The Story of the Story

After I became a Muslim, my writing went on hiatus. At that time I had been writing a novel about pirates called Captain Jane Ivy for at least 4 years. However, I had difficulties reconciling my faith with stories of rum-swilling, foul-mouthed scallywags (despite some earnest attempts at revisions that would settle well with me). I was afraid to ask about it, for fear that I would be told that, no, Islamically you cannot write a story about rum-swilling, foul-mouthed scallywags. So rather than inquire into the matter, I simply put my writing away. It was like taping up a dream into a box and storing it in the cellar.

And then, in 2008, Fallout 3 was released. Continue reading “The Story of the Story”

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So I’m Writing a Book…

If you’ve followed my blog in any capacity, you may have noticed I’ve been gone for the past 8 months. Well, I assure you it’s not because I’ve been twiddling my thumbs, staring at a blank screen. I’ve been focusing all my writing efforts into writing a book. More accurately, I’m expanding a serialized short story I wrote a long time ago into a full novel.

The story right now it tentatively called “The Long Walk”. It’s about a Muslim walking across a post-apocalyptic Canada on his journey toward Mecca for Hajj. Along the way his faith is tested and he must survive horrific creatures and, worse still, other people. He is joined by a young girl who, over time, becomes his protege, and the story becomes her journey as much as Hanif’s. A major theme in the book is the purpose of religion and belief in human society, even after society has collapsed. My goal is to write a I’ve uploaded all 3 parts of the original short story here onto my blog for you to enjoy (and critique! I appreciate the feedback). Continue reading “So I’m Writing a Book…”

“Other Lives” (Story Dice Sundays)

20160320_110940Amy wandered through the halls of her house. Each room was a memory waiting to be unlocked by her mind. Her bedroom. The closet where she’d hide when playing hide and seek. The sun room where she’d find quiet and solace. The kitchen where the maid always readied the day’s meals. Absent from her memories were her parents—in fact, they were absent for most of her life.

The world seemed much simpler then: just grow up, finish school, become an astronaut. Nothing to mention of bills, boyfriends, drugs, counsellors, medication, funerals… Continue reading ““Other Lives” (Story Dice Sundays)”

“Beneath The Bark” (Story Dice Sundays)

A beetle, lightning bolt and a tree

When I was a boy, I was once in the forest that was nestled on my grandpa’s farm. I remember it being cold, despite the summer weather. My mind was swimming with worry and anxiety. I was far away from home, for starters—grandpa lived in Ontario, long away from my home in Alberta. I was also traveling without my parents, and having just survived a horrid week of summer camp, my attachment issues were only growing. I was also scared of a lot of things at that time: storms, aliens, vampires, asteroids, the end of the world, etc. and being on my own, all these fears were just magnified. On the outside, though, I tried to keep it all together. Continue reading ““Beneath The Bark” (Story Dice Sundays)”

“Lilith” (Story Dice Sundays)

A magnet, an alien, a house, a keyhole, a tree and a bridge.

Lillith woke up. The first thing she noticed was the gentle breeze flowing over her. The shade of a tree. The tickling itch of the grass beneath her. Slowly she sat up and looked around.

A rolling countryside was spread out before her. Picket fences snaked along the sides of hills, while in the small valley below rows of cherry trees stood in military-like order in an orchard.

I wish this were real. She thought solemnly.

I wish I were real.
Continue reading ““Lilith” (Story Dice Sundays)”

“The Whisper in the Bricks” (Story Dice Sundays)

Story Dice: A castle, tent, skyscraper, lightning bolt, bridge and speech bubble.

Listen closely. Can you hear it? The whisper in the bricks.

Look around you: the skyscrapers, the houses, our modern castles. How far we’ve come from caves and tents. The hands of man built these.

Every one of them has a story they want to tell you. In the living and going and working we can’t hear them. But they’re storytellers, these bricks. They’re waiting for you to listen. To tell you of the blood and sweat in them. Of the daily heartbreak and celebration that goes on inside them. Of where they came from—from humble dirt and dust, eventually moulded into their magnificent shapes. Of where they’re going.

