I have a LOT more work to do!

And yet I can’t help it.

This is actually a very good follow up to my post on Perseverance.

Maybe there’s something to be said about January funk, because I was definitely feeling funky last week when I wrote it. (And talking to some friends they were feeling funky too.) You can hear it in the tone of that post, one foot in front of the other, plod, plod, plod.

I can’t remember who said that successful people are people who do the hard things that unsuccessful people don’t. (I’m really paraphrasing!)

After the initial glow of idea, that’s what writing is. Plod, plod, plod.

But last Friday I did something quirky.

I went to Jumaa.

I know, I know, I’m terrible. So many times I’m home on Friday and I don’t bother going to Friday prayer, I just pray at home, comforting myself with the idea that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that it was better for women to pray at home.

But the funny thing is I often pray the extra prayers more easily when I go to the masjid. And in Ramadan, for taraweeh, there’s no better feeling! (Try praying taraweeh at home where you don’t get to hear the beautiful melodious recitation of the hafizes they import from Muslim countries for the task!  Praying taraweeh on your own? Ugh!)

Anyway, I took my son (he was still off school) and I surprised him by parking the car and going inside with him.

I’m sure it was because I needed to hear the sermon. God meant me to hear it. It was given by an old friend of my husband’s. He talked about humility. About walking on the earth lightly. And he gave the example of two very interesting and selfless Muslims, one man, one woman, who’d worked quietly for their respective communities and made real changes but weren’t particularly famous.

And yes, of course I found it humbling. Especially the woman’s story. It made me cry.

Which is weird because I seem to be getting very weepy in my old age! I cry buckets at the drop of a hat.

In fact I confess it’s been quite a while that I can’t sing Canada’s national anthem without having embarassing tears drip out of my eyes! (I mean who cries at national anthems???!!!)

But ever since I realized that the last part of the Canadian national anthem is more like a prayer than a beating of the chest with patriotic pride kind of thing, it really does move me to tears. I can stand for it, no problem. But don’t ask me to sing it!

(By the way it goes:

O Canada!

Our home and native land. True patriot love, in all our sons command. With glowing hearts we see thee rise the true north strong and free. We stand on guard, O Canada! We stand on guard for thee! God keep our land, glorious and free. O Canada we stand on guard for thee. O Canada we stand on guard for thee.)

Pretty simple and understated, and dare I say it? Down right humble!

Anyway, listening to this sermon just reminded me that I’ve been taking myself WAY too seriously lately.

It brought me down to earth, alhamdu lillah, and got me back to focusing on what’s really important–the STORY!!!

Which comes back to why I’m so excited!

You know that sequel for Wanting Mor that I’ve been spouting off about?

Well yesterday, I finally got to hook up with my Kabuli sister in law, who was kind enough to vet the manuscript and tell me all the myriad places where I’d messed up the cultural customs!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, just because Pakistan is so close to Afghanistan and we share so many facets of culture, doesn’t mean that even I can take for granted that I’ll get the culture right! And if I can get it so wrong, pity the white people trying to write about Muslim culture!!!!

Anyway, I went over to her house for tea and she explained exactly what worked and more importantly what didn’t work about the book.

And even better, we brainstormed ways in which to solve the things that didn’t work!

Fundamentally she loved the story!

She said how she’s not a reader but something about my work makes her compelled to finish reading. She said she could hardly put it down. (Probably one of the best compliments a writer can receive!)

(She also read Wanting Mor and loved that too! She had told me how she’d gotten the book and had to go to work early the next day and was reading it, her eyes closing because she was so tired, but she couldn’t put it down.)

But anyway, with the sequel, culturally, I’d really messed up.

So armed with all the ways I can write my way out of the conundrums, I can actually go back to the manuscript and fix it.

Why should that make me so excited?

Well because the story can work!

It’ll take work. Real hard slogging, but I can make it work insha Allah.

And I believe in this story so much, I personally love this story so much, and I think it needs to be written so much, that I think I’ve found a way to solve all the problems and make it work!

It’s not glamorous in any way whatsoever, it’s going to be a lot of good hard work, but I can just picture the end result!

Insha Allah it will be magnificent!

Not because I want it to reflect on me. No, not at all!

But because it’ll be a really good story, insha Allah.

And that’s what it’s all about.


The conclusion of that sermon was stated in a few words from that dying Muslim woman’s life. She said that life came down to serving God, everything else was tangential. (I’m paraphrasing again. Can’t remember the exact words but it was along those lines.)

And one of the reasons I got into writing in the first place was to serve God. To tell stories that would humanize Muslims–and add to the pool of literature that hopefully would help enlighten people.

Personally, I believe that the only reason to continue writing–when it would be so much easier to just read all the delightful stories already out there–is because you have something to say, some idea that desperately needs to be added to the social consciousness.

Leave ego out of it!

Oh it’s so exciting!

Can’t wait to finish this Hajj novel so I can get back to the other project.

And in the mean time I have all the other work on my desk to complete.

Busy, busy, busy.