Open Spaces to fantasy and play on the limits of narrative

15th Sep

Author: Faten Hamoudi (Syria)

Talking about the experience of the writer Basema Younis means to engage in diversity and the ability to combine writing the short story,   theatrical story, the novel and the article in addition to studies and researches.   As she opened the door of the writing life, once she enters as a novelist .When she feels the novel started to narrow, she goes to the story. She is aware that the theater is the spiritual father of Arts. She goes to theater laden with the smell of the place, and its vocabularies, and always opens to us a world of imagination and experimentation, both in the creation of characters that approximate reality or leave it .  when we read it  we discover the language possibilities, as touching our daily and poetic  lives, then we reach to   what Gaston Bachelard said : "The literary image puts the words in a state   of movement,  to enrich the world and man together.

To study this experience we need to call back the collection of short stories, "What if my shadow is dead",   published in the first edition in 2003 by the Department of Culture and Information of Sharjah, and included fifteen stories, "What if I died, my shadow," Philosophical Question, and the Slamming story  , Carrying Existential Anxious  Questions   ,  Extremely  Important, Who was found first, me or my Shadow  , What is a Shadow,  Why the Writer Resorted to Him, and what is the social  impact that pushed her to the  shade as a shelter, as a faithful?

  Who is that problematic personality taking the shade as a shelter, to accompany her, to talk to him, to imprison him, and hug him, who is this shadow, and why we seek refuge to our shades?    Is it a surreal state or tragedy fact is forcing us to change our features, because the shade is more daring and rebellious than us, coming proudly in and out places?

A question leaving shadows in the events of the story, divided into seventeen tableaux, painted by the writer's   philosophy and poetry, and story, and carried the forward-looking vision for man destiny in the context of globalization.

She started by the first spectacle saying: "It's the moment of sunset, it drops the disk into the lake of infinity", and asks: "one of the strongest we or our shade? Why our shade wears a black cloak to hide his features, who was found first me or my shadow?  Who is the origin of the picture and who is the negative? Then she asks a catastrophic question: What happens if my shade is dead?

 The writer goes to an internal monologue, is reflected through her dialogue with the shadow. The shade is serious and bold, hates curiosity, does not like absenteeism,. Here notice she humanized the shade, and came to terms with him. Shade represents courage and intrusion,   rebellion.   Shade is also a multi-case, sometimes takes the role of the amiable, and at other times the role of fearful, and says: “The shadow on the wall in front of me like a demonic picture has appeared to me brutally" (p. 80).  The shadow of cat turns into a scary tiger, as if the writer in front of a daydream, reflected in the form of illusions and settings, while the shadow of things, objects, human, turn to be real characters in the story.

The Sunset is the beginning of the first scene of the story, it may signify the end of a relationship, and sometimes pulls us into a romantic moment where we miss the shadow of our beloved people.  Then the story goes in the second spectacle towards evening, the evening as space for dialogue for the heroine of the story with shadows, but the morning, it is light area and confrontation, while the writer monitors our loneliness, obsession in the fourth spectacle, and comes during the heroine of the story with photographer dialogue, and denunciation to be its image without features, and asking: "Who was born first, the image or looting? Opaque image without features", and concludes, shadows are cowards “, here it holds the shade relationship with man, his escape from the female, as if not willing to face her.

What does it mean the absence of the person and the presence of the shade, does this mean that the whole world is repressor, or means that is false, and wants us with no real features ?, and therefore, to what limit is  the presence of shade in the story reflects the anticipation and the vision of the writer, what happened recently in some social media in particular Facebook, where we are now, we find tens of thousands of people under false names, borrowed  images, like a promise to enter virtual world, to express the state of alienation  and usurpation of rights, as if life and things lose their taste and features, to enter in a virtual world  pushing us to deal  with the shadows, and in return we note the decline of the world which real features are erased.

