Putting it all together

Hooray! 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. […]

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By George I think…

…I’m getting it.  Over the last 36 hours or so I’ve had a sea change in my understanding of narrative writing and simultaneously in my attitude towards the special-interest magazine writing I’ve been doing.  This semester I was nervous about having time to work and also study – although of course I was also getting nervous about paying my bills, […]

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If you don’t say no, you have to dig in

I couldn’t sleep most of last night thinking about the work I haven’t gotten done.  It was such a huge mistake to say yes to two Toastmaster articles, one Azizah article, one Islamic Horizons article and one Chronicle article all during roughly the same two-month period.  It can be done, but if one significant thing happens everything falls to pieces, […]

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I am a journalist and I have lots of work

A month or so after I finished my masters degree in journalism and moved to Houston, Azizah magazine’s editor accepted a pitch for my second professional article ever.  I was thrilled.  After that I wrote one or two more, and then things dried up.  I got a job as an at-home medical transcriptionist (a skill that I’m glad I acquired 20 years ago, as it pays pretty well and is usually available), which paid my bills and my daughter’s rent, and then proceeded to apply for job after job with no success. In 2008 I opened an educational center/bookstore and for three years did something I never imagined I would, the demise of which I won’t analyze here.  As soon as I closed the bookstore I pitched an article to Azizah and it was accepted.  I made a pitch to Toastmaster magazine.  It was accepted.  I made a pitch to Islamic Horizons magazine and it was accepted.  In less than a year I’ve been assigned four articles by Toastmaster, three by Islamic Horizons and two for Azizah (with possibly a third in the wings).  These are feature articles, most of them 1800-2000 words, and one was a cover story. My point: I am a success.  I’m not writing for nationally prestigious magazines, but editors have consistently shown confidence in me and my skills, and that counts for more than anything.  One day God willing my byline will appear above 5000-word […]

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T-3 days

Yup, I’ll be on the Goucher campus, God willing, this Sunday.  I have spent a lot of time worrying about logistics, especially since I plan to fast.  The fast will begin at 4:40 a.m. and although by my last day there the time will have moved all the way up to 4:53, I am still going to be stumbling around […]

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