Muslimah Writer’s Journey Summit is on!

“There is a story only you can tell because you are unique.” – Na’ima B. Robert,

I am SO EXCITED! The content is inspiring, the dashboard looks gorgeous, and the Facebook group is thrumming with supportive sister-writer love.

The Day One line up of wonderful speakers looks like this:

Na’ima B Robert – The Story You Were Born To Tell
LaYinka Sanni – The World of Your Mind, The World of Your Pen
Aishah Adams – Aishah Adams

There’s still time to sign up here! Bit.ly/MuslimahWritersSummit

Reflections

IMG_7728Here are some of my poetry notes during Baraka Blue’s poetry workshop during his first visit to Malaysia. I flipped back a few pages and noted the date – 21/5/2014. Pre-babies. A lifetime ago. These were nights where I performed my poetry on the same stage as Jamal Raslan, Malaysian spoken word guru. Baraka Blue sat in the audience, my teacher thoughtfully watching my word play. My nights are now spent communing with my daughters, or simply enjoying the solitude when they are asleep. I have moved from the performance stage, a public space, to a very, very private space. Expansion, contraction. The cycle of life.

We’re on Day 9/30 of Baraka Blue’s online poetry workshop, and it’s such a treat, writing and reading poetry every single day.  I struggle with the discipline of writing daily, and being part of a safe, spiritual writing space has been so, so helpful and so, so healing. It is so exciting for me to lean into the spiritual practice of poetry! I’m learning so much from my teacher and classmates. Interestingly, writing poetry has been unlocking my creative juices for my fiction and creative non-fiction works. Woo! Bonus.

On those inevitable bad days, even writing a word will do. And the words add up to lines, lines add up to stanzas, and stanzas add up to poems. Speaking of poems, please scroll down to my Day 8 poem, inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s gorgeous, gorgeous poem You Who Never Arrived.

Reading Rilke’s poem, so full of haunting longing, catapulted me almost a decade ago, when I was a young student of knowledge in Jordan, I remember being torn by so much longing. Longing for the Divine, for marriage, for children….now that I’m in my thirties, alhamdulilah, I have the marriage and the children I always wanted. They simultaneously give me so much joy and also stop me from jumping onto my next plane adventure lol. Ah well. Gotta wait til my girls are older, then we can adventure around the globe together ❤

 

Day 8 Poem – Wanderlust

A decade ago
I sat upon a mountain and
sang qasidas to You
my fractured heart
only comforted by this –

one day, I would be gone
and these giants would
remain

my brother hovered behind me
making sure that
I wouldn’t fall off said mountain
or injure myself
in other ways

the traveller inside me still
longs for deep forests
blue desert skies
vast oceans
for in motion, I see You

I am homebound now
growing two daughters
from scratch
like bread, they rise

It’s harder now to
catch glimpses of You
when my days are filled
with so much minutiae

Sometimes –
From the periphery
You surprise me
– my youngest’s gummy laugh
my eldest’s fearless dance
I forget myself
for a heartbeat

and then I remember
and fall back to earth

You are so close! and yet, always out of reach

My Day 1 Poem: Home

Alhamdulilah, I’m on Day 3/30 of Baraka Blue’s online poetry course. I am loving the daily encouragement to write a poem (30 poems in 30 days!), and to read the poems from my coursemates. So much to breathe in and chew on throughout the day. I literally wait the entire day, until my daughters are fast asleep.

Our Day 1 poem was Rumi’s To Take A Step Without Feet. It took some reflection, time, refining and late night solitude, and here’s my response:

Day 1: Home

sit beside me, little ones
unfurl your hands and let me
read the constellations on your palms
the dewdrops of your innocence, paid for by
the blood of those who came

before

you, two tiny souls
burrowed deep, heartbeat to
heartbeat – grew, thrived, birthed
upon the waves of my pain
ancient, knowing eyes

every day

I was born thirsty
into hunger, carried across generations
cut from my roots
grew in hostile soil
you are my home now

teach me

how to breathe
swallow light
let go
hope
love

come

walk Home with me
may we sip, gently
cool, deep waters from the
hands of our Beloved
and never thirst again

The Naming

Aaaaaaaah! This is the sound of my EXCITED KAKAK SQUEE! My adik’s poetry book is available at Wardah Books! Buy buy buy!

