Rocks in a Mayonnaise Jar :: illustrated story 4

This story has been circulating around the internet for years. Nobody knows who actually wrote it. I re-wrote it a little to suit my own nefarious purposes.

One of life’s important lessons is to place most important things first. This story is about how to transform your actions to match your priorities. Or maybe you should just eat more mayo. I don’t know. You decide what this story means.

Whenever I eat fresh figs, I get the sense that I have entered heaven. They are hard to come by in Vancouver. When they appear in the grocery store they are priced out of reach. However we know a friend who miraculously managed to grow a tree in his backyard. Every year he shares the harvest with us. Boy! do we feel lucky. So when a large box of them arrived last week, my over enthusiasm seeped into the video I was working on.

You can look up my Russian salad recipe, featured in the video, here.


The Tree of Ignorance is Beautiful

You can read the full text of the narration here. This video was an experimentation in using the compositing feature in my video editing tool. I can see that this will come in handy in future videos There is this tree in the park where I frequently take a walk. […]

Winking Tree


The Champion

The Champion is a short documentary about an Iraqi boxing athlete who creates a new life for himself in the US. The 18 minute film is featured on www.shortoftheweek.com and you can watch it here. The movie revolves around Estaifan Shilaita – A man who radiates charisma and positivity, you […]

Nobody Knows Anything 1

Work hard. Aim for the stars. Be the absolute best that you can be. Others will tell you: Be practical. Baby steps. Keep your feet hugging the ground. Your head clear. That is the way to be. Go with the flow. No! Make your own destiny. Cultivate peace inside. No! […]


Pillars of Light (Book Review)

Pillars of Light (Book Review) 2

A seriously good novel. Serious because it clearly was well researched down to most meticulous details. Good because it retains the intimacy of what treads through the human heart. Akka or Acre is under siege by the christian crusaders. On one hand you have the residents of the beleaguered city […]

Towards 2016

After drinking a cup of hot chocolate last night, I found this at the bottom of it. I predict a 2016 full of love. I wish you all a year where you find yourself busy doing what you adore, surround by people your heart delights in their company. I hope […]


Metamorphosis by Kafka is Funny

Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka : Book Review 2

This review contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Metamorphosis yet, don’t read on. When I lived in Scotland, I was introduced to a unique brand of humor. The type that is clever yet hard to get. The more a joke is hard to decipher the more valuable it is considered. […]

book review: Heartburn by Nora Ephron 7

“Merry me and you will never have to pretend you know the difference between Iran and Iraq.” A man declares in a lavish expression of love in the novel. The main character is married to a journalist that covers politics in Washington DC. Rachel constantly feels out of her depth […]

Heartburn by Nora Ephron and mashed potato

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Farrante

Book Review :: My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante left me desiring. New shoes I wanted. Forth I sprung like a warrior with a credit card on a mission to find matching footwear for a story. For how could you write a novel that involves shoe making yet not describe the shoes. What […]

Book Review :: Eyrie

Words explode into the air, leaving behind velocity rings worthy of your favorite Pikachu. The force of the acrobatics is contradicted with gentility of the landing. Soft as a feather. Soft is the feather of these words. Soft and cuddly, I want caress the sentences. I reread lines and luxuriate […]

Eyrie by Tim Winton

Frankenstein in Baghdad

Frankenstein in Baghdad :: Book Review 1

Frankenstein in Baghdad is novel by Iraqi author Ahmad Saadawi. It tells the story of everyday day life of modern Baghdad through a nameless Frankenstein like creature. A seller of old furniture and other used objects, assembles that torn body parts of victims of a terrorist attack into a unified […]

North and South :: Book Review

Every once in a while I read something that is so good it makes my heart pound with excitement. I find myself resisting the urge to stand on top of a roof top and yell “This Novel is Amazing, Read it Right Now”. In 2014, I read many good books, […]

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell book review

Hotdog Socks

The Story of a New Name – Book Review 3

What is it that happened to me since visiting Italy last summer? Something got under my skin. What I eat, how I see and even what I write has been influenced in sometimes subtle and other times bold fashion. Once in a while I find the strangest thought bubble up […]

Top 10 Magical Moments from my Europe Trip 2

Click in the image to see a bigger one. 10. Rainbow over the Alps 9. Train Football To pass time on many train rides, inspired by FIFA matches, my son invented train football (soccer for north americans). It starts by scrunching paper tissue into a ball. Using the side tables […]

Burano Italy

polka dot park

Switzerland’s Obsession with Polka dots

I have been in Switzerland for a few weeks and everywhere I look I see polka dots. Let me illustrate with a few examples.   A Polka dot park at EPFL in Lausanne   Polka dot fountain spotted at Pierre Gianadda Foundation in Martigny. This one moved in circular motion […]

How to Name a Novel

How to Name a Novel 1

After months of agonizing search for the right name for my novel, the answer comes from a most unexpected source. Here is a list of dreadful names that my novel nearly got called: Maladjusted Realism Hyphenated Realism Amalgamated Realism Hyphenated at the Seams Maladjusted at the Seams Same but Different […]

Storytelling and Writing

Long long time ago in the Middle East, before there was TV or Radio, men would go to the coffee shop to listen to the storyteller. These professional storytellers knew how to stretch a tale into multi-evening events that kept their audience captivated night after night. Since Graffiti Hack is […]

Elen Ghulam storytelling

Gratitude :: The story behind my book launch party

Since I published Graffiti Hack, incidents of serendipity have been popping up in my life. Things that fall in my lap on their own that had I planned for I would have never attained. Most of these are on the personal side and I can’t reveal too much, but this […]


Graffiti Hack

Graffiti Hack Book Launch Party

You are warmly invited to celebrate the publication of Graffiti Hack:  A Novel by Elen Ghulam Join your friends, get your hot-off-the-press copy of the book, nibble on some munchies, and revel in the music of flamenco. Elen Ghulam will be there to sign books, answer questions, offer a short reading […]


Best Novels from all around the Globe

My Name is Red, by Orhan Pamuk – Turkey Cities of Salt, by Abdelrahman Munif – Saudi Arabia Like Water for Chocolate, by laura esquivel – Mexico Wild Swans, by Jung Chang – China Seasons of Migration to the North , By Tayeb Salih – Sudan Unless by Carol Shields […]

To Lure a Hedgehog 3

To be an Arab living in the west is to be sentenced to a lifetime of caressing a hedgehog. I get pricked by spines of misunderstanding. No matter what I say it gets twisted into an extreme. I shoot a nurf gun, the slightest touch startles , out come the […]

hedgehogin foliage

Book of Love

Book of Love :: Music Video

The book of love is long and boring Read from the book of love you must Music and Vocals by Barbara Browning http://soundcloud.com/barbarabrowning Cover of Stephin Merritt’s song by the same name

The Story Behind my Novel 1

In 2003, while the US was bombing Iraq, yet again, my employer sent me to Washington DC to attend a work related conference. The irony of sending an Iraqi to the capital city of the US at that particular time escaped my boss. My state of distress was well disguised […]


correspondence artist by barbara browning

Book Review :: Correspondence Artist 1

A novel that wants to make love to the whole world. A novel that reveals its secrets in quiet whispers that will make your ears strain against the page. A novel that has no plot yet tells a story. A novel that repeats the same scenario, over and over, but […]