Through ages and millennia, these bricks have been speaking to us. Some still stand today, their faces eroded with time, their hearts emptied, but still willing to testify to the lives of times long past. The great castles. The towering churches. The halls of flowing arches and marble built by the lightning strike of creative inspiration (or madness). Pyramids and gardens and coliseums. The Moorish and Tang and Gothic and Renaissance. A world of bricks. A world of whispers. Each one waiting for us to cross that bridge between us and the sublime mysteries of who we were—who we are.

Continue reading ““The Whisper in the Bricks” (Story Dice Sundays)”

To All My English Teachers

 

A pen resting on a blank piece of paper

I remember every English teacher I ever had—even back in the Elementary school days when it was called “Language Arts”.

It shouldn’t be surprising that English was my favourite subject. But in addition, I was also blessed with a good run of English teachers throughout my academic life (with one exception in Grade 8). I can say with confidence that the teachers who were the most influential, and most responsible for shaping my mind and inspiring my imagination were my English teachers.

Continue reading “To All My English Teachers”

The Free Style Writing Challenge

I was graciously nominated by Farheen Siddiqui, of the blog Khamosh Dhadkanen to do the Free Style Writing Challenge.

The concept of free style writing revolves around the central idea of putting down words that may or may not relate to a particular topic and within a certain time period regardless of spelling or perhaps also grammar.

Here are the rules:

1) Open an MS Word document

2) Set a stop watch or your mobile to 5 minutes or 10 minutes whichever challenge you think you can beat.

3) You topic is at the foot of this post. But do not scroll down to see it until you are ready with the timer

4) Fill the word doc with as much words as you want. Once you began writing do not stop even to turn. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spellings and grammar with spell check in MS WORD.

5) You may or may not pay attention to punctuation and capitals. However if you do, it would be best.

6) At the end of your post write down ‘No. Of words =_____’ so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.

7) Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new Topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nominations (at least 5 bloggers).

 

I’ll admit I didn’t read the rules carefully enough and instinctively fixed my spelling mistakes as I went. Minus-ten-points. Here it goes:

 

My topic: “The best day of my life”

The best day of my life. When was that? There were so many days in my life that I could consider “the best”. Was it the day I got married? The day I got divorced (haha)? Or perhaps it was the time I had a sleep over with my friends—all of us in our 20s but I felt like I was 12 again, chowing down on snacks while we played Settlers of Catan and Super Mario 3D world and a breakfast of French Toast. Was it the day I graduated from high school, and had a non-stop evening of laser tag, bowling, pool and pizza with my friends? My first Eid party in the big city of Edmonton was definitely memorable, as it was the first time I truly felt part of a community and like I’d found my balance, between my identity as a Muslim and as a Canadian.

Or perhaps the best day of my life is related to my favourite moments. Standing at the crest of a walking path with my friends, overlooking the Bugaboo Glacier—or perhaps, a few hundred meters higher along that trail, where I stopped and gazed out over the glacier-carved valley with my brother. Perhaps it was standing at the top of a hill in Costa Rica, overlooking the lush tropical landscape and sandy beach below. Maybe it was in the quiet solitude of praying outside on the mountain grass, anonymous to the world and the open canopy of stars above me.

What I’m trying to say is: I’m not sure what the best day of my life is. For how does one even rank these days? By the clearest memory they leave, or the biggest impact they’ve had on your soul? How do these moments, minutes and days influence the people we become? I cherish each and every one of them, but not equally.

We all seek out the perfect day. So try and make tomorrow your best day.

Word count: 329 words

I love how it just kind of devolved into a pedantic philosophical ramble near the end.

I’m nominating the following:

Roberta Laurie

Danielle Lebouthillier

Muslimah

Words of a Ramadan Addict

The Revert Miyabhai

 

Your topic is: the best gift you ever received