Finding my way back home

“Home” for me is writing. I have never suffered as much as I do when, for whatever reason, I give it up for a period of time. Whenever I turn back to it, it welcomes me back with open arms. I lose myself in it. It is my personal process of healing. If I don’t write, my unspent creative energy builds up into a big block of worry, and that is unhealthy.

In my autograph diary in which I got autographs from my teachers and schoolmates back in high school, one of my teachers told me to keep a hold onto writing, as she herself regretted letting go of it. Whenever I experience the peaceful bubble I can cocoon myself into when I write after a break from it, I recall this piece of advice from her and doubly appreciate it. I would be a fool to give up writing permanently. It is just hard-wired into my brain.

My brother is my personal cheerleader as far as writing goes. He is responsible for getting me to set up a “writing tracker”, which is basically a notebook in which I chart my writing progress. As usual, I either have several works in progress at one time, or none at all. I suppose it’s “all or nothing” for me.

My latest return to writing has been a happy one. I finally started writing my book, for real this time. I started a serial story for one of the magazines I write for. Both projects are enough to keep me on my toes. I aim to see both projects through to completion. That would be a serious achievement for me as a writer.

So, here goes nothing. I’m all set to continue my writing journey. I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes!

 

Life of a bookworm (Opening up my cabinet of curiosities # 3)

Austin Kleon‘s book “Show Your Work” has a list of questions that bring out the creative mind in you. I decided to answer all the questions, one by one, in order to express my creative side in a personal way. Today’s question is:

What do you read?

What I choose to read has certainly changed with every change in circumstance as I grow older. When I was younger, novels predominated. Now that I am looking to root myself in the real world and shut off the dreamland that preoccupied my waking hours since I was eight years old, I choose biographies, memoirs, humorous books and non fiction. I still sneak a novel or two in sometimes, for old time’s sake, but novel-reading is no longer the intense activity it was, the way it used to be when I was a child/teenager. Somehow, the novel addiction has weakened. I suppose that’s called growing out of something.

Non fiction is something I am definitely growing into. During a book fair last year, I picked up basic books by heavy-duty names like Ghazali, Rumi and Iqbal. One book was actually about how Rumi inspired Iqbal, so it was about both of them at once–I really enjoyed that.

Now that I am past the grueling college years of student life, and have some time unburdened by academics, I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into some good non fiction reading, with the topics of interest being the history and lives of Muslims in South Asia. I also want to place particular emphasis on an introductory study of Quran and Hadith. For Quran, I would be following my online “Quran Program” classes at Zaynab Academy Online, as well as reading up on the sections taught in class by looking them up in reference books, namely Maariful Quran and Tafseer Ahsanul Bayan. For Hadith, just to get started, I will be reading and reflecting upon Riyadh us Saliheen. May Allah accept my intention and increase me in all that is good.

I have always been an ambitious reader. Every book has somewhere to take you and something to teach you. I aspire to go somewhere and learn something every day of my life, and books make it possible for me. Here’s to another year of happy reading. See you at the bookstore!

 

 

 

Dental Doldrums

Regular students just get paper cuts.
Me?
I have
plaster knife cuts
from digging out cured appliances from their plaster moulds
I have
wax burns
melted wax dripping down the wax knife onto my skin
I have
gouged nails
from whirring burs slipping along one hand onto the other
And then there’s the
ever present danger of
needle prick injury
Three marks short essay question, how to manage needle stick injury from confirmed patient of hepatitis B?
The answer is get an antibody shot pronto, blood titer checked, Engerix B booster dose if needed.
But you don’t need to know that
because you’re busy sucking on your paper cut
cursing that darned paper clip for stepping out of line.

***

(A little something I wrote in November 2014.)

Did I tell you…?

Did I tell you that I started reading Imam Ghazali? The depth and breadth of his books is astonishing. I feel stupid for not having “discovered” him before, though it’s quite silly to think of me as having “discovered” his writing.

