One morning, my wife was making copies at Kinko’s, when this sweet man in his early seventies, completely unselfconscious, perhaps even a little defiant of how, in our paranoid century number 21, his actions might be a little icky to a young mom, struck up a conversation with my then two-year-old son. He crouched to the boy’s height, looked him straight in the eye, and engaged him in a story that left the kid entranced. Naturally, Samira’s motherly instincts kicked in, and she pulled Cyan towards her.

But then the 19-year-old employee came back with what looked like a 500-page script, handed it to the man, then launched into a star-struck spiel: “I love your work Mr. So-and-so,” etc. The sweet man tipped his hat to Samira, tucked his magnum opus under his arm, and walked out.

Samira pulled out her phone to google Mr. So-and-so just to be sure, and indeed the face that looked up from her screen was a match. She hit dial, and when I picked up (mid-acting class), she asked: “Hey, do you like Sam Shepard? Well, guess what.”

Goodbye Mr. Shepard. This evening, I’ll be reading Motel Chronicles in your honor.


A Road to Damascus, published by Tamyras, is available in Beirut starting June 15.

The Craft of Cinematography

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Some behind-the-scenes from The Craft of Cinematography, a class I taught at the American University in Dubai.

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The Shadows Within

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Three Past Two Haiku

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Five broken pencils, one by one their leads snap off. Only words remain.

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I miss the view from my parents’ rooftop.

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