Inspired by Nicole Abouhalka

I was curious about the elegant soft-spoken woman who sat across from me at the table. While she said very little during the first session of the writing workshop, I sensed that she was working on an amazing life story.

In fact, Nicole Abouhalka had already written several anecdotes, stories and poems in a published collection entitled Oh! Canada.

Nicole did not discover her writing abilities until 1982. While travelling from Lebanon to Cyprus, she wrote poetry to keep awake. After a two-year stop in Montreal, the Abouhalka family moved to Guelph and made a decision to open a Lebanese restaurant.  Nicole took creative writing courses at the University of Guelph and tried her hand at short stories.

Fast forward to 2004…

After undergoing brain surgery , Nicole lost all her capacities. Her sons urged her to write about her experiences since leaving Lebanon. Slowly, Nicole regained most of her coordination and the use of her analytical mind as she wrote this entertaining collection.

Her humor is evident throughout the book, especially when she discusses the diagnosis of meningioma. She asked the neurosurgeon the following questions:

“Could my tumour be due to all the chocolate I ate and am still eating?”

“Could it be the Black Box of my life?”

“Could it be a concentration of all the negative energies that I have been channeling?”

After learning that the tumour was large—120 ml—she asked: “Would I be called an air-head?”

Nicole Abouhalka is now working on a memoir for her grandchildren.

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