Day 12 – Ramadan Write-A-Thon

In today’s Return of the Fast Brain Episode:  I lost track of time right before Fajr and so only had about 10 minutes to eat/drink.  Let’s see what happens through the day?  Returning to my computer, I saw that Ayesha Mattu (intrepid co-editor of Love, InshAllah and now Salaam, Love) had sent me this meme!

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 6.08.02 AM

Right???

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Tonight, I attended a very special writing gathering with KWELI. I was slotted to pitch with an editor, but right before my meeting time, I realized that while I was taking notes, my blue pen had leaked ink all over my hands. What a mess. Why? If I even shook hands with somebody, I’d basically be leaving an ink smudge on their hand. A tiny blot.

***

If you knew that writing was the same thing as praying, would you still get writer’s block?

***

What is a Ramadan Write-a-Thon?

Truth: I just like the sound of that phrase. Do you?

Two Truths: Indeed, I would like to host a Ramadan Write-A-Thon.

How about if you DEAR WRITER, respond to any or all of the following prompts?

Every time there’s a space or an *** or a change in point of view, you may choose to respond in that very moment. Or not. As is written in the Qur’an “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” Do you have any idea how scary it is to be able to write whatever you want?

***

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin

(Why didn’t I realize earlier how wonderful it would be to fast with James Baldwin?)

 

I had the strangest heroic journey today: an image of a butter knife pervaded my mind. I wore a cape and a mask that covered only my forehead and sliced through racism. By racism, I don’t mean vague, soft tissue-producing racism, but the kind that our State and individuals direct toward Black women. The serrated edges meant that the cut wasn’t clean, too blunt a tool for the job? There are pieces of bread on the board, and I really want to lick the board, but that would waste water and break my fast. Also, it would break my fast. What is it like when you come to Allah? Yes, you my sister, or perhaps only your heart, come to her as you may – broken – yet so strong that you have not once broken your fast.

 

Saimo reminded me earlier tonight to watch out for unnecessary gendering. She wrote a lovely poem about her niece:

“A listened to the story her grandmother was telling her. 
She asked what died means, it was a word she didn’t understand.
Her grandma said its when God asks you to come and live with Him, so He can take care of you. 
SHE!! said A. So SHE can take care of you!

[A is my 3 year old niece]

Thank you! My work here is done!”

Saimo is quite unflappable. So I’m not surprised that she would instill a sense of self-worth in this tinily (real word) HUGE way in a 3 year old. Sometimes, I’m convinced she’s a saint. Saimo can keep secrets better than anybody else. Do saints keep secrets?

 

Picture this: your name is Laura Pegram, and you’ve been rushing around to take care of your health, pay the bills, all while running a literary journal (KWELI). Essentially, you are a one-woman show (a glorious one).  You really only have the help of a few interns to pull off the entire event. Three hours before the start of your conference in Brooklyn your venue shuts down due to a fire condition causing an electrical outage. You start making calls. You find an alternative venue in upper Manhattan, replete with two panels of distinguished writers and editors/agents, and then a subsequent pitch session. Afterward, there’s a reception where people are laughing and connecting.  As a result, two stars bump tails and make a baby comet which will later be named _____________________ after their mothers, also books. To assist an angel during Ramadan is like closing your eyes and seeing Allah in the mirror behind.

The only relevant question is: do angels have internships?

 

Anger, I want to tell the Don, is like a terrible secret you just haven’t shared yet. What’s wrong?

 

Is peace a compass or a direction?

 

Is it there because my pen was leaking or because there is no such thing as the perfect sign?

 

Why are you waiting?

 

Hafiz is annoying, especially when he pokes you and says, mostly in verse, that when the sword comes you may as well turn up your wrists so that the cut is clean. Or don’t you know how to start?

 

[P.P. Arnold – My friend Caramelo sent me this song. Allah, how did she know?]

 

Why does it rain in Palestine during the baldest heat of summer?

 

Wouldn’t this be a cool conversation to have with a stranger?

“Haven’t we met before?”

“I don’t think so.”

“No, No – we have met. Your face is so familiar. I’m sure of it.”

“Well, how did we meet?”

“When we were children.”

 

What if I sat down in the planetarium, and when the sun went down, I took my first sip of water?

 

I was so afraid of God that I wrapped myself up in a blanket and hid from God in the closet where I knew that She could not see me. Why did God count out loud for so long?

 

The benefit of growing up is that you become a dragon and sail through the ether knowing, without waver, that the ether is not flammable and you will survive. Would you fly slower or faster?

 

My friend Stacie met James Baldwin not once, but twice. I hugged her, and I knew how it felt to hug James Baldwin. Does this mean James Baldwin’s friends know how it feels to hug Stacie?

 

El Anatsui said the following about his art: “If you touch something, you leave a charge on it, and anybody else touching it connects with you.”  You already know the question.

 

***

 

Why is there a moon in my palm?

 

 

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