Jul 24, 2012

10 pieces of advice which made me believe in myself

1 At 12 when my first story was rejected, my mother said, don’t you worry, my girl; you’ll see, one day you will be published. I never gave up hope.

2 When my father learned that I had published my first collection of short stories, he was surprised and said, don’t get wild now with the money. Put some of it away.

3 When I said to my mother once that I wanted to be an actress, she said she did not like me being on stage, but quietly she made me some new dresses.

4 When I was accused of having too much imagination by my religious and strict grandmother – God rest her soul – my grandfather put me on his lap and said that I must keep reading and bought all my comic books on a Friday night to my mother’s house.

5 When I saw Jailhouse Rock with Elvis Presley and wanted to sing at the school concert, my grandmother said no. My grandfather paid for the singing lessons. I sang in a variety show and at the Goldfinger Lounge without my mother’s knowledge. I was 18 then.

6 When I wrote Confessions of a Gambler, and it won a literary prize, one of my relatives said, ‘okay, so you can write; now what? Can you make a film?’ I wrote the script and made the film. It screened and opened at the Dubai Film Festival and many other countries.

7 When I got the bright idea to make a documentary with just one brother and myself, another relative said that I should stop dreaming and that I should get a regular job instead of wasting my time. I made six documentaries on a shoestring budget and directed the film, AND I realized a big dream by playing the lead.

8 One of my uncles heard about my success, and said I would amount to nothing. I remember it clearly because it was the day my mother wrote him off.

9 When auditions for the film started my friends asked: ‘what do you know about directing; artists don’t make money.’ They all came to the screening and filled up most of the seats.

10 When my mother was in her last moments of life, I stroked her hair as she struggled with her last breath and told her she had been a good mother to me and that she must not be afraid, she must go now. She died as I stroked her hair.