“Let’s Go Crazy Tonight!” 30 Seconds to Mars Concert

Place: Byblos – Lebanon

Date: 15-07-11

Event: 30 Seconds to Mars Concert

I got dressed and put on red lipstick. For such events, one needs to. I took the bus with my friend and headed to Byblos. A band whose name I cannot be bothered to remember was playing songs that sounded identical. At 9:30pm, the lights went out, the crowd went quiet, we collectively drew our breath and screamed! The drummer of 30 Seconds to Mars came up, took his place and started playing. In a rush of colors, lights, screams and camera flashes, Jared Leto appeared. He was wearing a jacket with broad, decorated shoulders and sun glasses and a white guitar was between his hands.

He screamed: ‘Let’s go crazy tonight!” and screams filled the air, mostly those of teenage girls.

After the first song, he took off his jacket.

Indeed, he made a very good wardrobe choice

Jared shouted: “I want this to be the best night of your lives!” And it’s definitely in the top 5.

He alternated between singing, jumping and dancing, speaking to the audience and interacting with us all. We were all there, we were entirely there, listening to his every words, watching his every move.

In a typical teenage moment, I told my friend: “He’s SOOOOOO gorgeous!”

But it’s not about the looks, it’s about his ability to make you feel like you’re the only one that matters in a SOLD OUT concert. You can definitely feel his background in acting emerge, he knew how to captivate his audience.

He ordered: "Raise your hands in the air!"

He ordered us: SHOUT! JUMP! DOWN LOW! PUT YOUR HANDS UP! And we listened. Even when he told us to be quiet, we listened. Thousands of people stopped talking.

He said: “Let’s see if we can sing so loud that the rest of the world wishes they were right here in Lebanon!”

At this point, my friend and I agreed: This man is very quotable.

And this is what he said:

“We went swimming in your beautiful ocean and (a band member) got stung by a jelly fish, I was sleeping, Shannon got bit by a shark, and Tim was masturbating in his room.

I have to admit, I think I love your food even more than you. Yes, I’ve been eating… I’ve already had 3 bowls of hummus *audience screams, thinking “he knows the names of the dishes!”*, 2 bowls of tabboule *audience screams, thinking “he has such a cute accent in Arabic!”* and one bowl of baba ghannush *audience screams, women swoon*, whatever that guy’s name is.

Hold on, I just wanna talk to you one second *approaches the edge of the stage*. There are a lot of people around the world that think that Lebanon is this very distant land, it’s too far away, it’s much too dangerous. I gotta say, this is one of the greatest pleasures of my entire life, and I promise you, I am going to tell everybody all over the world what an amazing place this is, and if they are too scared to come and visit you, then we’re gonna come back and see you again!”

Pure Awesomeness

At this point, he had us all eating tabboule right out of his hand.

Singing at the top of his lungs

Towards the end of the concert, he picked people to go up on stage. I was not one of them. Some people caught pics and drum sticks. I was not one of them. I just caught some confetti. But it’s ok, it was still pretty awesome!

Jared Leto and his "chosen crowd"

On our way back home, I was discussing tomorrow’s plans with my friend. She interrupts me: “Is there life after tonight?”


My Time Sandwich: Then, Now and Everything in Between

I was telling my friend the other day that I graduated from school in 2006, a few months later, the war broke out. A couple of months after that, I started university. I finished my last courses in August 2010 and in September, I started teaching. Right now, I’m going through the last days of school and in a month, I’ll be on the other side of the world, pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers University as a Fulbright Fellow. Time passes quickly? Things change at a frightening pace? Yes. And yes.

Last year, I was asked by one of my professors to describe myself in a letter. Knowing me, I could never send a typical “Hey, my name is Dima and I am 21 years old…” letter, and this is what I came up with:

[Enter Dima]

(She is weighed down by three literary anthologies she is holding in her left arm, her hair is a mess and she looks tired.)

Dima: Just give me a minute, I’m catching my breath here! I just ran all the way from ACS, carrying all of this! (She tries to lift up her arm to show the anthologies, but she has lost all feeling of it. The anthologies fall to the floor with a big thud) Oh well. I have to run up to chair this meeting we have once a week, where representatives meet and we all play university; more complex yet more boring than playing house because you don’t get an easy-bake oven! Afterwards, I have to meet Lana for lunch so we can have our daily nagging session. For us, the cafeteria is one big couch and the food is our Freud! Analysis… here we come! We discuss the good old days and worry sick about the future. The present? Who has time for it?! Then, off to class. Literature: a world where women are mad and usually live in attics, where a pen is never just a pen, it is a phallic symbol, where we swear to say the whole literary truth and nothing but the truth while putting our right hand on an anthology… so help us Shakespeare! Fortunately, after classes, I have a little break. So I head to our campus minister’s office, fall on a chair and start talking about how the world is falling apart. He listens all the time… he must really like this university. Sometimes I show him my latest paper or the latest book I’m reading. Of course, I do so with my right hand, my left one being rendered completely useless due to the weight of the centuries that has been placed on it. Off to tutor the young minds! I sit with the kids and we make home-made play dough. They have cutters of different shapes; bunny, star, heart etc… one of the girl makes one of each and I help. Suddenly, she loses sight of one of them and asks in panic: “where is our heart?! We lost it!” O! Her prophetic soul! Then I rush to drama practice where I can finally take Dima off, give her a break and I put on another character. Thank God for theatre! By the time we’re done, it’s the evening and I rush home for dinner and a good episode or two of whatever teenage series I’m watching at the time. Lana calls and we discuss literature, Turkish series, soul mates, Chinese food and our general “malaise du siècle” and melancholy. After we’ve exhausted every subject or ourselves (whichever comes first), we call it a night and head to bed. That’s where another section of an endless day begins; a time for thoughts, dreams, wondering and prayer. I finally drift off to sleep with the hopeful certainty that tomorrow is, indeed, a new day.

