Do you remember that classic answer to the interview question: what is your biggest flaw? The answer that still does the rounds and is intended to impress: I’m a perfectionist. Although, perfection is not a goal I chase nowadays. It has taken years to understand that perfection takes a toll. It breaks backs and spirits.… Read More In Pursuit of Perfection
If you promise not to tell a soul and agree to share a red-faced moment of your own in the comments, I’ll let you in on one of my childhood humiliations. I must have been about fourteen, and had been asked to recite a prayer at mosque. That day, all the ceremonies were being performed… Read More Is Swearing Uncouth?
I’m Muslim, did you know? You might have guessed, from how I look I suppose. I once was interviewed by a woman, who after I got the job, confided in me that she could almost always tell someone’s religion after speaking to them for five minutes. I wonder if she could tell also that I’d… Read More On Difference, Compassion and the Right to Speak
I know the answer to this question, and if you are like me, you will be jumping up and down saying: everything! Everything is fair game in art. It is the role of the writer to imagine new worlds, entertain, explore themes, and ultimately to hold up a mirror of truth. It is why the… Read More What is Fair Game in Art?
It’s been over two years now since I clambered up to the rooftops, cupped my hands together and admitted what I had known all along: I wanted to write, not just for me, but for readers. I thought that learning the craft, finishing and submitting stories might lead to modest sales. In fact, writing stories… Read More Reader Reviews and Big Brother
“One’s first diarist,” suggests psychotherapist and essayist Adam Phillips, “is one’s mother who links facts for one, holds the pieces together.” Forget the priest’s confession booth or your mum. There are more places than ever for confessionals today. Social media is a constant flood of inner thoughts memorialised. Still, the art of keeping a diary… Read More Why would You Write a Journal?
A few weeks ago I asked my husband if he would take a picture of me. I wanted to update my website. The old avatar was tired, a headshot cropped from a family photo. J was happy to help, and I posed awkwardly. It has always seemed a bit narcissistic to me, individual pictures, apart… Read More On my Blip with Twitter and Access to your Contacts
Have you ever been tempted to publish your work anonymously or take a pseudonym? If yes, you’d be following in the footsteps of some of the literary greats, such as the Brontë sisters (Ellis, Acton, and Currer Bell), Cecil Day-Lewis (Nicholas Blake), Jane Austen (A Lady) and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), who all decided for… Read More The Benefits of Publishing Anonymously or Taking a Pen Name
Do you ever feel that your life is not your own? Sometimes life throws a curve ball, which disrupts our plans and we have no choice but to deal with the fallout. However, just as outside forces can limit our freedom, our own attitudes and behaviours can keep us imprisoned. There is one trait that… Read More The Danger of Pleasing Others
Salman Rushdie and The Satanic Verses In 1989 my seven year old ears pricked up at the repeated mention of a name in our house. My extended family are big film and music lovers and it would have been more in keeping for them to be discussing Bollywood star Salman Khan. But it was Salman… Read More Should Writers Ever Self-Censor?