Enrolments are open for Round 3 of Opening The Eye of The Heart course!

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The next offering of this transformative poetry course, “Opening The Eye of The Heart” is up – September 2nd to October 2nd 2018. Baraka Blue is a thoughtful, compassionate and generous poet and teacher. Be prepared to drown in the beauty of mystic poetry, and be rebirthed.

If you’re looking for a poetry course that will hack you to pieces with critique – this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a poetry course that will celebrate the joy of mystic poems, love your work and help you grow, then this is for you. Clearly, I am super biased. lol.

You’ll get out of this workshop whatever you put in (and MORE because barakah is amazing like that), so make that intention and follow through. May your words flow from deep spaces and take you to wider places ❤

You can read the testimonials here!

Three of the greatest gifts of this course for me:

  1. Realising that I can write poetry DAILY even with the chaos of two little ones under 3.5. Alhamdulilah! No matter what happened during my day, I always had my poetry exercise to look forward to, during my precious night-time solitude.
  2. Reading such gorgeous poetry written by my classmates!
  3. Meeting and staying connected to a whole tribe of like-minded and like-hearted poets ❤

I miss my daily prompts 😦 But because I joined the alumni group – The Diwan – I have weekly prompts, woo!

***I’m typing this as fast as I can while my baby naps, and while my husband has taken my preschooler out to her 1 hour soccer class. TICK TOCK! I know that being calm and mindful actually helps my creative process, but I also feel so hungry for more uninterrupted time to write. Is this how it’s going to be, for the next few years until my girls grow a little older? Hm. This is another blog post to explore. #mamawriters #neverenoughtime #whattodo #thereisalwaystomorrow #breathe

Finding Jamilah and The Story of Yusuf is up on Amazon Kindle!

Finding Jamilah and The Story of Yusuf is online and available for purchase on the Amazon Kindle store 🙂 If you like coming-of-age YA (Young Adult) fiction featuring Muslim teens of colour, please read it, share it with your loved ones, and leave a review! Thank you for welcoming my stories into your life ❤ May they leave your heart a little warmer.

Mama of two

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One of my brothers asked me today what it’s like having two kids. My first response was “Someone is always crying.” Then I added, “But it’s really cute when they play together.”

And that is a summary of my life, as a mama of two. Mama guilt doesn’t leave. It just multiplies, and grows extra heads. And then even the mama-guilt-extra-heads start fighting with each other. And please don’t say – “But your mum had six kids, you only have two!” because that, my friends, is a WHOLE OTHER STORY. #don’tgothere #twoisplenty

Cute moments in the car: My baby in her car seat, trying to lean forward to take a peek at her big sis. Big sis making funny faces and voices, making baby sis laugh and smile.

Not so-cute moments in the car: Trying really, really hard to do breathing exercises and stay calm in KL traffic while either Baby 1 or 2 is crying, or when both are.

I love, love, love Dr Laura Markham’s Peaceful Parenting approach. Deep thanks to Fareena Alam for sharing the Aha! Parenting website with me, all those tiring years ago ❤ If you enjoy Janet Lansbury’s Respectful Parenting, then you’ll like Dr Laura Markham’s approach too.  I just find Aha! Parenting’s three principles a lot easier to apply on a day-to-day basis. This is a nice cheat sheet to stick on the wall or – even better – memorise. The test is remembering to apply it all in the heat of the moment, when there are tears and screaming. But hey, the joy of kids is that every day, they give you LOTS of opportunities to practice lol.

I’ve definitely noticed that it’s easier for Taskeen to cooperate with me when she feels connected to me. Getting her to giggle helps her let go of tension and then she’ll say “O-kay, Mama.” Because she’s so spirited, trying to strong-arm or yell at her doesn’t work anyway. She’s compelled us to up our game, since she was very little. So we’ve been asking her “What’s the solution?” since she could understand and respond. But the hilarious downside of that is her sometimes saying, with whole-body scorn, “That is not a good idea!” lol. Irfan and I want her to be a trouble-shooter and a problem-solver, so one of the mantras I repeat to her is, “We’re a problem-solving family!” I read somewhere that the opposite of blame is problem-solving. I like that.

