Category Archives: Okay, you’re right!

Okay, you're right!, Stories from the crypt of life

Let’s dance it out in Austria!

For the past six months I felt lost. My thoughts and feelings took an unexpected turn and it seemed like I put my life on pause. My body was there, experiencing everything, but I wasn’t. Pretending to be fine is one of my strong traits, yet there are a few people who can read me even if I don’t want them to.

Last week I went on a trip to visit Mark in Graz, Austria. For those of you who don’t know, Mark and I are currently working on a book, Okay, you’re right!, a collection of his life stories (click on the link and read about our journey). I arrived in Graz after a nine hour bus ride at 7 am. The first thing that welcomed me was the smell of smoked meat, a smell that took me straight back in time when I was five years old and my grandfather would take me to the local market. I took deep breaths and smiled at my grandfather’s memory.

I spent three days with Mark and Sophie, in their home, somewhere in a small town, in the middle of nature where the buzzing of the city life can’t haunt you. Everyday seemed the same, yet felt very different. Their house, a paradise for any creative soul, felt cozy and warm. Every morning we went to the bar across the street, had our coffee and “second” breakfast at 12 pm, and then walked back home through “Wonderland”, where we were surrounded by trees, flowers and a small stream. I fell into silence for my entire stay there. I watched, analyzed and allowed myself to feel every bit of their life, their home, the surroundings. Somehow while watching them go about their lives, dancing together, having fun and just being, I felt myself not feeling anything. I felt my numbness and indifference towards life and it slapped me in the face.

I embarked on the nine hour bus ride back to Florence contemplating my time there. My journey back was uncomfortable and tiring, much like my state of mind. I arrived home and fell asleep in my bed at 7 pm. The next morning I was prepared to restart my robot like life when something happened…. 

I got to work and turned on Spotify to play my favorite song. The next thing I knew I was standing up and dancing in my office, smiling like an idiot. I must admit, being alone in the office most of the time has its perks. I got home and danced some more, alluring my daughter to dance it out with me and we kept going until bedtime. The next day unfolded the same and for the past five days dancing and smiling like an idiot became my daily routine.

I left Florence lost and confused, arrived in Austria numb and somehow returned home and started dancing my way back to life.

Okay, you're right!

The human life as a puzzle

I am a puzzle fanatic. This statement may seem unbelievable to the people who know me well, giving that I am awful at playing puzzle games. I never see the pieces that should fit together fast enough and images that children can assemble in only ten minutes, I usually solve in twenty.

But human puzzles! Oh, the human life puzzle! The pieces that build the human life puzzle fascinate me and drag me on this imaginary adventure that I can never get enough of. Each piece can be shaped in ten thousand ways; it can be questioned and remolded until it forms this never seen before character with unique traits. You never follow a predefined image; the final image is a mystery that awaits to be discovered with each step of the way.

Mark Abouzeid’s life puzzle is like a perfectly designed roller coaster ride. Whenever the puzzle pieces seem to not fit together, when everything seems like a big jumble, a new trait comes into play and creates an almost weird harmony.

For the past two weeks I have been playing in the big jumble that we created through interviews, taking out one piece at a time, spreading them out on a “board”, only to put them back together again in perfect balance. His character can make you laugh and cry at the same time; he can make you want to give him a warm hug in his worst moments as well as shut the door in his face when he becomes a mirror of your own flaws.

The more I listen, the more it becomes clear that the human life puzzle is never something that can be anticipated. It never begins nor ends in the same four corners of the “board”. It doesn’t have a predetermined faith. The human life puzzle is a secret, ready to be unveiled to those who want to understand it.

Okay, you're right!

Why is the Lebanese culture so important to me

As many of you know I am the writing queen of the indie documentary film project “Growing Cedars in Air”, directed by Mark Abouzeid. Yes, you read it right, I am the writing queen! When people hear about what I do, they often ask me why did I get involved in a project about Lebanon, a country that has nothing to do with my roots or my heritage.

Take a moment and think about your childhood. Remember the stories your parents and grandparents told you about a a distant family member or family gatherings, about traditions and food, about your country’s history? They are all part of who you are; those stories have helped you become the person you are today. No matter where you are from or what country you live in, your heritage is a big part of you. Every time you interact with another human being you are passing on a piece of your culture by sharing your experiences, your stories.

I believe that the things which make us unique should unite us, not divide us. I believe that if we experience other cultures, if we take the time to listen to their stories, we will understand why each of us is different and we will become better human beings. I believe that all roots are important and exploring those roots is the key to knowledge.

That is why the Lebanese culture is so important to me; that is why any culture is important to me. Mark’s story is the story of a man who was raised without any knowledge of his roots, and for me to see and share the experience of his discovery journey was and still is a real adventure. Visiting Lebanon, meeting the people, eating their food, sharing their stories has changed me in a way I couldn’t have imagined before. I see the world differently now, I understand what living in the moment really means, I am more interested about my own past, my own roots.

For me “Growing Cedars in Air” is an impulse for all of us to explore our own heritage, learn from it and pass it on for others to understand. And it all started with an explorer, a man who was already documenting the living heritage of others, who found himself on the path of discovering his roots, his Lebanon. It has led to the short film “Finding my Lebanon: how one mans quest for roots became a feature length film.”

Many people share Mark’s vision and what was his dream has somehow become our own. If you want to join Mark on his discovery quest, help make his dream come true, or just learn more about the project, follow the link to our crowdfunding page

Share the link with your friends and family, help us spread the word. Any share, comment or opinion is valuable. Let’s create some awareness and remind the world that our roots represent our identity.

Okay, you're right!

A little piece of Mark Abouzeid – Keynote Speech on Epic Failure (VIDEO)

“Okay, you’re right!” is a very dear project to me; a collection of life stories, documented through detailed interviews with a man who has never failed, and yet he is an expert in failure.

But who is Mark Abouzeid? Why should we hear his story and why is his story more important than others? It isn’t! His story could be my story, or your story; his story reflects a lifetime of happiness and pain; his story is about embracing life after admitting defeat.

Here is a glimpse into Mark’s life, where he shares some of his trials and lessons learned in a personal talk on the importance of epic failure.

Okay, you're right!

Okay, you’re right!

When I met Mark Abouzeid it was “no pants” day. It was a hot, summer day in Florence and wearing pants just didn’t make sense.

Later that afternoon, two friends invited me for coffee in Piazza Santo Spirito and forced me to put some pants on. They introduced me to, what they called, “an interesting subject” to interview for my upcoming book The human behind the artist. There he was: a guy who talked too much, too fast, but everything he said made sense. His stories were captivating.

Months later we met for coffee, at his favourite coffee place in Santo Spirito, to explain the purpose of my project. Two hours into our friendly chat, after listening to his incredible life stories, I realized I would want to have his words printed and kept on my shelf. Thus, I asked:

“ – Why don’t you write a book about your life?

– I’m not a writer. Do you want to write it?”

I froze. I love documenting people stories. Stories are precious to me; pieces of puzzle that come together and create a unique human being. I love the way they smile when they remember their childhood and how they frown whenever a bad memory comes in play. The man in front of me was offering his life and memories to “play” with.

That is how Okay, you’re right! A collection of life stories with Mark Abouzeid. was born. Since then Mark became more than just a subject for The human behind the artist; he became the storyteller I could listen to until dawn and a man who opened a door to a new culture through his documentary Growing Cedars in Air.