I lost my father to the fatal effects of diabetes. He suffered from Type 2 diabetes for over 2 decades, losing his quality of life over those years. Watching his health deteriorate was very hard, and it is still hard to accept that he is not with us anymore. It has been almost 9 years since he left, and I still wonder how much more we could have done to help him.
As of a year ago, Aliya Durrani* could barely get herself out of bed. She had to force herself every morning and drag through her day in a foggy state. The mother of four from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, attributed her declining energy to missing her daughter, who had recently gotten married.
In April 2017, I had the privilege of leading a weekend writing intensive at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, alongside award-winning children’s author Naheed Hasnat Senzai. We were invited by the Whitestone Foundation to work with new and experienced writers from their “Muslims Write Now” author development program.
A talented writer is able to grab the hand of a reader and walk her through the pages of the book with ease and effectiveness. The words should fly off the page and penetrate the heart and mind of the reader. How do you create such an intimate relationship between the author and her reader? How do you touch a soul like that? That is the power of words.
Public-speaking can be a scary thing. I know it is for me. I went into writing thinking that I could hide behind my words and not really have to show my face or speak in front of audiences. It’s much easier to not have to see your audience’s reactions to your words. However, the more I write, the more I’m asked to speak in public.
So you want to be a writer? Well, guess what! You already are! Yes, that’s right! Each of you is already a writer! How so, you ask? Writing is not something you are born knowing how to do. It’s something you grow into over time — with lots of practice.
When I came to America as a little girl from Pakistan, I didn't know a lick of English. My first semester of first grade, I was regularly pulled out of homeroom to take ESL classes. Once I was able to communicate fluently with my classmates and teachers, they couldn't get me to stop talking. There was so much I wanted to say and share with everyone. However, there was a challenge I had to face: I was the only Pakistani and Muslim in my school - a total misfit.