The Hiatus Ends

This blog has been inactive for nearly two years. I’m surprised and pleased that no one or nothing has deleted it in my absence. I don’t know why I’ve decided to post again, and I don’t care. Such is my peculiar bent of personality; I abandon my passions for other passions and return to them sooner or later.

In addition to neglecting this blog, I have neglected all my personal writing. Instead, I’ve been doing photography as my preferred means of creative expression. I offer no explanation other than that I am still chained to a job, from which I will be rid by the end of the year, inshaAllah. Well, enough of commenting upon my hiatus…I want to dig in.

I still have “Return to Riyadh” dreams. They occur less frequently, but follow the same pattern. I begin the dream knowing I am going back to Riyadh. I pack my suitcase, buy my ticket and get on the plane, but I don’t pack correctly, I buy the wrong ticket or get on the wrong plane, or I get on the right plane but it goes to the wrong country. Complex variations on these themes weave in and out of the dreams. None of it feels unreasonable, just perplexing. Sometimes the dream begins after I’ve landed in Riyadh, having gotten myself there properly. However, I wander the streets looking for where I am supposed to live, and I look for my friends who still live there, and the hospital at which I worked and maybe am supposed to work at again. Naturally, the plots of dreams include ridiculous feelings and events. I cannot find the necessary phone numbers. I run into strange men who want to help me, and I don’t know whether they will help me or hurt me. I do find a nice swimming pool and take a marvelous dip, but then get lost again and don’t know where I am supposed to go, or I know, but don’t recognize the place, even if I arrive there. I find myself in public without an abaya. I go to a souq and try to buy some Arabic foods, but I don’t have riyals. I remember that I never told my family I was going to Riyadh, and I need to phone them, but I my cell phone is still connected to a US network. All these dreams are distressing, but I am so accustomed to them, I merely wake up  and turn over.

Long ago, I realized that my dreams are nothing more than an expression of discontent with my life here in the United States. I’ve necessarily had to re-enter (and remain in) the workforce– a fate I tried to avoid. My marriage ended in divorce– a fate I never imagined would occur. The practice of Islam here in my community is anemic compared to what I had lived in Riyadh. I’ve pushed Islam into a form that fits into the slots between my other forms, and I don’t like that.

Wonderful events have also blessed my life. I am now a grandmother to four magnificent children– a glorious position I never imagined I would occupy, but for which I am infinitely thankful.

This is enough for my first entry after a near two-year hiatus. If anyone reads it, I thank you! I wouldn’t blame any of my handful of readers for abandoning my blog as I have abandoned it. At the same time, I will be thankful and responsible to those who come back or to those who find my blog by happenstance. Maybe I will keep posting for another concentrated period. The concept of Riyadh as place, and Riyadh as metaphor, still guides me. I will never lose it, as one loses distant memories and feelings that no longer hold currency. Its character remains vivid, its personal significance does not pale as I travel further from it along the trajectory of my life. I am on a path returning to Riyadh, and I haven’t arrived.

Writing Nonfiction in November

For years, I’ve been aware of NaNoWriMo– the annual challenge for fiction writers to produce a fifty-thousand word manuscript during the month of November.

I’ve always wanted to participate, except that I don’t write fiction. I encouraged Brandy Chase (of American Muslimah Writer) to participate.

Actually, I suggested that if she took up the challenge, I would, as well, so she took up the challenge, and I am left with the fact that I am not a fiction writer.

Enter Jung’s concept of Synchronicity. Just this morning, while looking for something unrelated, I discovered the nonfiction equivalent to NaNoWriMo– WNFIN, Writing Nonfiction in November:

So, off I go to begin the challenge!

How shall I approach the task? I’ll need to produce about two-thousand words a day to complete the challenge. That’s a lot of writing, especially for someone like me, who hates to babble. I write deliberately. Free writing and verbal effluvience are not my strong suits, nevertheless, they will have to become so in order to meet this challenge.

I think I will make a list of subjects having to do with the events of my life, and the attitudes that have shaped my choices. Each day I’ll take up a new heading. Hopefully, some of this work will find its way to my blog. In that way, I’ll infuse some fresh material into it. I’m getting kind of saturated with writing and thinking about religion. I need a diversion.

Call for Submissions on MotherVerse

Blogger Mamas,

Many of my readers are moms who blog, and care about the quality of their writing.

Some of you may be looking for a wider audience, or simply an additional venue for your work. I just discovered this publication ten minutes ago and had to share it with you. Some may wish to submit to the proposed anthology:



A Travel Secret

You go to the museums and the tombs and the ruins and the statues because everyone else does, because these places are famous, because you’ve seen pictures of them all your life, because the tours focus upon them, because these are the places you can get to easily and you don’t know where else to go until you’ve been there awhile. You know these places are impressive and important, and you expect to feel enriched after you’ve seen them.

Now that you’ve have made your pilgrimage to the various shrines and wonders of the world, you can say for sure that the tombs and the temples are no more than ruins, suggestions of shapes with crumbling corners, useful now as a focal point only, an excuse to go to a place and wander through new worlds for a while, to pretend you are someone else, to imagine you have been reincarnated, to twirl around with your eyes wide open, to fantasize, to play, to revel in the freedom of the foreigner, to wish upon stars that have witnessed all of earthly history, and to know that you belong to it all.