Fishing for stories


Yesterday afternoon Mabrouck and I walked along the sea wall of Casablanca. I stopped to talk with a fisherman who was fishing for dorade with a heavy marine rod not far from the Grande Mosque. Yes, I fish out here every day, he said. He hadn’t caught anything yet, but,… He looked out at the ocean from under his cap, and grinned at us. “It’s just good to be here fishing,” he said. When he heard it was our first day in Morocco, he welcomed us warmly.

We’re fishing, too, Mabrouck and I, fishing for stories, and talking about how to tell them. Should Mabrouck, with his contagious enthusiasm for photographing everything, take a picture of the old man asleep on a piece of cardboard in the street? I’m not the best person to ask, I tell him. Because I hesitate in these situations. I don’t want to exploit. In what light should we show Casablanca and how do we show both the dark and the light?

And how do I tell the story of our conversation with a father and his two sons by their village by the sea, which turned out to be housing for sailors from the Moroccan navy and their families, a conversation that ended with the father asking us for money.

The film crew we come upon tells us they are making a film to improve the image of Morocco. This puzzles Mabrouck and me, since it is a film about terrorists. They should get us to write their story. In our story, the terrorists are American and the world is saved by the intrepid Moroccan police. Mabrouck and I have a basic difference, though, about the fictional adventure story we are weaving from the pictures we have taken. He thinks the hero should be a young man named Mabrouck who saves me by acting like Superman. I think the hero should be an older woman who uses her experience and wits to save the world. Stay tuned for the resolution of this storyline.


2 Responses to “Fishing for stories”

  1. mabrouckrachedi Says:

    I think you should choose the story of Mabrouck Rachedi as a hero!

  2. kobi Says:

    The Mabrouck I met once or twice did seem to have pretty chivalrous fantasies of being the knight in shining armour saving the defenseless damsel in distress. I had to admire his enthusiasm.

    Re: your next post, it seems like fisheries all over are strained. Here in Northern California, the dungeness crab season was almost canceled completely last year for the small operators. The huge commercial operations just moved out into international waters and depleted the stocks from there, so they came through in fine form. I went for a really long time without crab because I only buy from the boats at the local harbor.

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