OK. More coherent words.

Taskeen, Husna (in utero) and I were lucky enough to make it to Aisyah’s chapbook reading in October last year. It was such a gorgeous, unifying event. It was wonderful to witness people from all walks of life come together for the sake of poetry. This is the beauty of art, and how it transcends so much.

Aisyah’s reading was so well-received, and I marvelled at how she had her first chapbook published in her early twenties. May this be the first of many more!

She very sweetly named (ha!) me as her nominated poetry reader, and I was so thrilled to be able to read some of my own work. I have a video of my reading, somewhere, and hope to upload it soon-ish. Here’s to my poetry being birthed one day soon and finding its way next to Aisyah’s at our favourite bookstore ever.

Once I re-read The Naming, I can post a proper review ❤ I remember loving how experimental, brave and lyrical it is. And I have a signed copy muahaha.

 

Food review: Kelava!

IMG_0184-1

image source: http://www.kelava.my

If you’re looking for locally-made, vegan ice cream that actually tastes HEAVENLY – look no further than Kelava. Their freshly churned ice-cream is incredibly tasty and full of coconuty (is that a word?) goodness. So. Delicious. Plus, they deliver it straight to your doorstep if you’re in the Klang Valley, which is wonderful for mums with small kids looking for a healthier stress fix. Ahem. Yes.

Here are my ratings of what I’ve tasted so far:

Vanilla – 6/5 (SO DELISH.)

Chocolate – 6/5 (This is the fancy chocolate flavour, not the cheapo ones that leave that bad aftertaste.)

Strawberry – 4/5 (A nice mix of sweet and sour…but I’m not a big strawberry flavour fan to begin with.)

Coconut Latte – 5/5  (Super yum! Not the sweet kind.)

Salted Gula Melaka – 6/5 (Ah, always a hit for me.)

Onde Onde – 6/5 (So. Good. Kind of reminded me of cendol.)

 

 

Creative Rainbow Mama

WhatsApp Image 2018-03-28 at 10.27.21 AM

[Note: I wrote this 2 months ago]

Husna turned 3 months! Alhamdulilah, can’t believe it’s already been 12 weeks. I’m writing this while Taskeen is in the garden and Husna is napping. Let’s see how far I get.

I took this picture a few Wednesdays ago. That was one blissful morning of reading, journalling and sipping on tea – alone. And of course, eating a gigantic meal because breastfeeding hunger is real.

If your’e a creative mama who wonders if she’ll ever write/paint/craft/sculpt again – READ THIS BOOK. I can’t stress that enough. You’ll probably be interrupted and it’ll take you a while to get through it, but it’s so worthwhile.

Thank you, Lucy Pearce, for writing such a wonderful, paradigm-shifting and nourishing book. It made me realise the most commonly known mother archetype, Earth Mother, is not better or worse than the lesser known archetype – Creative Rainbow Mother. I still love to nurture my daughters, bake, cook and so on….I just also really crave and need that quiet time and space to nurture my own creativity. I’m a lot less cranky afterwards.

I remember wondering if I would ever write again, when Taskeen was first born. I did get to journal, and still do, but I guess I was really shocked at how little time I had left over for writing. I’ve realised now the key to writing while in the trenches of newborn life (and now, newborn and toddler life) is flexibility. And lots of self-compassion. Take what you can get! 10 minutes of writing is better than nothing at all. But on those super bad days when it’s meltdown after meltdown…it’s OK to just rest, recover, and prepare of the next day.

Second-time around, with Husna, I’m a lot more accepting of the shocking newborn stage. Surprisingly, the hardest adjustment hasn’t been the sleep deprivation. It’s Taskeen’s very strong feelings about her sister. There are the heart-melting “Awwww!” moments, and there are the “Don’t do that!” moments. My spirited toddler has very, very strong feelings, and every day, I get a lot of opportunities to help her learn how to cope. (This is motherspeak for EVERY DAY FEELS SO LONG AND WHEN WILL IRFAN COME HOME?!) Sigh. Emotional regulation. So important.

Are you also a Creative Rainbow Mama? How do you carve out time to create? Drop me a line. I would love to hear your story.