 What matters in this story, is not a shocking world, but the living expression of shock, which takes the case of exoticism, what it means to see people without shadows. Usually the shade follows, here the person follows the shade. The shade is a movement, and pillars are in stability, shade varies between black and gray, shade expands lengthwise and minors,   prevailing over the place, like a hidden dominant and faceless force “Why I do not leave all my life to shadow    and   become the grim curtain of the body? It was following me, withdrawn behind, accompanying me as if controlling me, imposing sovereignty on my presence “.  In the eighth spectacle she says: “Shadows are expanded on the walls and in the gardens, relax like waiting for the second leg of their owners to come again." Shadows are entertaining here, as if they have a love relation with the heroine of the story, "Here is a shade is back to me, he is with me, I am no more afraid of it.   “The idea of waiting and the return of reason as evidence for mind and innocence. The spectacle has closed with a self-reconciliation, confirming the narrator is not crazy and did not cut relations with nature, the shade is ambushing but forgotten, shadows are active and pouring shamelessly through windows, break in to houses with no permission, they break in to others to start the meaning of usurpation, shadow removes shyness, kissing the ladies faces as these shadows are male and female.  Here comes in mind the Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish and his poem – The Shade- he said: The shade is not a male, not a female, it is gray even if ignited with desire. But for Basema Younis the shade is the alternative and equivalent to   life and existence.

 The shade here is  more diverse, and the pain and expression of human  even the streets and cities have become faceless, figures emotionless, to the point where the writer wished to live with shade and alone, as if smuggled into a virtual world, a placebo, the basic principle is corrupted, the shadow also damaged, this is the  intensity of her fear, it  is confined,  he threats her of eternal abandonment to mornings, after an internal dialogue between  her and the shadow, he asks: "Who wants a woman lost her shade " ?, and escalate the story, in its questions: "What if  shadows protested one day and  claimed the owners of   colorful images of their rights in the names and identity, cards and passports and build  their own communities, without hatred and life.

 Shadows here symbolize the protest for a space of freedom. Shadow does not know treason, shadow gives the balance, and concludes that the essence of her relationship with the shade according to her own philosophy like the relationship between man and woman and says: "I heard a lot that the man is the shade of woman, that means he is her strength, but I did not I understand now what a woman can be for a man.

 The language is the body of the story, and the carried key on the philosophy questions, questions of existence, so it can be a story to theater and can be transformed into a cinema, being mounted on the image, tangled in the real relationship between real and surreal, even seems to be "easy to include of the world in word, or in the picture.

 The text of Basima  Younis is rich of personalities, speech and sound, but voices that travel from the text to another carry a special  pain , and when the text travels to other stations it opens its windows  pushing the  personalities of the place towards fragmentation and impact, shows men and women in different situations and repercussions, creative women who engage in dialogue with shadows, a woman who died of marriage train, married woman, lover, through the characters struggle with the objective condition of the environment, and the man here has  his sufferings , contradictions, struggle and values, and through the story  , we note the narrator, we observe she looks  sometimes  from artistic view ,  and fact view other times, without falling sick  in radical feminism, so the text is biased to life through the balance in the relationship between women and men.

    There is no doubt that the titles of this collection of stories carry a lot of  meaning interpretations to enter the text, because it is equivalent to the reality of the text  . In addition to that the title is the first threshold of the text, and it is the internal key and light of the text. The collection included fifteen titles, compiled by Basima Younis under the title "Why if my shadow is dead ", and formed Stories key and meaning of the story titles as mentioned in the Index. In the story" A Ghareeb   comedy and Qamara   , "we find that the thread link is love, and that is shown in different ways Ghareeb love and Qamara  , who is student following his studies in   the USA, was so tired of longing for Qamara  , longing woven by smell, and here constitutes a smell  of one of the cultures of the place and love, says the narrator: " In his cold room he ignites  incense, to stir up in his heart  the longing spaces , and bloom his feelings on the warm smell of love flames.

On the other side  of love  of Qamara   appears when she is waiting for her lover, who  disappeared in a suspicious way, confused, in her spirit toxic awe herbs have grown up ", as if the writer wanted from the beginning to take us to the ends of the relationship  condemned by death, before that she lists growing events, to hail   Family as a social circle governed by holiness,  while time comes in  summer, and is embodied in Dubai,  Al fereej, the house ,the room, and business circles, and the  Qamara that not understood by Ghareeb  ,  Qamara  that does  not know how to   express love language ,  Qamara  who sent back   the gift and disparage it, and thus  the tale comes in   the language of poetry. The night was with a dark sky raining  sorrow in  the  stupid  lover's eyes  , withdraw as wounded   losing the battle, and the face of   Qamara   shines with the delicious  Albuthait ", spreading out  like the ebb of  islands and fading like a mirage behind the bleak  black cloud ".