Anyway, here’s the first book of his I took in my hands:

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The others, I got as ebooks from Amazon.

If you are a “small details” person, or a “big picture” person, Ghazali has both for you. The scope of his work will draw you in and the force of the contents will shake you up. That is, if you take kindly to being shaken up, otherwise you won’t be able to take it and will put the book away. This is serious spiritual stuff, not feel-good Facebook fluff.

You can check out sections of his works on ghazali.org. Go ahead. I suggest starting with “Deliverance from Error”, his autobiographical account of his own journey from skeptical doubt to certain conviction.

What more can I say? It’s time to shut down the keyboard and open up the book. I will update you about my reading progress soon!

In you and I there’s a whole new land (Opening the Cabinet # 2)

In the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, there’s a section called “Open Up Your Cabinet of Curiosities” with a bunch of questions, all of which I am determined to answer. The first one was “Where do you get your inspiration?” The second one is:

What sort of things do you fill your head with?

I’m a big believer in “you are what you eat”, especially when it comes to the type of media I consume. That means I fill my head with good stuff. The problem is, there are so many neurons firing away in there that it takes more than just taking in good media to get them trained to think positively. I have to act on what I read/watch/listen to, in order for it to have a lasting effect.

Which brings us to the point of actually answering the question. I fill my head with a good dose of Muslim women writers, funny stuff, Islamic lectures and blogs. I confess that before, it used to be a good dose of any novel that I judged badgeto be “clean”, with a bit of non fiction thrown in, and the random reading of an Islamic text translated into English. I am steering myself towards buying South Asian or Muslim or women writers, and if it’s a South Asian Muslim woman writer who writes Islamic stuff, I am the ultimate fangirl. In the sense that I still have to purchase Sadaf Farooqi‘s books, while I follow her blog and tweets and even managed to end up in a Whatsapp group with her in it (I didn’t know at the time of asking to join the group that she was in it. Hidden bonus. Achievement unlocked!) I ended up getting books by Na’ima B Robert, Umm Zakkiyah, and Yasmin Mogahed first. This post shall serve to drive me on to order Sadaf’s stuff and become a true fangirl.

The next question is more related to reading, so I will save the details (yes, there’s more!) for then.

The doodling damsel draws directly

I made my latest display picture myself on the app Autodesk Sketchbook and edited it in the app Pixlr. The drawing shows a niqabi girl resting on a table with her phone and handbag beside her, with bookshelves in the background. It represents any tired college student going “heads down” in the library, but it also represents all the times I actually did that as a college student.11754251_10207585811192270_4231970042924882547_n

I used to sketch drawings of my friends in school. Then I stopped. Now, in the long search for Islamic photos and drawings to use for Wattpad book covers, I found a lot of good material, but not as much depth and breadth as I would like. You know what they say, if you can’t find what you want, make it yourself. I revisited my old doodling habit and started making doodles again, only this time they were of faceless hijabis and niqabis. I have fun making them and spreading them around on the Internet. If you come across them, feel free to use them as your own display pictures (or in your Wattpad books). In fact, I’ll direct you to them.

You can find them here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/guidanceseeking (the recent public posts are of my doodles).

Instagram: https://instagram.com/iqrawrites/ or username @iqrawrites

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/iqrawrites/free-to-use-muslimislamic-iconscoversbanners/

Weheartit: http://weheartit.com/iqraasad/collections/97478571-free-to-use-muslim-islamic-icons-banners-covers

Now, I’m off, for it is time to doodle some more.

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#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter is trending on Twitter.IMG_0858

My favorites are:

*So what’s your real job then?

*I’m so jealous! Being a writer is so easy! I’d love to be able to make stuff up all day and get paid for it.

*You should write a book about me.

*But what do you actually do all day?

*You’re STILL writing that book?

*Can you help me with this? It’s not like you’re doing anything important.

*So glad you’ve found an outlet to deal with your issues.

And so on and so forth.

What’s your top thing not to say to a writer?