512px-Taize-SilenceI have gotten ZERO feedback on my most recent Straight Path post. That’s a first. In fact, after I posted it I was away from my computer for a few hours and was dreading reading what kind of comments I might battle when I got back online. There was nothing. There is no response on Twitter, either, even when I posted a Tweet asking for feedback.

This is a brave new world. They used to tout the Belief bloggers on the home page, but apparently they don’t anymore, and no longer seems to link to any part of the paper. I went to a couple news sites today which discussed the cemetery in Farmersville and posted comments with links to my post, but I guess they don’t approve those obvious promotion attempts.

Maybe I need to get back on Facebook. I was so happy to get off it but maybe it’s unavoidable if you want to promote yourself.

It’s a bummer and a surprise to get absolutely NO response.


Putting it all together

Observation_carHooray! I have at last returned to The Straight Path, my blog on the Houston Chronicle’s website.

On April 24, 2013 I wrote a post titled “Coming out of hiding” in which I wrote:

I guess it’s a good time news-wise to talk about being an American Muslim, so I might as well start now.  Stay tuned!

But I didn’t. Four days ago I proclaimed it again, but this time I meant it. I posted a new piece today on the Muslim cemetery outrage in Farmersville, Texas. It made me happy for several reasons.

First, it’s topical and timely.  After focusing so much on memoir in my thesis I don’t want to lose sight of being a journalist, nor of the power of the blog to give insight into current events. At the same time, I used material from the chapter on my sister-in-law’s burial. Even though I used very little actual language from the chapter, the sentiment added power to the piece. I hoped to give a human perspective on the Muslim cemetery so that it’s not just an abstract idea on which haters can project their fear and hate. I wrote:

Her grave is near the graves of children and of great-grandmothers…near people of all colors and ages from a multitude of professions, near people who died with dreams unfulfilled and people who died satisfied that their goals had been achieved.

She shares the earth with people who died suddenly and people for whom death was a release from pain. People who died alone, who died in ambulances, who died surrounded by loved ones. Doubtless they were all lowered into the ground with care.

Where could we find anyone with hearts so callous as to revile the careful commitment of a loved one to the grave?

And of course the answer to that question is “Farmersville.”

So things are starting to come together, with words as well as with the new writer’s life.

I also spoke with MuslimMatters this evening about the possibility of writing a regular column for them.  And I have a pitch in the works with Toastmaster. I sent it Friday afternoon so I hope to hear tomorrow. I really want to keep sharing the message of civil rights and social justice which I learned so much about at CAIR.

I hope there are many happy tomorrows, God willing. (By the way, the train graphic represents me being on track. Sorry, I can’t resist the Amtrak.)

Back on The Straight Path

Finally returned to my Houston Chronicle blog.

I’ve said I was returning at least twice before, but this time I know I will stay with it. It will be part of my writing life, as I say in the post. Everything I write will be a different part of the mosaic of my new life. Friday is my last day at CAIR and I feel the new phase starting already.

So much to say, so much to do

My last day at CAIR is July 24. Next week and the week after I’m working 20 hours a week. In other words, day job is winding down and I’m going back to freelancing. I have so much to say about all this, and have to be writing regularly anyway. There’s a week left of Ramadan, so my transition to the new life is a little low-key at the moment but I’ll be out the gate full force after the eid. I thought I’d grace this brief post by paying homage to Dave Matthews.