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Catching Up

Catching my breath, catching up…


I’ve just checked and the date of my last post was February 2014. That’s a whole 10 months ago. In my bio here :

http://writivism.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/2015-writivism-mentors/

it says I blog occasionally. Perhaps with this timeous piece before the end of 2014, that would be somewhat true.
A lot has been going on.

Back in February I was in the midst of Writivism 2014 – an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. I will reproduce the foreword I wrote for the anthology of Longlisted writers – not because most people skip it, but a) because it was quite a nerve-wracking endeavour and b) because I think I touch on an important matter. Besides, anyone who loves good fiction could do worse than sampling the amazing array of emerging African writers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fire-The-Night-Other-Stories/dp/0957142048

The world feels a whole lot different to 10 months ago. The atmosphere somewhat subdued even though tis the season to be jolly. Issues of identity plague us daily – the media doing a merry dance to the Islamophobia tune and driving normal, sane bog-standard Muslims, nuts.

But! I am alive, albeit subdued and grateful that I live in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural city where a good few million are Other. To add to my subdued state, I recently read an article on apartheid in publishing – written by a British woman; about the British publishing industry (Mslexia, Sept/Oct/Nov 2014). The mere word apartheid brought me out in hives and the article itself made me wonder why I bother.

So I’ve been dragging my feet work-wise: I’ve been sporadically editing my third novel and half-heartedly plotting a work of genre fiction. But good news for Maha fans – she’s back! Well, in my head at least. After swanning off with Shahzad I didn’t think she had anything else to say – but I was wrong. So feel free to hold thumbs and watch this space.

Another literary highlight was being invited to judge the YMWA short story award (
https://ymwa.org.uk/). I was asked to write an article for the magazine advising the young aspiring writers: feel free to share.

http://issuu.com/ymwawards/docs/young_muslim_writers_awards_2014_ma

The most overwhelming aspect of the year has been our house move. We have only moved about a mile from where we used to live – but packing up eleven years of our lives and leaving the home where our kids grew up was daunting. I filled boxes with dolls houses and action figures – along with my early drafts of Maha and mulled over the ups and downs of the decade and a bit.

I have come to realise that Moving House is not a single act. Yes, there is the actual move with 10-ton trucks, piles of boxes and mainlining Rescue Remedy. But settling down and settling in is a process. Right now, every time I start to feel settled, we add or subtract as we adjust the new space to meet our needs and I feel as though I’m back to square one. I am yet to work in my new home and for some unknown reason it feels like a huge hurdle to clear. I
must work in my new home and break the spell – even if it’s writing a page of tripe. I am hoping that the New Year will bring some equilibrium – and find my bottom firmly attached to my chair in my new workspace.

To all those celebrating this month: Merry Christmas / Happy Hanukkah and to everyone else – Happy Holidays. Wish you all a happy, healthy 2015 filled with peace love and every success in all you endeavour.
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