When I was barely 16 or 17, I dreamt of becoming a belly dancer. I dreamt of taking lessons and discovering I was so talented my teachers would put me on stage right away. Then, I would dance in a troupe, in cafés, restaurants and theaters. I thought there could be no better life but that of an artist. I would sleep all day, perform all night. I would permanently smell of musk and take daily baths in hammams.
Last year I had the chance to put my dream to the test. We were nothing but a bunch of first grade students in an oriental academy, yet, our teacher wanted us to take a look at what it all meant. We sure did. Constant rehearsals, counting steps, worrying about clothes and beating each other up for every tiny mistake we made. As I said to my therapist afterward: "yeah, I tasted a spoonful of that ambition and now I can see it for what it is, a teenage fantasy I was not made for".
I was made to be a writer. That's what I believed. A week ago I was offered a chance to have some of my work reviewed by a publisher. I was not promised anything. Actually, I only wanted to check whether they thought I was good enough. That simple: "yeah, there's potential here". For days on end I worked to make an old novel I had discarded in the past read nicely. I am exhausted. I cannot look at my characters with the same eyes. I am beginning to wonder: is this what writing is all about? Do I write for pleasure? And if so, is this deep sense of sadness and loss I am experiencing at present the real meaning of my life?