Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Ramadhaan Prayer

Time seems to have lost all relevance for some strange reason.  Or maybe it’s just me? We count days, not so much as numbers that we cross off on that calendar in our heads. Rather as experiences we’ve had. And for some reason, that very method leaves me feeling disoriented. Disconnected from time. Simply because so much has happened. Seated once more in my little writing corner, I am reminded of a blog post I did (I had to go into the archives) FOUR years ago!

On a morning when the world I looked upon seemed to frown unkindly at the choices I was making. On a morning when I made the conscious decision not to be slowed down by the frowns, but rather to seek out the smiles. Rather to seek out the beauty in every being that came my way. How many faces have come into my life since that September morning. Some have changed my life irrevocably…for the better.

And while there has been tears and loss. Sorrow and sadness. There has also been joy, commensurate.

 I found my brother again. That alone has made every pain I’ve endured, worthwhile. My kids have an uncle. He’s found his smile again. And found love too. Asking Allah, today and always to fill his days with love, laughter and contentment.  Aameen.

I’ve found my marriage tested.  Emerge stronger.
I've learnt how to love. 
How to let go.
How to forgive.
How to give.
Of myself.
I’ve learnt how to hold back.
When to hold back.
I learnt to know me.
Possibly because I’ve finally found me.

We straddle the cusp of yet another Ramadhaan. How blessed we are to be alive to enjoy this gift!
Ramadhaan Kareem to you.  May we be inspired to reach new spiritual heights.

Wishing everyone much light and love. See you on the other side of this month. Or maybe, just in time for Eid. Allah willing...

For your listening pleasure...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ramblings of the wannabe writerly mind...

There was a time, back when I first started blogging, where the bulk of my interactions were with fellow writers. We were united by a common calling. The need to get our words ‘out there’.

We thrived off the affirmation we’d receive from one another.  Sometimes I’d find myself wondering whether I’d merely fallen into a giant sycophantic cesspool, where we’d all languish, ‘to infinity and beyond’.  Each day, blog hopping, offering words of encouragement for pieces, that, in retrospect, weren’t all very good at all. I’m pretty sure the same could be said of my own offerings at the time, novice wannabe writer that I was (now I’m merely a wannabe writer ‘novice’ having been discarded after the 8th year).

The world of the ‘published author’ seemed an impossible fantasy.  I read things like: When you have collected enough rejection letters to wallpaper a toilet, know that your big break is nigh.  

When ‘they’ said I’d need a thick skin to be a writer, 'they' weren’t kidding.

Rejection is never easy. Having your writing rejected, often that comes cross as someone saying you aren’t good enough. Not just your writing. You. And that hurts. Regardless.

And then Fifty Shades of Trite Shite happened.  And the author found herself an instant millionaire. I resisted the ‘bestseller’ hype, because often I’ve found bestsellers to grind inharmoniously against my notion of what a good book ought to be.

But when I read that the author was raking in 10.6 mil a week, I thought, “well, so many people can’t be wrong”.

E-books were sent my way by a kindly soul and I embarked on a journey that would leave me, quite frankly, disgusted by what passes for ‘riveting’ in our society.

I was also left reeling; wondering whether feminism had been a figment of our collective imaginations.

Anastasia (oh my, it’s a bloody fairytale!) is your typical, clutzy, oh-I-don't-think-I'm-beautiful-enough girl who catches the attention of the severely mentally damaged, but dropdead may-I-please-climb-into-your-bed-and-stay-there Christian (swoon? More like puke!) who happens to be a millionaire with a penchant for cuffs, whips, canes, belts and floggers.

Ana quite enjoys this, virgin though she was on meeting him.

He’s a controlling demon, but that’s a non-issue. I mean, he's handsome, isn't he and also, he’s filthy rich. That makes everything okay, no? I thought as much. Hmph!

And women (What the hell?!) are lapping this up and calling it every woman’s fantasy.

Right now, I’m thankful I’m not every woman.

I could have forgiven the lack of plot and quite frankly, even the Mills and Boonesque sexual orgies (no, wait! Surely this is more really-lousy-porn-paperback styled?) had the writing been orgasmic.

But it wasn’t.  If anything, it was unimaginative, clichéd and a waste of trees and ink.

Now I'm beginning to wonder. When a publisher approves of what  you've written and wants to publish you, does that really mean that you've penned a winning book or merely that you’ve managed to squeeze enough kinky sex into the book, to justify the mass murder of trees. One wonders why the greenie beanies haven't taken up the cudgels against this travesty of justice yet. Maybe they should take up a flogger? One really does wonder. 

But there are deeper underlying issues revealed by Fifty Shades' runaway success.

  • We've totally and completely lost the plot when it comes to writing. For me, who's just written The End on a manuscript that gave me nightmares, that's worrying. 
  • Are we really that shallow? That blinded by the bling and the jets and the 'oh my's' that we fail to see how horribly hollow and empty her offering really was? Mc Donald's in words. Nuff said. 
  • As women, have we so little faith in our strength that we laud a work that reduces women to panting orgasm-greedy beings who want to be tied to beds and punished with violent sex every time they set a foot wrong? And then have the temerity to say they've enjoyed the punishing sex?
  • Are we so ready to relinquish our hard-won gains in contemporary society and just hand everything to men, even when we're working beside them actively contributing to the upliftment of society?
It grieves me that people will splurge on these books which contribute nothing positive to our lives, yet hold back when it comes to supporting the work of decent hardworking writers. 

That brings me to another bugbear. 'Our people's' attitude towards books. But that's a rant for another day. Another time. 

Also, don’t ask how the series ended. I could only handle that much holy-cow-holy-shit-wow-oh-my. 
Like a wise man once said: Who writes like that!