I started literary writing in 1996, after losing almost five million dollars when my Granville Island Hotel and Marina in Vancouver, Canada were forced into foreclosure. I had to sell my revolving restaurant, The Top of Vancouver and my 7000 square foot luxury house in Richmond, Vancouver. After losing everything and going completely broke I decided to go into a self-imposed literary exile.
From 1996 until 2000, I spent nearly 10 hours each day at the library reading and researching world history events with a particular focus on World War II. I concluded that history was always written by winners, such as Winston Churchill. I found Churchill’s version of factual events in his memoires to be biased in his favor. I also concluded the main reason WWII ended with the defeat of the German Army was not primarily due to the contributions of the Allies but mainly because of the tenacity, determination, suffering and sacrifice of the Russian Army led by Joseph Stalin (born 1878 and died 1953). Its not to say the Allies did not contribute, but their contribution played a smaller role than Russia’s, probably no more than 20%.
The first time I ever attended an opera was around 1997/1998, when I was taken to see La Boheme at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. The translation monitor was broken, and I fell asleep halfway through the opera. I asked the person who invited me why operas were not in English. Her answer was less than complimentary. The rest is history.
The following day, I arrived at the library early before they opened, as I always did to prepare to write what would become “Sadness with Joy,” I went to the third floor of the Vancouver Library where I met a large, lovely lady who was in charge. In a low voice I asked her to direct me to the section where I could learn about opera. She told me to come back in a couple of hours and when I did, she had about a dozen books on the subject waiting for me.
I devoured those books and learned all about the history of opera. Since my childhood, I always loved to write songs in French. During 1998 to 1999 I developed what would become my first operetta, “La Rosa.” Around that time, I met a great composer named Linda Nessel. I convinced her to compose opera from jazz, which was quite a departure from convention. We composed the songs together and enlisted players from the Vancouver Symphony to rehearse them. It cost a lot of money, but I was blinded by my newfound loved for opera.
In late 1999 early 2000, I started again from scratch opening my restaurant, Bellaggio Café located at 773 Hornby Street. I would take money from my new restaurant to fund my operetta.
I registered for classes in the writers program at the Vancouver Film School to learn how to structure a screenplay. At 45 years of age, I was the oldest student in the program but all that mattered to me was my desire to learn.
Also, during that period, in addition to writing La Rosa, I wrote Terra Incognito. Terra Incognito would later become the subject of a lawsuit I initiated against James Cameron for similarities to his movie Avatar which came out many years later.
Now at the end of April 2020, I am under self-quarantine from COVID-19 with my family in the island of Victoria. I am currently in the process of writing my newest operetta, “La Gioya” about a romance that began in the Libyan desert and moved to Milan, Italy.
I have posted some of my writings here that are either completed or mostly finished. The others I am still working on and have not yet released them.
Never give up! No matter how old you are, never say “I cannot do it.” Even if you have never seen an opera, or worse you are like me and can’t read music. Everyday after you have lost everything, there are ups and downs. It was very hard, but perseverance was the only way for me to stay alive and stay sane.
I am a proud Christian Egyptian, born in Cairo. I left Egypt for England at the age of 18 years.
I am extremely grateful to the British people generosity, became a British citizen.
Left Britain in 1996 for Canada, became Canadian citizen and I still live in Vancouver, BC.
|1||Sadness with Joy - volume 1 & 2|
|3||Story of Terra Incognita|
|4||Terra Incognita vs Avatar! Court document on similarities|
|5||La Rosa Story Book|
|6||La Rosa Musical Opereta|
|7||La Rosa Musical Opereta - Audio files|
|8||La Rosa Running Time|
|9||La Rosa Lyrics|
|10||La Rosa Synopsis|
|11||La Rosa Synopsis 2|
|12||La Rosa The Plantation|
|13||La Rosa Screenplay|
|14||Zaboon The Donkey|
|15||Fantasies and Love|
|16||The Führer’s Son|