I didn’t make a concrete plan at the beginning of this year. I knew I had a novel to write this year, perhaps two, but other than that, I thought I would just be. The political landscape has been so tough these past few years, so draining, that living in the moment sometimes seems like… Read More Coming Out of Hibernation
Sometimes I come to a blank page because I have something to say; at other times, I come here because my mind needs excavating before I can move forward. Today is one of those days. Writing fiction is a strange beast. Readers have an idea of what it might be like: writers working on their… Read More On Ambition, Doubt and Creativity
How can it be here already?! But it is, it is! It’s the launch day for my debut novel, All the Tomorrows. A huge thanks to Lane Diamond at Evolved Publishing for believing in the book, to my magnificent editor Jessica West, and D. Robert Pease for his cover art. I am so excited and… Read More All the Tomorrows – LAUNCH DAY AND BOOK READING!
The baby didn’t sleep last night. His need for me is wearing. I stand in the hallway, exhausted, listening to him whimper in his cot after I place him there. I cup my hands in prayer. The shape they make is at first alien, a relic from childhood rituals when our family attended the mosque… Read More On Being Human
I’ve not been here for a while. The juggling of balls has been hard this summer, and there has not been enough pieces of me to share around. The baby is eight months now, and I’ve been ready for months to smooth out a white page, to fill it with words until every corner is… Read More A Love Letter to Openness and the Creatives in my Life
Language is powerful. We have seen recently on the world stage how the choice in language can sway large groups of people to either reject or identify strongly with orators. I feel the power of language when my fingers slide across the keyboard, or when I nail a phrase that perfectly captures my thoughts. And… Read More The Power of Naming
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 lie in the concrete box of my bedroom inside the mausoleum of my childhood house with no means of escape My body is as heavy as a corpse my gaze is mostly fixed, still I hear the mocking flick of leaves on the asphalt outside You come to visit with frozen smiles I must… Read More Through My Eyes
I’ve not posted here for a while. I had lost my way. Sometimes the only thing to do is to retreat into your shell, hide away, let the storms of fear and despair pass. Maybe I’m still lost, but it helps to turn up to a blank page, to coax the swirl of words inside… Read More On Fear and Love
I lie against the pillows in the half-light listening to bricks shifting mortar crumbling in our silent home because you have flown far away, briefcase in hand Often the world grows dark All I see are angry men and despairing mothers, fields of upside down flowers, skies of shredded crimson, a march to our graves… Read More Crumbled Stones and Hammocks of Sky
Last week my novel went out to beta-readers. Small sections of it have been seen by my critique group, but this is the first time it will be read consecutively, from beginning to end. I’m fiercely proud of the story, and simultaneously fearful about letting it travel out into the world, for now, beyond my… Read More On the Distance between Art and its Creators
One of the mysteries of writing is how our processes evolve. We try our hand at different techniques until we find one that fits best. Distilled down to simple binary choices: plotting or pantsing, laptop or notebook, cafe or home, desk or lap, pant or pantless. Starting a blog was central to toughening up my… Read More On the Writing Process, and Letting Go
There is a time to be silent. I value it more as I grow older. The quiet after I close the children’s bedroom doors after kissing them goodnight, or when I sink into the bath. I don’t need to fill the space with noise, like I did before. It reminds me of my maternal grandfather,… Read More The Burden of Communication and the Potency of Silence
It’s Virginia Woolf’s birthday today. She was born 134 years ago, and died in 1941 at the age of 59, driven to commit suicide by her depression. I can see the scene in my mind’s eye: her gaunt frame, mournful eyes, walking with weighted pockets into a river. I’m unsure whether the image in my… Read More Remembering Virginia Woolf
When I was a child I hid under the covers after lights out with a pen torch, determined to finish one more chapter. I took books with me into the loo because I couldn’t bear to be away from the characters for a few minutes. I read in jumps and starts on car journeys when… Read More Savouring Words: A Two-Fingered Salute to Rushed Reading
I don’t often link to blog posts on this website. Usually, Twitter, Facebook and Google + are the places for me to recommend other writers and artists. This morning though the children were woken early by my husband leaving for a meeting. I sent them back to bed for a while, but instead of burrowing under… Read More An Uninterrupted Conversation
This wasn’t the post I had planned for today, but sometimes inspiration happens to make you bump your schedule. This weekend I was inspired by a workshop I attended called On Being Human led by Jen Pastiloff. If you haven’t heard of Jen already then look her up on Instagram or Facebook. You’ll find beautiful… Read More On Being Real
“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?
October has drawn to a close, signalled by the advent of All Hallows’ Eve with its ghosts, ghouls, black hounds and masked children asking for sweets at the doors of strangers. Next up November (where did this year go?), and you know what that means. It’s National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo), when writers of varying… Read More Let a Grassroots Writing Movement Give you Some Rocket Fuel
I’m it! Thank you Graham Milne for asking me to take part in the ‘Why I Write’ blog hop and for providing a balm for me on what had been a tough day with your honeyed words. For those of you new to Graham’s writing, check him out on Twitter, at his blog or Huff Post.… Read More Why I Write