New Beginnings

Excited about the new look! I figured I would go for something a little more cheerful and, yes, a lot more girly. Since winter is rolling in fast, I wanted to counter the cold, rainy weather we’ve been getting in Texas with the brightness of a new look. *Regards blog with the look of a French artist, beret and all* I call it, Spring Revived. Oui, it works. 

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WATCH: Saudi Woman Filmed Driving in Protest

Finally!

World

A Saudi woman said that she was able to drive through the Saudi Arabia capital of Riyadh without being stopped by police.

Activists say that and at least 60 women have successfully driven in protest Saturday in Saudi Arabia, the only country to ban women from driving, the Associated Press reports.

A clip of the protest (above) was uploaded on YouTube, along with several other videos of Saudi women driving in Riyadh, al-Ahsa and Jeddah on Saturday, despite warning from police and conservatives against breaking the ban, according to The Guardian.

The woman in the video, May al-Sawyan, obtained a driver’s license from abroad. She drove with a local female television reporter—and no men—in the car, and said she was prepared to be jailed but happily found no problems while driving.

“There were some cars that drove by. They were surprised, but it was just a glance,” she told the…

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“Re-conceiving Misconceptions”

I turn on the news
And bear the burden
Of listening to untruths
As they are defined
By lost souls
Who have bred terror
And choose to disguise it
Behind a curtain
Of false explanations
They are not Islam

Machine guns and suicide bombs
Lives taking lives taking lives
Smoke screens and the residue
Of violence
Blood lost and tears shed
Families torn apart as easily
As wounded flesh
Sunless skies and the picture
Of shallow horizons
This is not Islam

Politics and its petty negotiations
Experts on news reports
Showing off what they claim to know
Statistics
Floating numbers while numbers of people
Die
Fallacies
Stereotypes
Generalities
Lies
These are not Islam

Tear-stained tracks of children
In third-world countries
So young the faces blur together
And it’s the same child
Crying out for the same mother
Answered with the same
Response
IEDs and RPGs
Cold abbreviations for destruction
That is not Islam

* * *

Prostration
Prayer rug laid out five times a day
Kneeling in subjugation
Seeking God for his forgiveness
In this world where ignorance reigns
And lies are spread to defend
Actions taken against humanity
Only the strong never forget their Savior
Only the faithful survive
Ask me what is Islam

Knowing you owe your life
To a much higher being
Cherishing loved ones
For tomorrow they may be gone
Honoring time, knowing that it moves
With the will of One, and only One
Seeking redemption
For your mistakes
And guiding others to do the same
Ask me what is Islam

Knowing you are not alone
Even in solitude
That God is ever watchful
And will guide you when you falter
As you stand on beaten paths
Putting your trust in a power
That can never be seen
But is always felt
In the purest of intentions,
There will be Islam

Dedication
Commitment
Love
Respect
Honor
Trust
Hope
Contentment

Faith: This is Islam

The Downer

It’s unfortunately inevitable. Those days when we sit down and begin, subconsciously, to question our motives, our skills, our aim. We read successful authors and attend their readings and visit their sites and we wonder, Can I really do that? Should I even bother? 

Thankfully, that depressing downer that is a part of all of us is dormant most of the time, but when he chooses to speak up, it’s hard not to listen to him, the little devil. Recently I’ve had my fair share of depressing thoughts and reluctant acknowledgement of the notion that I might not be as brilliant as I make myself out to be. Sometimes, all we need is a humbling experience to bring us out of the dark, and I had one.

I was fortunate enough to attend a reading featuring  Chitra Divakaruni, author of Oleander Girl. Her humorous and intellectual talk opened my eyes to the possibilities that are waiting for me to grasp them. I want to do this, I thought, as I sat in my seat and took vigorous notes on how to avoid writers’ block and Who Not To Read. I want to stand in front of an audience some day, and read my work to them. I realized that, just as Chitra was obviously proud of her work and accomplishments, I should be proud of mine. Every word that my mind churns out onto paper, every story, every poem. They’re products of my creative drive, and I have every reason to take pride in that effort.

Regardless of whether it’s “good” or not, whether I’m ever going to get published, (please God yes!) I need to be able to read my own words without feeling ashamed, or inferior. There’s no scale for great writing, no matter what editors and publishers say. There’s a technical scale, sure, but a scale of quality is up to the author to discern. We can’t measure writing by Faulkner’s standards, or Hemingway’s, or Carver’s, or King’s. Instead, we need to write what we are passionate about, and the quality will be worthy of any New York publishing house. The trick is to write because you can’t see yourself doing anything else, not because your sole aim is getting published. Publishing’s just a nice plus. 

“It’s better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self”