I'm writing an author Q&A with Arsalan Iftikhar (The Muslim Guy) on the occasion of the release of his new book, Scapegoats: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms. He writes about becoming the Muslim Guy shortly after September 11, 2001.
For years I was a morning person. Back in the early 2000s I routinely – and deliberately – woke at 4:30 a.m. each day. That still time of day/night stimulated clarity of mind and gave me time to rev up my brain for the day ahead – as opposed to slogging through a first cup of coffee during my first tired, groggy, lazy hour of a day that was never as productive as it could have been. Over the past year or so I have reversed and become a night person. I wake up at 6:00 or 7:00 feeling confused and gross. It takes me a long time to get going, but when the evening comes my brain kicks into gear and I feel energetic through 1:00 am or so. I need to switch back to being a morning person. Early rising is actually an Islamic practice, as productivity guru Productive Muslim explains in a post about developing a morning routine. I love Productive Muslim but just can’t follow his advice. It’s laziness, isn’t it? I’ve tried to come up with reasons why some of us are night people and some morning people, but undoubtedly starting your day early – before dawn, even – is the natural way to go. I just have to figure out how to break through that morning fogginess, perhaps with a promise of an afternoon catnap, and get back to a day that starts with a […]
Eventually I will return to being a writer. This time I won’t be a depressed and mopey cookie-eater. I have to make it my career, or if not a career – what’s one step down from a career? Like a vocation? Or is it not a career if you don’t make much money doing it? Whatever I do I have to do it with purpose and gusto and planning. One of these days it’s going to happen – and soon.
I read with interest this piece by Sara Finnerty on Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog. It’s a list of things she wishes she had told herself after her completing her MFA. I would argue that they are things one should address during the MFA. She writes about failure, about abandoning the goal of getting published and fear of others’ opinions. I think […]
I’ve been at my new job full-time for a little over a month now, and my internal monologue has become more strident and provocative. I have been confused at times, frustrated at times, often realizing that I was more accustomed to making decisions independently than I thought. When I ran my bookstore, I conceptualized, evaluated, decided and executed nearly everything myself. Now I bristle at direction and also at the lack of it. I am confused about what I do and what I should do. I have my instincts and sometimes I follow them but most of the time I leave myself open to multiple instructions and opinions and I end up frozen in place, not knowing what to do next, feeling fundamentally unable to perform as I should. Then the internal voice starts criticizing me, insinuating that my ineptitude at work reflects a bigger, broader inability to function in any setting. I think about all the things I have failed to complete or have screwed up, not just at work, not just since I moved to Houston a decade ago, but always. I opened the door to professional failure by leaving Kessler for journalism school. I am fundamentally flawed, like a bird born without one wing, or with one stunted wing that keeps him unbalanced, spinning, doomed to never leave the ground and fly, jealous of the other birds in the air. I’ve taken a leave of absence from […]