The end is in sight

I finally got (or finally understood, or a combination of both) the schedule of key dates for my fourth, last, final and ultimate semester at Goucher. What it boils down to is that I have a couple months to write like a madwoman and God willing on August 2 I will be a proud Gopher walking in commencement.  Hopefully I’ll […]

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A book and a memoir

I’m two months into my last semester at Goucher! My mentor for this semester is Phillip Gerard and I think he’s going to provide the guidance I need to get this manuscript done. He’s using – and so I’ve started using – two words I’ve resisted since I first applied to Goucher. I never intended to write a BOOK and I definitely never planned to write a MEMOIR. I resisted the thought of writing a book because I wanted to just write individual long-form pieces, then I got a job, then I was writing essays, and now Phillip is calling it a book and guiding me to put the separate pieces together so they actually tell a story. And the story turns out to be about me, my experiences, my thoughts, around being Muslim, about Islam in America, and about just stuff whether it’s thematic or not. And so it is a memoir. I used to mock memoirists because it seemed self-absorbed to write about oneself and because I thought of memoirs as diaries. I guess I can laugh at myself now. Or I can get busy and finish this MEMOIR.

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Coming back and reading Justin Cronin

Lots has happened since the last time I blogged – probably too much to review quickly, so I may lazily throw references to recent events into future posts. I’m in my last semester at Goucher and I think my manuscript may just be shaping up as a collection of essays, more or less about the experience of religion or something like that. Today I decided to spend the afternoon reading for inspiration, and came across My Daughter and God by Justin Cronin, which ran in the spring 2014 edition of NarrativeMagazine.com. It’s a healthy musing on miracles, disasters and faith, but I wanted to post here a passage that particularly struck me, personally and with respect to my manuscript and its theme: Until that night, we were a family that had lived an entirely secular existence. This wasn’t planned; things simply happened that way. My religious background was different from my wife’s, but only by degree. I was raised in the Catholic Church, but its messages were delivered to me in a lethargic and off-key manner that failed to gain much traction. My father did not attend Mass—I was led to believe this had something to do with the trauma of his attending Catholic grade school—and my mother, who dutifully took my sister and me to church every Sunday, did not receive Communion. Why this should be so I never thought to ask. Always she met us at the rear […]

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Getting better all the time

Well, little by little things are getting easier, although my head is still not totally in the game and I’m still not totally caught up with school work.  For good or bad, I don’t have any work on my plate right now – probably mostly for good so that nothing is interfering with school. I’m very behind in submitting writing and book reviews.  I’m talking to my mentor tomorrow and will make sure I can catch up with everything timely.  (What do I mean by that?  I guess I mean that I hope I can finish without getting “in trouble,” or that I will pass even if I rush to catch everything up.) I have decided on what I think will be a good course of action regarding school.  Now that I’ve figured out that Goucher’s MFA program offers summer classes (how did I not know that? somehow it seems like there are a lot of things I don’t know about), I am going to take an elective – Research and Reporting – in the summer, running from May 6 till July 19.  That way I will get my elective out of the way and I can focus on filling in gaps where I need more research and reporting, and hopefully start the fall fresh and ready to go.  I’m working on three essays – well, one is trying to salvage the missionary story however I can, and one is […]

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Format, part 2: The overthinking

In last night’s post I promised to continue my train of thought.  Yesterday was kind of a thoughtful day, as in I wrote for like an hour in my journal, vented some anger, bitterness, resentment, confusion and a little bit about goal-setting.  This is why I keep a journal – a password-protected, naming-names corner of my personal galaxy.  Often after […]

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