When I was growing up I could never understand why it was so darn difficult to remember good jokes.

When an occasion came up and someone asked me to tell a joke, my mind would suddenly go blank and I couldn’t remember any.

Most entertainment is like that.

Yeah, it makes you laugh at the time, but unless there’s some kernel of substance, you forget it ten minutes later.

Had lunch last week with two friends and one of them happened to quote from a book by Katherine Patterson that I had, ironically, lent her.

It was a book I’d bought and read a while back, sitting on my shelf. Apparently Katherine Patterson said that art really moves you, it changes who  you are, whereas entertainment is forgettable.

It’s interesting too because as I was growing up, I began to gravitate towards stories that I could indeed remember, and invariably those stories had some ‘message’, some ‘moral’ and yet I cringe even as I’m typing this.

When did having a ‘message’ or ‘moral’ become such a negative thing in our society?

It’s been close to a month since I did my Roses in My Carpets presentation. Somehow I’ve been telling Persian and Arabian Folktales and dealing with the picture books more than I’ve been called on to do this classic presentation of mine.

Today I did it in an inner city school for grade fives and sixes.

I’d forgotten how tall those kids could be! Part of me was a little worried as they trooped into the gymnasium and planted themselves on the floor, sprawling out in some instances so that their teachers had to tap them on the shoulders to sit up.

And yet, once I got into the familiar rhythm of the presentation, once I started telling them the story and showing them the powerpoint of the illustrations, you could have heard a pin drop!

Oh it feels so good!

And I kept remembering my friend quoting Katherine Patterson and I think I’m not too brash in thinking that yes, that presentation moved them.

People tend to think that kids these days are so technologically addicted that they won’t sit still for a presentation.

It’s nonsense!

It’s a very ‘serious’ presentation, though it does have its funny moments. And somehow it hits kids right where they’re at.

Feels like a moment of flux right now–again. I talked about it a while ago.

Right now I’m still in the midst of revisions. On Sunday I’m going up to Ottawa for four days of presentations.

Should be fun!

I’ll probably get more time to blog too without all the pressures of homelife I guess.

I’m looking forward to the presentations, meeting the kids. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it.

This year has been very light in terms of presentations. I heard one teacher say it was because of the terrible economy. Schools just don’t have the money.

But it has been good for writing.

I was hoping to put the finishing touches on the Hajj novel before this Ottawa trip, but there’s no point rushing it.

I’ll take the revisions with me to work on when I have a chance.

At least there are no days when I’ll have to do four presentations next week! Today was brutally exhausting!

But satisfying.

A few weeks ago my niece gave me back my six vhs tape set of Pride & Prejudice, the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

I have watched that six hour series dozens of times! But the funniest thing was that my son was about two years old last time we watched it a lot! He used to actually listen to the posh dialogue and point at the screen and say, “Mr. Darcy?” He knew the character’s name!

My daughters used to watch it with me. It was a real fun time!

Then that year, for Eid, I bought the entire set for myself. Cost me about $60 which was a LOT of money for me back then! Only wish I’d bought the DVD set, although at the time we didn’t have a DVD player.

I really don’t know why Jennifer Ehle didn’t make a bigger name for herself out of that series! Colin Firth is good, but his performance isn’t nearly as crucial as hers! Ehle makes that series!!!

So anyway, a few weeks ago my niece gave the series back to me. (I’d forgotten I lent it to her.) And I started watching a few of the tapes here and there, and then my son, my big brawny seventeen year old son, said he wanted to have a Pride & Prejudice marathon with me over last weekend.

Yup! We watched all six tapes, all six hours last Saturday night. Finished at around 3 a.m. Only stopped briefly in between to pray Isha around 12 am.

And when we finished watching it, I think I detected a sigh from my son.

And I laughed to myself. Vowing that I’d blog about it.

As soon as I said as much he said, “NO!!!”

He didn’t want anyone knowing about it.

I told him relax! None of his friends ever read my blog. And so he gave me permission to mention it.

And I mention it now not out of any desire to embarrass him, but rather to make the point that true literature transcends even teenage male testosterone!

True, my son had been exposed to P&P as a toddler and he watched Hamlet with us, but still… The fact that he could appreciate Pride & Prejudice, spoke to the power of Jane Austen’s narrative.

But I do have to admit that my son said that Colin Firth needs to do an action/thriller movie now or else he’d come across as a sissy!

Imagine Mr. Darcy with a gun in his hand??? Telling some drug dealer to drop his weapons???


Besides, I think it’s too late. After Mama Mia, Colin Firth is definitely a sissy!

And yet he’s SO dreamy in Pride & Prejudice!