I know it’s been a while since my last post.

Been thinking of things to blog about but I’ve often been too busy to blog.

And then something really sent me for a loop.

Every once in a while that will happen.

You’ll be coasting along and something impacts you with enough force to change your whole trajectory.

But maybe, and this seems to be a conclusion I’m coming to, I was leaning towards it even before I got hit.

I wrapped up the residency with the Fairview Library.

What an awesome learning experience that was!

Turns out I conducted about 63 hours of programming that served the needs of about 650 of their patrons.

I think I worked harder than any of the other artists in library, and something about that makes me feel quite happy.

Like I tell my son, nothing wrong with some good hard work!

I sure wanted to leave the library staff feeling like they got their money’s worth.

And then, after I’d pretty much given up hope, I received news that I got another Toronto Arts Council grant, for another stint as artist in library for the fall of 2015.

It should be a LOT easier this time around. I’ve run the programs and I’ve kept notes on all my lesson plans.

So the residency ended with me feeling exhausted but happy.

2014 was a year of lots of trials and lots of failures.

I did complete a project which is being published alhamdu lillah but an educational publisher.

It’s a very good piece alhamdu lillah, and I’m just in the final stages of it. Wrapping it up so to speak, but I didn’t sell any trade books and now that King for a Day has come out, and garnered quite a few accolades, alhamdu lillah, I need to top that.

For the first time in my life, I actually do feel ‘established’.

But not at all complacent.

I’ve been working hard on my craft and I feel this year of frustration will bear fruit insha Allah, and I’m on the cusp of growing a lot in my craft.



Even after you feel established.

And then, aha, the moment of impact. The trajectory will be affected.

I was invited to conduct a presentation at Reviving the Islamic Spirit (RIS) convention.

Every year they hold it at the Metro Convention centre downtown and they were even going to pay me.

They wanted me to do two presentations–and they were even going to pay me! So how could I refuse?

I did the girl’s presentation no problem. Many of the girls had even seen me at their schools, and I knew that would be the case. I guess I’ve been to enough schools in the greater Toronto area that this is bound to happen.

So I fretted and worried the night before, hardly being able to sleep!

But I needn’t have worried. It went fine.

The boys, ages 7-11 were another story.

Many of them too remembered me from school visits.

And these boys were positively squirrely from being inside all day.

All the techniques I usually use to quiet a group–failed.

Eventually the only thing that worked was speaking over them, until I got into the story, and they quieted themselves because they really wanted to listen.

I chose ‘violent’ stories.

I thought they’d get their attention the best, and yet they were stories that had deep messages to them.

It was curious how many of them started lying down and just listening.

There were a couple of the kids though who couldn’t understand English and would not settle down, but I didn’t take it personally and they were remarkably, not that disruptive.

Several times I’d be in the midst of a story, and part of me just looked around at all these rambunctious boys and how I’d actually managed to quiet them, and thought, ‘Wow.’

But by fifty minutes, they’d had enough.

And as I started gathering up my books and things, and signed a couple of autographs for the couple of boys who asked for them, I thought to myself, “Ooh that was hard! But alhamdu lillah, I gave them something to think about even while I entertained them, so it’s all good.”

Then I went down to the bazaar, it’s the best place to find some good hijabs, and as I was rounding a corner, I met a lady who would pierce the entitlement bubble that I hadn’t realized had formed around myself.

And in the process I’d remember yet again, how extremely fortunate I am, and especially how kind God has been!

This is a video of her speaking at an event on homelessness.

She is a remarkable woman, one of those rare Mother Theresa types, who saw a real need, and has spent her life trying to address it. She’s been endorsed by the Baltimore Ravens, Hamza Yusuf and Tariq Ramadan. How often can you say all those three entities in one sentence???

It’s about twenty minutes long but well worth listening to!

And even though my schedule is crammed with stuff to do, I’m putting stuff on hold and I’m writing up a profile of this sister Asma Hanif for Sister’s Magazine, insha Allah

Watch the video! Maybe it’ll change your trajectory too!