKELK (not verified) on Mon Apr 14, 2008 01:24 PM PDT
don't ever stop writing. and yes it is always easier to hate than it is to love.
Great piece yet..by Abarmard on Mon Apr 14, 2008 11:09 AM PDT
The minute light dimly inviting you towards it must be part of this writing, otherwise what is the lesson to be learned?
Where hate starts:by David ET on Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:58 AM PDT
"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
An interesting viewby Azarin Sadegh on Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:57 AM PDT
I just received an email, about my little piece, from one of my writer mentors, and I would like to share it with you:
"...Oddly, it seems to me almost like a prayer. It has similar rhythms and repetitions and sadnesses that I relate to Yom Kippur prayers of mourning and repentance..."
Isn't sometimes the search for a meaning more interesting than the meaning itself?
Dearest Nilofar,by Azarin Sadegh on Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:23 AM PDT
Thank you so much for your very impressive analysis! You almost summerized my first chapters!
Yes. You're absolutely right about this numbness. The day my protagonist discovered the vanishing and the loss of her own compassion toward the world she lived in and even toward people she loved before, she decided to leave Iran to live again as a whole. And to be able to become human again, she needs to leave behind her indifference (that's even worse than hate, because anyone who hates, is still capable of loving.) And this is the possible ending of my story.
Looking forward to reading your novel “Shirin and Salt man”,
well said Nazanineby Orang Gholikhani on Mon Apr 14, 2008 07:57 AM PDT
Tu m'a piqué les mots de bout de mon clavier
Something to think aboutby n.zanincanadai on Mon Apr 14, 2008 06:37 AM PDT
"Some men are friends with the whole world in their hearts, and there are others that hate themselves and spread their hatred around like butter on hot bread."
JOHN STEINBECK, East of Eden
Le Misanthrope: You love God, well, this one's directly from above.
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. new test. I John 4:20
textual analysis: saturation and obsessionby nilofar on Mon Apr 14, 2008 01:23 AM PDT
The power of this text, in one respect, originates in the fact that it is saturated with the word "hate." One can get numb as the result of the saturation or one can get obsessed with it. In both cases, hate turns out to be something different than what we usually conceive of "hate."
The saturation and obsession is echoed throughout the text: in the concentration of action, breath, and bodies. And in the concentration of the text (the writing) itself. Great writing, Azarin. This is the expression of a history, a people, and a generation. Your text is not personal or private.Best,Nilofar
Oh my...I should apologize.by Azarin Sadegh on Sun Apr 13, 2008 08:23 PM PDT
I would never ever call your advice unsolicited! I love your poetry and I am all ears for anything you tell me about my writings. And please give me more advice. i am one of your fans too.
By saying "unsolicited advice" I was thinking about another comment I had received recently (on another blog). Some unregistered user suggested me to use a mirror to check on my own shortcomings - physically and emotionally -- and try to fix them first before making any judgements about others, or something like that :)
So please accept my apology if even for a short time you thought I had critisized your lovely comment...No. No way!
every situationby sanazi on Sun Apr 13, 2008 07:50 PM PDT
every situation (good or bad) has a lesson to teach you. painfull situations probably have more to teach you cuz they build chracter in you. they make you stronger, they teach you how to handle what life throws at you. pain and suffering should not teach us hate, but teach us how to be compasionate. the chalenge is to overcome pain and not to let it overcome you.
My apologies, Azarinby Azadeh Azad on Sun Apr 13, 2008 07:27 PM PDT
Sorry for having given you an "unsolicited advice." I shall refrain from doing so in the future.
However, I must say it is natural that when your short piece contains 36 words of "hate/hated/hating" – notwithstanding the title itself, people generally do not think of "light" and "love" after having read that. Hatred and pain are generally experienced as dark, as feelings we do not crave. This does not mean that they are bad, have no value, should be rejected or not written about. Far from it. That joy or love cannot be experienced without experiencing sadness or hate, is also a given.
Anyway, your piece resonated with me very deeply. My apologies again.
Say no to hateby David ET on Sun Apr 13, 2008 06:15 PM PDT
I have never hated anyone. I may have been angry , may have been upset, disappointed, disgusted , hurt.....
but never could hate nor wanted to
I hear that word in the language of teenagers too often and I sometimes wonder if by use of the word hate so simply and so carelessly, we set the wrong examples for them....
I think Hate is just too strong of a word and the the one who hates is simply the other side of the same equation, each for their own self-justified reasons while hate itself is the cause to begin with.
Hateful thoughts and acts result in more hatred.
Dearest Nazy,by Azarin Sadegh on Sun Apr 13, 2008 06:11 PM PDT
Thank you so much for your wonderful analysis. It is absolutely true that the main subject of this piece is the pain (and not the hatred). but I understand that it could be interpreted as dark and depressing. And it's like a real paradox. Even if I write these depressing pieces, I am not a depressed person at all. Because like you, I really think that without ever having tasted the joy of light, it's impossible to feel the sadness of darkness.
But to be honest, it is also very true that i was a bit worried about the misunderstandings and the unsolicited advice I could get from others reading it, since it is an incomplete work.
Your last paragraph (about feeling a lot) sounded so familiar and made me laugh.My first novel writing teacher at some point told me: "Azarin, your protagonist feels too much and thinks too much. You should eliminate all these feelings and thinking parts and instead focus on writing only the 'actions'!"
I think it was the advice that made me change my teacher!
Dear Azarin let go of hate and start to love ,since .....by Tahirih on Sun Apr 13, 2008 05:28 PM PDT
What a power is love! It is the most wonderful, the greatest of all living powers. Love gives life to the lifeless. Love lights a flame in the heart that is cold. Love brings hope to the hopeless and gladdens the hearts of the sorrowful. In the world of existence there is indeed no greater power than the power of love. When the heart of man is aglow with the flame of love, he is ready to sacrifice all—even his life. In the Gospel it is said God is love. I am not trying to convert you to anything, but it is so sad to see you in this much pain.I am not sure if what you wrote was fiction or truth,but either way it shows the dark pain in you heart and soul. We all have suffered,but we have to heal and move on. You are such a powerful writer,I wish you would try to write about love ,unity and hope. Respectfuly, Tahirih