Little Husna is almost 7 months and has found her voice!!! She recently discovered coughing, now that she’s trying out solids. And she proudly showed me how she could cough, then she grinned. And then Taskeen started coughing too, just to show that she’s still the boss. Haha. OH MY BABIES.

 

Short Stories

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So back in Ye Olde Days when I had hours upon hours of unappreciated free time to devour novel after novel….I loved reading epic fantasies. Now that my hours upon hours of free time are GONE – I’ve discovered the joy of short stories. And I really, really, love them! It’s such a nice feeling to dip and out of a short story collection.

I’m currently reading Mia Alvar’s In The Country. It’s a gorgeously written collection of diaspora stories. She writes so lyrically! I love how universal her themes are: loss, displacement, identity, and the pull of family.

I’m currently listening to The Found And The Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin on Audible. I have another glorious 32 hours to go, and am loving the depths of her story-telling.

Interestingly, when I read short stories like these, it makes it easier for me to get into the zone of writing my own short stories.

 

 

 

Lunch Ticket will publish my writing!

Alhamdulilah, I’m thrilled to share that Lunch Ticket will be publishing three of my flash prose creative non-fiction writing pieces ❤ I’ll share the link once it’s up.

My acceptance letter looked like this:

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I don’t have an MFA, and am likely to be many years away from that, given the intensity of the early years of mothering small children….so aaaah I am so excited they loved my writing! Lunch Ticket is a literary and art journal from the MFA community at Antioch University Los Angeles. Aaaah!!

I edited and submitted those pieces at around 2 am in the morning a few days ago, after writing them up in the precious snippets of free time that I do have. And yes, I paid for it the next day by being so groggy while my 3 year old was jumping around, and while my 6 month old needed to be fed and changed. But ah, the joy of that acceptance letter really does make it feel worthwhile. Buuuut I do have a life goal of sleeping before 11 pm every night so that I don’t end up having adrenal fatigue and/or cranky mama syndrome. #goodluckraidah #nightowl #writingwhenIshouldbesleeping

Thank you, Sharon Bakar, for believing my creative non-fiction writing!

If you’re an exhausted mama writer, know that your words matter! Even if it takes a billion attempts, with a million interruptions….don’t give up. You and your stories are worth it.

I’ll be reading at Readings@Seskan!

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Love reading? Enjoy writing? Want to support local writers? Come down to Readings@Seskan this Saturday 🙂 The ever-supportive and wonderful Sharon Bakar invited me to read an excerpt from my unfinished short story collection. Thank you Sharon!

I’ve been meaning to attend for so long, and am so excited that I’m actually days away. (InshaAllah nothing cataclysmic happens from now until then, ahem)

***

Update: Hanna Alkaf’s Q&A at Kino was wonderful. I enjoyed hearing her story about her own journey as a prolific reader, and how that shaped her writing. I really appreciated how honest she was about how much hard work writing is.

It was great to hear how supportive her editor (Zareen Jaffery) is in not italicising words in Malay and Chinese. Makes for a much more fluid and Malaysian story. She read her first chapter and I can’t wait to read the rest of it when her book is out on Feb 5th 2019!

Her advice to me? FINISH A MANUSCRIPT. Because I have like three unfinished manscripts, but my “book is in [my] first draft,’ #hannasaid #mustlistenlah

Plus! Her stunning book cover has been revealed! So Malaysian – I mean, just look at Melati’s uniform! Read more here.

Hanna Alkaf’s Q&A tomorrow! @yesitshanna

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I’m SO excited about attending tomorrow’s talk. Hanna Alkaf is my hero because she:

1)  got published through Salaam Reads, my dream imprint.

2) has TWO KIDS UNDER FOUR!

3) has TWO KIDS UNDER FOUR!!!!

4) is incredibly humble, supportive, and very “if I did it, then so can you!”

I’m just sayin’. Wow. Can’t wait to hold her book in my haaaands next year.

Hanna’s Q&A will be my baby Husna’s first earthside literary event haha. See you all tomorrow at Kino inshaAllah ❤