The writer’s icon.. from the need for the icon to the desire to destroy the icon

The image of the writer in his writing.. The symbol or imagination was established

I did not know what Isabel Allende looked like when I read her more than twenty years ago, nor had I seen what Maxim Gorky looked like when his novel “The Mother” fascinated me. Like being deceived, I took pleasure in looking for pictures of Camus, of the same period, which I had begun to read in parallel with Sartre, but which I liked less. My feelings for Camus changed when I saw his picture, as if I felt guilty for that handsome man, to love him more than Sartre, or to be more precise, to say that I put him in Sartre’s side, after seeing their pictures.

As for Colin Wilson, I saw his picture before everyone else, perhaps because the publishing house that printed his novel at the time put the authors’ pictures on the cover, and perhaps that reading accompanied by the picture contributed to the creation of an old notion in me, that the writers are beautiful and handsome, without a doubt.

I lived with writers, through their books, before recognizing their faces through pictures.

Marx and Lenin were available, because of their political reference, and the availability of their photos, as well as movie stars, as I put a large picture of Abdel Halim Hafez in my room.

It is very easy to recognize the faces of the singers, as their pictures are circulated in sellers and markets, and displayed in the streets, but who cares about the image of the writer?

I did not read the paper press at the time, but my reading world was shaped entirely through books, perhaps like many sons and daughters of my generation, who considered the library the most beautiful place in the world.

I started by discovering reading through family and friends’ books. As for my journey towards choosing to read, I started from the Arab Cultural Center and the National Library in Aleppo, where the book is a knowledge material completely separate from the writer.

This is how the relationship with the book and its writer was established, before this writer had a clear form in my head, for the book “Thus Spoke Zarathustra,” which I have always referred to in responses to my reading questions and its beginnings, was one of the first books that entered my life, and the name Nietzsche was very popular and familiar to me. , apart from Nietzsche’s face, which I later saw on the Internet, and I felt a certain strangeness, trying to apply this face to the name of its owner: Friedrich Nietzsche.

Madame Bovary by Flaubert moves among tens, hundreds, or thousands of readers, and reproduces in multiple copies, within the imagination of each reader.

The reader’s need for the writer is the symbol that satisfies the imagination

It raises the question: Who is the writer who influenced you? To both readers and writers alike. Most of these answers come from ancient writers, separated by years from the respondent, and it is rare that they met, I mean the writer who left the trail and the reader or writer who was influenced by the first.

As if the effect requires a distance, because the distance is a dream, that is, the effect requires a dream, or an imagination.

I think that the reader reshapes the book he reads, through his imagination, building a parallel world to the one made by the writer, and the characters of the writer’s heroes move, in a new space, created by the reader, and weave it through imagination.

Madame Bovary by Flaubert moves among tens, hundreds, or thousands of readers, reproducing in multiple copies, within the imagination of each reader.

The same applies to Dostoevsky’s idiot or Tolstoy’s “I Karenina”, or the rest of the fictional characters who have a strong and independent existence from their creator.

Because the reader sometimes identifies with the protagonists of the tale, as happens to the viewer in the cinema, when a teenager turns into Jackie Chan or Rambo / Sylvester Stallone, in a more complex way, the reader turns into Antoine Rocantan / Nauseous or Merceau / The Stranger..

Otherwise, why should we, who are obsessed with reading novels, at an early age, before the discovery of cinema and before drama invaded our homes, be attached to stories, and not leave the book before it is finished?

The pleasure that I had, since my early youth, reading “Farewell Gulisari”, “The Old Man and the Sea” or “Risk and Violence” in one night, is much higher than watching a movie today… because the power of imagination in reading is higher than in the cinema.

Perhaps it is like what Orhan Pamuk calls “others’ stories”, as these stories draw us, to become a part of them, in other words, the reader searches for his personal story in the stories of others told by the writer.

After reading Salinger’s The Rye Keeper, Inaya Jaber wrote an email to the author and sent it to a postal address she had created; She couldn’t control her desire to write to him


The picture that blew the distance and shattered the imagination

Because we need imagination, we pursue reading, writing, cinema and the rest of the arts, as we search for our imagination that art helps us to weave, and reading here is an art of its own: it achieves knowledge and mental pleasure and creates imagination.

However, does the writer’s departure from the paper, and his departure from the land of the reader’s imagination, to be independent of his own image, from the imagination of this reader, threaten the writer?

The poet and journalist Inaya Jaber had told me one day that, after reading the novel “The Keeper of the Rye” by J. Dr.. Salinger, she wrote an email to Salinger and sent it to a mailing address she had created, unable to control her desire to write to him, enchanted by his story.

Many of us got to know Ahmed Abdel Gawad, in the novel “Between the Two Palaces”, before he saw her embodied in Mahmoud Morsi, or Ahmed Effendi Akef, before his character was embodied by the actor Imad Hamdi, and perhaps the opposite will happen, as I had not read Dostoevsky when I saw a series taken From the novel, the actor Mahmoud Yassin performed the role. Dostoevsky’s idiot has always been associated in my imagination with Mahmoud Yassin’s face.

There is a frustration that we often feel, when cinema steals our imagination about the characters of the novel in literature, does this happen to the writer who steals our imagination about him, when he becomes close to us, and even available as any of the relatives or family?

On his Facebook page, a well-known novelist talks about how he is insulted by readers, and is surprised that this happened. This is a common case, when readers in the means of communication attack writers such as Elif Shafak or Khaled Al-Husseini, because of their stances on issues with which the reader does not agree. In fact, ignorance reached one of the women, when she spoke about Zakaria Tamer, saying: Who is this too? Thinking that she missed the name of a new actor, from the generation of Tamer Hosny!

Today, the presence of writers in ordinary everyday life is commonplace. In Paris, I met Salman Rushdie and Paul Auster at the book fair. Famous writers, such as Elif Shafak or Orhan Pamuk and others, we see their pictures with the Arab public who encounters one of these at book fairs.

Life today has become against the reader’s imagination about the writer, and the writer has become available to the point of cursing him in the face, and perhaps reading his response to an unknown reader, who never dreamed of getting close to this writer to this degree.

Let us imagine today, that a seminar is held for Dostoevsky, Hemingway, Marquis, or other of these great names that occupied our imaginations, and delighted us with reading, so we see them before us. Can anyone assure us, that the reader will not provide an opportunity to curse one of these when he sees him close to him, or says to him Sneaky: Who do you think you are!

personal concern

As a writer, I receive important emails from readers, separated by a real distance from them, who write for me as they imagine my life, but at the same time, when one of these people approaches me and becomes a friend on social media, the writer’s image is absent for most of them, to solve new concepts in the relationship, concepts It is based on an attempt to destroy the image-icon, in an attempt, and this is an independent research, to destroy the image of the father, and liberation from it, by killing it.

What should we do, writers who live in the age of media, and our presence close to the world of the reader, and the lack of distances, which is an unprecedented experience, and which includes different experiences and fun as well? Do we preserve our images in the reader’s imagination, so that we remain untouchable idols, or do we allow ourselves to go out to the ground, and receive shocks or slaps?!