(She lifts the anthologies off the ground, then lifts her own left arm and throws it over her shoulder.)

[Exit Dima]

My Anthologies

After finding this letter and reading it, I decided to write a similar piece about my year in teaching.

[Enter Dima]

DIMA: Let me introduce you to what I’d like to call “the one-eye syndrome”. It happens when you are SOOO sleepy that you are physically incapable of opening both eyes, and the numbers on your cell phone clock seem like one big blur through your exhausted, heavy, sleepy eyelid. That’s me. Every day. I get up at 6am, try to put on an outfit that looks remotely professional and head to school on the bus while the 10th grade girl sitting in the front seat blasts “Excuse me, I might drink a little bit more than I should tonight” by Pitbull, and I sit wondering where the good ol’ innocent days have gone. “Today class, we’re going to have a fun activity”. A student raises his hand: “Miss, is it YOUR kind of fun or OUR kind of fun?” (Dima hides the Hannah Montana poster she brought to class in order to teach characterization) Back home, I sleep, work, correct and eat. Not necessarily in that order and not necessarily allocated the same amount of time. All the while, I whatsapp Lana, updating her on my every move: “I’m in the kitchen now – salad looks good – I’ll have the chips – reading Harry Potter, again – wait, I’ll send you a picture of my dinner plate.” I still watch series, live vicariously through them and think: “wow, it must be nice to have a social life… I wouldn’t know.” Next thing I know, it’s the one-eye syndrome all over again.

End of the World: 21/05/11… or NOT!

My Friend- Talking about apocalyptic .. apparently tomorrow is the end of the world according to some prophet in America

Me – Hehehe I know, we talked about it at school today

My Friend- You did? I just heard about it but if I wouldn’t have hunted for it online I think I would have missed the whole warning. It wasn’t well circulated in Lebanon apparently.

Me – Nope, thank God, we don’t need statuses about it. Besides, it’s already tomorrow somewhere else in the world.

My Friend- Hey, we got 45 mins to go but I think they go by American time, which is like 7 hours back right?

Me- Depends where in the States, it can be up to 10 hours. So tomorrow, if I wake up dead, I’ll text you.

My Friend- Sure, but hope the lines won’t be out.

My Beirut from my Balcony


I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else – C. S. Lewis


Photo by Dima M.

Broken Grapefruit

Raw Desire

“It takes more than half a century to figure out who they were,

the few real loves-of-your-life, and how much of the rest—

the mad breaking-heart stickiness—falls away, slowly,

unnoticed, the way you lose your taste for things

like popsicles unthinkingly.”

– Barbara Ras –



Photo by Dima Matta

Beirut Cab Stories Make me Wanna…

Lebanese Service

Beirut Cab Stories make me wanna:

– Learn how to drive

– Get a car

– Pretend I’m deaf and mute

– buy Pepper spray/taser/random self-defense gadgets

– use Pepper spray/taser/random self-defense gadgets

– burn bras in public

– hate men

– blast my Ipod’s volume to eardrum-splitting proportions

– not want to pay the cab fee

– give moral lessons about proper behavior

– give hygiene/wardrobe advice

– open the car door and throw myself out

– think if I should bother hanging on to my purse and other belongings when I open the car door and throw myself out

– cry out: “You need Jesus!” (in a Jamie Foxx in “Valentine’s Day” sort of way”)

– write a book about all the cab experiences I’ve had

– go to the Police station and report the drivers

– reconsider going to the Police station and report the drivers seeing how they’re not much better there

– get a nail clip and cut the freakishly long nail of their pinkies

– curse enough to make a drunk sailor blush

– wish that teleportation really existed

– write this blog post to vent and be able to read “Eclipse” for the second time in peace on a Sunday afternoon

Cab stories anyone?

Haiku High: Poetry over Fattoush and Sojok

There’s nothing like authentic Lebanese mezza, white wine and old Arabic music to make anyone a poet.

An Evening in a Photo

An Evening in Haikus*:


We went out tonight

Smoked cigars and drank some wine

Heels clicked in the street


Secret spies loomed near

Oum Kulthum and Bizr El Shams

Cupcakes to follow


Dabbling in left

His name was “Donny Parker”**

What could it have been?


I feel poetic

I’m on a Haiku high… oh!

On second thought, no


He just knew one note

But who knows, who knows, who knows

A poodle, promised***


Old man eavesdropping

Mustachioed and plumpish

Drinking Almaza


“Let’s go Dima

It’s time to get a cupcake

Have you paid the bill?”


*Haikus are a Japanese form of poetry made up of 17 syllables, divided into three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables.

** The name was changed to keep anonymity and mystery

*** Was originally “A dog was promised” but was changed under a poetic license. The comma was added for clarification. Indeed, the poodle made no promise.


Poems written by Dima Matta and Marjorie Gourlay – “You are my horizontal”

06/02/11 – At Barometre Restaurant